Dear University community,

Today, I am contacting you because Wisconsin needs our help.

UW Oshkosh has been selected as a potential location to house people who have contracted the coronavirus. We are working closely with leaders in the Wisconsin Department of Administration, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the UW System to determine the best locations on our Oshkosh campus for this to occur. These agencies are being proactive. They are exploring alternative care sites around the state and reaching out to university communities like ours for volunteers to help cities and regions prepare for the potential number of COVID-19 patients to exceed capacity in hospitals.

According to the state’s developing plans, any patients housed on the Oshkosh campus would be those with mild illness and would be housed in our vacant residence halls. Officials are letting us know that they seek volunteers willing to work in various capacities.

Right now, in this phase of preparations, we seek university community members who wish to help. The state is still working through many details of this effort including necessary safety protocols, what specific skills might be needed and what compensation will look like for volunteers.

At present, we have learned that state officials are looking for UWO employees and students in the Oshkosh/Fox Valley region who preferably have experience in healthcare or infectious diseases, however, this is not a requirement. People with experience in case management and data entry, for example, are also sought.

To help balance our response with our campus communities’ operational needs, we have some guidelines for employees willing to step forward:

  • Tier 1 and 2 UWO employees will not be able to volunteer as their work priority remains critical to UWO’s continuing operations.
  • Volunteers may not be COVID-19 positive, subject to quarantine or suffering from an underlying health issue that puts you in a risk category for severe illness related to COVID-19.
  • Volunteer candidates should possess basic employment skills, including the ability to work well with others; to work under pressure; to learn new skills; and to adapt to changing situations.

We are asking any employee who is interested and meets the guidelines to fill out and submit this form by 5 p.m. today, March 22. We will supply a list of potential volunteers to the state by 10 a.m. Monday, March 23.

We know we have asked a lot of you in recent weeks, and we expect that that will continue. Your consideration and support for our community, region and state in this unparalleled effort and unprecedented time is appreciated. We see dedicated UWO employees and students consistently rising to the occasion, coming to the aid of those in need and embodying our institution’s values, and we are grateful.


Chancellor Andy Leavitt