UWO updates COVID-19 mandates on masking, testing and isolating/quarantining


April Lee / Advance-Titan – Javin Mills does a COVID test at the Albee Hall testing site.

Advance-Titan staff

With COVID-19 cases are increasing in our region and more positive cases through on-campus testing, UW Oshkosh has updated its mandates about masking, testing and isolating and quarantining.

In a mass email sent to students and faculty and staff, University Police Chief Kurt Leibold said the increase in positive cases wasn’t a surprise.

“This was expected,” he wrote. “We also expect an increase in the ratio of positive cases to total tests because we have limited on-campus testing to students and employees who are symptomatic. We are no longer conducting surveillance testing.”

Leibold encouraged people to get vaccinated, get a booster shot and wear N95 or KN195 masks that fit firmly over your nose in most indoor settings. N95 masks can be picked up at the Oshkosh campus testing center at Albee Hall from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

If you are exposed to COVID, you should start wearing a mask until you test negative. If you test positive, notify your close contacts, he said.

“Health agencies are overwhelmed with cases and we must take responsibility to protect ourselves and notify others of possible exposure,” Leibold said.

Masks remain required on campus with a few exceptions. You can find the updated chancellor’s orders on the Titans Return website. The orders that detail UWO’s COVID-19 protocols have been extended through March 31.

“We are not changing our course delivery at this time,” Leibold said. “Fewer people are on campus during interim and face-to-face classes will continue. We will monitor conditions in our communities and on our campuses and, in consultation with health agencies, make adjustments as needed.”

Isolation and quarantine updates

If you test positive for COVID-19, the isolation period is reduced to 5 days if you are asymptomatic or your symptoms have largely resolved by the fifth day. You must follow that 5-day period with wearing a mask for 5 days when around others. This change is driven by science that shows the majority of COVID-19 transmission occurs in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and 2-3 days thereafter, according to the CDC.

The CDC may alter this recommendation to include the need for a negative test before leaving isolation. We will continue to monitor CDC and Wisconsin Department of Health Services information and alter our on-campus procedures if changes are made.

The quarantine period if you are exposed to COVID-19 and unvaccinated or are more than 6 months out from your second COVID-19 vaccination (or two months after J&J) and not yet boosted, is 5 days followed by 5 days of mask use. If quarantine is not possible, the exposed individual should wear a mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure.

If you have received a booster shot you do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but you should wear a mask for 10 days after exposure, according to the CDC.

A COVID-19 test also is recommended for everyone 2-5 days after exposure. If symptoms develop, immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not due to COVID-19.

Vaccination and testing on campus 

  • Free COVID vaccination and booster shots, as well as flu shots, are available at Albee Hall, Oshkosh Campus: 9 a.m. to noon, Mondays through Fridays.
  • Flu shots are available at Student Health Services, Radford Hall, Oshkosh campus.
  • Weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing of unvaccinated Oshkosh residence hall students is no longer required. 
  • Testing is available at Albee for symptomatic faculty, staff and students and close contacts of those diagnosed with COVID: 9 a.m. to noon, Mondays through Fridays.

Masks remain required in all campus buildings and classrooms.  However, masks are not required in recreational facilities, Polk Library and certain areas of Oshkosh campus residence halls – except masks are required in classrooms and office areas of these facilities.