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

Fall semester classes will begin Aug. 24 as scheduled, and Winona State will be open and ready to welcome students. Our course delivery plan includes a mix of face-to-face, online, and hybrid instruction.

To help guide our planning for safely reopening our campuses, we have developed a Back-To-Campus Preparedness Plan (PDF). This plan was updated on June 29.

It covers guidance from the State of Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota State system office, and includes information on our campus plan for:

  • health screenings and mask guidelines,
  • respiratory etiquette
  • handwashing
  • physical distancing
  • cleaning and disinfecting practices

As course delivery methods are updated for fall semester, enrolled students will receive an automated email message notifying them that there has been a change to at least one of their registered courses.

To see which courses have been changed and what delivery format is now offered, students should check eServices.


All University COVID-19 Meetings

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

  • July 22
  • Aug. 5
  • Aug. 19

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

Watch the recordings of the past all-university meetings:


Housing & Residence Life for Fall 2020

WSU Residence Halls plan to be open for fall semester. In accordance with CDC, Minnesota Department of Health, and Minnesota State system guidelines, the following changes have been made for 2020-2021.

All double rooms in our traditional residence halls have been converted to single-occupancy rooms for 2020-2021. This is being done with no additional cost to the student.

Halls include:

  • Sheehan
  • Prentiss-Lucas
  • Richards
  • Conway
  • Morey-Shepard
  • Maria
  • Lourdes
  • Prentiss-Lucas

Kirkland-Haake and East Lake Apartments will remain as 4-person units.

We understand many students were looking forward to having a traditional “roommate experience”. Our Residence Life staff is working hard to provide opportunities for students to meet people and make friends, while practicing social distancing.


CARES Act Update:

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

Winona State University was given these funds to provide additional emergency grants to students experiencing financial hardship as a result of disruptions due to COVID-19. WSU was able to help many students by utilizing these funds.

The grant funds given to WSU have now been depleted and we will no longer be taking applications for these funds.

Thank you to all who had submitted an application for this emergency grant. If you are still experiencing financial hardship, please refer to WSU's Coronavirus Health Alerts FAQ section (bottom of the webpage) for a list of resources.


General Campus Updates

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.


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.


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.

Our Fall Semester course delivery plan includes a mix of face-to-face, online and hybrid instruction.

About half of classes will be online. Some sections will be taught at a specified time and day (synchronous delivery), and other sections will allow students to complete course content when they choose to do so (asynchronous delivery).

About a quarter of classes will be a hybrid delivery with both online and in-person components.

Face-to-face instruction will be available for 18% of course sections. All classrooms will be set up to provide adequate social distancing, and students and faculty will be required to wear masks when not speaking.

Alternative formats for labs and lectures will make up 6% of courses offered and another 3% of classes will be mostly online delivery.

This mix of course delivery methods gives students a great deal of flexibility to choose which type of class instruction works best for their needs.

We recognize that some students may not want to return to campus even though there will be social distancing measures and cleaning protocols in place.

Meanwhile others are excited to get back to face-to-face instruction, participate in campus activities and live in Winona.

WSU will hold in-person classes, support services and other activities given that the following conditions are in place:

  • Those classes and services cannot be provided through a distance learning model
  • The group size is no larger than 10 (including instructors)
  • Institutions establish and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan

There may be some exceptions to the 10-person limit for classes and activities that are critical requirements so that students in their final term can complete their degree program.

These exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Students, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to wear cloth face-coverings when they are on campus.

WSU is planning to distribute cloth face masks to all students, faculty and staff in the coming weeks.

Everyone is expected to follow social distancing guidelines on campus and maintain regular hygiene practices to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19.


Masks are Required in Face-to-Face Classes

Both students and faculty will be required to wear masks in the classroom when not speaking.

Students and faculty in internships, clinical, and other experiential learning settings may have to take additional respiratory precautions based on the specific setting, practice, and host site guidelines and expectations.


Masks are Not Yet Required in Other Areas of Campus

After consulting with local public health official and student and employee groups, President Olson may choose to require people to wear face-coverings on campus.

There is no statewide directive or policy from Minnesota Management and Budget nor Minnesota State requiring students, employees and others the wear of cloth face coverings while on campus.

Both the Winona and Rochester campus plan to open back up for Fall 2020.

However, there will be measures in place to ensure proper social distancing-- particularly in academic buildings, residence halls and dining locations.

Both residential dining halls will be open for service during the school year. We're also planning to open retail areas in Kryzsko Commons, Somsen Hall and Krueger Library including:

  • Zane’s (includes Panda Express, Starbucks, Burger 507, Sono, Freshens and SushiDo)
  • Somsen Café
  • Einstein's Coffee & Bagel

The WSU Fitness Center will be open, as will the Kruger Library and offices for student support services.

The WSU Children's Center is expected to re-open in August.

The NCAA, Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, and Winona State Athletics continue to monitor and work through logistics for fall intercollegiate sport competition.

Warrior Athletic staff are anticipating that on-campus recruiting and voluntary summer workouts will resume in mid-June. Fall sports competition schedules have been adjusted to meet the new NCAA standards, and are available on our website. Please check schedule pages often for updates as they occur.

The NCAA and NSIC will have guidelines on fall practice start dates by July 1. Classes are scheduled to resume at WSU on August 24 as originally planned, we are preparing for fall sports to return in mid-August. Specific dates for each sport will be announced by July 1.

All June summer camps conducted by Winona State athletic programs are canceled. Warrior Athletics are still hoping that some camps in July will be available. Athletic offices remain closed at this time, but all athletic staff is available by email; visit our department website for the Warrior Athletics staff page.

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

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).

Out-of-State Travel

All group travel using university funds, such as student clubs/organizations and athletic teams, to locations outside of Minnesota is suspended indefinitely.

Also, any travel where college or university resources would be spent on travel or attendance is suspended indefinitely.

This decision was handed down by the Minnesota State system chancellor, Devinder Malhotra.

 

Faculty-Led Programs (Travel Study) & Semester Study Abroad

All international and domestic WSU-sponsored study away programs are suspended until Spring Break 2021 (March 8-12).

In addition to the Chancellor’s travel suspension, the U.S. State Department Level 4 Global Do Not Travel advisory remains in place.

Even if these restrictions were lifted or modified, health and safety is difficult to manage given the realities of group travel, such as the challenges to physical distancing while in a group.

We will continue to monitor guidance from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US Department of State, as well as travel industry and international education leaders.

We will make a decision by Dec. 1, 2020 if it becomes necessary to postpone or cancel group travel planned for Spring Break 2021 and after.

If the Chancellor lifts the travel restriction, Spring semester study abroad may be possible depending on entry requirements or restrictions of other countries.

For more information, contact the Study Abroad office at studyabroad@winona.edu.

Out-of-State Travel

All domestic and international travel outside of Minnesota for purposes related to college, university, and Minnesota State system official business has been suspended indefinitely. This includes:

  • Any travel where college or university resources would be spent on travel or attendance
  • Any travel where an employee would be on paid status during the event or session
  • Any group travel using university funds, such as student clubs/organizations, athletic teams, and short-term faculty-led programs

This decision was handed down by the Minnesota State system chancellor, Devinder Malhotra.

 

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?

Trave-related purchases made by WSU will be fully replenished to the respective cost centers that paid for the expenses. Cash refunds were obtained where possible or WSU was issued transferable transportation vouchers for future travel.

The University is accepting the rest as COVID loss.

Once the restriction for out of state travel is lifted, please contact the Travel Office to book airfare or train tickets to use the transferrable vouchers and minimize overall University loss.

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.