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WVU Coronavirus Planning Update from Provost Maryanne Reed

Dear WVU Faculty and Instructors:

As we learned on Wednesday, the University is strengthening its commitment to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by either shutting down or slowing down almost all on-campus activities. This will have a significant impact on our academic operations. To assist in this transition, below is information to help you prepare.

Online for the Remainder of the Semester

Recognizing that it will not be safe for students to return to campus, we are moving all instruction online for the rest of the Spring semester. Faculty will be expected to teach out the entire semester online, using eCampus and/or other online platforms. While we are following the regular semester schedule, final exams may be moved up and/or back by a few days to allow for a longer testing period. If we need to move in that direction, we will send more information at a later time.

If you haven’t done so already, please review the instructor guidance being coordinated by the Teaching and Learning Commons (TLC). Even if you are comfortable with teaching online, we ask that you review this site for important recommendations that will help keep our critical systems functioning. Remember, we don’t expect perfection. We are working on a short timeline, which does not allow for creating the ideal online instructional environment. We encourage you to think about how best to deliver and assess what is most essential in meeting the learning outcomes of your courses and to consider low-tech solutions if necessary.

Internet Access Issues for Students

Some students may not have easy access to the Internet. We encourage you to reach out to your students to assess their ability to connect online. We believe that most students will be resourceful. However, for students who cannot gain access online, you will need to be creative in how you deliver course instruction. Next week, the TLC will offer specific webinars, entitled Workarounds for Low Internet Connectivity, and will create a help sheet targeted at this particular concern.

Guidelines for Research Labs

We also are asking faculty to power down their research labs and focus only on the minimum of what needs to be done, such as maintaining cell lines and taking care of animals. For the most part, graduate student assistants will be expected to work off campus and remotely. For the latest information please access the Researchers tab on the Coronavirus website.

Promotion and Tenure

We understand your concerns about how these disruptions may impact your student evaluations and the promotion and tenure process. Please know that our team is working on ways to minimize the impact of this crisis on your career progression. In the meantime, the Academic Year 2019-20 promotion and tenure review process will go on as usual. Faculty being considered for tenure and/or promotion will receive notification of outcomes on or around May 15 as originally planned.

Faculty Services

We recognize that this is an incredibly stressful time for faculty, students and administrators. Please remember that WVU’s Faculty and Staff AssistanceProgram is available at a distance for those who may need their services. We truly appreciate your hard work, resilience, and even your sense of humor as we navigate these unfamiliar waters.

I have no doubt that the start to this new instructional environment will have its challenges and that issues will arise that we have not yet anticipated. To that end, I ask for your continued patience and flexibility. None of us has a playbook on how to get through a semester during a pandemic. It is new territory that will require new skills and creative approaches to problem-solving.

Just in the last week or so, I’ve been amazed and impressed at both the faculty and staff response to this situation and the commitment shown to keep the University moving forward. These are trying times. But by working together, I believe we are up for the challenge.

Reed signature
Maryanne Reed
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs