University of Charleston

Under the provisions of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the University of Charleston signed and returned the Certification and Agreement to the Department of Education assuring that the institution would use no less than 50 percent of the funds received in emergency financial aid grants to students to assist with the expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses. UC gained access to this funding on May 5, 2020.

The University of Charleston received $611,494 from the Department of Education which is being distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. The full amount of this federal allocation will be awarded to students by June 4, 2020, and direct distributions to students will be completed by June 10, 2020.

Approximately 2,200 students at the institution are eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Grant Act. Of those, 1,125 students are receiving emergency financial aid grants under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. The other approximately 1,073 students were enrolled in a full online academic program and were excluded from CARES Act grant awards pursuant to Department of Education guidance stating that students “enrolled exclusively in online programs would not have expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus” and thus are ineligible to receive these emergency grants.

The University of Charleston determined to distribute 100% of the student grant funds using a formula that would ensure that all eligible students would receive a grant under the CARES Act emergency financial aid for students and that low EFC students would receive more grant funds (twice as much) than high EFC students.

The University of Charleston’s methodology in determining the Low and High EFC range took into consideration the guidelines under which the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission awards the West Virginia Higher Education Grant (WVHEG), a need-based grant. During the 2019-2020 academic year, eligible West Virginia students who had an EFC up to $11,000 were awarded the WVHEG. The University of Charleston determined the Low EFC range for CARES Act grants to be from $0 – $11,000 (which includes Federal Pell-eligible EFC’s) and High EFC range to be $11,001 and up. Also included in the High EFC range were those students who did not complete a 2019-20 FAFSA but were determined to be eligible under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

Those who are or could be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 were initially identified from among all UC students. The University requested that all students who had not filed but are eligible to file a FAFSA identify themselves and provide evidence of their Title IV eligibility.

The University of Charleston used the described method of allocation which resulted in the following students receiving emergency financial aid grants in the award amounts indicated:

  1. Group 1: Students enrolled in a non-online degree program in Spring 2020 who had a full-time course load as of March 27, 2020, met the Title IV eligibility criteria, and had an EFC from the FAFSA less than $11,000. These students were awarded $642.42.
  2. Group 2: Students enrolled in a non-online degree program in Spring 2020 who had a full-time course load as of March 27, 2020, met the Title IV eligibility criteria, and had an EFC from the FAFSA greater than $11,000, or who did not have an EFC on record. These students were awarded $326.87.
  3. Group 3: Students enrolled in a non-online degree program in Spring 2020 who had a part-time course load as of March 27, 2020, met the Title IV eligibility criteria, were listed as a dependent student, and had an EFC from the FAFSA less than $11,000. These students were awarded $200.
  4. Group 4: Students enrolled in a non-online degree program in Spring 2020 who had a part-time course load as of March 27, 2020, met the Title IV eligibility criteria, were listed as a dependent student, and had an EFC from the FAFSA greater than $11,000, or who did not have an EFC on record. These students were awarded $100.

 

To read the communications sent to students throughout the awarding process, click here.

Graduation Online.  On May 2, we celebrated the accomplishments of our graduates with a virtual graduation ceremony. While we would prefer to have welcomed family and friends to campus to cheer them on, we know that this graduating class – having faced a global emergency that required a quick shift to online classes and a ‘too fast’ ending to their senior semester – will be able to overcome anything.  We offer our heartfelt congratulations, and hope to see them on campus in December to participate in our graduation ceremony at that time. If you want to revisit the ceremony, you can see it here: UC Graduation

 

SOAR Goes Virtual.  Typically at this time, the UC campus would be full of activity as the summer orientation season goes into full swing. However, due to campus safety precautions, the university’s SOAR (Summer Orientation, Advising and Registration) events will be taking place virtually.  SOAR events are for new UC admitted students, including freshmen and transfer students. For more information on SOAR, visit our SOAR web page.

 

Opening WV. West Virginia Governor Justice is rolling out changes week-by-week for WV businesses and citizens as we gradually reopen the state for business.

He has announced plans to allow additional parks and recreation venues, dine-in services, and some retail businesses to open between now and Memorial Day weekend.  Health officials are still cautioning everyone to be mindful of health risks and to take precautions as we ease into this next phase.

 

Please note that UC will remain in its telework / remote work mode until further notice, regardless of what we hear in the press about other businesses and industries.  The safety of our UC community continues to be at the forefront of our thoughts and plans.  UC leadership has begun scenario planning for Fall 2020 to determine the best strategies for likely campus conditions we will face.

As the final week of Spring, classes come to a close, I hope this message finds you well.  I applaud everyone’s commitment, energy, and perseverance bringing the semester to a successful close.  As this remains a busy time for everyone, I will keep this message brief.

Global, national, state and local news continues to paint different pictures of when living, study, recreation, and work conditions will change.  We continue to closely monitor guidance on resuming campus activities and the appropriate safety measures to have in place.

Sadly, we learned this week about the closure of our athletic conference partner school, Urbana University. These are challenging times for all colleges and universities.  However, please be assured that UC is well-positioned to weather this pandemic storm and continue doing what we do best: educate students for lives of productive work, enlightened living, and community involvement.

 

So, let me reiterate the following:

  • We are offering a full range of summer online classes. For certain programs, clinical experiences are also available.
  • We anticipate offering both in-seat and online classes in the Fall as well as reopening our residence halls. The same is true of the following Spring semester.

 

Of course, all final decisions will be guided by our goal to ensure the health and safety of all students, faculty and staff.  Throughout the summer we will be developing plans for different scenarios so that we can offer the best possible learning and living experiences for the upcoming academic year.

I wish all of you the best of luck with your semester ending assignments, projects, and exams.  And I look forward to celebrating with many of you your well-deserved graduation at our Virtual Commencement next weekend.

Stay safe,

MSR

I continue to be inspired by how well our community has come together during this time of unprecedented change.  Experiences and feedback shared via Town Hall meetings, emails and phone calls have been largely positive and always constructive.

As we enter the final weeks of the Spring semester, we continue to make plans for the weeks and months ahead.  Safety for our community and student success remain our primary goals.  Here are some updates pertaining to the summer months.

Instruction

All UC courses through June will be delivered online.  Possible exceptions include clinical placements and internships that will be approved by deans and program directors.  As we are currently making available, remote library, tutoring, career center, disability, counseling, technology support, and other services will be offered throughout the summer.  Decisions regarding summer courses that begin in July will be made in the coming weeks.

SOAR and Other Orientations

All orientations across all UC programs scheduled through June 2020 will be conducted virtually or postponed to a later date.  The May and June SOAR new student orientation, advising and registration sessions will be transitioned to virtual experiences.    Suggestions and questions can be directed to Dean of Students Virginia Moore.

Campus Activities and Events

Campuses continue to be closed while the state “Stay at Home” order remains in effect.  We will monitor such orders and guidelines to determine when any parts of the Charleston and Beckley locations can be opened to students, faculty, staff, and visitors.  All internal and external events scheduled through June are being cancelled, postponed, or transitioned to virtual experiences including academic camps, athletic camps, Symphony Sunday, and Wine & Jazz, among others.  Decisions regarding July events will be made in the coming weeks.

These changes, and ones yet to come, are being made as new information becomes available.  We are all hopeful that sacrifices we are making today will enable us to be together again more quickly.

 

I want to applaud everyone’s hard work and positive attitudes as we have successfully transitioned all University instruction online. As our city, state, country and world continue to take sweeping measures to limit the spread and impact of COVID-19, UC will begin its next transition – to flexible and remote work.

Our University leaders have been carefully reviewing our work processes, focusing particularly on those that are essential to our continued operations. We have studied best remote work practices utilized in higher education and other industries. As we have managed this process, the following guiding principles and key objectives have provided direction on the most effective changes for UC.

 

Guiding Principles

 

  • Minimize personal health and safety risks for students and employees
  • Stay connected with and provide essential services to students
  • Maintain essential campus operations
  • Support employee work
  • Minimize data, security, and other institutional risks

 

Key Objectives

 

  • People
    • Minimize personnel on campus
    • Minimize in-person interactions
    • Keep employees engaged with flex and remote work
    • No community visits (non-residential students or employees)

 

  • Spaces
    • Only individual workspaces
    • Minimize public use spaces (library only)
    • Monitor and clean workspaces regularly (offices, library, residence halls)
    • Prepare spaces for quarantine use

 

  • Services
    • Minimize in-person service delivery
    • Utilize technology-enabled communications

 

 

Effective Saturday March 21st, UC will begin a remote work plan in Charleston and Beckley. The purpose of the plan is to limit on-campus work to those activities that cannot be managed remotely. Fortunately, we serve over 1,300 online students daily and already have significant expertise with remote instruction, student services, and other operations. A second and important part of the plan is to minimize all indoor public space use and social interaction on campus until such time that such measures are no longer necessary. Through this plan all University departments will continue to be open to serve our students and our employees who are online or working from home.

 

Specific details will be provided to students, faculty, and staff by supervisors and appropriate University leaders. Here are a few highlights to provide everyone with a UC-wide perspective.

  • All offices essential for continued operations will remain staffed and accessible via phone and email.
  • Unless instructed to do so, employees should not come to campus except to access and gather instructional or other essential work materials, or if they need Internet access not available at their homes.
  • Students who are no longer living in our residence halls may not come to campus unless given permission to do so. Communications with professors, support offices, and fellow students should be conducted electronically.
  • UC Dining is now offering GSU Patio Door Pick-Up (river side GSU entrance)

Monday-Friday

Breakfast 8am-10am

Lunch 11:30am-1:30pm

Dinner 5pm-7pm 

Weekends:

Brunch 11am-1pm

Dinner 5pm-7pm

  • All classrooms, labs, and indoor public spaces on campus are closed, with the exception of the library, food court, and coffee tavern. These spaces will be closely monitored for approved social distancing and cleaned regularly. Updated takeout dining and library hours can be found on UC’s COVID-19 webpage.
  • The UC library is now physically closed but is offering remote library hours (email & phone) from 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday & Noon – 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. *Library Chat services will be available from 8:30 am – 7 p.m. Monday-Thursday
  • No visitors will be allowed inside campus facilities.

 

Let me assure students that you will earn your degree and be considered a graduate of the University of Charleston upon completion of your academic requirements. However, due to the campus closure extending into the foreseeable future, we will not be able to hold commencement ceremonies on campus May 2nd. We do recognize how important commencement is to our graduating students, their classmates, and loved ones. We will be hosting a Virtual Commencement on May 2nd – please look for details next week!

 

Updates on I3 Day and classes that begin in May 2020 are also coming soon.

 

Once again let me remind everyone to avoid contact with and the spread of the coronavirus through the following preventive behaviors on campus and elsewhere:

 

  • Limit gatherings to ten people or less
  • Maintain six (6) feet of distance between people
  • Wash our hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds (if soap and water unavailable, use an alcohol-based sanitizer)
  • Avoid touching our eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Clean keyboards, phones, and other frequent hand contact surfaces with disinfectant
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Get plenty of rest

 

If you are feeling ill, please seek medical attention. If you feel you need to be tested for COVID-19, or have been, please inform the following:

 

 

This information, and more can be found on UC’s COVID-19 webpage: https://www.ucwv.edu/coronavirus-information. Please visit the webpage for updates and current information.   You may also direct coronavirus-related questions to our dedicated email account COVID-19@ucwv.edu.

 

I am confident we will embrace these changes just as enthusiastically and effectively as earlier alterations to our usual ways of doing things. As issues arise or suggestions come to mind, please share them. We remain committed to ensuring student success and will continue to respond thoughtfully as circumstances change.

 

Sincerely,

Martin S. Roth

As the number of COVID-19 cases rise in the U.S. and new state and federal guidance emerges, the University continues to adapt accordingly.  Please make note of the following changes that will limit non-essential social interaction as we continue to wind down in-seat instruction and Charleston campus residency.

  • In-seat instruction on both the Charleston and Beckley campuses will end today, Wednesday March 18th. All instruction will shift online effective Thursday March 19th.  Transitioning to online delivery immediately will allow students to experience new instructional techniques, provide feedback, and seek assistance before departing campus.
  • Faculty will inform students of any lab or assessment requirements that may need to be completed this week.
  • Take out dining is encouraged today. Starting Thursday March 19th, dining facilities will only offer take out service.  Residential students and employees can take meals outdoors or to their dorms and offices, respectively. The following are specific hours of operation effective Thursday March 19 through Sunday March 22:
    • Weekdays:
      • Breakfast will be available in the Coffee Tavern from 7:00-9:00 a.m.
        The CT will remain open weekdays until 3:00 p.m.
      • Lunch will be available in the Food Court from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
      • Dinner will be available in the Food Court from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
    • Weekends:
      • Breakfast will be available in the Coffee Tavern from 7:00-9:00 a.m.
      • Brunch will be available in the Food Court from 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
      • Dinner will be available in the Food Court from 4:00-7:30 p.m.

Any changes in operating hours for next week will be communicated.

  • The following social distance measures should be adopted:
    • In-person meetings limited to ten participants. Seating should be arranged to maximize space between occupants, with a minimum of six feet between participants.
    • Meetings with more than ten participants utilize tele- or videoconference technology.
    • Shared spaces such as computer labs, the Fitness Center, and floors of the Innovation Center should be limited to ten occupants. Fitness Center hours effective Thursday March 19th will be from 10:00 a.m-4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday.
    • Library access will be closely monitored to ensure appropriate social distancing among students, faculty, and staff. The Library will be closed to members of the local community until further notice.
    •  Library hours effective Thursday March 19th will be from 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday.

 

Thank you for adopting these practices as we work together to minimize the potential spread of the virus.

 

Please look for further updates soon on remote work and/or modified schedules for UC employees in Charleston and Beckley, I3 Day, May Commencement, and classes that begin in May 2020.

 

It remains critical that we avoid contact with and the spread of the coronavirus through the following preventive behaviors on campus and elsewhere:

  •  Wash our hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds (if soap and water unavailable, use an alcohol-based sanitizer)
  • Avoid touching our eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Clean keyboards, phones, and other frequent hand contact surfaces with disinfectant
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Get plenty of rest

 

If you are feeling ill, please seek medical attention.  If you feel you need to be tested for COVID-19, or have been, please inform the following:

 

This information, and more can be found on UC’s COVID-19 webpage: https://www.ucwv.edu/coronavirus-information.  Please visit the webpage for updates and current information.   You may also direct coronavirus-related questions to our dedicated email account COVID-19@ucwv.edu.

I continue to be impressed by, and grateful for, how calmly, positively, and effectively our community has responded to this quickly shifting pandemic.  I know that we will continue to meet new challenges head on, and care for and support each other in the days and weeks ahead.

Sincerely,

Martin S. Roth
President

Update - 3.17.2020

A Message to the UC Community on COVID-19


Dear UC Community,

I am writing to update University of Charleston students, faculty, and staff on the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, as of this writing, there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in West Virginia. Nonetheless, the University has been actively engaged in understanding the potential risks of this outbreak to our community.

In addition to the promotion of preventive measures that I shared previously, we have formed a Pandemic Response Team, drawn on health and medical best practices from sources such as the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, and more locally the Kanawha Charleston Health Department and WV Department of Health and Human Resources, held conference calls with other university leaders in our state and region, and participated in programs specific to the coronavirus and higher education.

Throughout this process, our primary concerns have been ensuring the health and safety of our entire community, and students’ continued degree and program progress.

After careful analysis, UC will be transitioning all Charleston and Beckley campus, in-seat classes, to online instruction. Our last day of in-seat classes will be Thursday March 19, 2020, and the first day of online instruction will be Monday March 23, 2020.

Students residing on the Charleston campus should plan to transition home or to another location Friday March 20 through Sunday March 22. Students for whom moving out at this time represents a challenge or hardship, may apply to remain in the residence halls.

At this time, no changes in instruction or scheduling will occur for students, faculty, and staff in our Online programs.

All UC employees will continue to work their normal schedules.

Additional details regarding academics, housing, student services, athletics, activities and events, and health and safety follow. Please note that due to the rapidly changing situation, further adjustments may be necessary.

 

Transition to Online Instruction

The University currently has over 1200 students enrolled in online courses. Thus, our faculty expertise and technology systems will make for a smooth transition. Faculty, with the support of the Provost’s Office and the Office of Information Technology, will begin preparing to engage students via distance learning for the final five weeks of the Spring 2020 semester. The first day of online instruction will be Monday March 23rd.

Students will receive information and instructions from faculty regarding individual courses. Course delivery approaches may include discussion forums, recorded lectures, and other distance learning methods. Existing eLearn courses will continue to be used. Specific transition information for laboratory, clinical, internship, and similar experiential courses will be provided.

Students without computer access may apply to purchase a computer. The cost of the computer will be added to the student’s account. Please contact the Help Desk at help@ucwv.edu to learn more about securing a computer.

 

Housing

Students are required to move out of their residence hall rooms by Sunday March 22 at 4 p.m. Classes are cancelled Friday March 20th. Therefore, students have three days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) to transition out of campus housing.

Students leaving the residence halls will receive room and board prorated credit for the vacated time. Check Finance Self-Service for adjustments made to your student account in late April. Since classes will be continuing, there are no tuition refunds.

Students for whom moving out at this time represents a challenge or hardship, may apply to remain in the residence halls by completing and submitting the Special Housing Request form by Tuesday, March 17th at 5p.m. This form will be available via the UC Housing Portal.

Please note that campus housing will be consolidated. The Residence Life staff will provide more information.

 

Student Services

The following student services will continue to be available on campus:

  • Dining services
  • Library
  • Counseling
  • Student Success Center
  • Academic Support Center
  • Fitness Center
  • Innovation Center
  • Food Pantry

 

Hours of service may be limited and subject to change.

At this time, the University plans to hold the May 2, 2020 commencement ceremonies as scheduled.

 

Athletics

The Mountain East Conference has suspended all spring athletics competition indefinitely. As such we regret that the University of Charleston Spring 2020 sports schedules have been cancelled.

 

Activities and Events

Following West Virginia and City of Charleston guidance, large group campus events will be prohibited. Events involving at-risk populations will be postponed or cancelled.

The number of student social activities will be very limited. Event information will be communicated via email and through the UC Events app.

Prospective students are welcome to visit campus. The Admissions Office will continue offering individual visits and group events. Graduate programs and Athletics can continue campus recruiting activities.

All course-related international travel trips are cancelled.

All University-related travel will require supervisor approval.

 

Health and Safety

It is critical that we continue to practice appropriate prevention to avoid contact with and the spread of the coronavirus. Following Centers for Disease Control guidance, all of us should:

  • Wash our hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds (if soap and water unavailable, use an alcohol-based sanitizer)
  • Avoid touching our eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Get plenty of rest

 

If you are feeling ill, please seek medical attention. To relieve virus and flu-like symptoms, please:

  • Take pain and fever medications (caution: do not give Aspirin to children)
  • Use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough
  • Drink plenty of liquids
  • Stay home and rest

 

If you feel you need to be tested for COVID-19, or have been, please inform the following:

 

Summary

I continue to be impressed that our students, faculty and staff have remained calm, focused on our work, and engaged in safe health practices. We will continue to assess the COVID-19 situation and determine how best to proceed.  We are confident that the actions being taken will minimize our students’ and employees’ health and safety risks while bringing the Spring 2020 semester to a successful close.

This information, and more can be found on UC’s COVID-19 webpage: https://www.ucwv.edu/coronavirus-information. Please visit the webpage for updates and current information. You may also direct coronavirus-related questions to our dedicated email account COVID-19@ucwv.edu.

 

Sincerely,

Martin S. Roth
President