UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
February 8, 2021 - Just two weeks into spring semester, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls is simultaneously implementing intensive new COVID-19 testing protocols, while also looking toward fall and how things might be different for students.
“We are hopeful and cautiously optimistic that we’ll return to a more traditional semester,” Chancellor Connie Foster said in a recent message to students and employees. “Our positivity rates remain impressively low and students have demonstrated a sincere commitment to adhering to health and safety protocols. That has made a tremendous difference.”
COVID-19 testing became mandatory for all students and employees coming to campus this semester. Students living on campus are tested weekly, while off-campus students and employees get tested every other week.
The university has also canceled Spring Break this year as a precautionary measure to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The spring semester will now end April 30, one week earlier than normal. Most campuses in the UW System and many across the country have also taken this step.
Looking ahead to the end of the semester and beyond, UWRF is hopeful to hold some form of in-person commencement in May, if it could be done safely. Much will depend on how well the spread of the virus is controlled in the coming weeks. The university opted for a virtual ceremony last spring as well as in December in an effort to reduce the risk of spreading the virus during such a large event.
In the meantime, UWRF is expanding opportunities for students to connect with one another – virtually and safely in person. Those close to event and involvement planning say there is a new energy returning to campus.
Finally, to continue supporting community health and safety beyond campus this spring, UW-River Falls has partnered with the City of River Falls on continuation of their free community COVID-19 testing site, now located at Hoffman Park. The effort is an extension of the UW System’s commitment to enabling UW campuses to take a proactive role in helping stop the spread of COVID-19 in their surrounding communities. Tests are free for anyone over age 5, and pre-registration is required with same-day appointments usually available at http://www.doineedacovid19test.com/.
“I am very proud of our Falcon family and the great effort I am seeing for safe in-person instruction, recreation, athletics and social engagement,” Foster added. “However, we know COVID remains a threat so we must remain diligent in our precautions.”
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