WVSOM President Shares Message About Coronavirus to Community

James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) president, provided another update regarding the coronavirus COVID-19, this time to residents of Lewisburg and surrounding communities.

Information about what the medical school is doing to keep its students, employees and local residents safe, will be shared on WVSOM’s coronavirus webpage [www.wvsom.edu/News/Coronavirus] and Facebook page.

“I, along with my staff, have been monitoring and making decisions daily regarding how to keep everyone safe during this evolving crisis,” Nemitz stated. “We are following specific guidelines provided to higher education institutions provided by the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], our governor, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, the Greenbrier County Health Department and our accrediting bodies. Please note that the guidance being given to higher education institutions differs from the messaging to the general public.”

As we continue to monitor this very fluid situation, WVSOM administration and faculty are developing and implementing plans to address the ongoing health and safety of the WVSOM community and the community at large as well as opportunities to deliver our academic program in new and different modalities. These decisions — in particular the ones regarding if and when students will return to campus the week of March 30 — will be appropriate given the specific guidelines in place, and with the goal of keeping our community safe while helping our students complete their academic year. Many students have already made the decision not to travel and to remain in the area during their break due to updated guidance.

Some things to note and some steps that will be implemented as a result of guidelines from various parties include the following:

  • Groups are not to exceed 10 people on campus, which includes students and employees.
  • Effective close of business March 20, all campus buildings will be accessible only to WVSOM students and employees until further notice.
  • Non-essential WVSOM employees should work from home as needed.
  • Essential WVSOM employees are needed on campus to continue institution operations. However, social distancing and good hygiene practices are strongly encouraged.
  • The school’s Founders’ Activity Center (gym) has been closed per CDC and federal guidelines.
  • The O’Café, located in the Student Center, will offer only take-out menu orders, no buffet items. Beginning March 23, take-out will only be available to WVSOM students, faculty and staff.
  • The Campus Store will be closed during WVSOM’s spring break, March 23-27. However, online purchasing is available at www.wvsom.edu/store and all shipping fees will be waived until April 10.
  • The O’Café and Campus Store will no longer accept cash payments. Electronic options are still available.

Nemitz said no decision has been made regarding students’ return to campus after spring break, stating that “we will continue to monitor this very fluid situation and make decisions as appropriate to keep our community safe while helping our students complete their academic year.”

If and when students are allowed to return to campus, they may need to provide information to administration about where they have traveled and self-quarantine for two weeks. The WVSOM president said many students have made the decision not to travel and to remain in the area during spring break.

“I recognize this is a difficult and challenging time for our community and our nation,” he said. “Please know that I have lived in this community that I love for almost 40 years, that my daughter and her family live in Lewisburg and that I have other family and many friends who I deeply care about. I also have a responsibility to my students, and please know that they share your concerns of unduly exposing the community to the virus. I will keep the community updated as WVSOM makes decisions during this health crisis.”

Date Added: 
Friday, March 20, 2020