Frequently Asked Questions | Western Technical College

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated March 16, 2021

Common questions and answers related to Western's response to COVID-19 are below. Please check back regularly as this page will be updated as new information becomes available.

What is the current status of Western campuses? 

Starting Monday, March 22, Western will transition to the Medium Risk Phase of our Return to Campus Plan. Most Spring term classes will continue in an online or alternative delivery format and classes that require face-to-face training or instruction are being offered with reduced class sizes to allow for social distancing. 

The Medium Risk Phase allows for additional in-person student services. You're encouraged to call ahead and make an appointment before coming on campus. Check Student Support Services for a list of services and links to pages with specific hours, formats, and contact information. Safety measures, including daily health screening, face masks, and social distancing will continue to be required. See Western Building Access for details.  


Are there computer labs available on campus for me to use?

The Main La Crosse Campus and Regional Locations in Black River Falls, Independence, Mauston, Tomah, and Viroqua will have computer labs available for a limited number of students to use to access online Western classes and services. See the Computer Labs or Regional Locations pages for lab locations and available hours.


When will classes be back in person?

We are scheduling classes for Summer 2021 term anticipating we will be in the Medium Risk category of our Phased Return to Campus, with face-to-face programming and services based on space capacity and ventilation. Significant safety measures, such as masking and social distancing, will still be required.

Fall 2021 term classes will be scheduled anticipating we will be in the Low Risk category, which may allow for face-to-face programming and services with fewer safety measures.


How is Western addressing COVID-19?

Our plans have been made with your health and safety in mind. Western remains fully operational either remotely or with limited in-person services.

You can schedule appointments with support services such as Advising, Access Services, Career Services, Counseling and Case Management Services, Financial aid, Learning Commons/Library, Tutoring, Multicultural Center, Student Life Office, and Veteran Military Center. Visit Student Support Services for contact information.

The course schedules are designed to offer you options and ensure your health and safety either remotely, in-person, or a blend of the two. Any classes on campus must follow safety precautions, including daily health screening, use of face masks, and social distancing of 6 feet or more. 

How will I know what format my classes will be?

Your MyWestern Student Portal has the most up-to-date information available for course format. You can check the class format when registering for classes. Once registered, you can confirm the format following the instructions below.

To check your class formats:

  1. Log in to your MyWestern Student Portal
  2. Under My Links, to the right, click on Self Service
  3. On the red tabs at the top, click on Classes
  4. Click Schedule
  5. Click Student Schedule
  6. Click on the name of each class
  7. Within the course description, you will see the Delivery Method

I don’t know if I can take remote classes successfully.  Will you have resources available for me?

Western is 100% committed to ensuring you have the support you need to be successful in a remote learning environment. We can help with everything from Access Services and Military Connected Services to Technology Support. Our instructors are personally committed to your success in the online learning environment.

Prior to beginning classes, Western requires a Student Readiness Training for online, hybrid, and blended courses. This training will help prepare you for these formats.


What are the health and safety protocols I will need to follow when I come to campus?

If you will be coming on campus we have Screening Checkpoints at designated building entrances where you will be asked to complete a health questionnaire. Face masks and social distancing of at least 6 feet will be required. If you will be using our student services, you are encouraged to make an appointment before coming on campus. Check Student Support Services for a list of services and links to pages with specific hours, formats, and contact information for each area.


Will I be required to complete screening each day?

Yes, everyone who comes to campus will be required to complete the COVID-19 Screening Procedure once per day, prior to entering a building. If you have questions, please contact the COVID Call Line at 608-789-6262 or email COVID19@westerntc.edu.


Do I have to wear a mask?

Everyone on campus must wear a proper face mask when in proximity to others. Masks are helpful in reducing viral spread because they capture larger respiratory droplets and keep fine or even aerosol (lighter, smaller) virus particles from spreading by reducing the distance exhaled breaths, coughs, or sneezes travel. (Note that face shields alone are not an adequate replacement for face masks.)

If you have a condition which makes wearing a mask difficult, you can request an accommodation through our Access Services department. Contact Kris Follansbee at follansbeek@westerntc.edu.


Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

 The COVID-19 Vaccine is an important step in protecting yourself and others from getting COVID-19. It’s also important to note that the vaccine will not replace the need to continue other actions that stop the spread of COVID-19, including face masks, social distancing, and hand washing. This is especially true while counties are still in the process of administering the vaccine, which may take several months.

We encourage everyone who is eligible to get the vaccinations as soon as they are able. Below are links to resources that provide more information about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

La Crosse County

Please also check the website of your county of residence.


How will the college communicate with me? 

Western is committed to timely, accurate and honest communication to our entire community. Our latest updates will be sent via email and posted on our website pages devoted to COVID-19 updates or follow news updates we provide on our official FacebookTwitter, and Instagram accounts. 

Employees may also find updates relevant to their work on Western’s intranet site


How do I get my books?

The Campus Shop bookstore is open daily to a limited number of customers, and is also offering online ordering and pick-up options. Visit the Campus Shop website for more information.


Is food service available on the La Crosse campus?

Yes, the Union Market will be open for breakfast and lunch. Staff will be following guidance from the CDC and La Crosse County Health Department to prioritize the health and safety of employees and guests. For more information, including menus and hours, visit www.theunionmarket.com.


What if I experience or observe harassment or discrimination? 

Western is committed to providing a safe space for all students, employees and staff. Prejudiced behavior violates our values and our policies, and should be reported. If you experience or observe harassment or discrimination, Western’s Harassment and Nondiscrimination Policy outlines how to address and report these types of unacceptable incidents. 


I work to pay for college, but I lost my job due to COVID-19. How can the college help me stay in school?

If you are experiencing financial challenges due to COVID-19, you can apply for assistance through CARES Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.   


How do I get access to Wi-Fi and a computer to take online courses?

If you are a currently registered student, Western is providing access to free wireless access points in several parking lots. See Wi-Fi Locations for details. The college is also loaning laptops to qualifying students free of charge. Contact your College Advisor for more information on our laptop rental options.

Additionally, the Main La Crosse Campus and our Regional Locations have computer labs available for a limited number of students to use for coursework and other student service-related support. Masks and physical distancing will be required. For available hours, visit the Computer Labs or Regional Locations web pages.


Will my tuition change due to COVID-19?

Western’s tuition is set by the Wisconsin Technical College System state board, so we do not have local control over tuition rates. We don’t anticipate that the System will make any alternation to tuition at this time.

Western has made many accommodations to assist students, however. We understand the potential financial hardships, not to mention the emotional stress that has been caused.

To date, our response includes:

  • Waiving the application fee for the summer and fall 2020, as well as the spring, summer, and fall 2021 terms
  • Promoting our Student Emergency Fund and seeking additional donations
  • Coordinating special COVID-19 federal student funding 
  • Allowing qualifying students to check out laptops for the term, free of charge
  • Waiving the parking permit requirement for fall term for those who come to campus for any reason

I think I may have COVID. What do I do?

We have created a symptom chart found here. If you are experiencing symptoms or have concerns about already being exposed, please:

  1. Stay home.
  2. Contact your healthcare provider.
  3. Students notify your instructor, employees notify your supervisor.
  4. Fill out the COVID-19 Self-Reporting Form and a staff member will contact you within 24 hours to obtain additional information and offer assistance.

For questions or concerns related to Western’s COVID-19 precautions and preventative measures, contact the COVID-19 Monitoring Team at covid19@westerntc.edu.


What happens if I have to miss classes due to having COVID or being exposed?

As part of Western’s ongoing safety measures, students and staff with COVID-19 symptoms or exposure are asked not to come to campus. We realize this precaution can impact class attendance. With that in mind, we have implemented a Temporary Excused Absence Policy that will be in place through September 1, 2021. In summary, it expands a current policy to include COVID-related absences as accepted circumstances for missing class without penalty, provided qualifications are met.


Who do I contact at Western for general help?

If you’re new to Western, an Admissions Coach can help you get started. If you’re already registered for classes, your College Advisor is always a good place to start. If you’re unsure where to direct your questions, call our main number 608-785-9200 for assistance.

Regular business hours: Monday-Thursday 8:00-4:30, Friday 8:00-4:00.

CONTACT US

Have questions or concerns related to Western’s COVID-19 precautions and preventive measures? Contact Western's COVID-19 Monitoring Team: