UW-Platteville develops a COVID-19 response

Neglecting students in need to clear campus

I told myself not to stress about the ongoing pandemic because “I’ll drive myself crazy with worry”. I’ve reached my breaking point, and it’s not even because I have the virus; it’s because of how the University of Wisconsin-Platteville has neglected to handle the situation with an effective response.
Don’t get me wrong, Platteville is home to me: literally. I love this campus for everything it’s offered me, but it’s let me down. Not only is this my reality, but there are various other students at Platteville who treat this place as their primary residence, staying during breaks and summer. This can be because of conflicting households, dangerous hometowns, job opportunities, foreign exchange programs and so much more.
So, when Platteville’s first response to the stay-at-home orders was to urge students to go home, turning off all access cards for those who already left for what was supposed to be spring break, leaving students remaining on campus wondering where to go, I was disappointed: not only because of my circumstances, but because of all the students who share my situation.
During Spring Break, I continued working both at the Markee Pioneer Student Center and Rountree Commons. When stay-at-home orders ensued, my boss let me go from my Dining Services job. This was my only source of income to pay my remaining tuition bill, considering all the hours I work at Rountree are compensated by housing costs.
I don’t know how I’m going to come up with the rest of the money now. I still don’t understand why the campus couldn’t keep students working who lived off their paychecks because, at the Markee, I had maybe six coworkers remaining on campus. We wouldn’t have been at the risky number of ten.
On top of that, Dining Services is considered essential work. If there are students on campus, they need to be fed. So why did the campus get rid of the workers who need the money the most – the workers who are serving the university for the sole ability to hand over their paychecks for tremendous debt that same university put them in?
Why did the campus send out an email recently listing the National Student Employees of the Week as staff members who were able to keep their jobs, though all students were taken off payroll? Your answer is as good as mine.
Okay, so I lost my job, what about my home?
The emails sent out made it seem as though nobody could remain in residence halls. For a little over a week I was trying to find a place to stay that wasn’t back home and calling places with job openings. Then, an email came in that stated students with ‘extenuating circumstances’ might be able to reside in the halls until the school year is over. I sent in my submission for acceptance and waited.
In those few days where I questioned what the university would say, I thought about all the students who were in the same headspace as me: the university won’t allow anybody to stay, so I need to move out ASAP. I realized so many students had already returned to conflicting home lives, unable to return because their keys were deactivated, and my heart broke.
I got word I was able to remain on campus, so I am here. A friend of mine is in Rountree Commons with me and I have a few friends residing off campus. As for food, meal kits have been offered. I signed up and am being provided with three meals a day. When it comes to paying for the kits, I’ve heard the price $18/day being thrown around, so I told the folks running the program I don’t want to participate if I need to pay. They said I won’t be paying – but I can’t help but feel I’ll come out of this with another bill.
The meal kits are a great idea and are mostly nutritiously sufficient. The recurring issues I’ve been encountering are expired products and improperly sealed containers. I thought it was a one-time fluke, but it’s been happening more and more as the days pass.
Some days I’ll have a meal leaking into the bag, others I’ll receive expired milk. Do they realize they’re giving students expired food? Are these meal kits worth it?
The situation is ongoing and forever progressing, but in my opinion it could’ve be easier had it been handled with order. This piece hasn’t even touched on the ineffective and unreasonable online courses.
The University of Wisconsin-Platteville has failed their students with their inability to form an organized response to COVID-19. During a time of significant stress and worry, the last people who should be worsening it are those who claim to be there for students in the hardest of times. Instead, the hardest of times have just become harder.