Thanksgiving planning, testing updates and other important information

Chancellor Andy Leavitt | November 12, 2020

 

Dear University community, 

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve provided you with a campus COVID-19 update and today I have important information to share regarding Thanksgiving and testing. I know this email is long, but it contains important health and safety information for you and your family. Please read it carefully. 

Thanksgiving 

Our plan, as announced before classes started in September, is to continue face-to-face classes on Nov. 30. 

While many students typically leave their campus for the Thanksgiving holiday, this year we have asked students to consider their plans carefully and remain on campus if they cannot travel home safely. This is important information for all of us. We need to carefully manage our plans. The best way to keep ourselves safe is to keep our gatherings limited to those in our households and avoid travel. 

For students who stay on the Oshkosh campus, we have informed them we will host a Thanksgiving meal that week. Details will be shared soon.  

Students who intend to leave campus for Thanksgiving have also been informed they must be tested for COVID-19 before they leave and twice when they return (all with negative results) before attending an in-person class. This testing will be done at Albee. 

Testing is one of the best ways to track the virus, identify cases and stop it before it spreads. You have done your part for weeks – don’t let your guard down during the holiday season. 

According to the CDC, you can decrease your risk of contracting COVID-19 at gatherings by paying attention to: 

  • The size of the gathering – the smaller the better, physical distancing matters 
  • The location of the gathering – host a gathering outside if possible 
  • The duration of the gathering – the shorter, the better – risk level increases at 15 minutes or more 
  • Spending time only with people who practice safety measures  
  • Community spread – avoid attending gatherings if there is a high level of community spread in your home community or the community where other attendees are from 
Do not attend in-person gatherings if you or anyone in your household: 
  • Has been diagnosed in the past 14 days with COVID-19  
  • Has symptoms of COVID-19 
  • Is waiting for a COVID-19 test result 
  • May have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days 
  • Is in a high-risk category for developing severe illness from COVID-19 
COVID-19 Testing 

Through fall semester, residence hall students on the Oshkosh campus must continue to test weekly for COVID-19 at the Albee testing center. Students who live off campus also should test at the Albee site. 

On Monday, Nov. 23, and Tuesday, Nov. 24, we will increase testing to 600 per day and increase Albee center hours to: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The testing center will be open 8 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Nov. 25, allowing us to test about 1,500 people that week before the holiday break. The center will be closed Thursday, Nov. 26, and Friday, Nov. 27, and resume operations on Monday, Nov. 30. 

Masks on campus 

This semester we have required everyone on campus to wear masks indoors. Many of you also wear your mask outdoors and this is the best way to protect yourself against transmission of COVID-19. 

There are some areas in our buildings, though, where students are not wearing masks. One area of concern is Polk Library, particularly the second and third floors. Students have been informed they MUST WEAR A MASK while in the library and those who do not may be referred to the student conduct process.  

Family testing options open 

While faculty and staff may continue to test at Albee, we are encouraging you to test at the Culver Center testing site on the Oshkosh campus. This testing is available to you and your family members. Sign up for a test at www.DoINeedaCovid19test.com. Find additional testing information on the Titans Return website

Stay safe, stay strong 

We are hopeful that UW Oshkosh will be one of the distribution sites for a vaccine as early as spring, helping us begin the process of returning some sense of “normal” to our campuses. This is great news, but we must remember we are not there yet. While we have made great strides in controlling the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses, cases are continuing to surge in our communities. 

We know COVID-fatigue is real. It’s tempting to let down our guard and cast aside safety precautions. But now more than ever we must do everything we can to protect ourselves, our families and our friends. The news regarding a COVID-19 vaccine is encouraging. It has left us with that glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. If we stay strong, we will get there together. 

Chancellor Andy Leavitt 

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