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Message from the Provost


Dear Colleagues:

As outlined in the President’s latest communication with the campus community, West Virginia State University, in keeping with the policies of the Centers for Disease Control and the suggestions of President Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force, will suspend all face-to-face instruction until the end of the current semester.  This means that all instruction throughout the remainder of the current semester will be delivered in a non-face-to-face format.  In addition to this precaution, only those employees listed as essential to the continuation of the physical plant of the University and the conduction of business within key offices will be permitted to work on campus through at least April 1, 2020.  All non-essential staff personnel will work remotely through at least April 1, 2020.  Offices will not reopen to the public on March 23, 2020, and in-person classes will not resume on March 25, 2020, as previously communicated.

As a consequence of this decision, it is vitally important that faculty members spend the remainder of Spring Break preparing non-face-to-face instructional methodologies.  Current online courses will not change.  If you currently teach online course with a WEB-30 or WEB-50 designation, you may find it most efficient to simply move to a WEB-100 delivery scheme.  However, this does not mean that online course delivery is the only option.  It is my hope that you will choose the delivery method which is most beneficial to the student population of your courses.  You may choose to use FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Zoom, telephone, or even email.  As you develop your options, please take special care to consider students with known disabilities, such as hearing or visual impairments, and how your chosen delivery methods will impact those students.  Over the past few days, you have been forwarded information from Mr. Michael Casey in the Office of Disabilities Services, which may prove helpful.  Further, Dr. Thomas Kiddie, Director of the WVSU Center for Online Learning, remains available as a valuable resource throughout the semester.  Please refer to the communication from this office of March 12, 2020, for further suggestions.

Additionally, on Monday, March 23, members of the English Department will be providing an in-service training open to all faculty who wish to become more savvy in the use of online and remote delivery methods.  This training will be in the Center for Online Learning in Wallace Hall.   We will be following the advice of the CDC, as we keep the instructional groups to less than 10 individuals.  Should you wish to take advantage of this workshop, please contact Dr. Jessica Barnes-Pietruszynski at jbarnesp@wvstateu.edu in order to be scheduled into one of the groups.

Once your plans are in place, it is important that you reach out to each student through their wvstateu.edu email address in order to communicate your plans to them.  It is vital that this communication be clear and that we do all we can to relieve the anxiety they must be feeling at this time.  My expectation is that you will have communicated the delivery format options to students as soon as possible by using wvstateu.edu email.  In order to provide ample time to prepare and communicate plans to students, remote delivery of course content will begin on Monday, March 30, 2020, and continue until the end of the current semester.  Finally, the University-sponsored travel ban will remain in place until further notice.

My friends, this situation represents uncharted waters to all of us as an educational community.  In my 50+ years of experience in higher education, the Coronavirus presents one of the most challenging and unique hurdles I have been forced to cross.  Regardless, the WVSU community is resilient and we will continue throughout this crisis to do what we have done since our inception in 1891.  Through your guided and courageous efforts, we will provide quality education to our students, preparing them for the world which awaits them on the other side of this crisis.

My office is at your disposal and I encourage you to contact us with any need you may have.  Stay safe.  My thoughts and prayers are with each of you.
With kind regards,

R. Charles Byers

R. Charles Byers, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
West Virginia State University
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