COVID on Campus

Students return for spring semester

Maddie Kasper

More stories from Maddie Kasper


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

This marks the second week of spring semester. With students traveling back to campus from their hometowns, new COVID-19 protocols have been put in place to keep students, faculty and staff safe.

Vice Chancellor of UW-Eau Claire, Grace Crickette, sent an email to students about spring semester on Thursday, Jan. 20 that contained information on updated quarantine and isolation guidelines and testing protocols.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends quarantining for five days after coming into close contact with someone who has COVID-19. Individuals who are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC, do not have to quarantine unless there are symptoms.

Individuals who are not up to date on vaccinations, according to the CDC, will have to quarantine for five days and then maintain consistent mask wearing for days six through 10.

The CDC also recommends isolating for at least five days after testing positive with COVID-19. Individuals without symptoms can stop isolating after five days, however, individuals with symptoms can stop isolating after five days and be fever free for 24 hours.

Free testing at Hilltop Recreation Center will remain available for on-campus students, off-campus students, faculty, staff and community members. Unvaccinated students, faculty and staff are still required to take weekly tests.

Crickette also included a video created by the Department of Risk Management in her email. In the video, “Mask up, Blugolds!”, graduate assistants Easton McCready and Cassidy Hempel explain how to double mask and wear masks correctly.

Chancellor of UW-Eau Claire, James C. Schmidt, emailed students on Monday, Jan. 24 providing guidance for students returning to campus. Housing and Residence Life director Quincy Chapman also sent a similar email to students on Tuesday, Jan. 25. 

The campus mask requirement was extended through Friday, Mar. 18, the start of spring break. Students, staff, faculty and visitors are required to wear masks indoors at all times, unless in assigned dorm rooms or private offices.

Schmidt’s email mentioned students were given the option to test in their hometowns or upon arrival to campus. Hometown tests were to be done within 72 hours of arrival. If students tested positive, they could isolate themselves at home before returning. If students tested positive while already on campus, they had to stay in a quarantine dorm.

Crickette and Schmidt created a video to answer questions they had received about the return process. 

“I want to encourage all of our students, faculty and staff to get a vaccine and a booster.” Schmidt said in the video.

“Our on-campus clinics make it easy and convenient.” Schmidt also said.

Pop up vaccination clinics were held for students Jan. 25 through Jan. 27 and Jan. 31 through Feb. 4 at Hilltop center. Find more opportunities to get vaccinated on the Eau Claire County website.

As of Jan. 3, according to the UW-Eau Claire COVID-19 dashboard, 83.5% of students have shown proof of vaccination by uploading a vaccine record.

As of Feb. 3, the dashboard states that 79 COVID-19 tests were done for on-campus students this week. One of those tests came back positive.

There were 70 tests done on off-campus students and 16 tests done on faculty and staff this week, with no positive tests according to the dashboard.

More information about COVID-19 policies can be found on the university’s website.

Kasper can be reached at [email protected].