Welcome to December! We hope you had a great Thanksgiving and that you are happy, healthy, and safe. Take the time to recharge following this interesting, challenging, and demanding semester.
Holds to be placed on student accounts requiring attention
Holds on student accounts for the Spring 2021 semester will be placed on applicable student accounts by December 11. Please check your Self-Service portal after December 11 to see if there has been a hold placed on your account. Holds are now being assigned different levels:
- Level 3 is the most severe. Immediate action is required, or you will not be admitted to classes, dormitories, or the dining hall.
- Level 2 is less severe, but must be taken care of as soon as possible or you will not be able to register for classes for the next semester.
- Level 1 is the least severe, but needs be taken care of before you will be able to register for classes for the next semester.
All offices will be open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. through December 22, and then reopen on January 4, 2021, to assist you with your holds. If your account has a Level 3 hold, you will not be admitted to classes, dormitories or the dining hall until that hold has been satisfied. Please make every effort to resolve your hold(s) prior to attempting to returning to campus. Continue to check the Self-Service portal daily to confirm you do not have a hold(s) on your account prior to returning to campus.
D&E health services successfully aided students during fall semester
While the Fall 2020 semester certainly presented unprecedented challenges, D&E was successful in providing services to students.
In Student Health Services, Diana Burke-Ross (Campus Nurse) focused on controlling COVID-19 on campus through vigorous testing. In August, using LabCorp, every student and every employee was PCR tested, which is recognized as the “gold standard” of COVID-19 tests. With the assistance of the Randolph-Elkins Health Department, a total of 1,032 PCR tests were successfully completed using our Closed POD (point of dispensing). Once the semester was under way, a weekly 10% testing regimen was established using VAULT PCR saliva tests. Since the beginning of October, Student Health Services tested 526 students and 195 employees. Our positivity rate was very low right up until the beginning of November, when a group of students exercised poor judgment by going to local bars without using face masks or practicing social distancing, nor using health and safety protocols outlined by Davis & Elkins College. From August through October, student positivity rates were between 0.6% – 1.58%, but in November, it jumped to 3.25%. Contact tracing efforts revealed that student-athletes attending off-campus bars to celebrate Halloween brought the virus back to campus with them. Family planning visits remained steady, keeping pace with previous semesters. Sick student visits, however, were down considerably, which Burke-Ross attributed this to two factors: face mask wearing and the fear of being COVID tested and/or put into quarantine.
Counseling and Wellness Services offered counseling appointments to students through a telehealth format during the fall semester using secure videoconferencing software. While we navigated challenges that included providing private spaces to access appointments and occasional technical issues, overall students were receptive to, and positive about, this new format. It allowed us to continue offering recurring services to students safely and effectively. In all, 298 counseling appointments were held with students this semester and 11 psychiatry appointments were held with students (via telehealth) through our agreement with iSelectMD.
Challenges specific to international students outlined
Immigration challenges on top of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in 11 returning international students taking classes online from their home countries during the Fall 2020 semester. Twenty new international students made it to the D&E campus for the fall semester, while three new international students decided to start their classes online. A small number of international students remained in the U.S. during the holiday break, with six international students staying on campus in the Robert C. Byrd Conference Center. As we approach the spring semester, we are experiencing hurdles in activating I-20s (immigration documentation) for students who were not physically present in the United States during fall semester. Navigating reinstatement for the certificate of eligibility for nonimmigrant students has been demanding. A number of consulates have yet to open, and incoming freshmen are now looking into other countries to interview for their visa. International students will need to quarantine upon their arrival in January and then receive a negative COVID-19 test (PCR) result before attending classes in person.
Small number of student-athletes to return to campus in late December, starting phased move-in for Spring 2021 semester
A small number of student-athletes will return to campus over the break, starting on December 29. A phased move in/move back to campus will then take place January 7-10, leading up to the first day of classes on January 11. An online interface will be used for students to make their move in/move back reservation. Through this online interface, students will also need to upload a recent negative COVID-19 test result before returning to campus.
Friday email updates will continue over holiday break; read them!
D&E will continue to send out Friday email updates to students with important information related to COVID-19. As always, students will receive the updates via their D&E email accounts and are encouraged to read them thoroughly and share them with their parents. Information will range from policy and procedure updates from D&E and the State of West Virginia, what you need to do prior to your return to campus in January, and what you can expect upon your return. As the U.S. continues to have sharp increases in positive cases and deaths, the College urges you to routinely read these updates to aid in the health and safety of students and the entire campus.
Students not returning next semester must notify Office of Student Life
Any student not returning next semester must follow appropriate procedures with Angie Scott. She can be reached by phone at 304-637-1983 (office) or 304-642-6217 (mobile); by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or in person on the third floor of Halliehurst.
Spring 2021 Academic Calendar announced
D&E has announced the Spring 2021 Academic Calendar. You may access the calendar by following this link.
Packages cannot be forwarded from D&E during holiday breaks
Packages delivered to the D&E campus cannot be forwarded to your home. Any packages received after Thanksgiving will be held at the D&E mail room until campus reopens on January 4. The mail room will be open during regular hours for in-person pick up except when the College is closed for holiday breaks. The mail room will be closed from 12 p.m. on December 23 through January 1.
Check this weekly student update, the D&E Mobile App, and your email regularly for updates. The Emergency Notification System (nixle) will also be used as appropriate.
Please wear a face mask, practice social distancing, and stay well.