WVU expands indoor mask requirement
MORGANTOWN– West Virginia University is updating its mask guidelines. Beginning today, all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask indoors in all WVU System buildings and facilities through Oct. 6, when public health conditions will be reevaluated.
The new requirement supersedes a temporary revision announced on Aug. 17 for classrooms and labs.
Although positive cases and quarantine instances involving WVU employees and students remain at manageable levels, the University is proactively making this move due to the recent significant increase of COVID-19 cases in West Virginia, including the increasing instances of hospitalization across the state.
Everyone entering campus buildings and facilities must wear a mask properly above the nose and keep it on while inside.
Members of the West Virginia University community do not need to wear a mask indoors when in personal office spaces, in small gatherings of 10 or less on residence hall floors and rooms, in personal vehicles, when eating or drinking, or while engaging in fitness activities.
Because it is primarily an outdoor event, this mask requirement also does not include areas of Milan Puskar Stadium (i.e., restrooms, suites, press box) at this time.
However, the University continues to strongly encourage masks to be worn in the Hall of Traditions, suites, restrooms or other indoor areas at the stadium.
This requirement will remain in place through Oct. 6 or until the University determines new guidance is warranted based on continued monitoring of factors including state, local and campus COVID-19 data.
The University will be particularly focused on the vaccination rates of students and employees and the hospitalization rates across the state.
Masks continue to be required on the PRT and WVU buses through Jan. 18, 2022, under federal guidelines from the Transportation Security Administration.
WVU Transportation expects all passengers — regardless of vaccination status — to comply with this requirement while traveling on WVU transportation.
Demand is currently higher than capacity when it comes to care at WVU Medicine’s flagship J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. Albert L. Wright, Jr., president and CEO of the WVU Health System, explained that a number of factors, including staff shortages due to COVID-19 exposures, have created new health care challenges.
“This facility cares for critically ill patients from around West Virginia and the region,” Wright said. “Right now, we don’t have room for everyone so we’re calling on the smaller hospitals in our system to help handle the volume.”
Wright said they have been forced to consider other measures such as delaying scheduling for surgeries or other elective procedures.