Fairmont State University set to begin Spring 2021 semester

Fairmont State University has begun welcoming students back this week for the start of the spring 2021 semester as part of the institution’s phased return to campus plan. Classes begin Monday, January 11, though the plan calls for all students taking courses on campus to complete mandatory COVID-19 testing and receive a negative result prior to attending in-person instruction.

Students, as well as faculty and staff, have been assigned to one of four testing groups; courses will be offered both face-to-face and synchronously until each group has completed testing. The University has implemented this model of staggering the arrival of students and their return to the classroom in an effort to gradually reintroduce the Falcon Family back to campus, contain the spread of the coronavirus and keep the number of positive cases low.

“From the very start, this historic pandemic disrupted the way higher education operates,” Mirta M. Martin, president of Fairmont State University, said. “But disruption doesn’t have to mean derailment. Our goal has always been to safely and securely continue to provide Fairmont State’s trademark affordable, transformative education and keep our kids on track to graduate on time. And thanks to the best leadership team around, we’ve created innovative strategies like staggered arrival that enable us to do just that.”

Testing of groups one and two, comprised of employees, graduate assistants, resident assistants, freshmen living in residence halls and nursing and education students, began on Monday, January 4, with 25 positive results identified from these groups as of Friday morning.

Testing of off-campus, international and graduate students will take place next week, with sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students living in residence halls to follow. All testing is scheduled to be completed by Wednesday, January 20.

Earlier this week, the University followed state guidelines in administering its first round of COVID-19 vaccines to a group of high-risk employees. A total of 80 doses were distributed with plans to vaccinate additional members of the campus community as more vaccines become available.

In accordance with guidelines set forth by the Marion County Health Department, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (WVHEPC), Office of the Governor and West Virginia DHHR, safety protocols such as wearing masks and physical distancing will continue to be required and enforced throughout the semester. The spring semester will conclude with final exams the week of April 20 and will not include a Spring Break in order to limit travel to and from campus and allow students to return home earlier for summer.

For an up-to-date record of Fairmont State campus COVID-19 cases, visit www.fairmontstate.edu/coronavirus.

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