Wheeling University Plans On-Campus Classes for 2020-2021 Academic Year

By Colleen Rowan
WHEELING—Wheeling University is planning to have on-campus classes for the 2020-2021 academic year, and announced new 15-week semesters.
Ginny R. Favede, president of Wheeling University, made the announcement in a letter to the campus community.
“While Wheeling University is fully able to deliver a robust and supportive educational experience to students in any format—including remote/hybrid or fully asynchronously online—it’s our preference and, overwhelmingly, the preference of our students, that classes be held in person unless public health conditions require switching to alternative forms of distance instruction,” Favede says in the letter which was posted on the university’s Facebook page June 7. “In order to ensure that we’re able to deliver this experience as safely and completely as possible, the university is planning multiple mitigation tactics for the fall and has revamped the Fall 2020-21 Academic Calendar.”
She listed highlights of the new calendar, which features the 15-week semesters: Undergraduate students will return to campus and move into the dormitories starting the week of Aug. 17 in a staggered schedule to permit social distancing; fall 2020 undergraduate classes will begin on Aug. 24; fall break will not be recognized this year; students will return home on Nov. 24 for Thanksgiving break and will then finish their classes online for the remainder of the semester; final exams will begin online on Dec. 7-11; an online winter session will start on Dec. 12 – Jan.10 and be offered at a reduced tuition cost; undergraduate students will return to campus to move into the dormitories starting the week of Jan. 4 in a staggered schedule to permit social distancing; and on-campus undergraduate classes will begin on Jan. 11.
“We regret any disruption or inconvenience caused by these new calendar dates,” Favede says in the letter. “We believe completing the semester at a rapid pace will help us avoid much more severe disruptions if a resurgent COVID-19 outbreak occurs in the late fall. Many public health care experts are predicting a new heightened outbreak to coincide with flu season. The new academic calendar should help us avoid that outbreak while minimizing students’ travel between home states and the Wheeling area.”
Favede went on to write that the university is reviewing the following other mitigation options: WU will provide all on-campus students, faculty, and staff with masks; exploring the testing of students, faculty, and staff upon their return to either campus this fall, and exploring monitoring of symptoms; enhanced cleaning of facilities; scheduling multiple lunch periods; minimizing gatherings; and utilizing larger classrooms to enhance social distancing.
Favede assured the community that Wheeling University is highly committed and able to do everything possible to keep the community safe. She encouraged those with questions to direct them to covidquestions@wju.edu, and that updates will continue as the situation evolves.
Favede ended her letter by saying, “It’s been generations since we, as a country and community, have weathered such disruption. With your help, we will emerge stronger and tell our future generations of the successes hard-earned through our collective efforts.”
Wheeling University will hold its 62nd graduation exercises July 25 at 10:30 a.m. on Bishop Schmitt Field  to comply with social distancing guidelines. Favede will confer 124 undergraduate and graduate degrees during the graduation ceremonies.