UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Updated July 31, 2020, at 10 a.m. Please check back frequently for the most current information.

General

  • Due to building closures, most services will continue to be available remotely. Visit department webpages for information about how to connect with them.
  • Please check the Campus Operations page for the most current information.

Please check this site along with your UWRF email for updates. If you have questions or concerns, email covid19@uwrf.edu.

Coronavirus is not specific to an ethnicity or race—disease does not discriminate. Harassing or discriminatory behaviors are not tolerated. You may file a report with the Bias Incident Team.

Please use this form for submitting concerns relating to violations of UW-River Falls' policies and directives regarding COVID-19.  (Do NOT use this form to relay concerns that you or someone else has COVID-19.)

Examples of what to report include: Failure to wear a face covering, Failure to Physical distance, Failure to quarantine or follow contact tracing policies or other violations (intentional or unintentional) related to COVID policies etc. Please consult Falcons Forward for the latest updates.

If you would like to discuss an incident with the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards, please contact Thomas Pedersen, Director at 715-425-4507 or email:  thomas.pedersen@uwrf.edu

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warns individuals to remain vigilant for scams related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Cyber actors may send emails with malicious attachments or links to fraudulent websites to trick victims into revealing sensitive information or donating to fraudulent charities or causes. Exercise caution in handling any email with a COVID-19-related subject line, attachment, or hyperlink, and be wary of social media pleas, texts, or calls related to COVID-19.

For additional information, visit CISA, Defending Against COVID-19 Cyber Scams

FERPA protects your student at UWRF and there are certain items that we cannot share with you.  FERPA is the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Acts that sets forth requirements regarding the privacy of student records.  For example, we cannot share grades, class schedule, or any non-directory information about a student.  Student Directory Information can be found here; https://www.uwrf.edu/Registrar/CurrentStudents/StudentDirectoryInformation.cfm

Students can grant access to others within our Student Information System, more information can be found on the eSIS tutorials; https://www.uwrf.edu/eSIS/upload/Granting-Access-to-Others-tutorial-8-12-19.pdf

Employees and workforce

Some of us are hearing from students or employees who are indicating they are ill or that they have had a positive COVID-19 test. However, during times of heightened concern over the spread of COVID-19, calls or emails from employees or students reporting illness can take on an elevated level of anxiety. 

If students or employees indicate they are ill, or that they have had a positive COVID-19 test, we need to trust that this is the case and do whatever we can to be flexible in assisting and supporting them.

Here are important actions you can take in the event an employee or student contacts you to say they are ill:

  • Advise them to be in contact with their health care provider regarding seeking medical care.

  • Advise them that if they have had a positive test for COVID-19, they should remain at home in isolation.

  • Inform them that currently all persons with a positive test will be contacted by their local (or state) health department.

  •  Inform them that if they have not been contacted by their local (or state) health department, they should contact their local public health department as soon as possible. Below are links for information about local health departments in Wisconsin and Minnesota, including the information for Pierce County Public Health Department.

  • Stress to them that they leave it to the public health authorities to identify and reach out to contacts, as there will be specific information about what to do for these persons, and this information should be relayed by the public health authorities.

  • Stress to them they should NOT start reaching out to everyone they think might be a contact, including persons from their place of employment, as this will just create panic and misinformation.  

  • Inform them that public health authorities are working with each case to identify close contacts and then reaching out to these contacts about what they should do.

  • Advise then that if they believe they have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, they will be contacted by public health if they have been identified as a close contact of a case.  However, if they believe they have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 but are not contacted by public health, they can check with their local (or state) public health department or stay home and monitor for symptoms for two weeks.    

Persons living or working (in person, not remotely) in Pierce County, should contact Pierce County Public Health Department at 715-273-6755 with questions.

For more information about your local public health department in Wisconsin or Minnesota, go to:

https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/lh-depts/counties.htm  

https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/practice/connect/findlph.html  

If you’ve been in direct or indirect contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, or under quarantine, you should call your doctor for advice and guidance before coming to work. If you develop symptoms, stay at home. If symptoms like fever, cough, or difficulty breathing are present, you are advised to contact your health care provider for advice.

Essential employees approved to remain at work who do not feel well should not report to work if they are ill and should use sick leave or contact their supervisor or HR rep. Faculty and instructional staff are advised to continue to show flexibility to students around academic assignments, exams or other requirements.

Please use the UW System HR guidelines to guide any decisions. Please also consult your direct supervisor.

  • Telecommuting after Aug. 17 (for non-academic units) and after Aug. 24 (for academic departments):
  • All public or student serving offices are to have a “front desk” presence and maintain regular office hours.
  • Decisions regarding on-campus staffing of “back office” functions are up to supervisors.
  • Any long-term telecommuting arrangements must be approved by supervisors, who are also responsible for ensuring the employee can effectively perform their full responsibilities while working remotely.
  • Any employees needing to telecommute for childcare reasons can still access the extended-FMLA option and must contact HR. Those wishing to telecommute because of pre-existing health conditions should work with their supervisors and HR.

A. COVID-19 Leave

  1. Up to 272 hours of COVID-19 leave (prorated by % FTE) shall be made available to employees unable to perform their assigned duties for the period of March 17, 2020 (3/17/20) through May 1, 2020 (5/1/20). For hourly part-time employees, the amount of available leave is based on their average hours for a two-week period over the last six months, or over the duration of employment if employed less than six months. This leave category expires on May 1, 2020 (5/1/2020).

  2. Up to 80 hours of COVID-19 leave (prorated by % FTE) shall be made available to employees unable to perform their assigned duties for the period of May 2, 2020 (5/2/20) through December 31, 2020 (12/31/20). For hourly part-time employees, the amount of available leave is based on their average hours for a two-week period over the last six months, or over the duration of employment if employed less than six months. Any hours claimed under section 5 (A) (I) of this policy between the dates of April 1, 2020 (4/1/20) and May 1, 2020 (5/1/20) are counted against the hours available under this section 5 (A) (II). If less than 80 hours of COVID-19 Leave have been claimed by an employee between April 1, 2020 and May, 1, 2020, then the balance of the 80 hours remain available to the employee under this section. This leave category expires on December 31, 2020 (12/31/2020).

B. COVID-19 Leave Use

  1. Employees who are unable to perform their assigned duties during the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible to use COVID-19 leave. This includes, but is not limited to:

    1. Employees who are unable to perform their assigned duties due to the inability to work remotely (telecommute or telework).

    2. Diagnoses of COVID-19 or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a diagnosis

    3. Care of an immediate family member who has a diagnosis of COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a diagnosis.

    4. Care of an immediate family member subject to a quarantine or isolation order or who has been advised to self-quarantine.

    5. Child/elder care due to school/day care closures, or;

    6. Any employee experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the US Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the US Secretary of the Treasury and the US Secretary of Labor.

  2. In instances where employees are unable to perform their assigned duties due to the type of work they perform (meaning the work cannot be performed remotely) but are assigned other duties that CAN be performed remotely, they cannot refuse a reassignment of duties in order to take COVID-19 leave.

  3. Employees may use COVID-19 leave prior to using any other accrued leave categories.

  4. COVID-19 leave use, including a determination that an employee is unable to perform their assigned duties, is subject to approval by the Chancellor or their designee(s) for campuses or the System President or their designee(s) for the Central Administration, that includes UW System Administration, UW Shared Services, and UW Extended Campus.

  5. Use of COVID-19 leave is only available to be claimed during the time period covering the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. This policy expires on December 31, 2020.

  6. There is no entitlement to the COVID-19 leave after December 31, 2020.

  7. COVID-19 leave does not accrue, and may not be rolled-over or combined into other types of leave.

Please fill out the COVID-19 Emergency Leave Request if this leave is needed. View the full policy here, https://www.wisconsin.edu/uw-policies/uw-system-administrative-policies/interim-covid-19-leave-policy/

Events and meetings

There will be no camps or clinics held on campus prior to Aug 1.

With the best interest of students, families, faculty and the community in mind, UWRF has determined that an in-person commencement will not take place on August 8. Considering Public Health restrictions and recommendations regarding mass gatherings and travel, it has been determined that a traditional ceremony could not be held safely. Current guidance for physical distancing would not be possible with thousands of people in attendance. In lieu of the decision by senior leadership, the UWRF Commencement Committee will propose options that avoid unsafe mass gatherings and travel. Further updates will be communicated at a later date.

 

The WIAC will issue a decision about fall sports in the coming weeks. 

The University Center is currently closed until July 31, 2020. Please see the updated business hours on this web site (scroll to the bottom for dates into the future) https://www.uwrf.edu/UniversityCenter/Hours.cfm. Events that need to be scheduled for Fall and Spring 2020-2021 can be sent to reservations@uwrf.edu.

Catering services will resume once events are again hosted.  For future events, catering requests should be emailed to catering@uwrf.edu.

Health

If you develop symptoms, stay at home – please do not come to work if you are ill. If symptoms like fever, cough, or difficulty breathing are present, you are advised to contact your health care provider for advice. Essential employees who were approved to remain at work should not report to work if they are ill and should use COVID-19 leave or sick leave and contact their supervisor or HR rep. Faculty and instructional staff are advised to continue to show flexibility to students around academic assignments, exams or other requirements.

For students, Student Health Services is offering remote telephone and in-person appointments through our agreement with Vibrant Health Family Clinic in River Falls, and students can call 715-425-6701 to schedule an appointment. Employees who wish to seek medical attention should contact their own clinic or health care provider.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Stay home, leaving only when needed for food, medication, or to seek medical care.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, or use the inside of your elbow, then throw the tissue in the trash and immediately wash your hands.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or wipe that kills viruses such as influenza and coronavirus.

  • Practice social distancing of at least 6 feet and wear a covering over your mouth and nose when in public spaces.

 

We have increased the frequency of cleaning/disinfecting high-touch points such as doors, light switches, railings, elevator buttons, desktops, tabletops, etc. in all buildings on campus.

If persons are ill or have been told they have a positive COVID-19 test should do the following:

  • Be in contact with your health care provider regarding seeking medical care.

  • If you have had a positive test for COVID-19, you should remain at home in isolation.

  • All persons with a positive test will be contacted by their local (or state) health department.

  •  If you have not been contacted by your local (or state) health department, you should contact your local public health department as soon as possible. Below are links for information about local health departments in Wisconsin and Minnesota, including the information for Pierce County Public Health Department.

  • It is important that persons leave it to the public health authorities to identify and reach out to contacts, as there will be specific information about what to do for these persons, and this information should be relayed by the public health authorities.

  • Persons should NOT start reaching out to everyone they think might be a contact, as this will just create panic and misinformation.  

  • Public health authorities are working with each case to identify close contacts and then reaching out to these contacts about what they should do.

  • If you believe you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, you will be contacted by public health if you have been identified as a close contact of a case.

However, if you believe you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 but are not contacted by public health, you can check with your local (or state) public health department or stay home and monitor for symptoms for two weeks.


Persons living or working (in person, not remotely) in Pierce County, should contact Pierce County Public Health Department at 715-273-6755 with questions.

For more information about your local public health department in Wisconsin or Minnesota, go to:
https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/lh-depts/counties.htm
https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/practice/connect/findlph.html

If you are a student and are feeling additional stress or anxiety, please contact UW-River Falls Counseling Services. Counseling Services is offering remote telecounseling therapy appointments, just as we had in-person, so students can email (counseling.services@uwrf.edu) or call 715-425-3884 to schedule an appointment.  For employees, see the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Human Resources.

Travel

All campus sponsored business travel is cancelled through 12/31/20 with limited exceptions.  Employees requesting an exception to the current travel ban must complete the Essential Travel Exception Request Form on the Accounting Services website.

We strongly advise you to reconsider non-essential personal travel. Documented cases of the virus are growing rapidly both domestically and internationally. You may face a higher risk of infection, significant delays returning, and/or the requirement to self-quarantine upon your return, all of which could significantly impact your professional and personal obligations at great individual expense. Should you decide to travel, be aware of the risks to your health.

Enterprise currently offers assistance to students. To learn more, please visit https://www.enterprise.com/en/car-rental/deals/young-driver.html

UWRF has cancelled study abroad programs through summer 2020. In addition, the Study Abroad in Europe program is cancelled for fall 2020 in recognition of the detailed on-site arrangements that students and the program leader must make in advance for this program. A decision regarding other fall semester programs will be made in early July 2020. For questions, contact Heidi Soneson at heidi.soneson@uwrf.edu.

Visitors

On-campus and virtual visits are available. Sign up here

Faculty resources

Resource for training and learning how to use digital learning tools can be found at https://www.uwrf.edu/CanvasTraining/.

The Ability Services Office has created the following resources to provide guidance on how to best support students with academic accommodations during alternative instruction. Follow the links below for more guidance or go to https://www.uwrf.edu/AbilityServices/ for more information. 

Video Webinar-Faculty Guidance on Providing Accommodations During Alternative Instruction 

Ability Services Alternative Instruction Response Plan

Working with Students with Disabilities During COVID-19- New!