Chancellor Andrew Leavitt and members of the UW Oshkosh Recovery Task Force responded to student and families’ questions about returning to campus safely and COVID-19 testing during their virtual town hall meeting.
“Our plan is flexible,” Leavitt said. “We have the ability to change and adapt it as we see necessary.”
Life on campus
Director of Risk and Safety Kim Langolf said all students returning to campus will be required to complete a form agreeing to follow safety precautions on campus.
The Titan Safety Promise will outline steps that students and employees need to take to make returning to campus as safe as possible.
Provost John Koker said currently 68% of classes will have an in-person portion while 32% of classes will be online.
“We had to reduce our number of face-to-face classes that fit our available physical space,” Koker said.
Koker recommended that students wishing to take more in-person or online classes check TitanWeb to see if there are other sections of the course that are taught in the mode they want.
Leavitt said some lab classes will have modulated attendance where half of the class attends the lab one day while the other half will attend another day.
“We’re planning on holding as much of [the lab] as possible in person because that’s where you learn the techniques and you reinforce concepts, but at the same time the parts that can be easily done online we’ll do that as well,” he said.
Director of Residence Life Robert Babcock said social distancing will be required in all buildings on campus and the majority of student amenities will be virtual.
“Writing center, reading, study skills center will be fully operational and fully open,” Babcock said. “Each will be delivering their services in slightly different ways, but we will do a large amount of our one-on-one tutoring virtually.”
Babcock added that office hours with professors and faculty will mostly be done virtually as well.
Associate Vice Chancellor Art Munin said the Student Recreation Center will be open, but only 100 people will be allowed in the center at a time.
“We’ve been working hard over the summer to spread out the equipment throughout the entire Student Recreation Center,” Munin said. “That means taking over the basketball courts, taking over our gym to have equipment spread out as far as possible.”
The recreation center will also implement a reservation service through their website to book a time to use the equipment to limit the number of people in the gym at one time.
Munin added that the mask mandate does apply to the recreation center and students will be required to wear a mask throughout their entire workout.
Langolf said all coronavirus testing will be free for students and employees who have either been exposed to the virus or who are experiencing symptoms. There is currently no testing available for asymptomatic students or faculty.
“We would love to be able to have the capacity to test all of our students, but that’s not really a reality right now as far as the supply chain of how many tests we can get,” Langolf said.
Students and faculty at the Oshkosh and Fox Cities campuses will be able to schedule a test with the university’s testing partner Prevea Health through the UWO Mobile app and test results will be sent through the app, according to Langolf.
Any Fond du Lac County resident with symptoms can call 1-844-225-0147 to receive a test. This includes students and staff from the Fond du Lac campus if they live within Fond du Lac County, said Juliana Kahrs, COVID-19 response project coordinator. The COVID clinic staff will evaluate the caller to see if they need a test or any other services. The COVID test will be billed to insurance, but people will not be billed if they do not have insurance, Kahrs said.
Langolf said students will be expected to self-quarantine while waiting for test results, which currently have a 24-72 hour turnaround.
Campus contact tracers will reach out to students who test positive and be given information on how to safely socially isolate themselves.
Students who test positive with COVID and wish to stay on campus will be moved to the isolation unit in Webster Hall.
Babcock said students staying in Webster will get multiple daily food deliveries and be monitored by Student Health Center employees.
“The isolation building is there for students for whatever their circumstances are, unable to go home or need to stay there for a night or two before a family member can come get them,” Babcock said.
University housing and dining
Babcock said residence halls, including their lounges and restrooms, will be cleaned and sanitized daily to ensure the health and safety of all students.
Roommate agreements will now include a COVID-19 section that addresses sanitation and mask-wearing inside students’ dorm rooms, according to Babcock.
“We’re adding a special COVID section so roommates can have explicit and direct conversations about what they’re doing to keep each other safe,” he said.
Executive Director for Campus Life Jean Kwaterski said campus dining will remain available to all students, but food will now only be served by employees and put into to-go containers for students.
Kwaterski said students will have the option of eating their food in the dining areas or taking it with them.
“We have a limited number of tables that we can have in our locations based on physical distancing, but there are spaces available for students in facilities,” Kwaterski said.
Campus dining will also provide frozen meals that have been prepared on campus for students to take with them and reheat in their dorm rooms, according to Kwaterski.
In the event of an outbreak on campus and all classes are pushed online, Leavitt said students will now have the option of staying in their dorms or returning home.
“I think a mistake we made in spring was closing the residence halls because what it did is put a lot of people out into some out into some degree of uncertainty,” he said.
Leavitt said this will allow students to keep using campus resources like quality internet and study spaces while continuing their online classes.
“The strategy this time is going to be leaving the residence halls open and it will be the choice of the students whether or not they remain in the residence halls or they are vacated,” he said.
Additional information on the return to campus can be found at the Titan Return website.
Note: This article was updated to clarify how students on the Fond du Lac campus can get tested and reflects that Agnesian HealthCare is not testing asymptomatic people at this time and that its lab is billing insurance for testing done.