After 1 week of classes, UW-Eau Claire deals with COVID-19 on campus

Families were seen Monday moving their students out of dorms at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire after COVID-19 cases were detected on campus and nearly 200 students were put into full quarantine after the first week of classes.

Over the holiday weekend, UW-Eau Claire announced that 69 students tested positive for COVID-19, including 17 on-campus students and 52 students living off-campus. None are hospitalized, the school said.

“This is happening, we’re on top of it, and we have programs in place to manage this,” Warren Anderson, Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Student Affairs, said in a news release.

“We continue to work in coordination with the Eau Claire City-County Health Department,” added Anderson.

Wisconsin-Eau Claire officials said that six of the students who tested positive may have had interactions with other students in their residence hall.

Six residence hall wings went into full quarantine, affecting 184 students who must stay in their rooms for 14 days while on campus.

"It’s a little more somber, everyone is kind of nervous,” said Faith Forstad, a UW-Eau Claire student who lives on a floor below one that is in quarantine. “It’s a little different than you’d expect your freshman experience to be like, for sure."

Outside a dorm on Monday, Breta Lee was loading up her vehicle to bring her daughter back home after only one-and-a-half weeks on campus to quarantine at home.

"I guess it’s the best decision for our family," said Lee, who learned over the weekend that her daughter’s floor was in quarantine. "If she can be home and be safe, and still continue with her academics, that’s what we’d prefer."

Wisconsin-Eau Claire officials said students are required to type in their health symptoms daily into a special app to look for signs of COVID-19.

The university plans to launch a COVID-19 data portal later this week to show testing and case numbers on campus.