UW-Eau Claire pauses testing requirement for unvaccinated students

UW-Eau Claire drops another Covid-safety protocol while cases are on the rise

Toby Mohr

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

 

UW-Eau Claire has paused the weekly COVID-19 testing requirement for unvaccinated students. 

An email from the Division of Finance and Administration announced the pause starting April 4, citing CDC guidelines for low community transmission. 

The email said 90% of students and faculty have been fully vaccinated and encouraged students to stay up to date with booster shots. 

According to the email, the university will continue to offer free antigen and PCR testing on campus and is now offering free KN95 and N95 masks that can be picked up at the ASK Center in Schofield 230.

The email also said testing protocols are subject to change based on consultation with the UW System Administration and Public Health Departments. 

The pause on testing requirements started eight days after students returned from spring break and two academic weeks after the mask mandate was removed. 

UW-Eau Claire has also archived the COVID-19 dashboard which tracked daily and weekly case numbers, quarantines and vaccinations. 

The dashboard was accessible for students and community members to stay updated on transmission levels and trends but was taken down after the CDC changed methods of tracking community spread.

While on-campus data is no longer available, Eau Claire County saw an increase in COVID-19 transmission reporting 60 new cases last week, a 7.1% increase from the previous week according to the Eau Claire County Health Department.

The county health department reported no recordable increase in vaccination rates last week. 63.3% of Eau Claire County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 60.8% have completed the vaccination series. Only 34.7% of residents have received a booster dose.

While vaccination levels remained mostly unchanged, the Eau Claire County Health Department weekly report says vaccines remain unequally distributed in the county with racial, ethnic, age and geographical disparities. 

The CDC classifies Eau Claire County as low transmission but the Wisconsin Department of Health Services categorizes the county with high activity. 

Wisconsin also saw increases in COVID-19 transmission over the last week according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. The state reported an average of 568 new cases per day. Wisconsin has reported a cumulative total of 1,397,347 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

The Department of Health Services said Wisconsin residents ages 20 to 29 made up the highest percentage of new cases with 16.9%.

Wisconsin administered 8,792 doses of the vaccine last weekend, the lowest amount since the vaccines were made available to the public according to the Department of Health Services.

64.2% of Wisconsin residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 60.8% have completed the vaccination series, according to the Department of Health Services. 33.6% have received a booster dose. 

The CDC recommends anyone over 18 years old should receive a booster shot five months after their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or two months after the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Student Health Services hold frequent vaccination clinics on campus and vaccines and booster shots are offered at several community sites that can be found here

Mohr can be reached at [email protected]