UW-La Crosse announces Shelter in Place measure in response to rising COVID-19 cases

Published: Sep. 13, 2020 at 12:43 PM CDT
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WBAY) - UW-La Crosse is the latest school in the UW system to take measures regarding the rise of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

On Sunday, the university issued a Shelter in Place measure, which will take effect starting at 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 13.

The university put the measure on its website, saying they’re partnering with public health experts to develop a method of testing, isolating and managing COVID-19.

According to the information on the website, the university has announced the following:

1. Effective immediately, face-coverings are required on all campus property, whether indoors or outdoors, and individuals must assume they may be in contact with others in any location and at any time.

2. Due to the number of positive test results among resident students in a variety of residence halls, and due to the isolation spaces approaching the point of being filled, the university says they are expanding the Coate Hall “shelter in place” restrictions to include all residence halls until Sunday, September 27th at 5 p.m.

3. All in-person undergraduate instruction will be suspended on Monday, September 14 and Tuesday, September 15 and will resume remotely on Wednesday, September 16 with a presumed in-person resumption on Monday, September 28. The school says all graduate courses will continue in the mode currently indicated or as modified by the instructor. In addition, all classes and sections currently being offered hybrid and/or remotely will continue as scheduled but must be fully remote.

According to the university, UWL’s contact tracing team hasn’t revealed any evidence of transmission from in-person instruction, however the decision comes out of caution for students and employees.

Nearly all student-facing resources will be virtual with a presumed in-person resumption on Monday, September 28th. Each Vice Chancellor will share more information about the services housed within their divisions.

• All in-person study spaces, including those at Murphy Library, the Union and academic buildings will be closed.

• Dining services will shift to carry-out meals only.

• The REC will convert to virtual/remote programming.

• Student Health Center will only be open for urgent care needs and by appointment only. Telehealth and telemedicine appointments are available.

• In-person gatherings must be cancelled or be converted to virtual settings. Whenever possible, work meetings should continue to be conducted virtually.

• On-site essential operations will continue as defined by your Vice Chancellor. Generally, employees who are able to work remotely should do so. Starting today at 5 p.m. employees will be limited to card access to their assigned building. Supervisors should be flexible with employees who have returned to work on campus in non-essential functions.

• Campus Child Center will remain open at this me.

Click here to read the full document announcing the Shelter in Place measure.

UW System President Tommy Thompson issued the following statement regarding the steps taken by UW-La Crosse on Sunday afternoon.

“Today’s mitigation steps announced by UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow will combat the COVID-19 case increases we have identified on its campus. Moving to online course delivery for a two-week period while sheltering in place can be an effective tactic, as we have seen with other universities. Students must be vigilant to combat this virus. UW-La Crosse is engaged with local health officials to ensure the community’s health is prioritized. We welcome their support and collaboration in these efforts. Our rapid antigen tests are successfully identifying pockets of infection at a few campuses, and we will continue to take immediate and aggressive steps where this is the case. At the same time, we are encouraged by results at other universities, and continue to aggressively monitor and respond to conditions with the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and communities foremost in mind.”

UW-La Crosse’s announcement comes after UW-Madison announced on Wednesday that they will be transitioning to two weeks of virtual classes, and two residence halls are quarantined on that campus.

That same day, reports surfaced of Dane County Executive Joe Parisis asking the University of Wisconsin to send all students living in residence halls home for the rest of the semester and switch to online classes.

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