COVID on Campus

University exceeds goal for vaccination rate among students

Oludare Obadiya

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October 14, 2021
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The news column “COVID on campus” posts relevant COVID-19 news every week for UWEC students.

According to the COVID Dashboard on the university website, the University has surpassed the goal of getting the student vaccination rate to 70%, putting the student rate at 75% as of Thursday Sept. 23. 

On Sept. 24, the Eau Claire City-County Health Department released a report showing Eau Claire’s overall vaccination rate is at 54.2%. 

The Centers for Disease Control shows that the national vaccination rate is 54.29%, almost exactly the same as the city of Eau Claire’s and more than 20 percentage points below UW-Eau Claire’s vaccination rate.

During a brief conversation with Grace Crickette, the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, she was given the task by Chancellor Jim of the COVID-19 response. 

According to Crickette, her experience with managing high-risk environments, in both medical and educational settings, has prepared her for this job. 

Crickette also commented on the university’s response and progress that has been made when dealing with COVID-19. 

She also said, outside the 75% of students being vaccinated, there is also the 92% vaccination rate among university employees. 

Crickette predicts there will be an 85% vaccination rate among all students by mid-October.

When looking back at last year, Crickette noted the sharp contrast in the number of those quarantined going from over 100’s of students and dropping to only around 20.  

Aside from getting vaccinations and testing, the UW-Eau Claire administration is using air purifiers and other methods to try and slow down the spread of COVID-19. 

“The better the air quality, the less likely it is for covid to spread through the air” Crickette said.

Crickette detailed how two professors implemented a program, in conjunction with her division, to better understand the air quality in the buildings on campus and respond accordingly. 

“By doing that we were able to strategically deploy air purifiers … in 38 classrooms with two purifiers per classroom,” Crickette said.

More information and details about the new project can be watched in this video here.  

When asked about what students can do, Crickette said, “Educate yourselves, communicate, ask questions and be curious.”

With the multiple incentive programs to encourage vaccinations, there are other factors impacting students to get the shot. 

Brent Martin, a second-year nursing student, said he received the vaccine to protect himself and others. 

Sofie Van Keulen, a second-year political science student, without hesitation said, “My mother.”

Van Keulen said her mother has Crohn’s disease, an illness that makes the prospect of being infected by the coronavirus much more threatening, and the decision to get vaccinated was a no brainer. 

A third student was asked about the university’s response to COVID-19.

“Pretty good, as best as they can do,” Jaymee Gulsvig, a third-third year English education student, said. “They don’t really have a rulebook for pandemics.”

If you think you have come in contact with an infected individual or are displaying symptoms, visit the Student Health Services page to make a testing appointment. 

Obadiya can be reached at [email protected]