Time to Celebrate
As mentioned by Chancellor Leavitt last week, we will celebrate reaching a 70% COVID-19 vaccination rate for students and a 78% rate for employees on Wednesday, Oct. 6. Free ice cream for all students and employees will be served:
- 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6 – Oshkosh Campus, outside between Reeve and Albee
- Noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6 – Fond du Lac Campus (in the Commons) and Fox Cities Campus (near Solutions Center)
Staff who would like to help serve ice cream on the Oshkosh campus, (we have both 1- and 2-hour shifts) please fill out this form by Friday, Oct. 1.
I hope to see you all there!
Mask and testing orders extended
Many of you are asking, now that 70% of our students and 78% of employees are vaccinated for COVID-19, is it time to lift our testing and mask orders?
Short answer: not yet.
This isn’t what any of us want to hear, but it is necessary as we strive to continue an in-person education experience and offer events, activities and athletics. We ask for your patience. We will lift these orders as soon as we can.
Many factors influence the health and safety measures we put in place on our campuses. It isn’t as simple as saying, if we hit a 75% vaccination rate, we can stop wearing masks. Factors impacting our decision include: active case counts, community spread, emergence of variants, vaccination rates and federal, state and local health agency recommendations.
To that end we have extended the mask, testing and quarantine/isolation orders issued by Chancellor Leavitt through Thursday, Nov. 25. The orders may be rescinded earlier if conditions warrant.
For now we ask that you continue to get vaccinated and you must continue to wear a mask indoors on our campuses (except in your dorm room). If you are not vaccinated, Oshkosh campus students and employees must continue to test weekly at Albee. Unvaccinated Fond du Lac and Fox Cities campus students and employees must test biweekly on the dates and times outlined on the Titans Return website or as noted in communications you have received from your campuses.
If we continue to raise our vaccination rate and cases drop in our region, we will consider dropping the testing requirements. For now, the best way to stop testing is to get vaccinated – and then let us know you are vaccinated by filling out the vaccination report form.
If you received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine six or more months ago and fall into one of the groups below, you are eligible to receive a Pfizer booster. Note: booster shots have not been authorized for those who received the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines.
Eligible groups who should receive a booster include (for the full list visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website):
- Ages 65 and older or in a long-term care facility
- Ages 50 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions
Groups who may receive a booster include (for the full list visit the DHS website):
- Ages 18 to 49 with certain underlying medical conditions
- Ages 18 to 64 who are at increased risk due to their job or institutional setting (teachers, healthcare workers and others)
If you are not in one of these groups or received Moderna or J&J vaccine, you must wait for a booster. Pfizer booster shots are available at Albee 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please schedule an appointment to ensure we can accommodate you.
We encourage everyone who is eligible for a booster shot to get one. This will help protect you against the virus by boosting your immune response.
In closing today, let me speak frankly to you. I know COVID-19 has left us weary and frustrated, and anxious to return to a normal existence. We all feel it and we appreciate that what we are requiring on our campuses may look very different from what you see just across the street.
We also know those requirements have helped protect our health and the health of others. The University is a unique place where we teach, work and live. Our requirements are different because of this unique situation; because we want to create a safe place for all students and employees – and a place where we can end those requirements when the time is right.
UWO Police Chief Kurt Leibold