Email to Students – August 9, 2021
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new recommendation that even fully vaccinated individuals should wear face masks in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high community transmission of COVID-19. Due to the increasing spread of COVID/Delta in our 5-county service district and the unknown rates among our potential student demographics, the following updates are being implemented effective Tuesday, August 10:
- Everyone will be required to wear facial masks indoors at all college facilities regardless of vaccination status. Masks must cover the nose and mouth. Individuals should put their masks on before entering any college facility. You may remove your mask to eat/drink. Students requesting an accommodation to the mask requirement due to a documented disability should contact Chris Bowers (Email Chris). We are confident masks provide additional protection against the spread of COVID-19.
- As the start of the fall semester approaches, greeters will be stationed at busier entrances to welcome you to campus, hand out masks, and provide COVID-19 information and resources.
- Vaccinations are the most powerful tool we have available to let us come back together as a college and community, and the surest way to avoid setbacks like this latest return to face masks. We are fortunate that vaccinations are readily available in our community to individuals who are 12 or older. You can find information about where and how to receive a COVID-19 vaccination at the Wisconsin DHS website. We will create a system allowing Southwest Tech students and employees to voluntarily provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status. Individual information will be kept strictly confidential. Actual vaccination rates/numbers will help us better assess the level of risk or safety related to COVID-19 on our campus. Our college vaccination data will drive future decision-making as to whether further risk mitigation strategies will be needed. Additional information on how to upload or provide consent to obtain your vaccination status will be coming soon. Vaccines continue to demonstrate their effectiveness at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Masks continue to offer the best path for us to control the spread while on campus.
- Resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Please also keep in mind:
- The College will remain open for in-person learning and services. Previous social distancing protocols are not being reinstituted at this time. Please be mindful and respectful of the space of others. If you are concerned about the safety of your learning space, please communicate your concerns with your instructor or by emailing email@example.com.
- Enhanced cleaning protocols that are Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliant will remain in place. We previously increased the air turnover rate and will be installing new filters with increased effectiveness. “Fogging,” a form of intense disinfecting sanitization, will continue as well. If you see a custodian on campus, please thank them for their efforts. Their work truly keeps us healthier.
- If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or have tested positive for COVID-19, please do the following:
- Stay home
- Report your encounter using the online form. Identify in the report any recent campus contacts. (I was in class on (date), held in room (number)
- Please report it to your instructor and a member of the Student Notification Team consisting of Brian Kitelinger, Safety Coordinator (Email 608.822.2376); Dan Imhoff, ExecutiveDirector of Facilities, Safety, and Security (Email 608.822.2401); or Holly Clendenen, Chief Student Services Officer (Email 608.822.2362).
We are working quickly to update the College COVID-19 website and our existing resources with this guidance and information. In addition, we will continue to provide more details on any further adjustments or changes to our operations and policies. If you have questions about any of these new changes, you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org. Your questions and concerns will be read and responded to promptly.
We have been fortunate that changes in recent months have been toward fewer restrictions and, at the same time, recognize the need to make a few changes now to hopefully avoid more dramatic interventions later. While we hope you stay safe from COVID, we are aware that “COVID Fatigue” is also taking a toll. Our caring faculty and staff are here to help and encourage you to seek the assistance of Gina Trollop, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Mental Health Counselor on campus as you need. All current students are eligible for confidential, no-cost counseling sessions. Please contact Gina by scheduling a meeting or calling 608-822-2357, or emailing Gina.
We all play a role in extending kindness, empathy, and trust as we begin a new school year. You can read the email attachment that Southwest Tech President Jason S. Wood, Ph.D., sent to faculty and staff.
Thank you all for continuing to make choices that protect the health and well-being of our entire community. We are grateful you are students at Southwest Tech.
Executive Director of Marketing and Public Information Officer