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 return 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.

People

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

 

What’s in This Section

Places

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.

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.

Healthcare & Testing

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.

 

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 this 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.

 

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.

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Protect Others

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

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Stop the Spread

By each of us starting to quarantine at the first sign of symptoms, 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

Masks are an essential yet easy practice to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. All students, employees and visitors are expected to have a mask on their person any time they are on WSU property.

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.

Required

All students, faculty, staff, and visitors (including contractors, service providers, vendors, and suppliers) are required to use a cloth face covering to cover both the nose and mouth at all times when on any WSU campus or property.

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.

Optional

There are exceptions to the WSU mask requirement when you are:

  • Outdoors, if you can keep the appropriate physical distance from others
  • Eating or drinking, if you can keep the appropriate physical distance from others
  • In your own apartment or residence hall room
  • Alone in an office, study area, or other private space where it is unlikely you will encounter others
  • Alone in a motor vehicle or utility vehicle used for university business

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.

Recommended

Face coverings are also strongly recommended when conducting any university business regardless of location.

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).

What Types of Face Coverings Can I Use?

A mask made with 3 layers of cloth is recommended by the World Health Organization. Ideally, a cloth mask would have an outer layer of polyester, a nylon layer in the middle, and a cotton inner layer.

A 2-layer mask with a filter is also appropriate.

A cone-shaped mask with a nose wire will provide the best fit for your face. This can provide more effective protection.

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.

Travel

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 until Spring Break 2021 (March 8-12).

We will make a decision by Dec. 1, 2020 if it becomes necessary to postpone or cancel group travel planned for Spring Break 2021 and after.

For more information, contact the Study Abroad office at studyabroad@winona.edu.

Clubs & Athletics

All groups using university funds to travel outside of Minnesota is suspended indefinitely.

This includes travel for student clubs and athletic teams.

Faculty & Staff Travel

All domestic and international travel outside of Minnesota for purposes related to university and Minnesota State system official business has been suspended indefinitely.

This includes:

  • Any travel where college or university resources would be spent on travel or attendance
  • Any travel where an employee would be on paid status during the event or session
  • Any group travel using university funds, such as student clubs/organizations, athletic teams, and short-term faculty-led programs

Personal Travel

WSU is not recommending recreational travel or holiday travel outside your local community.

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

You are encouraged to report your recent travel outside of Minnesota.

What Happens When Someone Gets Sick?

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 be sick?

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 if you feel unwell.

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

Students

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 will be 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.

A Positive COVID-19 Diagnosis

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

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

A public health worker 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.

Self-Isolation vs. Quarantine

Quarantine is a 14-day period of time when a person exposed to COVID-19 stays home to avoid getting other people sick.

Self-isolation is a period of time when a sick person stays home and separates themselves from others, including people in their household.

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

 

I have symptoms of COVID-19.

You should be begin to self-isolate for 10+ days since the symptoms started and until you are fever free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication.

You should also get tested for COVID-19. Be sure to call Ask-a-Nurse at 507.457.2292 or your local healthcare provider ahead of time to make an appointment.

I was in quarantine, and now I have developed symptoms.

You should be begin to self-isolate for 10+ days since the symptoms started and until you are fever free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication.

You should also get tested for COVID-19. Be sure to call Ask-a-Nurse at 507.457.2292 or your local healthcare provider ahead of time to make an appointment.

I don't have symptoms, but I have been in close contact with someone who has symptoms.

Yes, you should quarantine for 14 days and monitor your symptoms. It may take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear after you’ve been exposed.

I don't have symptoms and I haven't been in close contact with someone who is showing symptoms.

You do not have to quarantine. You should continue wearing a mask, keep physical distance from others and wash your hands frequently.

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 Testing

 

 

Who

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.

 

Where

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

Employees should find a local testing facility.

When

Health & Wellness Services has COVID-19 testing available to WSU students from 12-2pm 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.

Cost

Most health insurance plans cover COVID-19 testing.

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

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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 – and 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 just received a positive test. How can I get tested?

Please begin quarantining from 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 a coworker 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 recommend 14 days quarantine and recommended 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?

Asymptomatic testing is currently not recommended by MDH. So, WSU is only doing testing for those who are symptomatic or have been exposed to a positive case.

We do appreciate your caution, but we recommend that you quarantine and avoid interacting people in person unless absolutely necessary if you have any concerns.

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 COVID contact even if you get a negative result.

If you get a positive, 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.

Limited Return after Thanksgiving Break

After Thanksgiving Break (Nov. 26-29), the majority of courses will move online. Courses moved online will remain online through the end of Finals Week (Dec. 7-10). This action is consistent with the resolution passed by the Student Senate on Oct. 6.

Courses with necessary in-person activities (such as Labs, Performances, Field Experiences, Clinicals, and Practicums) are exempt from moving online. This is because these types of courses may require students to be on-campus to have the best possible learning experience.

See which courses will be held face-to-face after Thanksgiving Break. This is an evolving list, so check back often.

Residence Halls and other on-campus facilities and services will remain open and available after Thanksgiving Break.

Additional information will be shared as the details of this plan are finalized.

Changes to Spring Semester Academic Calendar

As part of our ongoing efforts to keep our community safe and reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, WSU is making the following adjustments to the Spring Academic Calendar.

Spring semester classes will begin as scheduled Jan. 11.

Instead of a week-long Spring Break in March, we will schedule three non-class Break Days and Finals Week will be moved up one week to April 26-29.

Non-class Break Days are scheduled for:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 10
  • Tuesday, March 9
  • Wednesday, March 31

There may be exceptions for graduate level courses, clinicals, field experiences, internships, and practicums. These will be arranged by individual colleges.

The official spring semester will conclude as scheduled on Commencement Day—May 7, 2021.

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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 measures including masks.

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.

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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.

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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.

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: Yellow

Yellow status triggers the kinds of safety measures we have already taken on our campus:

  • Required face coverings
  • Required daily screenings for all students, employees and visitors
  • Physical distancing in classrooms, dining centers, residence halls and other areas on campus
  • Mixed in-person, hybrid, and online course delivery
  • Limited on-campus events

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.

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.