On October 5, UW-Platteville’s Academic Staff Senate met on Zoom to discuss the spring schedule, administrative updates and COVID-19 concerns. New information on sustainability projects, communication of testing results and COVID dashboard were addressed.
“The [Univeristy of Wisconsin] system would like us to be much higher in testing than we are right now,” said Paul Erickson, Director of Communications, in regards to COVID-19 testing.
Tyler Tollefson, the Higher Education Media Specialist, said, “The push now is to increase student testing … It’s free, it’s easy, it’s not nearly as daunting as it used to be.”
It has come to the Senate’s attention that many people do not know how to make appointments for COVID-19 testing.
Students and staff can register online from the UW-Platteville News website by navigating to the “Update Coronavirus” section by clicking “UW-Platteville Main Campus COVID Testing Sign-Up” under “Resources,” or simply by googling “UW-Platteville COVID testing” and going to the SignUpGenius link.
Some of UW-Platteville’s faculty is concerned due to a lack of communication from students on positive tests since a few instances of this have already occurred.
The university cannot look at a student’s health records due to FERPA privacy laws. Therefore, the university does not know which individuals test positive, only the quantity of positive results.
This is also a risk if students neglect to inform their professors on positive tests.
“If a face-to-face or hybrid blended student [tests positive] basically the focus is on them to stay away and report to the faculty member,” said Tyler Tollefson.
He continues on to explain that the Pioneer Promise does not explicitly say that they must report positive test results. However, it does say students will “treat my peers, faculty and staff with respect, and I will not participate, promote or allow my own bias to impede the access and opportunity of others in my Pioneer Community.”
UW-Platteville currently has “an average and manageable number of positive cases,” according to Paul Erickson. The isolation units can hold 250 people and are at 10% capacity currently. UW-Platteville’s dashboard has “been updated to be as transparent as possible with new data,” said Erickson.
This is mainly targeted at the new additions of active cases for the previous ten days and current positive tests per day that the COVID-19 operations team has incorporated, in addition to the total tests given, total positive tests and two graphs (one external, one on campus) of tests given on each date.
In other news, the Sustainability Coordinator, Amy Seeboth-Wilson, worked with the Governor’s Office and the Sustainability Office, and UW-Platteville has been approved for a solar array panel field near Memorial Park, which will hopefully begin construction in early spring and be done by late summer.
More information will be released soon on how this will help the university in regards to university energy usage and costs.
As of now, the office is considering whether there will be a student research or learning opportunity here. However, there will be a Learning Living Lab for the solar panels on the roof of Sesquicentennial Hall, which is currently still under construction but on schedule, according to the university’s Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services, Paige Smith.
UW-Platteville’s Provost, Tammy Evetovich, addressed the spring schedule.
Currently there is a normal start date and normal calendar. However, as they look at how things might change in the next couple of weeks, the decision on the start time and whether there will be a spring break or not, to prevent students and staff bringing COVID-19 back onto campus or to their hometowns, will be called back into consideration.