UWL outlines COVID-19 ‘Eagles Return Safely’ plan aiming for Oct. 2 in-person classes
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse unveiled a COVID-19 plan Monday that pivots on coronavirus testing and would require students who refuse to be tested to move out of residence halls.
Testing is “the most critical component in our transition from ‘shelter in place’ to ‘Eagles Return Safely’,” Chancellor Joe Gow says in a UWL news release.
About 1,500 residential students are sheltering in UWL residence halls, and about 1,500 residential are staying at off-campus locations such as their permanent residences, Gow said.
UWL’s Student Health Center’s testing capacity is 300 a day, he said, quoting the plan, which he said UW System leadership approved.
The goal of the school’s COVID-19 Response Planning Team and Executive Policy Group is to perform data-driven planning and decision-making on the road to resuming in-person instruction on campus, Gow said.
From Monday until Friday, Sept. 25, phase one of the plan calls for the 1,500 residential students who are living off campus will be required to wait until their established return date to resume living in their on-campus rooms.
Those students will be asked to sign up on a “first-come, first-served” basis between Monday, Sept. 28, and Friday, Oct. 2. Three hundred testing/move-in slots will be available each day.
All 1,500 students who now are in UWL residence halls will undergo scheduled testing of about 300 a day during the week.
Students who test negative for COVID-19 or bring documentation of a positive test result from an accredited health care provider or county health department dated within 90 days of the established return date may continue to live in their rooms.
Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to move to isolation rooms the university will provide, or they may choose to go home for their
Students who refuse testing will begin the removal process from the halls.
UWL commuter students living in the La Crosse area will be informed of La Crosse County mass COVID-19 testing events and encouraged to participate in them on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 24 and 24, on campus, and Saturday, Sept. 26, at Logan High School in La Crosse.
The school’s “shelter in place” order will transition to “Eagles Return Safely” at 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, Gow said.
“Eagles Return Safely” will permit more movement on campus and allow for the plan’s second phase, allowing the 1,500 who are staying off campus to return to campus.
Ultimately, that will allow in-person classes to resume on Monday, Oct. 5, when many campus services also will resume. services will resume activity.
Face coverings will continue to be required in all public spaces indoors and outdoors.
“There is no perfect plan for mitigating the issues we face, and every potential solution is bound to uncover new challenges,” Gow said. “We are anticipating what we can and will be ready to face what comes our way.”
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