Western Technical College Communications | Western Technical College

Western Technical College Communications

Updated September 14, 2020

Western President Roger Stanford, the Dean of Students Shelley McNeely, and members of college leadership, have issued the following statements regarding coronavirus.

In the event of an emergency such as a campus closure, students and staff will receive alerts via email, through the use of our RAVE emergency notification system, and through updates on the college website.

View our college statements below.

COVID-19 Dashboard – Monday, September 14, 2020

Western Community,

There has been much attention given to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases over the past week. We would like to assure you that we continue to monitor the situation, track our cases, and conduct contact tracing as needed. We have taken a more conservative approach than many other institutions of higher education and remain confident that the precautions we have in place and our Phased Return to Campus plan are the best course of action to minimize the spread.

Last week, we told you about two positive cases impacting our campuses. To provide ongoing updates on these numbers, we have added a COVID-19 Dashboard to our website that shows the current active positive cases. This information will be updated every Wednesday afternoon.

Also on this dashboard is our overall communications plan for COVID positive cases, including how you will be notified if you are considered a close contact to a positive case, how we notify the college community of clusters of cases, and when we would consider closing a building or campus. There are also definitions of commonly used terms.

The temperature screening, daily health assessment, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and social distancing requirements we have in place greatly reduce the potential spread of the virus. If you are wearing a mask and are not within 6 feet of someone for more than 15 minutes (cumulative), you are not considered a close contact.

Mask up, Wash Up, Stay Apart. Let’s continue to follow these precautions on and off campus and keep our numbers down!

If you have any questions or concerns about our response to COVID-19, please contact us at COVID19@westerntc.edu or 608-789-6262. Our website www.westerntc.edu/coronavirus is another great resource for the latest information.

Thank you for your continued support,

The COVID-19 Monitoring Team

Things to Know for Your First Day of Classes – Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Hello Students!

Fall classes start Tuesday, Sept. 8 – We’re so excited to get the term underway! Many students will be attending classes online or in an alternative format, while some have courses that require in-person instruction. No matter the format, Western has made every effort to prioritize safety and ensure that you receive high-quality education and support.

Whether or not you are coming to campus, there is important information on Western’s website www.westerntc.edu/coronavirus about our Phased Return to Campus plan, our current precautions, and many helpful resources, including a Frequently Asked Questions section.

Here are a few important things to know for all students:

  • Support services (such as advising, counseling, financial aid, learning commons, etc.) are available over the phone or in an online format. Go to Student Support Services for more information.
  • The Campus Shop bookstore will be open during regular business hours with a limit of five customers at a time. Visit the Campus Shop website for details.
  • Wireless internet service is offered for free in designated parking lots.
  • Computer labs are open in La Crosse and the Regional Locations for a limited number of students to access online classes and support services. For a list of locations and hours, see the Computer Labs web page.
  • Additionally, laptops and technology are available for check out to qualifying students. Let your College Advisor know if access to technology is a hardship for you.

If you are coming to campus:

  • Western employees will be stationed around campus for the first two weeks of the term to answer questions, provide directions, and assist with the screening process to enter buildings. Look for employees wearing Western apparel or employee name tags.
  • Parking permits are not required in Western lots for the fall term.
  • Welcome Center and Student Services areas are not available for walk-ins at this time. Visit Student Support Services for contact information.
  • Face masks are required to enter any Western buildings.
  • Students and employees are required to complete a screening process each day prior to entering any Western facility. Please allow time to complete this process and still get to class on time. See Screening Procedures for more information.
  • Our Interactive Campus Map can help you find your building/location. Click on the building/location to find more information, including designated entrances and screening station locations.
  • The Union Market on the La Crosse main campus will be open for breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday with limited seating available. Visit www.theunionmarket.com for details.

If you still have questions or concerns, please connect with your advisor.

Thank you again for choosing Western.

Phased Return to Campus – Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Fall 2020 at Western will be like no other before it. Maybe you’re getting used to that feeling. Maybe it is giving you anxiety. No matter how you are approaching this new phase, know that Western is here, and we are prepared to provide you with the essential experience. Not just by meeting your academic needs, but by providing you with updates on what to expect, supports to help you be successful at each step, and what we call “first-choice service” across all formats.

COVID-19 continues to impact nearly every facet of our lives. While there have been changes in our state and county guidance, we are confident that Western’s Phased Return to Campus prioritizes safety, takes appropriate precautions, and follows the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.

We are currently in Phase 1, and we anticipate staying in this phase through the fall term, particularly as it relates to class formats and size restrictions – unless, of course, there are unforeseen complications with virus spread on campus. The reason we plan to stay in this phase for class format is to avoid any unnecessary scheduling challenges or disruptions in the middle of a term that could impact your success.

What you can expect for fall is that there will be fewer students on our campuses. Currently, only 36% of fall classes will require some type of in-person instruction, the rest will be using alternative methods. Our student services will continue to be offered in a virtual format, so you are encouraged to check the Student Support Services web page for current hours and contact information. And, remember, if you are required to come to campus, you will need to follow our screening, masking, and social distancing precautions found on our Western Building Access web page.

Thank you for trusting us with your education at this time. Western is approaching this situation as an opportunity to “return to better.” And, we look forward to serving you through all phases of this return.

Sincerely,

Roger J. Stanford, PhD
President

Fall Parking Update – Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Western’s Parking Committee would like to share an update to campus parking as we head into the Fall Term.

Due to the extenuating circumstances surrounding COVID-19, Western has decided to waive the parking permit requirement for students and employees for the Fall Term. Given that the majority of classes will be offered in alternative formats, parking demand will be much lower this fall than in years past. This can also help ease the financial burden during what has been a stressful time for many.

Please note that this is just for parking in Western’s main La Crosse campus parking lots and does not impact street parking, which is regulated by the City of La Crosse. It also does not apply to parking in the Health Science Center lot regulated by UW-La Crosse. Permits are not standard practice for regional locations, the Apprenticeship Center, or the Vehicle Technology Center. Parking enforcement still applies to overnight parking restrictions, handicapped spaces, and approved stalls.

A determination on parking for the Spring Term will be made some time before October and will depend on the continuing impacts of the pandemic.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Wade Hackbarth
Vice President
Finance and Operations

Self-Screening Stations Added On Campus – Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Tomorrow (Wednesday, July 29), we will be transitioning our on-campus temperature screening stations to a self-screening method. Rather than having Western staff taking temperatures, anyone entering our campus buildings will need to use either a mounted or hand-held temperature scanner and complete a short online or printed form. Please see the Self-screening Instructions for details. This information will also be posted at each self-screening station.

Although most classes are being offered in an online or alternative format, some still have hands-on skill components that need to be conducted on campus. Additionally, our Student Support Services (including Welcome Center Services) are offered virtually, but there may be times when you are asked to come on campus for certain testing or appointments. For these scheduled classes or pre-arranged appointments, you will need to use the self-screening stations at the designated entrances prior to entering the buildings.

Maps that highlight these entrances can be found on our Screening Locations web page. Please note that due to work on the Cleary Courtyard, the designated entrance to the Kumm Center will be relocated to the east side of the building, on 7th Street near the Campus Shop, starting July 29.

As a reminder, anyone entering Western buildings will be required to wear a proper face mask.

For more information, please visit the website at www.westerntc.edu/coronavirus, or contact the COVID-19 Monitoring Team at covid19@westerntc.edu

Thank you,

Shelley McNeely

Class Format Update – Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Fall term preparations continue!

The Western scheduling team has been working diligently to update class formats to reflect the changes made due to continuing COVID-19 precautions. We wanted to let you know that class schedules should now reflect most of the changes. You will be contacted separately if your particular program may still have adjustments.

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

For more information about our alternative delivery methods, visit the web page Flexible Learning Options.

If your class will be meeting in person, you will receive more information about the requirements for coming on campus or going to off-site locations.

To see Western’s comprehensive plan for returning to campus safely, visit www.westerntc.edu/coronavirus. And, continue to watch your student email for weekly email updates. If you have any questions along the way, contact your College Advisor and they will be happy to help.

Have a great rest of the summer!

The Western Team

Fall Term Update – Wednesday, July 15, 2020

As we get closer to the beginning of the fall term, I wanted to provide you with a general update about what to expect. If you prefer, you can view the recent Video Message or find an overview below.

Western has developed a solid plan for the fall term that continues to focus on safety and student success. Although there are still many unknowns, we feel confident in proceeding with the following course of action:

  • The majority of fall classes will be offered in an online or alternative format wherever possible. Labs or instruction that require face-to-face will be offered with class sizes limited to 10 or less.
  • This week, we will be installing self-screening stations and transitioning to a system where you check your own temperature and complete an online questionnaire before entering buildings through designated entrances.
  • In addition to the screening, on-campus requirements will include face masks whenever you are in the presence of others, social distancing, and limited group sizes of 10 or less.
  • The residence hall will be open for fall at reduced capacity. Priority will be given to students who have required in-person classes.

These precautions will help protect you in the event of a positive case on campus by limiting the potential spread, which allows us to keep buildings open and continue to offer in-person instruction when it’s necessary.

Regular updates will be sent over the next several weeks, providing you with the specific information you will need for the first day of classes, Tuesday, Sept. 8.

As questions come up along the way regarding our phased return to campus, please check our website www.westerntc.edu/coronavirus, reach out to the COVID-19 Monitoring Team at COVID19@westerntc.edu or contact your College Advisor.

It’s ok to be nervous about what’s to come and to ask questions. We know this is not what you were expecting your college experience to be like. But be assured that regardless of the situation we are in, your Western education will prepare you for what’s next.

Thank you for your continued understanding and support!

Roger J. Stanford, PhD
President

Graduation Format Change – Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Dear Graduate,

Congratulations once again on your graduation from Western Technical College! The 2020 spring term was unique, to say the least. As the Coronavirus spread around the world, the country, and the region, college life seemed to change overnight.

Back in March, Western rescheduled our commencement ceremony for Sunday, Aug. 23 at the La Crosse Center. The hope at the time was that local guidelines would allow a celebration to take place. Given rising uncertainty and the recent surge of cases in La Crosse County, Western has moved to formally cancel this rescheduled ceremony. 

Western remains committed to celebrating your academic achievements. As such, we will be holding a special drive-through ceremony on Saturday, July 25, in Western’s Lot H. Those participating in this ceremony will remain in their vehicles while members of Western’s administration will be presenting diploma covers, as well as a graduation program, to the graduates in a drive-through format.

In order to properly conduct this ceremony, Western needs an accurate count of participants, to ensure traffic runs smoothly throughout the event. Those wishing to participate should follow this link: https://bit.ly/WesternGradSurvey. Those declining to participate, but need to update their current address, should complete the survey as well.

We ask that you complete the survey by Friday, July 17. If you choose not to participate, a diploma cover and program will be mailed to the address on file for you at no cost. Once a final count has been determined, graduates will be given a specific time with directions to the drive-through site.

If you haven’t already ordered your commencement apparel packages, which include cap, gown, tassel, and honor cords (if achieved), you can still order them online for no charge. Instructions for ordering can be found on the website www.westerntc.edu/graduation. Call the Campus Shop at 608-785-9140 for questions regarding the apparel packages.

Coronavirus has upended several celebrations, milestones, and achievements. While this ceremony isn’t what was expected, we still hope to celebrate your achievements in a meaningful way. In the meantime, Western has developed a special website to celebrate your achievements. Visit https://www.westerntc.edu/2020Graduates for a list of all of our graduates, as well as speeches from Western’s President, Student Ambassador, and Distinguished Alumni for 2020.

Sincerely,

Eric Jacobson

COVID-19 Update from the Student Health Center – Thursday, June 18, 2020

Below is a COVID-19 update from Dr. Abigail Deyo of the Student Health Center. I encourage you to review this important information. 

Thank you all for your diligence in keeping yourselves and our community safe. The recent spike in positive COVID-19 cases in our area is a reminder that while cities and communities are opening back up, the pandemic is still a concern for all of us. Taking precautions with PPE and social distancing is about each of us keeping all of us safe.

Enjoy a safe and healthy summer,

Shelley Mc Neely
Dean of Students

Joint Statement About Fall Return to Campus – Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The La Crosse area’s three institutions of higher education came together to release a statement about plans for returning to our campuses this fall. We feel it is important to jointly say that we are committed to doing whatever we can to limit the impact of COVID-19 in our area. That means the college experience will likely look different for all of us. Each institution may have unique plans, but we recognize our responsibility to keep our communities safe.

View our joint statement

Fall Term Changes – Thursday, June 4, 2020

Western Technical College leadership has made some important decisions about the remainder of the summer term and the fall term classes.

In the interest of student and employee safety, we will continue with courses in alternative formats wherever possible through December. Courses that require face-to-face labs, clinicals, or other training will be offered with reduced class sizes to allow for social distancing. Students who are registered for courses that are impacted by these changes will be contacted over the next few weeks by the division or instructors with more specific information.

Because students are now registering for fall term, we could not wait any longer to make the decision on class formats. It was not an easy choice, because we understand the potential impact this has on student learning and the staff time to make it happen. But there are still too many unknowns about what this situation will look like in the months to come.

We recently had a positive COVID-19 case on campus. Thankfully, our safety measures, including screening points at designated entrances and the use of masks, have limited the exposure. And strict disinfection procedures have allowed us to keep our buildings open for the limited groups that need to be there.

Western remains committed to your success:

  • All of our Student Support Services are still available to students in an online format.
  • Wireless internet service is offered for free in designated parking lots.
  • Our Learning Commons provides assistance to staff and students who are transitioning to an alternative learning environment.
  • Funding resources are available to students who are experiencing financial hardships.
  • We are developing a plan to assist with technology needs – watch for more details to come.

Although this is not how we would prefer to provide our technical college experience, we are prepared to continue offering the same high-quality education in all course formats. Your certificate, diploma, or associate degree will not be diminished or less than any other year. You will be prepared for your goals, whatever they may be. Western is here for you.

Thank you for your continued understanding and flexibility as we balance student success and safety.

Kat Linaker
Vice President of Academics

Important COVID-19 Update – Monday, June 1, 2020

We have received notification that a Western employee who accessed the Integrated Technology Center in the past 5 days has received a confirmed positive COVID-19 test. We have been in contact with that individual to gather information, share our gratitude for their open communication, and offer our concern for their well-being. Their household is currently under home quarantine, though, we are happy to hear the symptoms are mild.

Those who have been in close contact with the individual (within 6 feet for a period of more than 10 minutes) have been notified by La Crosse County Health and Western Human Resources. Any impacted areas and surfaces have been disinfected according to CDC guidelines. The exposure risk to others is considered to be low due to social distancing guidelines and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements being followed. Therefore, Western buildings will remain open as scheduled for classes.

As a precaution, we would like to remind all employees and students who accessed ITC the week of May 26-29 to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days. Please visit Western’s COVID-19 Resource page for additional information regarding symptoms and what to do if experiencing symptoms. 

We continue to monitor the COVID-19 impact on the College and will keep the campus community informed with relevant updates.

This incident reminds us of the importance of the safety measures we have in place, including the limited number of employees and students on campus, screening points at building entrances, social distancing, and the use of face masks.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding of these practices. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the COVID-19 Monitoring Team at COVID19@westerntc.edu.

Respectfully,

Roger J. Stanford, PhD
President

Western Update: Phased Return Plan – Wednesday, May 27, 2020

As the COVID-19 situation continues to impact our region, we wanted to provide some insight into our planning for the remainder of summer term and into fall term.

Western has implemented a Phased Return Plan to bring employees and students back to campus safely. Our specially-assigned COVID-19 Monitoring Team has outlined four phases that include criteria and safety restrictions.

Safer at Home Phase

Implemented on March 19 when we closed campuses and moved to strictly online offerings. In May, programs that qualified as training for “essential careers” were able to complete spring term and begin a limited summer on-campus training with size and safety restrictions.

Phase 1 – Begins this week

There are limited differences between the Safer at Home Phase and Phase 1:

  • The maximum number of people together in one area increases to 10, while maintaining a distance of 6 feet.
  • Additional programs that are unable to provide online instruction may be brought back to campus while adhering to the safety requirements.

All other restrictions remain in place, including social distancing, the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), temperature screenings and designated entrances for buildings that serve students, and identified no-go spaces to reduce the areas that need to be sanitized more often.

Phase 2 – Transition date TBD

This phase has more significant changes. The timing will depend largely on any actions by the state and the counties that we serve.

  • More courses resuming face-to-face instruction
  • Maximum group size will be 50, while still maintaining a distance of 6 feet.
  • Revised safety guidelines and restrictions

Phase 3 – The new normal – Transition date TBD

A time when we are back to having all courses and services at full capacity and can increase the number of face-to-face learning and co-curricular opportunities. The temporary safety guards and precautions will be removed.

Looking ahead to fall, it is hard to predict where we will be as a region. As a precaution, we will likely move classes online where possible and continue to limit the size of on-campus classes. You will be notified if your class format changes. We will continue to monitor the situation and communicate any additional changes as they arise. Throughout all stages, we will remain committed to providing a safe learning environment.

If you have any questions or concerns about our phased return, you are encouraged to email the COVID-19 Monitoring Team at COVID19@westerntc.edu. Someone from the team will respond to you.

Thank you for your patience as we work through challenges, your grace for employees who are dedicated to helping you succeed, and your dedication to achieving your goals!

Roger J. Stanford, PhD

President

Video Message from President Roger Stanford – Friday, May 15, 2020

Students are encouraged to watch President Roger Stanford's video message on Western's Facebook page. Click here to view Roger's video.

Western's Phased Return Plan – Thursday, May 7, 2020

Based on loosening restrictions regarding the training for essential careers, Western is preparing to bring students in select programs back to campus starting on Monday, May 11. Essential programs (as allowed by Governor Evers’s exemptions to the Safer at Home Order) will return in phases and will follow the required precautions as outlined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Our goal for the first phase is to allow students in essential career programs to complete spring term courses that were unable to transition to an online format and to begin limited summer term on-campus training.

The following programs and training will be included in the first phase: Law Enforcement Academy (returned May 1), Dental Assistant, Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician, Fire Protection Technician, Framing Construction, Medical Assistant Testing, Occupational Therapist Assistant, Physical Therapist Assistant, Precision Machining, Surgical Technology, and Welding.

If you are in one of the essential programs that will be returning to campus during the first phase, you will be or may have already been contacted by your instructor with information about the necessary precautions. If you personally own adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks, we ask that you use it, otherwise the College will provide what is required.

Watch your email for continuing updates and be assured that we are following all guidelines to deter the spread of COVID-19, including designated entrances to buildings that are serving students and temperature screening of every person entering. If you are in a program that is contacted about returning to campus and you not comfortable with it, you are encouraged to contact the Dean of Students Shelley McNeely at mcneelys@westerntc.edu.

Thank you for your continued patience as we work through this transition safely.

Roger J. Stanford, PhD

President

Course Withdrawal Due to COVID-19 – Friday, April 24, 2020

I hope this communication finds you well. During these unprecedented times, Western recognizes that our students are among the many people who are impacted by changes in lifestyle and learning caused by state and federal response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Some students may have had to withdraw from spring courses due to challenges with transitioning to an online learning environment, or other related personal challenges.

If you are a student who has had to withdraw from a course or stop attending class after March 20, 2020 due to issues related to the COVID-19 Pandemic, you may be eligible for an extenuating circumstance withdrawal. Western has adjusted the Extenuating Circumstance withdrawal procedure to include an 80% refund for students who dropped courses after March 20. Students who withdrew from their courses or stopped attending prior to March 20 will fall under our normal withdrawal procedure.

You can request an extenuating circumstance withdrawal related to COVID-19 by contacting the Registrar’s office at registration@westerntc.edu.

If you withdraw from a course under the COVID-19 extenuating circumstance withdrawal procedure, your course will be removed from your transcript, and it will not impact your GPA. You will need to complete the course if it is required as part of your program or is a prerequisite to other courses. Please discuss your options with your advisor. If you receive financial aid, it should not be negatively impacted.

We hope that all of you have been able to adjust to the “new normal” of the spring term. For those of you who have faced some challenges, please know that we are here to help. And to those of you who will graduating this year, congratulations and all the best as your dreams and degree take you to the next chapter of your life.

Take care and be well,

Sandy Peterson
Registrar/SIS Coordinator

Spring 2020 Incomplete Courses – Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Due to the Safer at Home proclamation by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Western Technical College was required to change the instruction method of many courses from face-to-face to online starting March 23, 2020 of the Spring term. In that transition, there were face-to-face courses with requirements that could not be completed in an online format, e.g. labs, clinicals, etc. If you are a student who was enrolled in a course that could not be completed in an online format in the Spring term, you will receive a grade of Incomplete (Due to COVID-19) for that course. Be assured that this incomplete grade will not impact your GPA or your ability to receive financial aid for the upcoming Summer and Fall terms.

We are extending the timeframe for completion of COVID-19 incomplete grades to the end of the Fall 2020 term, December 19, 2020. The priority will be for students who would have otherwise been eligible to graduate this spring to complete in December. Our hope is to offer many of those face-to-face classes starting the second half of the Summer term on July 6. Regardless of your graduation date or student status, you will be contacted by your advisor or instructor regarding the plan for course completion.

We understand that this has likely been a stressful time for you. Especially disappointing for those of you who were planning to graduate this Spring and start your career or continue your education. Please know that we are doing everything possible to keep you on track toward your educational and career goals. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your advisor or instructor.

Take care and be well,

Sandy Peterson
Registrar/SIS Coordinator

Video Message from President Roger Stanford – Friday, April 17, 2020

Students are encouraged to watch President Roger Stanford's video message on Western's Facebook page. Click here to view Roger's video.

Video Message from President Roger Stanford – Friday, April 10, 2020

Students are encouraged to watch President Roger Stanford's video message on Western's Facebook page. Click here to view Roger's video.

Video Message from President Roger Stanford – Friday, April 3, 2020

Students are encouraged to watch President Roger Stanford's video message on Western's Facebook page. Click here to view Roger's video.

The Life Resources information Roger referenced in the video is available here: westerntc.edu/life-resources. If you're interested in picking up food from Western's food pantry, visit the Cavalier Cupboard page.

Video Message from President Roger Stanford – Friday, March 27, 2020

Students are encouraged to watch President Roger Stanford's video message on Western's Facebook page: Click here to view Roger's video.

The Student Emergency Funding information Roger referenced in the video is available here: westerntc.edu/student-emergency-funding.

Emotional Wellness is Important – Friday, March 27, 2020

Dear Students,

We are nearing the end of our first week back in classes! I realize this time of transition to a new way of learning and using support systems can be frustrating and stressful. That’s why it’s so important to practice self-care at this time to minimize the toll on our mental health. 

We’ve shared with you the support services that are available to help you through this adjustment. You can also find this list on our website: Student Support Services

Included on the list is our Counseling Services. If you would like to speak with a counselor, they continue to meet with students over the phone or over videoconference. Please email your full name and phone number to counseling@westerntc.edu to set up an appointment.

Additionally, I’d like to share some tips from the Director of Counseling Ann Brandau for staying emotionally well during this time of uncertainty:

Reflect on what you can control: In all of the chaos, it’s easy to forget that we actually have control over many things in our lives. We still need to eat, sleep, and complete routine tasks in our daily lives. Take inventory of all of the things you still get to control in your lives…the length of your list will probably surprise you.

Stay connected with bucket fillers, not bucket dippers: Yes, connecting with others is a good thing and we should actively seek out others via phone, text, social media and video calls. However, be mindful and intentional about the people you connect with. Do certain people make you feel more out of control or confused? Do you feel more worried after conversations with them? It’s okay, and probably a good idea, to limit these interactions and find people who help you dial down and ease your fears. Remember – you are in control and get to choose your people. 

Find your preferred news source and seek it out … in short stints … and at set times: Over-consuming updates and news can cause us to feel ramped up and on hyper-alert for extended periods of time. Instead, commit to reviewing the current headlines, at specific times during the day, with a beginning and end time. 

Note your stress level and take short breaks: Become more aware of your body and the signs it’s giving you. Are your shoulders full of tension? Is your heart racing? Be observant of your body signals and take frequent, short breaks to catch your breath and reset. A short walk around the block, up the stairs, or even through your apartment can do wonders and help the body regulate back to a better emotional state. 

Practice healthy self-care: Sometimes when we’re stressed, we feel like going into a cave and eating our way through the stress. We get it – it’s hard to stay present and mindful of our choices. Invest in yourself by prioritizing down-time from work, eating well, and moving and exercising regularly. Time away to unwind from work can actually help you be more productive when you’re back at work.

Step up for others: The COVID-19 Pandemic is scary and we are faced with so many unknowns, but remember we are in this together. We can take comfort in knowing that we do not have to face this alone. When we step up and do for others physically (when safely possible) and emotionally (via technology and good old-fashioned phone conversations) our own well-being improves and we regain some feelings of control, and as a bonus, we feel good about helping others.   You may be someone’s biggest support. Don’t underestimate your influence and ability to help someone. Your kindness, compassion and comfort can go a long way.

Sense something – say something:  lt’s completely normal to experience an increased stress level when faced with unpredicted leaves and separations from our routine activities – that is to be expected. Beyond these normal reactions, it’s important to remember those who live with heightened anxiety or other behavioral health issues can be further intensified by this increase in unforeseen stress. If you or one of your classmates seem to need additional support or intervention, please reach out to your instructor, advisor, or counselor, and we’ll get you connected to the most appropriate resource.

Stay well!

College Advisors

Student Support Services – Monday, March 23, 2020

Dear Students,

Welcome to your first week back to classes after this unforeseen break. We recognize this is not the ideal way to come back, and for those of you who were not previously taking classes online, it is likely very stressful. Please know that we are here to help. Our support services that were previously offered in-person, are still available in alternative formats. Online, email, and video conferencing technology are allowing us to connect with students for any needs you may have. Most services will operate from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., unless appointments are made outside these hours. Following are the specific services and contact information:

College Advisors

  • Contact your assigned advisor directly. You should have received a message from your advisor last week. You can also call 608-785-9553 to schedule appointments. They are available to meet with you through email, video conferencing, or by phone.

Counseling Services

  • To make an appointment email counseling@westerntc.edu with your full name and best phone number to reach you. A counselor will respond via email, within 24 hours, to schedule a time to connect. If you already have an established relationship with a Western Counselor, please feel free to email them directly.
  • For any immediate mental health needs after hours, please call Great Rivers 211 (1-800-362-8255).  In the case of an extreme emergency, call 911.
  • If you are facing unforeseen financial or personal barriers, the Student Resource Request form will connect you with our case manager or financial literacy coordinator.

Learning Commons

Financial Aid

  • Financial Aid processing of refunds will continue as usual.
  • Although upcoming Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Frenzy events are canceled, Financial Aid staff are available to assist students via email at finaid@westerntc.edu or by phone at 608-785-9579. When leaving a voicemail message, please include your email address.

Career Services

  • Staff members will be meeting via videoconference, email, or by phone. Make an appointment by contacting careerservices@westerntc.edu or 608-785-9440.

Cavalier Cupboard

  • Western will be distributing food packages on Monday, March 30 from 10:00 a.m.-noon; Wednesday, April 1 from 2:00-5:00 p.m.; and Saturday, April 4 from noon-2:00 p.m. Distribution location will be at the north entrance to the Student Success Center. You can contact the Cavalier Cupboard at engage@westerntc.edu if you need food assistance.

Student Life Office (General questions, residence hall, student government/clubs, etc.)

Multicultural Center

  • The Multicultural Center is still here to support and encourage your success. Contact Terrelle Wilson at wilsont@westerntc.edu if you’d like to talk by email, on the phone, or schedule a virtual meeting.
  • There are still ways you can be supporting your community and be socially connected virtually to others. Check out www.westerntc.edu/Ugetconnected  for ideas. This is also the site you use to track your service hours and download your service resume. Login using your Western credentials. If you have questions about community engagement, contact engage@westerntc.edu.

Veteran Military Center

  • GI Bill benefits will continue uninterrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic; students are not required to take any action.
  • VA updates will be provided to students via direct email campaigns and social media. Students with specific questions can contact the VA Education Call Center at: 888-442-4551 between 8:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday-Friday.
  • Contact the staff in the Veteran Military Center Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at email: vets@westerntc.edu or phone: 608-785-9436. Important announcements and updates will also be shared on blackboard, Myvettracker.

Access Services

  • If these new instructional formats create learning barriers for you, contact Access Services at accessservices@westerntc.edu for information about available accommodations.

Thank you so much for your patience during this time and for your flexibility in learning technology that may be new to you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to these services areas. They are eager to support you through this transition. You can do this, and we can help!

Take care of yourself! And continue to check www.westerntc.edu/coronavirus for updates.

Amy Thornton,

Vice President of Student Service and Engagement

Spring Commencement Plan – Friday, March 20, 2020

As we continue to address the impacts of COVID-19, many have wondered about our plan for spring commencement.

We recognize the importance of celebrating student success, and graduation is an important accomplishment. We are disappointed that we are not able to provide the traditional ceremony at this time due to the restrictions to control the spread of this virus.

We are looking at several options to have a celebration that does justice to this momentous occasion. For now, we are postponing the decision until we know more about the timeline for group restrictions.

Thank you for your continued understanding and support during these difficult times. Please continue to take care of yourself, practice social distancing, and follow the guidelines of the CDC.

Western is a resilient family, and we will get through this!

Continue to watch your email and our COVID-19 website for our ongoing updates.

Respectfully,

Roger

Video Message from President Roger Stanford – Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Students are encouraged to watch President Roger Stanford's video message on Western's Facebook page: Click here.

COVID-19 Update – Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Due to the continuing concern over the spread of COVID-19, we will be transitioning to alternative formats of instruction for programs and classes that are positioned to do so.

Starting tomorrow, Thursday, March 19, 2020

  • The College campuses will be closed to students and the general public, and buildings will be locked until further notice.

Starting Monday, March 23, 2020

  • Classes will start using alternative delivery methods, as possible. Students will be notified by instructors of their delivery method or if the classes will not be held.

The Learning Commons will continue to offer online support such as tutoring, writing and math assistance, and library resources. Visit www.westerntc.edu/learning-commons for more information.

If you have any questions or concerns about your courses, contact your instructors. Other questions can be directed to the Dean of Students Shelley McNeely at mcneelys@westerntc.edu.

On behalf of the senior leadership team, we appreciate your patience and understanding. We recognize these past few weeks have been ever-changing and unprecedented. We will continue to communicate with you on a regular basis related to the availability of additional student services and the overall status of the college. 

Class Cancellations and Important Announcements – Saturday, March 14, 2020

Western continues to make extensive plans and take proactive steps amid escalating concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19. To allow faculty and administration to focus on developing alternate methods of instruction, the College is canceling all classes, programming, and events scheduled Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20.

The goal over the next week is to finalize a plan that keeps the safety of students and employees as the priority, while continuing to offer high-quality education. More detailed information and instructions will be sent as it becomes available.

Additional status announcements as of 3/14/20:

  • Western buildings will remain open and service areas such as financial aid, advising, counseling, etc. will remain accessible.
  • The Learning Commons and the Regional Locations will be available to students and staff who would like assistance with planning for alternate modes of class delivery. They also offer assistance through email learningcommons@westerntc.edu.
  • The Western Residence Hall will remain open for residence hall students wishing to remain on campus. It will be closed to guests and visitors. Additional communication will be sent to residence hall students from the Student Life Coordinator.
  • On-campus food service at the Union Market will continue with scaled back hours and menu, similar to the typical summer schedule.
  • All current athletic team seasons have been canceled.
  • The Wellness Center will be closed until further notice.

We anticipate offering classes in alternative formats starting March 23 with exceptions for programming that does not allow for it. Western will communicate with students prior to March 23 about how instruction will be delivered on a course-by-course basis.

Changes to College Travel – Friday, March 13, 2020

All out-of-state travel scheduled through May 31, 2020 for employees and students is cancelled. Only essential, in-state travel for students is allowed with approval by the Dean of Students. There is to be no additional booking of out-of-state travel until further notice.

Returning Travelers

In alignment with the State of Wisconsin Department of Administration, Western employees or students who travel personally, either internationally or to a state that has sustained community transmission as determined by the CDC on the date prior to travel, will not be allowed to return to the College for 14 calendar days after their return. This travel-related restriction will remain in place until further notice as we continue to monitor the efficacy of this measure. Upon return from travel, please follow the guidelines below:

  • Notify the Dean of Students, Shelley Mc Neely at mcneelys@westerntc.edu of your travel out of state
  • Self-report your return to the county in which you live
  • Self-quarantine at home and avoid large crowds

This direction is not applicable to students who reside out of state and travel to Wisconsin for work or to attend classes.

These decisions were made using current guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Wisconsin Department of Health, the Department of Education, and the La Crosse County Health Department.

Large Group Meetings

Western is canceling all events and gatherings within the next 30 days where more than 250 people will be in attendance. For events with fewer than 250 attendees, Western will consider cancellation using the following guidelines from the State of Wisconsin Department of Administration:

  • Does the event provide essential services (such as education or health care) to community residents?
  • Is it necessary to the public? What negative consequences would occur if this event was not held?
  • Is there a known and sustained community transmission of COVID-19 in the community?
  • Are other organizations in the community canceling smaller events?
  • Are people at risk for serious illness from COVID-19 (including attendees over the age of 60 or who may have a chronic disease or immunosuppression) participating in the event?

If you are planning an event as part of a club or organization or are aware of an event that is scheduled within the next 30 days, follow these guidelines and communicate with your advisor before making a final decision.

Respectfully,

Roger

Travel Updates – March 13, 2020

Western is suspending all college-supported international travel until further notice and all out-of-state travel scheduled through May 31, 2020. This decision was made using current Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and with the interests of our students, employees, and community in mind. We are continuing to monitor those guidelines for any future domestic business and student-related travel in the coming weeks.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have released safety information for travelers. If you plan to travel, please review the travel information on these sites. 

Returning Travelers

In alignment with the State of Wisconsin Department of Administration, Western employees or students who travel personally, either internationally or to a state that has sustained community transmission as determined by the CDC on the date prior to travel, will not be allowed to return to the College for 14 calendar days after their return. This travel-related restriction will remain in place until further notice as we continue to monitor the efficacy of this measure. Upon return, please follow the guidelines below:

  • Notify your supervisor of your return and schedule your return to work with them
  • Self-report your return to the county in which you live
  • Self-quarantine at home and avoid large crowds

This direction is not applicable to students or employees who reside out of state and travel to Wisconsin for work or to attend classes/training, or for students traveling from Wisconsin to adjacent states to work at clinical sites.

Tips for Returning Travelers

COVID-19 Update – Wednesday, March 11, 2020

As of the time of this communication, there are no changes to any classes or on-campus events. (Edit: Unless you have been otherwise notified for individual classes or events.) All classes and college service areas remain open as scheduled. 

The COVID-19 situation is still evolving, and we will continue to monitor and closely follow the guidance of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, public health officials, and other experts.

We have developed a website to provide essential updates. Please visit www.westerntc.edu/coronavirus for information and resources. In the event that our open status changes, you will be notified through email, on the website, or through our Emergency Notification System, RAVE.

Respectfully,

Roger Stanford,

President

Study Abroad Travel – Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Attention students,

We are continuing to provide updates as details evolve regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on the college. As stated in our communication to you yesterday, Western has a team in place meeting regularly to determine what, if any, actions should take place to ensure the safety of our students.

At this time, Western is cancelling all international study abroad travel for the foreseeable future. This move impacts Western students who were traveling to Spain and France for study abroad programs this spring and summer. This decision was made using current CDC guidelines and with the interests of our students and community in mind. We are continuing to monitor those guidelines for any future domestic student-related travel in the coming weeks.

Once again, I am attaching material from the La Crosse County Health Department that provide more information about COVID-19 and the best methods to prevent the spread of the disease (please keep in mind this data is from 2/27). For updates on COVID-19 in Wisconsin, visit https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/disease/covid-19.htm.

As we stated Monday, the Student Health Center located at the Health Science Center at UWL is another great resource for COVID-19-related information for students. Visit https://www.uwlax.edu/student-health-center/#tm-coronavirus for more information.

The primary defense is adequate and frequent hand washing as described on the attached handouts. And, if you have any symptoms, you are encouraged to stay home and contact your instructor. Those with additional questions or concerns should once again contact me.

Your health and safety at Western is extremely important to us. We will continue to provide you updates as necessary.

Shelley McNeely,

Dean of Students

COVID-19 Update – Tuesday, March 10, 2020

We are continuing to provide updates as details evolve regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on the college. As stated in our communication to you yesterday, Western has a team in place meeting regularly to determine what, if any, actions should take place to ensure the safety of our students.

At this time, Western is cancelling all international study abroad travel for the foreseeable future. This move impacts Western students who were traveling to Spain and France for study abroad programs this spring and summer. This decision was made using current CDC guidelines and with the interest of our students and community. We are continuing to monitor those guidelines for any future domestic student-related travel in the coming weeks.

Once again, I am attaching material from the La Crosse County Health Department that provide more information about COVID-19 and the best methods to prevent the spread of the disease. For updates on COVID-19 in Wisconsin, visit https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/disease/covid-19.htm.

As we stated yesterday, the Student Health Center located at the Health Science Center at UWL is another great resource for COVID-19-related information for students. Visit https://www.uwlax.edu/student-health-center/#tm-coronavirus for more information.

Shelley McNeely,

Dean of Students

COVID-19 Update – Monday, March 9, 2020

As information continues to evolve around the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we would like to reassure you that Western is monitoring the situation and is prepared to take any necessary measures to ensure the safety of our students.

At this time, the current risk to La Crosse and the surrounding areas is low. But, we have a team of people and an action plan in place should the need arise. This team will continue to meet regularly and stay in direct contact with the La Crosse County Health Department. We will be notified of any change in status that would impact our district.

We know Western students are frequently traveling for student-related and personal matters. We continue to gather information regarding student travel, and while we are not implementing any restrictions at this time, we will be monitoring CDC recommendations.

Attached you will find materials from the Health Department that provide more information about COVID-19 and the best methods to prevent the spread of the disease. For updates on COVID-19 in Wisconsin, visit https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/disease/covid-19.htm.

The Student Health Center located at the Health Science Center at UWL is another great resource for COVID-19-related information for students. Visit https://www.uwlax.edu/student-health-center/#tm-coronavirus for more information.

The primary defense is adequate and frequent hand washing as described on the attached handouts. And, if you have any symptoms, you are encouraged to stay home from class and contact your instructor. Students with additional questions or concerns should contact Shelley McNeely, Western’s Dean of Students.

Your health and safety at Western is extremely important to us. We will continue to provide you updates as necessary.

Shelley McNeely,

Dean of Students

Contact Us

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