Updated masking and testing requirements for UW-Whitewater
As the university has done throughout the pandemic, we’re adapting our approach as needed to respond to changes in COVID-19 activity. The continuing high rate of infection due to the delta variant makes expanded requirements for testing and mask wearing necessary for the UW-Whitewater community.
Today, we’re announcing two changes to our COVID-19-related procedures for both our Whitewater and Rock County campuses.The following will be in effect through the end of September, 2021, unless conditions warrant a change before then:
- Effective Aug. 23, all individuals will be required to wear face coverings when indoors, unless you are eating or drinking or alone in your office or in your residence hall room.
- Effective Aug. 30, employees and students who are unvaccinated or who have not shared proof of COVID-19 vaccination with UW-Whitewater will be required to test weekly on campus at least through September. Those who are required to test weekly but fail to do so will be held accountable.
We all know that it’s concerning and frustrating to hear of these measures and to see headlines about COVID-19 cases rising again. It can feel like we’re back where we were a year ago, which understandably can cause stress.
But there are important differences: we now have highly effective vaccines that protect against serious illness and hospitalization, and many people in our community are fully vaccinated. Vaccination is the key to defeating COVID-19. And, unlike a year ago, we are also able to gather socially with the appropriate safeguards.
We continue to expect and plan for a fall semester of in-person classes and other activities. Increasing our vaccination rates and required masking — and testing for those who are unvaccinated — should allow us to have a more normal semester than last fall. The best way to ensure an academic year with as much in-person activity and as little disruption as possible is to get vaccinated and to wear masks indoors. And if you feel sick, get tested and stay home.
UW-Whitewater continues to use information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State of Wisconsin, county health departments and the University of Wisconsin System to guide the decision-making processes across campuses. The EOC is closely monitoring conditions on campus and in the community.
Here’s what we expect to happen over the next several weeks:
- We can expect to see a continued increase in positive cases, including some cases among vaccinated people, because the delta variant is more contagious than previous variants and some breakthrough is inevitable.
- People who aren’t vaccinated will continue to experience higher rates of COVID-19 – about three times higher than vaccinated people, according to a recent study that came out. Unvaccinated adults are the most likely to experience severe outcomes. For vaccinated people, COVID-19 is much less severe and might feel similar to a cold or the flu.
- Judging by what has happened in areas where the delta variant emerged earlier, we can expect cases to peak within a month or two and then quickly go down again, provided we take the necessary safeguards.
If you’re not yet vaccinated, now is the time. Safe, effective vaccines are available at no cost to you. We urge every student and employee who is able to get vaccinated to do so and to upload a record of vaccination. A reminder that vaccinated students are eligible for $500 awards as part of a weekly drawing, and, if our university reaches a 70% vaccination rate by Oct. 15, UW System will award $7,000 scholarships to students as part of an additional random drawing.
Thank you for taking these simple and important steps to protect yourself, your friends and family and the broader community. The health and safety of students, employees and community members is the utmost priority as we prepare for the new academic year.
Please note that COVID-19 is an ongoing global pandemic, and modifications of these practices should be anticipated.
For questions or comments related to the UW-Whitewater COVID-19 response, contact the COVID-19 Hotline at 262-472-1362 or email@example.com. For more information about campus operations under COVID-19, visit Warhawks Are Back.