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COVID-19 campus update: April 16, 2020

This twice-weekly newsletter contains important information about UW-Eau Claire’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and offers Blugolds details on how to access key resources and assist others on our campuses and in our communities.

WiSys welcomes great ideas
WiSys, a nonprofit organization that works with faculty, staff, students and alumni of the UW System to facilitate cutting-edge research programs, is challenging its partners to develop innovative ideas to boost local community preparedness and response to pandemics via “WiSys Innovation Challenge: COVID-19.” WiSys’ challenge comes in response to the national crisis that forced students to leave Wisconsin campuses. The challenge is open to all UW System faculty, staff, students and alumni. “We want to find functional, local solutions to address the impacts of the epidemic and social distancing in local communities. Solutions can range anywhere from apps and websites to physical devices. This is a chance to help your friends, families and neighbors,” said WiSys president Arjun Sanga. Innovators have until April 24 to submit their ideas in 250 words or fewer at WiSys will select 20 innovators who will have two weeks to create a proof-of-concept. They then will receive $100 to implement their idea. WiSys also may provide additional resources to further develop an idea after review of the initial implementation. “Moments of crisis present opportunities for innovation. By addressing the underlying problems that the crisis has exposed, we hope this challenge will create a lasting positive change for our communities,” Sanga said.

Book rental returns
For students who rented books for the spring semester, the University Bookstore is lending a helping hand to simplify the return process. For students who rented books online and had them delivered, a free UPS return label may be printed. To create your return label, you will need to provide your original order number and the email address you used when you placed the order. You will be able to use this function only once, so make sure all your rentals are included in the shipment. For students who picked up rental books at the bookstore, you will need to create an order at You must print your return label before May 22, 2020.  You can certainly ship later, but before June 9, 2020. While the bookstore is suspending late fees for the summer, we ask for your cooperation in this process to ensure that we have rental textbooks to begin the fall semester. Please visit the rental textbook return page for detailed instructions on the return process.

Heartfelt message of support
Several UW-Eau Claire social work students took the time to create a heartfelt video message for the department’s faculty and staff, who have gone above and beyond to help students adjust to the online learning environment this semester. If you have 10 minutes, and a few tissues handy, make sure to check out their video on YouTube.

COVID-19 resources online
If you want up-to-date information on COVID-19 and UW-Eau Claire’s response to the pandemic, visit the university’s COVID-19 Updates webpage, where you can find past editions of this newsletter, video messages from Chancellor Schmidt and important emails that have been shared with campus in the past month. 

Vital Statistics
(as of noon Thursday, April 16)

Confirmed Cases of COVID-19

  • Worldwide: 2,129,427
  • United States: 654,343
  • Wisconsin: 3,721
  • Eau Claire County: 22
  • Barron County: 6
  • Wood County: