UW-La Crosse students leave campus after ‘shelter in place’ restrictions expanded to all residence halls

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT)– After campus-wide ‘shelter in place’ restrictions were announced, many UW-La Crosse students decided to leave campus entirely. The university expanded the restrictions due to increasing cases of COVID-19 cases on campus and isolation spaces approaching capacity.

Cars were lined up outside of residence halls Sunday afternoon as students gathered together their belongings. Students and families were given a five-hour notice by Chancellor Joe Gow before the restrictions went into effect.

During this time, students are expected to follow quarantine protocols or isolation protocols if they have a confirmed case of COVID-19. The restrictions will remain in effect until Sunday, September 27 at 5 p.m.

While a message sent to students by the chancellor said students should not travel home during the two-week, many decided to leave. The university said Residence Life will continue to honor requests for housing contract cancellations.

“At first, I wasn’t actually going to move out. But then, I had a little more talking with my parents and we kind of figured it was best to move out. See them again, focus on my classes and all that,” said Cole Hawkins, a freshman at UW-La Crosse.

Some students said they planned to leave just until the restrictions expire. But others News 8 Now spoke with are going home for the rest of the semester and opting to end their housing contracts entirely.

But others decided to stay on campus and wait out the ‘shelter in place’ restrictions. With families far away or parents with health concerns, some on-campus students decided to stay after weighing the options.

“With so many people leaving, there [are fewer] people on campus anyway to spread the virus. And I personally feel like I need the experience of being not at home,” said Emma Kohl, a freshman at UW-La Crosse.

All in-person undergraduate classes are canceled for Monday and Tuesday. Classes will resume remotely on Wednesday. The Murphy Library, Union and other academic buildings are also closed.