Western Technical College Communications | Western Technical College

Western Technical College Communications

Updated April 3, 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.

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

COVID-19 Update: 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

COVID-19 Update: 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. 

COVID-19 Update: 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.

COVID-19 Update: 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

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

COVID-19 Update: 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