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Mandatory COVID testing scheduled August 15-19, student move-in planned August 16-23

ISSUED: 11 August 2020
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University will welcome approximately 715 residential students to campus with move-in scheduled across eight days between Sunday, August 16, to Sunday, August 23. Classes begin Monday, August 24.

Under the orders of West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, Shepherd will require every student, both residential and commuter, to have a COVID-19 test between Saturday, August 15, and Wednesday, August 19. Employees will also be required to be tested for COVID-19.

Testing will take place on East Campus near Erma Ora Byrd Hall. Those being tested can drive up or walk up by entering campus on N. King Street and must bring identification that includes their name, photo, and date of birth.

Students and employees who cannot come to Shepherd due to extenuating circumstances may request to be tested in their home counties if the test is administered August 15-19 and is the same test being done at Shepherd—the RNA by PCR. Those being tested in their home counties must complete the form that was emailed to them and upload the test results online. The Jefferson County Health Department and the Shepherd University Health Center will receive the results and will contact anyone who is positive. This exemption does not apply to residents of Jefferson, Berkeley or Morgan Counties as those individuals must be tested at Shepherd.

Holly Morgan Frye, vice president for student affairs, said the health department will use a less invasive RNA test that requires each person to swab inside his or her nostril. Frye said students who fail to get tested will not be allowed to attend classes. Students have received an email explaining testing guidelines. Students living on campus who test positive will either be allowed to go home or will be quarantined on campus until they recover.

Students, employees, and campus visitors are required to take their temperature and complete the daily health check form each day.

The lengthened move-in process will provide for safety and social distancing. Approximately 635 students are returning to the main campus and 80 will be residing at the Clarion Hotel. This will allow for most residents to live in single occupancy rooms unless they made a specific request for a double occupancy room with a self-selected roommate.

“Over the summer our Facilities and Residence Life teams have worked hard to make sure all resident rooms on campus are clean, safe, and ready for students’ arrival,” Frye said.

Frye said carpets have been cleaned with an added sanitizing product, air conditioning units have been cleaned and sanitized, and rooms have been cleaned, with bathroom and furniture surfaces sanitized. In order to allow for social distancing and safer practices, students will be moving in by appointment during a preselected one and one half-hour time block.

“This appointment schedule will enable us to have not more than one person moving in per floor or smaller building at a time, for a total of 30 people across campus moving in per time block,” Frye said.

Time blocks have typically been scheduled at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. The schedule for Potomac Place will be different in order to maintain lower numbers of people in the hallways because about 215 students will be living there. Half of a floor in Potomac Place will follow the schedule above and the other half will follow a 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. schedule.

Residence Life staff, wearing personal protective equipment and following social distancing guidelines, will be available to check residents into their buildings. For safety reasons there will be no assistance with the move-in process. Residents and their helpers will be responsible for moving their own items and are encouraged to bring dollies or hand carts. Residents are permitted to have two people present to help them with the move. Everyone must wear face coverings that cover the nose and mouth. Everyone is expected to maintain social distancing and to follow directional traffic within the buildings.

In addition to testing for COVID-19 and decreasing the number of students sharing rooms in residence halls, Shepherd is reducing the density of students taking classes on campus and occupying classrooms. Of the 1,083 active course sections in fall semester, 34.5 percent are currently identified as hybrid and 32.9 percent are currently identified as fully online.

For more information and to stay updated on Shepherd’s COVID-19 policies, visit https://www.shepherd.edu/covid-19/.

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