Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health Alerts

This website provides the latest information about Winona State University’s actions to respond to the spread of COVID-19, also called novel coronavirus. It will be updated as new information is available.

If you have questions about COVID-19 that are not addressed here, you can reach out via email: covid19-info@winona.edu.

This is a rapidly evolving situation. The most up-to-date information can be found through the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Latest Updates

Updates on Fall 2020

At this time, we do not have direction on what Fall semester provisions will be in place. All options are possible, ranging from all online to at or near normal.

Our decision on what the Fall semester will look like is bound to both the Governor’s mandates and the Minnesota State Colleges and University system guidelines.

There is a Fall Classroom Instruction Options Action Group currently meeting to examine all possible scenarios that will provide further information about what fall will look like, from course delivery to student services to housing and residence life.

There are several COVID-19 forums scheduled at 2pm on the following dates: 

  • June 3
  • July 22
  • Aug. 5
  • Aug. 19

Questions and concerns can be submitted in advance to covid19-info@winona.edu.


General Campus Updates

WSU received funding through the CARES Act and is distributing emergency grants to students. Learn more about the CARES Act at WSU.

The WSU campus is closed to the public, and students have access to only the first floor of Krueger Library and the Warrior Cupboard.

The WSU-Rochester/RCTC campus has modified hours.

There will no registration holds placed on student accounts with an unpaid balance of $1,000 or less. Students will be able to register for Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 courses.

For previous updates, see WSU Campus Messages on COVID-19.


WSU-Rochester at RCTC

The WSU-Rochester campus is co-located with Rochester Community and Technical College. See updates on RCTC's response to COVID-19 for info on campus facilities and services.

The RCTC main campus will be open with limited access from 8am-4:30pm from Monday through Friday and closed on weekends.

The only entrance point will be through the Atrium. This entrance will be monitored by RCTC personnel.

Visitors will be asked to show a campus ID or provide an acceptable rationale for visiting before being allowed entry.

All other entrances will be locked. Magnetic card access will be disabled.

RCTC will continue to adjust hours and building access as necessary.


What You Need to Know

There are confirmed cases in Winona according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

The WSU Campus is closed to the public. Students can only access the first floor of Krueger Library and the Warrior Cupboard on a limited schedule.

While students, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to practice social distancing and work remotely, we are still committed to keep learning, keep teaching and keep working as a community.

Current students can still get campus services and support they need including:

Many departments are offering Zoom Rooms and tele-meetings, and all are responding to email and phone calls. Learn more about how departments are changing their hours and services.

The WSU Admissions team is still ready to talk to if you’re thinking about becoming a Warrior.


Health & Wellness Resources

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 physical and mental health


Health Services

The WSU Health Services team is offering telehealth appointments on Monday-Friday from 8am-4pm. On-site medical appointments are available as needed.

Please call ahead at 507.457.5160 to schedule a telehealth appointment or an on-site appointment.

You can call or email the Ask-a-Nurse Message Line at 507.457.2292 or askanurse@winona.edu with health questions at any time.


Counseling Services

The WSU Counseling Services team is offering appointments via Zoom and Microsoft teams. You'll be sent instructions and a meeting link prior to your scheduled appointment.

If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, please email counselingservices@winona.edu or call 507.457.5330. Counseling Services staff will respond within one business day.


Employee Assistance Program

As a WSU employee, you have access to confidential counseling services if you are experiencing significant stress or other life matters that impact your personal well-being.

Contact LifeMatters for more information at 651.259.3840 or 1.800.657.3719 (available any time, any day).


FAQs

As information about COVID-19 continues to change quickly, it can be hard to keep up with the facts and avoid the inevitable rumors. These FAQs answer some of the top questions about how WSU is responding to COVID-19.

FEMA has also supplied a helpful fact check against general COVID-19 rumors gaining steam online.


All University COVID-19 Meetings

Watch the recordings of the all-university meetings for updates on WSU's response to COVID-19.

WSU has formed a COVID-19 Coronavirus Planning and Response Team that is meeting weekly and following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, and Minnesota Department of Health.

Campus leadership is reviewing and actively deploying aspects of the university pandemic plan to ensure that the university community is prepared and protected.

WSU is committed to taking the steps necessary to protect the health and safety of all students and employees.

Learn more about the steps specific departments are taking in response to COVID-19.

While both the Winona and Rochester campuses are open, many departments have modified their operations.

A few notable changes include:

  • Krueger Library: The first floor of the building is open and online services continue 
  • Kryzsko Commons: Closed until further notice
  • Integrated Wellness Center: Fitness Center is closed until further notice
  • Climbing Center: Closed until further notice
  • Children's Center: Closed until further notice

See the full list of departments that are changing their hours and services.

Students living in University housing should log into their Housing Portal for up to date information.

While the residence halls are still open, WSU Housing is encouraging students to:

  • Stay home if you are already home. Please do not return at this time.
  • Return home if you are staying in our halls and please take your essential belongings
  • If you are experiencing a housing hardship, you may remain in the Residence Halls

WSU faculty are working on alternative methods for classes through the remainder of the semester. Once you receive information about your classes, you can determine how you want to handle your housing arrangements for the remainder of the semester.

We realize this is a time of uncertainty and appreciate your patience as we continue to learn more about this situation and adjust our processes.


What's the process for moving out of residence halls?

If students are currently at home, they will need to sign up for an Express Checkout Time. These times are staggered to limit the number of people in any area at a given time.

If students are currently on campus, they should follow the express checkout procedures posted around their residence halls. They do not need to sign up for a specific check out time.

Learn more details about moving out processes for residence halls.


Can students stay in their residence hall?

If you need to remain living in university housing through the end of the semester, you need to submit a Remain in Housing Request via your Housing Portal.

More information will follow by WSU email once your request is submitted.


Will students get a partial refund of Housing & Meal Plan costs?

The Minnesota State System has determined that students who leave campus residence facilities and complete a check-out process will receive refunds for their housing and board costs.

Refunds will be prorated based on an appropriate date selected by WSU. This start date for prorated refunds is still being decided by WSU Administration.

When we have more information regarding refunds, we will communicate that via WSU email and the Housing Portal.

See the full Minnesota State Residential Refund Policy (PDF).

For students who live off-campus and rely on part-time jobs, these are especially challenging times to make ends meet.

If you need help, reach out to these community resources. They are here to help people like you.


Warrior Cupboard

The Warrior Cupboard in IWC 130 is still open for students in need.

Students can request access to the Warrior Cupboard by emailing wellness@winona.edu and include their StarID in the email.

IWC staff can also help students fill out MN SNAP applications and connect them to other services in the community to help with food and housing insecurity.


Winona Volunteer Services

Winona Volunteer Services is providing Emergency Food services. This means there are no income requirements or limits on the times people can request this service.

You can pick up a pre-packed box filled with food items and even personal hygiene items from the WVS office during their open hours.

WVS also offers other assistance programs and referral services.


Winona Resources

Winona Resources is a hub where you can find information about Winona's response to COVID-19 and connect to local support.

You can get connected to resources for food shelves and meals, child care, government and utilities and more.


Great Rivers 211

Great Rivers 211 is a fantastic resource to connect folks to local services and resources. You can connect with a specialist via chat, text or phone call to get help with:

  • unemployment
  • housing support
  • healthcare and health insurance
  • childcare
  • and more

The Minnesota State System has determined that, though the delivery mode of a course and the way services are being delivered have changed, colleges and universities have established a path to allow students to complete spring semester 2020.

Since students will receive credit for completing their courses, there will be no refunds.

See the full Minnesota State Tuition & Fee Refund Policy. (PDF)

All regular season athletic activities have been suspended.

Please visit Warrior Athletics website for more updates.

All-outgoing University-Sponsored Student Travel has been cancelled through Aug. 31.

 

My study abroad program got canceled. Now what?

Though this doesn’t ease feelings of disappointment, the Study Abroad office will work with you closely on next steps. Please contact the Study Abroad office at studyabroad@winona.edu.

What if I’m currently studying abroad?

Students who were currently abroad studying in countries with a US State Department or Centers for Disease Control Advisory Level of 3 have been instructed to return home.

If you are studying in a country with an advisory level of 1 or 2, we recommend you stay in place, as it can be safer than getting on a plane to travel home. If you prefer to return home, please contact the Study Abroad office at studyabroad@winona.edu to discuss your options.

Should the State Department elevate the advisory level in your host country, we will be in touch with further instruction on how to proceed.

Please keep close watch on any correspondence from both WSU and your program on any updates with regard to COVID-19 and safety recommendations.

Email studyabroad@winona.edu to discuss options and any other questions.


Does this impact Fall 2020 study abroad programs?

While WSU study abroad has been cancelled through Aug. 31, a decision has not been made to cancel or suspend fall study abroad.

However, those of you who must leave before Aug. 31 to begin your program should contact the Study Abroad office at studyabroad@winona.edu immediately.

Students planning to study abroad in Fall 2020 are encouraged to continue to work on post-decision materials but to refrain from making any deposits to providers and especially flight arrangements until further advice from the Study Abroad office.

On March 12, Minnesota State suspended all university-related travel outside Minnesota for faculty, staff and students.


Can I return to campus if I've traveled outside the state of Minnesota?

If you have spent time in the last two weeks in a level 2 or 3 country or traveled to a domestic hot spot-- including California, Florida, New York and Washington State-- you must make plans to self-isolate for 14 days immediately upon your return.

Please note the list of high-risk areas is constantly changing. Check the John Hopkins Coronavirus Map for updates. If you are unsure about the status of your recent travel destination, please err on the side of caution and self-isolate.

If you plan to return to campus and have traveled anywhere outside of Minnesota in the last two weeks, please complete the WSU Recent Travel Form before returning.

The data collected will help us be prepared and informed as we make future decisions for the health and safety of our university community. This information will be kept confidential, but may be shared in aggregate form if deemed necessary.

In addition if you plan on returning to work on campus, you must also email your supervisor to inform them of any recent travels and potentially explore options as appropriate for an alternative work arrangement (i.e., staying home, teleworking or staggering work schedules).


How does the suspension impact those traveling to WSU from international locations (Examples: guest speakers, candidates, potential students, family members)?

There is no limit or restriction on those traveling from international locations to WSU.

Travelers will be subject to the protocols in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) depending on where they are coming from.

Students

We are committed to ensuring that students who have been affected by the international travel ban are made whole financially and academically.

Please contact the Study Abroad office at studyabroad@winona.edu for more information.


Faculty & Staff

How do I submit my employee business expense reimbursements while off-campus during the COVID-19 restrictions?

Complete the Employee Expense Report and follow all the instructions. This will route electronically for approval and then to the Business Office for processing.


Can I cancel out of my already-scheduled domestic business trip?

Along with all international travel, all out-of-state business travel for students, faculty and staff has been suspended effective March 16. Work with your supervisor on travel to “border” town communities.


Should we continue to book domestic travel at this time?

In addition to suspended international travel, Minnesota State System has suspended all out of state travel effective March 16.

For in-state travel, please carefully assess, along with supervisors, the conditions of destination communities to consider the potential risks to yourself, participants, fellow students, families and friends.

No domestic or international air travel arrangements will be booked at this time. Information on future travel will be released as it becomes available from the Chancellor’s Office.


What if I have purchased airfare, conference and/or lodging for an already-approved WSU trip?

Airfare purchased by WSU has been canceled for trips approved prior to the travel restrictions. Fees have been waived in most cases and vouchers issued to be used on future WSU travel.

Registration fees paid by WSU have been recovered where possible and credit applied to the cost center that made the initial purchase. Amounts not recovered will be recorded as COVID loss.

If you have questions on past or future travel purchases, contact the Travel Office at travel@winona.edu.


If the University purchased an airline ticket for my travel, can I use that ticket for a personal trip?

Yes, you may reimburse the University for the full cost of the ticket (prior to travel) and use the ticket personally. Work with the Travel Office on this process.


Will my professional development funds be replenished for any non-refundable expenses incurred from a canceled trip?

The University will make every effort to make faculty members and their professional development cost centers whole from the travel ban. Information will be shared as it becomes available.

We encourage students, faculty and staff to practice respiratory (coughing and sneezing) etiquette and hand hygiene.

Those who feel sick are recommended to stay home until they are free of fever, signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants).

Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.


Best Practices to Prevent Getting Sick

  • Wash your hands frequently - Soap and water for at least 20 seconds is best (Soap is better than hand sanitizer, but hand sanitizer is better than nothing)
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands (especially eyes, nose and mouth)
  • Cover your cough or sneeze
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you are sick (faculty, staff and administration will do all that is possible to support and accommodate this)
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Get your flu shot (Health & Wellness Services still has shots available for students)
  • If going on spring break or other travel, be sure to continue using prevention best practices to protect yourself and others. If you’re sick, please reconsider traveling. If you become sick while traveling, isolate yourself upon your return until fever-free for 24 hours and call your health care provider.

If you have other questions, contact WSU Health & Wellness Services’ Ask-A-Nurse message line at 507.457.2292.