COVID-19 testing and vaccination center moving out of Albee Hall

Katie Pulvermacher, News Editor

The removal of the COVID-19 testing center in the small gym in Albee Hall will return the space to the kinesiology and physical education departments, which they have not had access to since the fall of 2020.

“When we first found out they were going to use Albee for the COVID testing center, you can imagine it created a lot of anxiety – people were pretty nervous about that,” said Dan Schmidt, exercise and sport science program director. “Knowing that testing would be going on in the building was stressful. I think the way that people stepped up and adapted and modified their classes was pretty amazing.”

Chief of Police Kurt Leibold said the tentative plan is to move the COVID testing and vaccination center out of Albee Hall at the end of the spring semester. He said the new location of these centers will be announced closer to the end of the semester.

“The testing and vax center at Albee has already reduced its footprint and given half of the gym space back,” Leibold said. “It should only take a day to relocate the center.”

Albee has an upstairs gym that is significantly smaller than the main gym on the first floor. This is shared between the kinesiology and physical education departments. The main gym is used by athletics for basketball practice as well as the Student Recreation and Wellness Center for basketball leagues.

“On behalf of the Emergency Operations Committee (EOC), we want to thank all the faculty and staff who had to adjust their curriculum during the last two years due to the testing and vax center being in the Albee gymnasium,” Leibold said. “They truly sacrificed for the good of the University.”

The number of COVID-19 positive cases has remained low on campus, and Leibold said there was no surge of positive cases after spring break. According to UWO’s COVID-19 dashboard, there are 11 positive cases on the Oshkosh campus from seven students and four employees.

“The EOC will continue to meet and monitor trends as well as prepare for any COVID scenarios that may occur now and throughout the summer,” Leibold said.

Schmidt said he is looking forward to the future of the kinesiology department. He expects a large incoming class in fall 2022 and thanks his department for what they have done for the past two years.

“[The limited space] was definitely a challenge, but people stepped up,” Schmidt said. “I’ve always said [COVID-19] has brought out the best in people and the worst in people, and in a lot of cases, I’ve seen the best in people in our unit.”