Special Section

Here’s What You Need to Know About Local School and College COVID-19 Guidelines

a roundup of tips to staying safe at school this fall, thanks to local school districts and campuses

Tom Giffey |

Classroom masking at UW-Eau Claire. (UWEC photo)
Classroom masking at UW-Eau Claire. (UWEC photo)


We hope you’re all rested and ready from a relaxing summer, because the first day of school – whether that means kindergarten or college – is right around the corner. The last school year was a maze of frequently changing pandemic guidelines, and the coming school year will likely be the same: While vaccination rates are rising and COVID-19 caseloads in the Chippewa Valley are far lower than they were at their peak, they are nonetheless on the rise as worries about the delta variant of the virus grow.

We’ve compiled the latest available COVID-related policies from local educational institutions, which are current as of Aug. 15. Please keep these guidelines in mind as you and those around you return to the classroom, but remember to stay flexible during what continues to be a fluid situation. The bottom line: Take care of yourselves – and each other – out there!


Note: The Eau Claire Area School District updated its COVID-19 guidelines on Aug. 12, after the latest issue of Volume One went to press. The information below has been updated.


The CDC has determined Eau Claire County’s community transmission is currently high. Therefore:

  • Masks are required indoors for students in grades PK-8 beginning Wednesday, September 1 until community transmission rates are determined to be low
  • High school student mask requirements will be determined on Wednesday, August 25 based on community transmission rates at that time
  • All staff in all buildings will be required to wear masks beginning Monday, August 16
  • Masks are required for all students on all school buses (CDC requirement)
  • Students and staff will not need to wear masks outdoors

Classes: K-12 students will attend school in-person five days a week. Pre-kindergarten students will attend school four days a week. Eau Claire Virtual School Students will attend online five days a week.

Transportation: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires face coverings for all public transportation. This requirement currently applies to all occupants of school bus and district transportation for students, including students traveling to and from school, on field trips, or on athletic buses.

Quarantine: “Fully vaccinated individuals without symptoms are not required to quarantine. CDC currently recommends testing of fully vaccinated close contacts 3-5 days after close contact exposure.”

Learn more: www.ecasd.us/District/COVID-19


Masks: “Face coverings are expected indoors for employees, students, and guests, regardless of vaccination status, at UWEC beginning Monday, Aug. 9,” the UW EC website states. “This is in response to the CDC recommendations with regards to the growing case activity in our area.”

Classes: UWEC plans to offer classes primarily in-person during the 2021-22 school year. And effective Aug. 1, campus facilities returned to normal capacity without physical distancing.

Vaccination: Vaccination is not required for students or staff. However, unvaccinated students living in campus housing will be required to take weekly antigen tests, which are not required for those who are vaccinated. UWEC and the UWEC Foundation have pledged $140,000 for prizes and scholarships to encourage vaccination. In addition, once the university reaches a 70% vaccination rate, vaccinated students will be eligible for scholarships via the UW System’s “70 for 70” campaign. Find out abou UWEC’s Vax Game giveaway at www.uwec.edu/coronavirus-updates/vax-game-2021.

Learn more: www.uwec.edu/coronavirus-updates/


Masks: “In response to Dunn County and surrounding communities reaching high or substantial COVID-19 transmission status, face coverings are expected indoors for employees, students, and guests, regardless of vaccination status at UW-Stout,” the university’s website states.

Classes: UW-Stout plans on having in-person classes and activities this fall. “Capacity limits are not changing, events will still take place, and classes will remain as currently scheduled (including location and delivery method),” the website says.

Vaccination: Vaccination is not mandatory, but it is encouraged. UW-Stout recently announced a vaccine incentive program for students, which will involve daily prize drawings as well as scholarship drawings. “Once 70% of the Stout student body has uploaded their vaccine information, UW System will award several scholarships at $7,000 each. UW-Stout will match the number of $7,000 scholarships awarded by UW System.”

Learn more: www.uwstout.edu/covid-19-coronavirus-planning-and-preparedness


Masks: “All individuals at CVTC facilities are required to wear cloth face coverings, regardless of vaccination status, to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Students are to provide their own mask.”

Classes: “We are anxious to return to a new normal this summer and prepare for the return of students in August,” the CVTC website states.

Vaccination: The college does not require students, faculty, or staff to get vaccinated, but strongly encourages it: “While face coverings provide some protection against the spread of COVID-19, they are only one strategy to soften the curve. Another layer of protection is vaccination, which continues to show their effectiveness at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death.” Click here for vaccination resources. (https://www.cvtc.edu/about-cvtc/consumer-disclosures/health-advisory-updates)

Learn more: www.cvtc.edu/ahead