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W.Va. Wesleyan College delays campus reopening, will start the fall semester online-only

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — West Virginia Wesleyan College announced Tuesday that the school will not bring students back to campus in August and will instead start the fall semester online-only.

Wesleyan will open the fall semester online on Monday, August 17, with the possibility of bringing students back to campus for in-person instruction as early as Monday, September 7, President Dr. Joel Thierstein announced to the campus community on Tuesday.

Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees met earlier in the day to confirm the recommendation of the Campus Status Task Force.

“Our first priority is the safety of our campus community and the people of Buckhannon and Upshur County,” Thierstein said. “We believe that beginning the semester on-line will help keep our community safer.”

Thierstein also announced that the college will work to adjust room and board costs for the fall semester over the coming weeks.

Thierstein said several factors contributed to the college’s decision to delay the start of in-person classes, including, most importantly, the spread of the disease in areas around the world. The Mountain East Conference has also delayed the start of practice for fall sports to September 7 for football and September 14 for other fall sports. This impacts nearly 300 Wesleyan students.

Thierstein praised the work of faculty, staff and students who have worked tirelessly for the past several months on the Safe Return to Campus Plan.

“I am incredibly proud of the work done by the task force and the subcommittees in developing our comprehensive safe campus plan,” he said. “I believe we are thoroughly prepared to welcome our students back to campus when we feel it is safe to do so. The unanswered public health questions and issues associated with minimizing the spread of COVID-19 are creating unprecedented challenges for higher education.

“While we are disappointed to have to begin our semester on-line, our faculty and staff have developed a robust online learning environment that will provide our students with the high quality academic and community building experiences that Wesleyan is known for.”

Wesleyan had previously suspended in-person instruction effective March 13 through the end of the spring semester. May Term and summer sessions were also conducted online.

Another update about the college’s class instruction plans will be announced on Friday, August 28.

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