First fall COVID-19 case

The+Children%E2%80%99s+Center+at+UW-Whitewater+is+the+first+location+that+someone+tested+positive+for+COVID-19+on+the+university+campus+this+fall+semester.

Kylie McCombe

The Children’s Center at UW-Whitewater is the first location that someone tested positive for COVID-19 on the university campus this fall semester.

Madison Gabriel, Journalist

The first positive COVID-19 case for UW-Whitewater this fall was reported Sunday, Aug. 16 when an employee of the Children’s Center notified the university of their diagnosis. 

The university contacted all employees who came into close contact with the person and required 14 days of self quarantining. The university also notified the families of children who came into close proximity with the infected worker as well. 

That same day, Health and Counseling Services Director Julie Martindale and others jumped into action to handle the situation. 

“This was something that happened over the weekend and we did a great job,” said Martindale about how teamwork was key to their success. 

The Children’s Center was already scheduled to be closed on Monday, Aug. 19, which allowed for a thorough deep cleaning and disinfecting of all classrooms in the building. Staff hand-washed every toy and disinfected using a Clorox Total 360 Electrostatic Disinfecting Machine, which the university purchased for use during the pandemic. 

The classroom in which the infected employee worked remained closed through Friday, Aug. 28, while all other classrooms reopened Wednesday, Aug. 19.

Many plans for a variety of COVID-19 scenarios like this were formulated by the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) over the past six months. The EOC is made up of different professionals with a variety of expertise to work alongside each other to create a safe environment on the UW-W campus. As part of the National Incident Management System (NIMS), all members of the local EOC were trained in emergency management. 

“Our classroom capacity has been reduced to 20-30 percent of what we could have,” said Interim Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Kristan Plessel about measures to ensure social distancing

To reach those reduced capacities, the university moved a large number of classes to remote, hybrid or hyflex learning environments.

In the case that a student who lives on campus does contract COVID-19, there are 113 rooms available for self-isolating quarantined individuals. There are plans in place to get those individuals the food, water and whatever else they may need during their quarantine period. 

An online COVID-19 Dashboard is now live to report case numbers and the EOC encourages anyone with questions or concerns about the pandemic to reach out to them. The dashboard shows that five students and one employee have reported new COVID-19 cases over the week of Aug. 23-29. UW-Whitewater has totaled 12 students and six employees with positive cases since March 2020. 

“Don’t hesitate to ask the question. We can’t fix what we don’t know about so please, if you have concerns or otherwise let us know,” said university Chief of Police and EOC Chairperson Matthew Kiederlen.

To report a positive case or get information about COVID-19, call the COVID-19 hotline at 262-472-1362, email [email protected] or visit www.uww.edu/warhawks-return.

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