UW-Eau Claire prepares for the upcoming school year

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 6:32 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Wisconsin DHS reports Eau Claire County has low levels of transmission for COVID-19, but local health officials are emphasizing the importance of taking precautions to stay safe.

UW-Eau Claire begins classes on September 6 and staff members are preparing for the upcoming school year, but planning for students coming back to campus means making sure the campus community is doing what they can to stay healthy.

“We are going to be continuing to supply stations with hand sanitizer, wipes and disposable masks,” Brian Drollinger, Director of Risk Management, Safety and Sustainability at UW-Eau Claire said. “We have a good custodial staff that have good cleaning processes in place. We are offering free N96 and KN96 masks to students and staff as well as free fit testing.”

UW-Eau Claire said they will not be requiring masks on campus, and do not have a vaccine or booster mandate for students, but they do have requests for students who may be feeling ill.

“Our overall general guidance at this time is basically if you feel sick, please stay home. That’s going to be our guidance starting out this semester,” Drollinger said. “So, if you have any kind of symptoms, we’re going to be asking you to get tested and then follow CDC and local health department guidelines.”

Many of the recommendations from health care staff go back to the basics.

“Wash your hands. Don’t cough on your neighbor. Try to just cough and sneeze into your arm, if you have to, in your elbow as we always said,” Dr. Nate Stepps, Family Medicine Physician with Marshfield Clinic said. “Just be safe and be smart about it. If you can get up to date on vaccines right now, we’re trying to push especially with the flu vaccine coming out again, trying to make sure you’re up to date with the flu vaccine, all of your regular routine vaccines, the COVID vaccine.”

Despite potential health concerns, an upcoming freshman said she is just excited to begin.

“I’m excited to be on campus. It’s great to be independent and try something new, and I came prepared in case I had to quarantine or mask out, but I’m definitely not worried at the moment,” Kyla Swanson, an upcoming freshman at UW-Eau Claire said.

Like UW-Eau Claire, Marshfield clinic staff also said if students feel sick, they should stay home and rest.

Additional tools to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 can be found on the CDC’s website.

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