West Virginia University Returns To Indoor Mask Requirement

Group of students wearing masks in classroom

West Virginia University is returning to a policy of requiring masks to be worn indoors on campus and has ordered students, faculty and staff to verify their vaccination status due to a surge in coronavirus cases statewide.

The university said in a news release that masks will are required for anyone regardless of vaccination status in all WVU System buildings and facilities through at least Feb. 1, when public health conditions will be reevaluated.

The statement said the move was being made to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and the omicron variant. The spring semester starts next Monday.

Students, faculty and staff must verify their vaccine status by Jan. 28. To be considered fully vaccinated, an individual now must have received their primary shots and booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, WVU said.

“Now more than ever, we are asking our unvaccinated students, faculty and staff to get a COVID-19 vaccine and for those who are vaccinated to get a booster if they are eligible,” said Dr. Jeffrey Coben, dean of the WVU School of Public Health and associate vice president for health affairs. “It is imperative that we all do our part to protect ourselves and each other as we navigate this latest wave in the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Anyone testing positive for COVID-19, regardless of their vaccination status, must isolate for at least five days, the university said.

The number of active virus cases statewide has jumped 39% since Friday to nearly 18,900. That’s the highest level since mid-September, when cases soared to nearly 30,000. The daily percentage of positive cases among all tests statewide has surged past 20% for two consecutive days. And that doesn’t include in-home tests that don’t go reported.

There have been at least 5,372 deaths in West Virginia during the pandemic.