Health & Safety

The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency that affects us all – no matter your age, nationality or politics.

That’s why WSU has carefully prepared measures to ensure a safe semester for everyone and to protect our local communities.

While we’ve put these public health measures in place, it’s up to you to do your part. So keep physical distance from others, wear a mask and wash your hands. Check in on your health, and the health of friends and family too.

This pandemic will end only when we work together to protect one another.


Learn how we’re taking protective measures to help keep you safe.


What’s in This Section


See how we’re modifying campus spaces to reduce the spread of COVID-19.


What’s in This Section

Concerned about Compliance?

If you know a member of the WSU community who is not complying with campus COVID-19 guidelines, you can submit a Non-Compliance Report.

Violations could include not wearing a mask or hosting a large gathering.

Disciplinary action will be taken by the Director of Student Conduct & Citizenship or HR as appropriate.


Understand the plans for several scenarios should they arise at WSU.


What’s in This Section

Protecting Our People

WSU wouldn’t exist without our community of learners, our educators, our support professionals and all who live throughout Winona and Rochester area.

We’ve focused on ways to help prevent our people from getting sick as well as options to provide support for both their physical health and mental well-being.

Daily Self-Assessment

Have you taken the Daily COVID-19 Self-Assessment yet today?

You must do this before coming on campus.

Feeling Sick?

Are you experiencing symptoms? Have you been tested for COVID-19?

Learn what steps to take if you are feeling ill.

Flexibility & Choice

To meet students and staff where they are, WSU is offering a variety of options to keep learning and keep working during the pandemic.


Course Delivery Methods

Students can choose from online, hybrid and face-to-face classes to build a course schedule that meets their needs.

Instructors are doing their best to provide high-quality educational experiences no matter the format.


Access to Support Services

Our support staff are ready to connect with students whether that’s through an in-person appointment or an online meeting.

Many departments are offering Zoom Rooms and tele-meetings, and all are responding to email and phone calls.

Learn more about how departments are modifying their hours and services.


Remote Work & Staggered Schedules

Staff are encouraged to work remotely if they are able.

Supervisors are developing plans with staff who must work from campus to have modifications in place to ensure physical distance in their offices.

The same goes for student workers.

Some may be able to work effectively from home or supervisors may offer staggered schedules to reduce the number of workers in the office at a time.


Taking care of your physical health is more important than ever—especially if you are a caregiver to others.

Learn about WSU Health Services’ recommendations around COVID-19.


COVID-19 Testing

Health Services has COVID-19 testing available to WSU students. Faculty and staff should consult their medical provider for COVID-19 testing.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Health Services will offer the COVID-19 vaccine to students and employees when a supply becomes available.

Ask-a-Nurse Helpline

Have questions or concerns about COVID-19? Students and employees can contact the Ask-a-Nurse Helpline at 507.457.2292 or

Clinic Services

Health Services will continue providing tele-health and in-person appointments for students.

Mental Health Support

Although you may feel distant from our WSU community, you are not alone.

We’re going to get through this because we are Warriors at heart.

To stay strong and be resilient in this difficult time, each and every one of us need to take care of our mental health.


Counseling Services for Students

The WSU Counseling Services team is offering tele-health appointments for students.

There are also many online resources to help students cope with stress and anxiety as well practice meditation and build resilience skills.

Mental Health & Medication

Health & Wellness Services offers management for medications related to mental health. These appointments can be done either in-person or via telehealth. Please call 507.457.5160 to schedule an appointment.

Employee Assistance Program

WSU employees have access to confidential counseling services if they are experiencing significant stress or other life matters that impact their personal well-being.

Learn more about EAP services or call 651.259.3840 or 1.800.657.3719 for more information.

Daily Self-Assessment

Everyone should take the Daily Self-Assessment every day to check up on their health and screen for possible symptoms.

Before you come to campus in person, you must complete this Daily Self-Assessment to identify any symptoms you might be experiencing.

What to Expect

The Daily Self-Assessment is a series of questions to help you identify any new health symptoms. It takes about 5 minutes at the most.

All your data collected in this form is private and stored securely. Your answers are not part of your official WSU student or employee record.

At the end of the Daily Self-Assessment, you will get one of two possible results.

A Pass = Green Screen

If you get the green screen message, you can access campus buildings if you follow the mask requirements and physical distance guidelines.

At the time you took the self-assessment, you didn’t report possible symptoms of COVID-19.

Keep monitoring your health and continue to take the Daily Self-Assessment every day.

A Red Flag = Red Screen

If you get the red flag message, do not enter campus buildings.

If you live on-campus, please remain in your residence hall room.

You will be contacted by WSU Health and Wellness staff who will talk through further guidance and support.

Why the Daily Self-Assessment is Important

Take Care of Yourself

By paying close attention to your own health, you can catch symptoms early and take good care of yourself.


Protect Others

By catching symptoms early, you can start to isolate right away and protect others from getting sick—whether you have end up having a cold, flu or COVID-19.


Stop the Spread

By each of us starting to isolate at the first sign of symptoms, a positive test result, or exposure to someone with a positive case, our campus will hopefully have fewer positive cases of COVID-19.

Keep Campus Open

By keeping our cases of COVID-19 down, our campus can remain open for in-person classes and events.


Masks are an essential yet easy practice to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Effective May 14, 2021, face coverings are not required on WSU Campuses– indoors or outdoors– with the exceptions of some situations.

As WSU continues to digest the available information, more information and updates will come.


Students and faculty in internship, clinical, and other experiential learning settings may have to take additional respiratory precautions based on the specific setting, practice, and host site guidelines and expectations.


For members of our campus communities who feel more safe wearing a mask or who are not yet vaccinated, we encourage continuing to wear masks indoors.

You may be required to wear a mask by local ordinance depending on your destination.

You are also strongly recommended to wear a mask as you go about your daily life to help protect our local communities.

Special Circumstances

There are some reasons that people may not be able to wear a mask.

When an accommodation is necessary as indicated by a medical or similar subject matter expert and granted by express written permission of the University.

To request an accommodation, please contact Access Services (students) or Human Resources (employees).


Any student, employee or visitor who fails to follow this guidance may be asked or directed to leave university property.

Please also recognize that some members of our community may be exempted from wearing a mask.

We ask that you practice patience and kindness as we work together to make our community safe, healthy and accommodating for all.

Read the full mask policy at WSU.

How Can I Get a Mask?

WSU has provided cloth face masks to all students, faculty and staff. However, it’s convenient have several cloth masks on hand.

Additional masks can be purchased at the WSU Bookstore, and many commercial businesses sell reusable masks. There are also options to make your own masks.

Please do not buy surgical masks or N95 respirators as these are in short supply for essential healthcare workers.

What Types of Face Coverings Can I Use?

The CDC recommends a variety of mask types, such as:

  • A mask made with 2 or 3 layers of tightly-woven cloth
  • A 2-layer mask with an inner filter pocket
  • A disposable medical procedure mask

The material and fit of your mask is key to improving the effectiveness. A cone-shaped mask with a nose wire will provide a snug fit for your face.

Avoid neck tubes, scarves and bandanas. In general, these fabrics are not thick enough to be as effective as 3-layer masks.

What if Someone isn’t Wearing a Mask?

We understand there are many and varied opinions on masks, and we respect your right to hold an opinion.

However, research has shown that wearing a face mask is an important and potentially life-saving tool in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

All WSU students and employees are expected to commit themselves to the practice of masking up for the greater good of the entire community.

You can encourage others to wear masks by modeling good behavior yourself. Then you can expect this same behavior from your co-workers, peers, classmates, friends, and neighbors. There is no need to demand action or pass judgment, simply to inform.

If a person continues to disregard with face covering guidelines, the situation will be handled through existing student and employee discipline processes.


Limiting travel is an important way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 between different communities.

The CDC has issued travel advisories in response to the pandemic.

WSU has created travel policies that are in line with recommendations from the Minnesota State System, Minnesota Department of Health and CDC.

Study Abroad & Travel Study

All international and domestic WSU-sponsored study away programs are suspended through Summer Term 2021.

We will make a decision this summer if it becomes necessary to postpone or cancel study away programs planned for Fall 2021 and after.

For more information, contact the Study Abroad office at

Clubs & Athletics

Student clubs, including sports clubs, must submit a travel safety plan request to travel.

To learn more about travel for sports clubs, contact Gunnar Mach at



Faculty & Staff Travel

COVID-19 travel guidance remains in effect. Alternatives to travel, such as virtual options, should be considered.

All WSU-sponsored travel must be pre-approved.

  • In-state travel is allowed
  • Out-of-state domestic travel is allowed
  • International travel is not currently allowed

Contact Julie Erickson, Travel Director, at for more information.

Personal Travel

WSU is not recommending any international recreational travel or holiday travel.

What Happens When Someone Gets COVID-19?

WSU has received self-reported positive cases of COVID-19 and is sharing updates on campus conditions.

There are confirmed cases in Winona according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

The Housing and Residence Life team has developed plans for alternate housing arrangements if any students need to self-isolate.


What if I think I might have symptoms?

There are many symptoms for COVID-19. You should complete the Daily Self-Assessment to check up on your health every day.

No matter your symptoms, please stay home from work and class.

This will help prevent the spread of colds and flus, as well as COVID-19.


Call Ask-A-Nurse at 507.457.2292 to discuss your symptoms with a health professional 

They may recommend that you get tested for COVID-19.  

Testing is available at WSU Health & Wellness Services. 

Faculty & Staff

Contact your doctor or local health care facility to discuss your symptoms with a health professional.

They may recommend that you get tested for COVID-19.

You could also call the Ask-a-Nurse message line at 507.457.2292 for any concerns about COVID-19. 

A Positive COVID-19 Diagnosis

If you do test positive, you will be given more information about how to manage symptoms, self-care, and guidance for isolation.

We recommend that you self-report your positive case to WSU if you were tested off-campus to help us keep our Warrior community safe.

A team member from Health Services may call you to check-in on your health, discuss who you’ve been in contact with, and ask where you spent time while you have been infectious.

You can always call the Ask-a-Nurse message line at 507.457.2292 if you have any questions.

Isolation vs. Quarantine

Quarantine is a 14-day period of time when a person who has been in contact with a positive case stays away from others in case symptoms develop and to avoid spreading COVID-19 to others.

Isolation is a period of time when a someone who has developed COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive needs to separates themselves from others, including people in their household.

Here’s how to tell whether you should be in quarantine or move into isolation.


So, What Should I Do Next?

If you have been exposed to COVID-19, you should begin quarantining for 14 days.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you must begin isolation for at least 10 days. You should also get tested for COVID-19.

Learn how to go into quarantine or isolation whether you live on-campus or in off-campus housing.

COVID-19 Vaccines

As WSU follows the State of Minnesota’s various phases for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, WSU Health & Wellness Services is registered and ready to administer the vaccine to both students and employees on campus.

See the latest information about vaccines for the WSU campus community.

Vaccine Information

COVID-19 Testing

Anyone experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms should get tested. The sooner you can get tested, the better – and we ask that you isolate as soon as you start to notice symptoms.



WSU Health Services is testing students who are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to a positive case.

Employees should contact their healthcare provider if they have symptoms or have been exposed.



Students can get tested at Health & Wellness Services in IWC 222. Please call 507.457.2292 to set up an appointment.

Employees should find a local testing facility.


Health & Wellness Services has COVID-19 testing available to WSU students from 12:30-2pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Other testing appointments can be scheduled as needed.

Please call ahead by calling Ask-A-Nurse at 507.457.2292.

Employees can find local testing facilities, which will have varying hours.


COVID-19 testing is free to all students, no matter your immigration or insurance status. You should not receive a bill.

Most health insurance plans cover COVID-19 testing. If you do not have insurance, you can still get tested.

If students are uninsured or if their insurance does not cover the test, WSU offers financial assistance that will cover the test.


More Testing Options

If you aren’t able to get tested at WSU Health Services, don’t worry.

There are several other places to get COVID-19 testing — including the Winona Mall Testing Site and Graham Park Collaborative COVID-19 Testing Site in Rochester.

FAQs about Testing

I’ve recently been feeling under the weather with slight signs of COVID-19. How soon should I get tested?

We encourage anyone experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms to call our Ask-A-Nurse Message Line at 507.457.2292 to discuss your situation.

The sooner you can get tested, the better. We ask that you isolate as soon as you start to notice symptoms.

Students can arrange an appointment for testing through the Ask-a-Nurse Message Line. Employees should consult their healthcare provider.

I recently learned that I was in a place with someone who tested positive. How can I get tested?

Please begin quarantining for 14 days from the date of last contact with that person who tested positive.

Students can call Ask-A-Nurse at 507.457.2292 to set up a testing appointment at WSU Health & Wellness Services.

Employees should consult their healthcare provider to obtain a COVID-19 test.

I was tested for COVID because I was exposed to someone who tested positive. I have no symptoms, so do I have to quarantine for the full 14 days?

Yes, you do need to quarantine for 14 days regardless of your results. WSU follows the MDH guidelines, which recommends a 14-day quarantine and testing due to exposure.

You can always call our Ask-A-Nurse message line at 507.457.2292 or check FAQs for further information.

If I get tested for COVID-19 and it comes back negative, can I stop quarantine?

No – a negative test does not release you from quarantine. You must remain in quarantine for the full 14 days as symptoms may yet develop.

I want to get tested to be on the safe side. Can I get a test if I have no symptoms and no known exposure?

Yes, there are asymptomatic testing sites located within the community. If you get tested at an off-campus site, please fill out the Self-Report Form.

WSU is currently testing only those who are symptomatic or have been in close contact. This is what we have been advised to do by the Minnesota Department of Health.

I made a mistake on my Daily Self-Assessment, but I don't actually have symptoms. What should I do?

It’s ok. If a contact tracer calls you, you can explain the situation. If you aren’t experiencing any symptoms, then you’ll be removed from the contact list.

I was recently exposed to COVID and I just got tested. What should I do while waiting for my results?

You should quarantine for the 14 days from the last contact even if you get a negative result.

If you get a positive result, you will need to go into isolation which may require relocation if you live in on-campus housing.

Protections in Places

Distance from others and disinfecting spaces are key to reducing the spread of COVID-19.

WSU has modified physical spaces across campus to ensure that people safely access buildings and enjoy green spaces.

Physical Distance

We’ve remapped our buildings to make sure every space – from classrooms to dining halls to offices—are configured to maintain proper physical distance between people.

Traditional-style residence halls have been transitioned to single occupancy rooms to make sure students have the personal space they need—at no added cost to students.

Sanitizing Stations

Sanitizing stations have been added to all classrooms and workspaces to encourage effective hygiene.

Students and staff should also keep hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes in their bags, offices and at home.

Cleaning Practices

The WSU Facilities team is performing cleaning per CDC guidelines, with added attention to frequently touched surfaces such as:

  • Doorknobs/handles
  • Elevator buttons
  • Faucets
  • Countertops
  • Security card readers

Students and staff are encouraged to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects such as keyboards and phones as well as surfaces in their homes.

Plans to Adapt to Whatever Comes Our Way

Rather than rush to re-open without assessing the risks, we worked through the what-ifs now.

We have a plan prepared for when the pandemic subsides, and we can lift these precautions. We also have a plan prepared for increased outbreaks that requires more measures to protect the health and safety of our community.

We hope we don’t need the latter plan, but we can’t be sure. We chose to be ready just in case, so we can adapt quickly to whatever comes our way.

See more details on our COVID-19 response and read the full Back to Campus Preparedness Plan (PDF).

WSU-Rochester will follow directives from RCTC on access to campus facilities and other public health protocols.


If Outbreaks Decrease

If outbreaks decrease significantly, WSU may lessen restrictions on in-person interactions.

We could offer more face-to-face support services and classes, though most would still be online.

Larger groups could meet for events, club meetings and social gatherings.

Student would continue to live on campus.


Our Current Situation

At present, WSU is taking a middle of the road approach.

We’re strongly encouraging remote interactions, though people can meet in-person in small groups with proper physical distance and masking measures.

This provides a mix of online and in-person support services, as well as a mix of class delivery methods.

Students are able to live in on-campus housing. They also have access to campus buildings and amenities.


If Outbreaks Increase

If outbreaks increase, WSU will adopt more restrictions to protect public health.

This may coincide with a stay-at-home order from the governor or Minnesota State system.

There would be major restrictions on campus building access, and students living on campus would return to home.
All support services would be delivered online or under major restrictions.

All classes would move online.

Classes with a critical need for in-person elements will be completed when restrictions are lifted—or the class may not be offered that semester.

Campus Safety Levels

The COVID-19 Campus Safety Level system guides our understanding the impact COVID-19 on campus resources and risk of continued spread. It also informs decisions about how to stop the spread through tactics such as canceling events, limiting access to buildings and moving to more online-only classes.

Current Level: Green

Green status means that safety measures can be lifted for our campus. Current guidelines include:

  • Masks are not required indoors or outdoors, with exceptions for some areas
  • Masks are encouraged for those who feel safer or more comfortable wearing them– and especially for unvaccinated individuals
  • Classroom and group settings are limited to 50 people with social distancing

Low Transmission

Transmission levels seen as manageable.

Learn more about indicators & campus actions for this phase.

Medium Transmission

Transmission levels are beginning to tax campus resources.

Learn more about indicators & campus actions for this phase.

High Transmission

Transmission levels have further depleted or exhausted campus resources.

Learn more about indicators & campus actions for this phase.

High Community Transmission

Transmission levels have seriously depleted or exhausted institutional, community or state resources. The state is experiencing extensive community-wide spread.

Learn more about indicators & campus actions for this phase.

Sustained High Risk of Transmission

Transmission levels have seriously depleted or exhausted campus resources.

Learn more about indicators & campus actions for this phase.

Concerned about Compliance?

If you know a member of the WSU community who is not complying with campus COVID-19 guidelines, you can submit a Non-Compliance Report.

Violations could include not wearing a mask or hosting a large gathering.

Disciplinary action will be taken by the Director of Student Conduct & Citizenship or HR as appropriate.

What happens if campus shuts down again?

If WSU moves to completely on-line learning, there will be a process to close most residence halls like in the Spring 2020 semester. At this point, the plans is that only those students with a strong reason to remain in Winona will be able to stay in the residence halls. This is to protect students’ health and safety and conserve campus resources. 

Students will be able to make an online request to remain on campus, which will be reviewed by Housing & Residence Life staff. If your request is approved, you will likely have to move to a different hall as most buildings will close. It will be easier for our campus staff to provide dining, cleaning and other services if students live in as few buildings as possible.