City invests in COVID-19 prevention

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Whitewater City Manager Cameron Clapper

The combined efforts of the city of Whitewater and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater showed resilience and solidarity while dealing with an ongoing pandemic Oct. 1 in a virtual Community Town Hall. 

The event featured city leaders City Manager Cameron Clapper, Police Chief Aaron Raap. Representing the university was Interim Provost Greg Cook, Vice Chancellor Artanya Wesley and University Police Chief Matthew Kiederlen. 

Clapper ensured that the community is doing everything they can to continue to maintain low levels of positive tests. The people of Whitewater are very familiar with the CDC guidelines and actively engage in the community, carry out their jobs, and visit public facilities while wearing their masks and staying six feet apart. The cleanliness of the facilities has shown to be one of the most important aspects of ensuring the safety of the community. 

“We also will be shortly implementing in our facilities the use of what’s called IWave.  It’s an ion technology that equipment is installed in the air handling units for city facilities. We’ll have clean air in our facilities, eliminating all bacteria and viruses and some allergens as well for those that are coming in to take advantage of city services as well as those working in city facilities,” said Clapper. 

This surface treatment project that Clapper is referring to is said to be implemented starting Oct. 12. The regular maintenance cleaning of facilities will also continue. 

It is important to reiterate that personal protective equipment, or PPE, is still being enforced. The city has spent $290,000 on COVID-related issues.

  “We anticipate the potential for reimbursement for some dollars from the state through the Care program that the state has issued.  But we anticipate that any dollars associated with labor or wage will not be reimbursed,” said Clapper. 

Other projects included in the budget were the draining of the lakes and the amphitheater project.

Voting is also very important in the city and there is a lot of effort from the municipal clerk to ensure a safe and legal manner of casting a vote on the ballots. Early voting is encouraged but there will still be two locations used as polling places. The city armory and an on-campus location in the field house are the designated locations.Voters are asked to wear their masks and social distance, to ensure a good experience for everyone. By past observations, the willingness of the community to follow CDC guidelines has not been an issue. 

“As far as anecdotal information and observations by officers, we’re very happy to report that citizens, a vast majority of students, business owners, operators, and employees are complying with the requirement of the city ordinance,” said Raap.

The statewide increase of cases spread concern throughout the city, however, as of now the number of cases in the city are relatively low. In the case of a dramatic increase in numbers, there could be a potential shut down or slow down all non-essential businesses, although that does not seem to be the case. 

“I feel like we’ve been through it now and learned from it.  We likely will be able to continue operating and providing our full range of services as we move forward.  But if necessary we would take that precaution again just to keep folks safe,” said Clapper. 

Mutual cooperation from both the city and the university are essential to keep the community up and running. The families of Whitewater are much safer with the help of the students. This precaution applies to all daily activities everyone participates in.

“It is a pleasure for me as city manager not only to work with our common council members who are diligent in desiring the best for our community, but also the leadership of both the university and the school district in this way and the other ways we connect,” said Clapper.

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