MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University President Gordon Gee welcomed students back to campus on the first day of class (Aug. 18) in a letter. Gee expressed his joy at the return to campus, but also urged balancing enthusiasm with “a measure of reality.”
Dear West Virginia University Students, Faculty and Staff,
The first day of a new semester is always exciting, but today marks an especially joyous reunion and a return to a full and robust on-campus experience. Nothing warms my heart more than seeing our campus bursting with energy, laughter and a renewed sense of purpose.
Though I am thrilled to be together, I am also very aware that we must balance our enthusiasm with a measure of reality. We are still in the midst of a pandemic, though we are much better prepared and protected than we were a year ago.
If you have not received a vaccine, I would urge you to do so. It is the best protection we have against this ever-changing virus. If you have concerns or questions about the vaccine, I would ask that you speak to one of our healthcare professionals. It is important to seek answers to your questions so that you can make an informed decision.
I also appreciate your patience and understanding as we implement a temporary, 30-day mask requirement in the classroom and labs beginning today. I realize this is not what any of us wanted. However, there is increasing evidence that a booster will be needed as immunity from the vaccine is waning over time. We also are keeping a close eye on the delta variant and how it is affecting our community. And, quite frankly, we need everyone to either be vaccinated or present a negative COVID-19 test result.
We will continue to monitor the public health situation and will adjust accordingly. Our priorities are to provide in-person, on-campus classes and to be a healthy and safe campus community. Together, we can have a successful year.
And to have a successful year, I encourage each of you to get involved. A sense of belonging promotes achievement and well-being – and it builds community. You will find our WVU family supports one another, protects one another and cheers one another on to ever-greater accomplishments. And no one will be cheering louder than me as you pursue your purpose in life.
So, my wishes for your new academic year are simple: Work smart. Celebrate. Learn from your mistakes. Take care of yourself and the people around you. And always reach out to us when you or someone you know may need help. Together, we will be stronger.
E. Gordon Gee
President, West Virginia University