Chancellor James Schmidt shared the email below with students, faculty, staff and Blugold parents and families on Sept. 9.
Dear UW-Eau Claire Students, Parents and Families,
As a parent of a college-aged son, I know how important it is to have as much information as possible about the return to campus this fall. As Chancellor, I also know how quickly things can change as we respond to the pandemic.
New Parents & Families webpage
So we have created a special Parents & Families page on our COVID-19 website, in addition to the Student Page. Both will link you to our UW-Eau Claire Dashboard, updated daily, so you know how many students test positive and how many are in isolation or quarantine. We’ll also post all the university messages that we share with students during the semester so you have the latest information. I encourage you to check the website frequently.
As I write this, I can report that we have 77 Eau Claire students who have tested positive and are in isolation, since the semester started. Those who are on campus are receiving care and food and no one has needed to be hospitalized. Our Student Health Service has been open all weekend and continues to provide support for student testing. Students who have questions should email COVIDinfo@uwec.edu.
In order to manage the virus, we began antigen testing for all students in the residence halls this week. We have begun with small groups and within the week will be testing students on a rotating basis this semester. The antigen test is less invasive than the PCR test and students will receive an email connecting them to a registration system where they can schedule their appointment. I personally checked out our testing site at the McPhee Physical Education Center this morning and got my first antigen test—with a negative result! It’s fast and easy.
Our classes began last Wednesday with just over 25% totally online. We’re pleased that no classroom contacts have been linked to positive cases, a testament to the good planning by our faculty and staff. The biggest concern continues to be social behaviors that put students at risk. At this time we are asking residence hall students to quarantine as needed, but are continuing to discuss other alternatives with our Health Department.
Parents and Families, I ask you to help us by reminding students to:
Obey our Blugold Protocol guidelines, especially regarding masks and keeping a six-foot distance, on campus and off, including restaurants and bars;
Make good choices and keep their circle of contacts small, avoiding all large gatherings, parties and activities;
Fully cooperate with Health Department and campus officials who contact them about possible exposures. Providing accurate information is vital to protecting friends and our campus;
Comply with quarantine or isolation requirements. Students who willfully disobey requirements to isolate or quarantine will face disciplinary action, including expulsion.
I know the past week has required a lot of adjustments from everyone. We have brought in more staff to help with backlogs at the Bookstore and are working with our Dining team to expand our food offerings. I will also be walking the campus and our neighborhood and will continue to regularly check in on classrooms, residence halls and dining centers to remind students about healthy behaviors.
Thank you for helping to keep our campus safe this semester.
James C. Schmidt
Chancellor, UW-Eau Claire