10 videos guide a university’s COVID response
A series of homemade videos is guiding students at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is maintaining the safest possible environment this semester.
The series, created by professor of immunology Brian Merkel, covers a range of topics, including why young people should remain vigilant about the virus, the science of vaccines and the reasons for getting a flu shot.
The videos, which are also meant to dispel myths and rumors about the pandemic, appear to be having an impact.
The university’s COVID dashboard shows a positivity rate of 0.87%, out of about 5,400 tests since the beginning of September. About 7,600 students are enrolled at the university’s four locations.
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Students are tested weekly in groups based on the buildings they live in. This gives the university a better chance at containing an outbreak if an infection is detected, says Sheryl Van Gruensven, the chief business officer and senior vice chancellor for institutional strategy.
“Right now we have an extremely low positivity rate on our campuses,” Van Gruensven says.
“In terms of classes, we will follow a similar strategy for the spring semester as we did this fall,” she says. “We will determine which courses will be taught in-person with physical distancing based on their subject matter, prioritizing those that are a better fit for in-person instruction.”
Also, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay‘s Phoenix mascot has been wearing a mask this year to promote the 3 W’s: wash your hands, wear a mask and watch your distance.
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The university has also set up contract tracing, stressed dining delivery, required appointments for tutoring and other academic services, and de-densified housing.
The campus is separated from large gathering temptations,Van Gruensven says.
“We do not have bars close by to walk to or private student housing complexes near the campus,” Van Gruensven says. “We have created, in essence, our own bubble where students feel safe and students, faculty and staff are accountable to each other.