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Encouraging Grace During the Last Days of the Semester

Dear WVU Faculty and Instructors:

As we near the end of an academic year that has challenged us like none other, I encourage you to keep up the good work you are doing. Each of you has shown extraordinary flexibility and resiliency in the face of an ongoing global pandemic and unprecedented changes to our campus and academic lifestyle. You have remained focused on providing our students a positive educational experience, and your efforts have been noticed and deeply appreciated.

The recent death of one of our students is a sad reminder of the stressors our students face daily, which have only been exacerbated by the weight of the pandemic. Many view the challenges of academic success as insurmountable and are suffering from mental distress given the immense pressures of the past year.

I ask that you keep in mind that you have the latitude to be flexible in making assignments and setting deadlines and that you may grant extensions as needed. Such adjustments do not equate to reducing the academic rigor of our coursework; rather they are modifications to help ensure our students’ overall success and well-being.

Please also remember that any student suffering from a serious physical or mental health crisis after Week 13 (April 16) has a number of options to complete the semester successfully. Late withdraw, retroactive withdraw, incomplete grades, and accepting an early final grade are possibilities for students who experience serious distress. The Emergency Short-Term Leave Policy is outlined in the catalog.

Additionally, some students are suffering significantly since the student’s death last week. We strongly encourage you to help those students achieve a quick resolution to their coursework through the policy above.

Please reach out to us out if you have questions on how to appropriately make course adjustments or about the leave policy. The Provost’s Office team can provide suggestions and guidance.

This exceptionally challenging time will not last forever. In the meantime, grace and compassion will serve us well. Our students will benefit from any additional leeway you are able to provide as we close out this school year.

Lastly, I hope you will also find ways to engage in self-care. It appears that brighter days are ahead, but we must still take time to “check in” with ourselves, as Vice President Meshea Poore said in her recent Let’s Talk video.

Let’s work together, as I know we can — to finish this semester strong and feel pride in having made it through an extraordinary year.


Reed signature
Maryanne Reed
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs