University of Wisconsin Eau Claire hopes to return to normal for fall semester

Local News

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – This past school year, one of UW Eau Claire’s top priorities was slowing the spread of COVID-19.

While university leaders aren’t completely sure what health measures will still be in place in few months with more people getting vaccinated, there will be some, in hopes of achieving a broader goal.

“We’re looking to be back to normal and to be an open campus,” UW-Eau Claire Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Grace Crickette said.

She said normal would look a lot like business as usual before the pandemic including hosting events and having full in-person class sizes.

She adds, the plan on how to get to normal is still being discussed.

“It’s going to take looking at what’s happening in the community, if there are changes in the way that the virus behaves and how innovative we can be,” Crickette said.

Eau Claire City-County Health Department Director Lieske Giese said the best way to get back to normal is to get vaccinated.

“We are seeing great effects with the outcomes of vaccine,” she said. “People are not being hospitalized, people are not dying and we really are seeing that they are not spreading disease.”

Giese said people ages 18-24 have a lower vaccination rate than older age groups.

At UW-Eau Claire, that means, for the summer, people who aren’t fully vaccinated have to live by a different set of rules.

Crickette said that includes mask wearing and testing.

“If you are in housing, then you are tested weekly and we’ve been following a protocol here where an off-campus student would be every other week,” she said.

Crickette said fully vaccinated people on campus only need to be tested if they’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. They don’t need to wear masks.

She said the university has no plans to require students get vaccinated. It will continue providing free testing and vaccination clinics on campus into the fall semester.

Giese said since we’re not at herd immunity yet, people shouldn’t be surprised if there’s an increase in cases this fall since people will be gathering together indoors.

In Eau Claire, Max Cotton, First News at Nine.

Crickette says there are currently no plans to require students get vaccinated before returning to campus.

She also says the university will still be providing free on-campus testing and vaccination clinics into the fall semester.

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