UWL adapts to changing COVID-19 policies in preparation for fall semester


Photo retrieved from the UWL website.

Morgan Hose, Assistant Editor

While preparing for the return of students in the following weeks, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse has made updates to prepare for classes in an in-person setting.

In a recent email written by UWL Chancellor Joe Gow, the university has created a vaccination incentive program in an attempt to encourage students to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. “As fall approaches, we are looking forward to a much more normal 2021-22 school year and a return to the traditions that make UWL so special,” said Gow in the email.

In the email, it states that vaccinations are the key to achieving a safe and successful school year.

This incentive entails that “students who receive their COVID-19 vaccination and grant UWL’s Student Health Center permission to confirm their status will be entered into drawings for prizes and scholarships.” However, to be eligible for this, students must be fully vaccinated and complete a short survey by Oct. 15.

“This voluntary program will give us a clearer picture of student vaccination rates and allow us to reward students for doing their part to protect the community,” said Chancellor Gow.

Along with the incentive program, UW systems are allocating additional scholarships to campuses that achieve a 70% vaccination rate by Oct. 15. If this goal is reached, UWL can unlock at least seven $7,000 scholarships distributed via a drawing.

“I encourage everyone to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to not only win prizes and scholarships but demonstrate UWL’s culture of responsibility as we work to put COVID-19 behind us,” said Chancellor Gow.

Other preparations being made to plan the fall semester has been led by the UWL Executive Policy Group. Two major changes that have gone into effect have been face coverings being expected indoors for employees, students, and guests, regardless of vaccination status.

Along with face coverings having gone into effect on Wednesday 8/4, plexiglass is now being reinstalled around campus.

The announcements do not say that the masks are required, however “expected”, and the university is not expecting people to wear masks outdoors.

This announcement follows UWL’s COVID-19 protocol announcement on July 7 stating that effective immediately, face coverings are no longer required indoors for all fully vaccinated individuals. Currently, there is no plan to verify if UWL community members are fully vaccinated upon returning to campus, despite the incentive plan.

As of August 5, there have been over 5.8 million vaccine doses administered in the state of Wisconsin. La Crosse community members can get vaccinated at multiple local clinics. Locations with vaccination clinics are Walmart, Walgreens, Gunderson Health System, Mayo Health Clinic, etc. For more information regarding COvid-19 vaccination sites in La Crosse, visit the UWL vaccination page.

To allow everyone to stay up-to-date on COVID-19 information, UComm has reintroduced the yellow COVID information bar at the footer of the website. UComm requests that people continue to use this website as a resource and as a FAQ.

The Racquet Press will continue to update the UWL community as more announcements are made.