Online Communities for Faculty and Staff Parents
The Provost’s Office partnered with Talent and Culture and the Office of Strategic Initiatives to create discussion boards in the Microsoft Teams platform to serve as a parent’s network for WVU faculty and staff.
The virtual community is designed to provide all employees with children a platform to share ideas, discuss concerns and collaborate on solutions in terms of the parenting challenges they face related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion boards are moderated by WVU faculty and staff who are part of the parenting community.
Faculty and instructors who wish to join a community can find the link on the Talent and Culture website. Because they are on a different network, Health Sciences employees will need to email TalentandCulture@mail.wvu.edu to request to join a community.
Virtual Tutoring for School-Age Children
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, West Virginia University recognizes many faculty and staff with school-age children continue to juggle and adjust to varying work and school routines.
To support faculty and staff who may need help keeping their school-age children challenged, learning and engaged this semester, the University is continuing to offer a free virtual tutoring program for children of WVU faculty and staff enrolled in K-12 schools.
The Office of the Provost, in partnership with WVU Honors Test Well Center and academic units and tutoring centers across campus, has been able to identify additional tutors for Spring 2021 and is able to provide services for additional school-aged children.
As part of the program, certified student tutors from the WVU Honors College and other tutors will provide up to three hours of tutoring per week in a variety of subject areas, including:
Tutoring is currently being offered in scheduled groups of two school-age children with one tutor and via scheduled drop-in sessions. Tutoring services will continue until the end of the University semester.
Faculty and staff must apply online for the virtual tutoring program, and criteria for consideration will be similar to those used for the WVU Faculty Childcare Emergency Relief Fund. Limited slots are available, but applications will be considered on a rolling basis.
Dependent Care Resource Lists
To assist WVU faculty, staff and students in locating an appropriate care provider, the Provost’s Office is partnering with the WVU Office of the Vice President for Strategic Initiatives to provide access to detailed information about licensed child- and adult care providers.
The Childcare and Adult Care Resource Lists will provide details about all licensed childcare and adult care providers in the counties in which the WVU campuses are located as well as the surrounding counties in West Virginia.
Childcare Resource Lists
Childcare Resource Lists can be viewed by campus location (see below). Listed childcare providers will be ones registered with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.
Adult Care Resource Lists
Adult Care Resource Lists can be viewed by campus location (see below).
WVU employees should be aware that WVU has a membership with Care.com, a national organization that provides services, such as helping to identify caregivers for children and elderly parents. Eligible WVU employees and members of the WVU Retirees Association can utilize the informational site free of charge.
In addition, individuals also may submit a job posting through the WVU Student Employment. Jobs available for student employees can be posted on the Handshake job search database. Contact WVU Career Services Center by emailing email@example.com or calling 304-293-2221.
Longer-Term Childcare Solutions
The Provost’s Office is working with Talent and Culture and the Office of the Vice President for Strategic Initiatives to establish longer-term solutions to the childcare availability issues that many of our employees face each year.
Associate Provost Melissa Latimer is co-leading a new committee of 19 members focused on assessing childcare and dependent care needs of WVU employees, rethinking our caregiving strategies and identifying long-term, sustainable resources.
Caregiving and the Annual Review and Promotion and/or Tenure Process
In late March the Provost’s Office automatically extended the tenure clock for faculty members. Faculty members have expressed through campus conversations the difficulties balancing the demands of work and of the dependents they care for at home.
With the potential for increased COVID-19 cases in our area this fall, the Provost has made available an additional extension of the tenure clock for those who may be significantly impacted by providing home care for dependents. Eligible faculty who face such a situation can submit the existing Request for Extension of the Tenure Clock form on the WVU Faculty website.
While this is not a new process, it was decided to expand the interpretation of this BOG rule in light of the significant caregiving responsibilities and challenges posed by COVID-19.
In addition to the revised annual evaluation guidelines announced in June, the Provost’s Office also is urging department chairs and academic leaders to be mindful of faculty service assignments during the upcoming Fall 2020 semester to allow faculty to focus their energies on course development, instructional delivery and research. Faculty should work with their unit leaders to review their assignments and to prioritize time-sensitive activities that are crucial to the advancement of the unit.
WVU Faculty Childcare Emergency Relief Fund
The Provost’s Office recently launched a new WVU Faculty Childcare Emergency Relief Fund that is now available for the 2020-21 academic year. The fund is aimed at removing childcare barriers for faculty members on all WVU campuses by providing financial support for temporary childcare costs above and beyond regular care as a result from COVID-related school and/or daycare closures and sharing childcare resources.
Individual faculty members and/or households across the WVU system can apply to receive up to $1,000, depending on established need and available funding. Funds are limited, and faculty with the greatest need will be given higher priority. The application, review and reimbursement process will be managed by the WVU Women’s Resource Center throughout the year. Details are available on the website. All questions should be directed to WRC@mail.wvu.edu.
WVU Student Childcare Assistance Program
The WVU Student Childcare Assistance Program provides low-income, program-eligible WVU students with financial assistance for a portion of their childcare expenses. Most graduate teaching assistants, graduate research assistants, etc. with children qualify for this benefit. The program uses a sliding scale providing financial assistance to several students with limited funds. Eligibility guidelines, policies and application process can be found on the WVU Student Family Resources website.
Medical and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts
The Provost’s Office also teamed up with WVU Talent and Culture to initiate an additional opportunity for WVU employees to utilize funds set aside for childcare and dependent care expenses through the Mountaineer Flexible Benefits Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts.
The West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) has extended the deadline for Mountaineer Flexible Benefits Plan participants to spend any funds remaining in their 2019-2020 healthcare flexible spending accounts (FSAs) or dependent care FSAs (DFSAs) as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Healthcare FSA deadline is now November 30, 2020, and dependent care FSA deadline is now December 31, 2020. FBMC is extending the run-out period to submit receipts or reimbursement requests to March 30, 2021.
In addition, all benefits-eligible employees (regardless if they currently participate in a medical FSA or DFSA) are permitted to make one midyear election change (e.g., enroll for a new account or adjust contribution amounts) without providing supporting documentation until December 31, 2020.
Details can be found on the WVU Talent and Culture website. Questions should be directed to Shared Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-293-6006.
The WVU College of Education and Human Services and the West Virginia Public Education Collaborative have partnered to produce a series of expert videos to address relevant topics around online learning and virtual learning tools. The outreach effort is aimed at helping to optimize learning for students in all settings.
In addition to managing the WVU Faculty Childcare Emergency Relief Fund, the Women’s Resource Center website also houses a number of additional COVID-19-related resources for families and individuals. The Center's COVID-19 Resources page includes a variety of educational and entertainment resources to help children, youth and adults shelter-in-place, and resources will continue to be added.