FILE - Monongalia County, Morgantown, West Virginia

View of the downtown area of Morgantown, W. Va., and campus of West Virginia University in Monongalia County.

(The Center Square) – West Virginia University students, faculty and staff will not be forced to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but will need to be tested for the virus throughout the year if they do not receive the vaccine, according to new university guidance.

Before starting a semester, all unvaccinated students, faculty and staff members will need to show a negative COVID-19 test and drop it off within 48 hours of arriving on campus. The test results will need to be dated after Aug. 1 and must be an RT-PCR test and not a rapid antigen test. The university is asking the students to get the test before the campus move-in.

Negative test results can be delivered to three separate drop-off locations – one at the College of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences, one at the Mountainlair and one at Health Sciences when the drop-off spots are scheduled to be open. If a person has a positive COVID-19 test, he or she must immediately begin isolation and contact WVU Shared Services.

If a person had COVID-19 in the prior 90 days, he or she will not be required to show a negative test result, but will be required to show proof of the previous positive test result and contact WVU Shared Services.

All unvaccinated students, faculty and staff will also be subject to random sample testing throughout the year. Every week, the university will select certain groups of students, faculty and staff to get tested even if they have not been exposed to COVID-19 and do not have any symptoms. Some groups may be asked to receive weekly testing.

Unvaccinated students must also wear face coverings while indoors in public spaces and when outside around others. They must also quarantine for 14 days if exposed to someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19, receive a test if COVID-19 symptoms develop and quarantine for five days after out-of-state travel.

Students, faculty and staff who have been vaccinated will need to verify their vaccination status with the university by Aug. 1 or update their vaccination status if they receive the vaccine later. A vaccinated student, faculty member or staff member will only be exempt from these rules if he or she properly verifies.

Staff Reporter

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and West Virginia for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.