When West Virginia University’s fall semester begins Aug. 19, students will find some changes because of COVID-19 safeguards.
There will be physical distancing in customer lines, as well as decreased seating because of social distancing guidelines. Grab ’n Go offerings and retail offerings will be expanded in dining halls. Buffets will be eliminated as well.
“Students will be able to get a slice of pizza,” said Rob Alsop WVU’s Vice President for Strategic Initiatives. “Now, there will be someone in PPE gear that will serve it.”
There are also discussions underway to use the ticket office in the Mountainlair to order and pickup food.
Dining hours will remain the same, and there are no plans to extend them because of novel coronavirus safety measures. But that could change if needed, Alsop added.
It is still not decided if the Personal Rapid Transit system, which transports thousands between the Evansdale and Downtown campuses each year, will be used when the new semester starts. More information will be announced during the university’s announcement of Student Support and Services on July 21.
“We do know we’ll be running more buses between the campuses,” Alsop said.
Because everyone on campus will be required to wear a mask, the university has ordered 400,000 disposable masks for people.
There will be several sites on campus, and there are discussions underway to use vending machines to help with the distribution of the masks.
The university will distribute 42,000 welcome back kits — which contain a cloth and disposable facemask, hand sanitizer and a safety touch tool — when it begins COVID-19 testing in mid-July. That testing will continue up until the semester starts. Locations for the tests have yet to be determined, Alsop said.
“We’re still working through things,” he said.
Students will also notice ramped-up cleaning throughout the campus. This includes high-touch surfaces such as elevators, handrails, benches, tables and restrooms. Public restrooms in high-traffic areas will receive multiple cleanings each day, and all residence halls are in the process of being deep cleaned. This includes cleaning all surfaces and furniture.
“We will also be using Electrostatic Victory sprayers, back-pack sprayers and battery pump-up sprayers to clean and disinfect large area,” he said.
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