Student responds to all residence hall lockdowns across all UWL campus

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — Over the weekend UW La Crosse sent a message to students imposing a lock down on residential halls on campus until the end of this month.  Classes for the college only began last Tuesday. Students living on campus say they are shocked how quickly this situation unraveled.

“I guess it all just happened very quickly, none of us were really expecting it this soon. We were thinking maybe two or three weeks and then something would hit but just one week into school was kind of a shock to all of us,” said Faith Schenk, a sophomore living on campus at UWL.

Over the weekend, UW La Crosse officals announced a campus wide lock down for all residence halls. Along with the lock downs, they announced a shift to online learning, and mask requirements inside and outside when on campus.

“They were very proactive putting us on lock down right away,” said Schenk.

“Our emphasis right now is on getting people to change their behavior and to wear their masks, practice distancing, and not gather in groups,” said Joe Gow, UWL Chancellor.

High positive test results from students caused the school to make such an abrupt change. The school had already had one dorm specifically set aside to quarantine COVID-19 positive students and a lock down issued at Coate Hall.

“I guess just seeing the amount of positive cases has been making me a bit nervous. But I also know that I have been safe,” said Schenk.

After the lock down was put in place, some students decided to head home.

“My suite mates actually, all of them packed up, left, went home immediately,” said Schenk. “But my roommates and I all decided that we were going to stay.”

“We had around a hundred who said, ‘we want to leave and to cancel the housing contract,’ and it’s their right to do that,” said Gow.

Some students are staying on campus because they fear they could be asymptomatic and bring the virus home with them.

“I know I was considering going home for a little bit yesterday when we got notification,” said Schnek.

Chancellor Gow says for in person classes to return, they’re going to have to see positive test numbers decrease.

“We want to come back and really what we want to do is see the test results, the positives go down and go down significantly. And we’re hoping by taking these measures people will be more mindful of what this situation is all about,” said Gow.

“A lot of us want to continue going to in person classes and by going out and partying and potentially exposing yourself you’re just totally eliminating that ability,” said Schnek.

Schenk says, she hopes other students will learn from this lock down.

“I want to be here and I’m here for my education,” said Schnek.

The lockdown is scheduled to end September 28th.  Chancellor Gow says they’ll be monitoring test results, and making decisions on resuming in person classes as the next two weeks unfold.