Faculty & Staff

Information for faculty and staff on COVID-19 planning and preparedness.
In this Section

The health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students is our foremost concern. Please refer to measures highlighted on the Campus Health & Safety portal that we must all take to ensure a safe campus environment as we continue to address COVID-19.

Cover image of Return to Spring 2021 plan

Return to Spring 2021 Plan

Click on the image to view an interactive version of the Return to Spring 2021 Plan which was updated on January 4, 2021.

The Return to Spring 2021 Plan can also be view as a PDF file.


COVID-19 Surge Testing

Free rapid-result COVID-19 antigen tests for off-campus students, UW-Stout employees, and community members.
Learn More

Budget & COVID-19 Planning Info for Campus Community

Includes campus forum videos/info, CAC minutes/memos, etc.
View in StoutCloud

Return to Work Professional Development and Training

Prior to returning to work on campus, all employees are required to complete training related to COVID-19.
Learn More

Human Resources

Human Resources (HR) forms and other resources for all UW-Stout employees.
View in StoutCloud

Faculty & Staff FAQs

What type of training for faculty is available for Spring?

COVID-19 training has been developed to help the university community work safely on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. The training spans across safety and health in the workplace and flexible instructional delivery formats. All training and professional development opportunities may be accessed by going to the COVID-19 Training SharePoint site.

  • “COVID-19 Prevention in the Workplace” is required for all employees, including student employees. The training covers general preventative measures and strategies for preventing the spread of COVID-19 at home and within the UW-Stout community. This training is available online.
  • Professional development is available for Faculty and Instructional Academic staff to support flexible instructional delivery methods. Additional information is available online.
  • Training focusing on specific campus protocols to respond to COVID-19 and to support a safe and healthy workplace will be available as part of the January Professional Development weeks. The schedule of training is available online.

All training and professional development opportunities may be accessed by
going to the COVID-19 Training SharePoint site.

What are the expectations for course modalty for Spring?

UW-Stout strives to prioritize the health and safety of its employees while balancing the learning environment that fosters student success. With this in mind, every attempt should be made not to alter the instructional schedule after students have registered for courses or during the term. Changes in course offerings directly impact student schedules and could impact their commitments to live and/or work locally. Some students are not comfortable with online learning and this feedback has been received in multiple venues.

Instructors (faculty and instructional academic staff) requesting a medical accommodation to teach remotely should do so via Human Resources.  This should occur as soon as possible in order to assist with course schedule planning in advance of registrations.

If a course modality change is initiated as a result of an approved medical accommodation, the department chair will route that request to the college dean for approval and coordinate implementation via Registration and Records. The chair will coordinate respective student communications regarding this change in consultation with the instructor.

If student attendance concerns due to isolation or quarantine periods impact the learning environment, instructors may reach out to COVID19update@uwstout.edu. The communication will be routed to additional stakeholders (department chair and/or college dean and/or provost) to collaboratively discuss approaches to foster a productive learning environment.

What are the current add/drop and attendence practices?

Regular session courses can be added via AccessStout during the first seven calendar days of the semester until (1/31/2021) and until (3/22/2021) for 2nd quarter. If a student adds a class after the first day of class, they may miss the instructor’s communication regarding classroom protocols (including cleaning, disinfecting, attendance policy, etc.). Students that add a class after the first day of class should contact the instructor prior to joining the class to understand the classroom protocol requirements.

The attendance policy of each instructor is to be submitted in writing to each student at the beginning of the course. As is always the case, students are expected to communicate directly with their faculty member regarding any absence. The suspension of the current requirement for students to submit medical documentation to the Dean of Students office for absences of longer than three days remains in effect for the spring 2021 term. Previously, that documentation was required by university policy before instructors would be notified of the absence.

The Dean of Students office will only notify instructors for absences related to personal or family situations. Students should no longer submit documentation to the Dean of Students office for medical absences and instructors should not request medical verification for absences. This will help ensure compliance with the current guidance that asks individuals demonstrating flu-like illness to contact their clinic or doctor by phone before seeking medical attention. Depending on symptoms, students may be asked to self-isolate until they are symptom-free. Students are expected to follow through on all missed coursework in a timely manner and should return to class as soon as they are symptom-free or have been advised by a medical provider that they may return to class.

What are the Instructor/Student communication expecations?

Instructor-Student and Student-Instructor communications remain critical to foster academic success. For in-person course activities, social distancing, required use of masks, cleaning and disinfecting processes, seating arrangements and other safety protocols will create new aspects to the learning environment. A seating chart should be used for every in-person class. This helps assist in any potential contact tracing activities should they be needed. Virtual aspects of course activities will also create new delivery and learning methods for many students and instructors. Check-ins throughout the term are encouraged between students and instructors.

During August Opening week, instructors were provided resources regarding classroom management strategies, including recommended communications to send to students in advance of the first official day of class. Additional COVID-19 training and updates will be provided during January Professional Development weeks. Students should check email the week before classes begin and communicate with instructors, advisors or other mentors as concerns arise.

Instructors should be prepared to provide continuity of instruction for students who are ill, quarantined, or required to isolate. This may involve recording lectures or providing content in some other way. Please contact techdesk@uwstout.edu with any questions regarding the technology available to assist in instructional delivery.

Our COVID-19 numbers seem low. Why cancel spring break?

After reviewing feedback from all four governance groups and the Chancellor’s Cabinet, the decision has been made to cancel the 2021 spring break scheduled for March 13-21. Spring semester will begin as scheduled on January 25, 2021, classes will end on April 28, and evaluation week will end on May 5. Commencement will still be held on Saturday, May 8 (whether the ceremony is in-person or virtual will be decided and announced at a later date).

This was not an easy decision to make. However, it is necessary due to the current status of the pandemic, the inability to predict its course through early spring, and our responsibility to keep our university and local community as safe and healthy as possible.

We join UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls, and a growing number of other UW institutions in the decision to either cancel or postpone spring break.

We have done an exceptional job at keeping our campus safe and our spread of the virus extremely low. This decision is not a reflection of significant growth in positive cases among our students and employees; rather, it is based on a number of other factors, including the Governor’s recent executive order and the increase in positive COVID-19 cases in Menomonie, Dunn County, and throughout western Wisconsin. Conditions have strained the ability of our health care providers and public health officials to respond to the pandemic.  We believe this decision will help stem the spread of the virus in the region. 

What is the WDH Exposure Notification App?

Employees and students are encouraged to use the WI Department of Health Exposure Notification app to slow the spread of COVID-19. The app is available for download for free from the Google Play Store or can be enabled under settings on an iPhone. The app allows for an anonymous exchange of signals with other phones that are near it for at least 15 minutes. If someone who has the app tests positive for COVID-19, they can send an alert using the app to the phones with the signals. This will allow people who are close contacts to quickly receive care and avoid exposing others to the virus. Please visit this website for additional information.

How is contact tracing being handled?

Contact tracing is part of the process of supporting campus employees and students, providing warning to contacts of exposure, and stopping chains of transmission of COVID-19. In general, contact tracing involves identifying people who have an infectious disease (cases) and people with whom they came in contact (contacts) and working with them to interrupt disease spread.

Stout’s operational plan involves safety protocols in alignment with the CDC. However, the campus employs contact tracers to assist in notifying stakeholders should a Stout student test positive for COVID-19. Public Health will conduct contact tracing for employees.

In order to assist with tracing, Stout stakeholders are asked to assist with the following:

1. Instructors will maintain seating charts and take attendance for each in-person class activity. This type of attendance tracking is not for class participation credit or grading purposes. Because students will be encouraged to stay home whenever they are ill, instructors should not penalize students for not attending class in-person when ill, isolated, or quarantined, and should not require medical documentation for absences.

2. Visitors to campus will be recorded as noted in the Vendor/Invited Guest Tracing section below.

Visitor and Vendor Tracing

Due to the need to assist with contact tracing, all vendors/invited guests should be registered daily via the Vendor/Invited Guest Registration Form. Coordination of the registration for the vendor/invited guest should be done by the campus host. Vendors with multiple employees reporting to campus are only required to complete one registration form daily for all employees (the form will request information regarding the quantity of employees on campus). A list of registered vendors/invited guests can be referenced by all campus employees by visiting the Registered Vendor & Invited Guest List on the facilities management website.

A visitor guide has been developed that communicates expectations for visitors. Departments hosting visitors should communicate campus safety protocol expectations and provide visitors with the guide prior to their campus visit.

WI Department of Health Exposure Notification App

Employees and students are encouraged to use the WI Department of Health Exposure Notification app to slow the spread of COVID-19. The app is available for download for free from the Google Play Store or can be enabled under settings on an iPhone. The app allows for an anonymous exchange of signals with other phones that are near it for at least 15 minutes. If someone who has the app tests positive for COVID-19, they can send an alert using the app to the phones with the signals. This will allow people who are close contacts to quickly receive care and avoid exposing others to the virus. Please visit this website for additional information.

Do I need to wear a mask in my office area?

The Return to Spring 2021 Plan provides specific information about working in office environments. Please read the plan carefully and take note of social distancing guidelines and mask requirements. In addition to maintaining at least 6 feet distance from co-workers if working in an open office environment, employees should always wear a face mask or face covering while in a shared workspace/room. Masks/face coverings are not required if an employee is alone in their personal office. 

Much more information about wearing masks is available on the Campus Health & Safety portal of the COVID-19 website.

What about Shared Workspaces?

Shared Workspaces

Units that have employee workspaces that make it difficult to maintain social distancing should develop a work plan with their supervisor. For example, meetings can be scheduled to occur virtually or in a different or larger space identified. Plans that alternate employees in these spaces are encouraged. Another technique to help achieve social distance in common office suites is to use breakrooms as “scheduled” work rooms. Often, employees who would normally be in frequent proximity to each other can be scheduled to get “alone” time in a breakroom that will allow them to unmask for a short respite.

What kind of accommodations are available if I become ill?

The accommodations will vary dependent on the severity of the illness and type of position. Employees are encouraged to work with their supervisor and Human Resources regarding options available to them. For more information, please visit the HR COVID-19 Employee Resources Stout Cloud site.

Options can include staggered reporting/departing times and alternating days in the office. These arrangements must be approved by the immediate supervisor and requested via the unit’s Return to Work Plan.

Approval for 100% telecommuting can be granted based on a medical accommodation, requested via Human Resources.

On-campus faculty and instructional academic staff should have a campus presence to meet professional obligations of teaching, research and service. Online teaching assignments do not equate to 100% telecommuting approval. In-person activities will abide by safety protocols and can include meeting with students and peers.

Please review the COVID-19 response flow chart on the procedure for a positive test result.

What accomodations are available for childcare?

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the delivery methods for some K-12 school districts and may impact daycare operations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, supervisors may approve telecommuting arrangements due to childcare needs on a temporary, limited basis.

Temporary, limited basis is defined as up to two days per week during an identified period (e.g. until school returns to in-person delivery), or more than two days per week at a duration of one month or less. Approval of a temporary, limited telecommuting arrangement due to COVID-19 does not require the submission of a telecommuting application.

Approval of a temporary, limited telecommuting arrangement during the pandemic is at the supervisor’s discretion based on the nature of the work responsibilities and operational need. Support and service to students and employees must be prioritized.

For faculty and instructional academic staff, teaching assignments and responsibilities must be met as scheduled. In all areas, on-site services must continue to be provided to students and campus stakeholders.

Examples of COVID-19 temporary, limited telecommuting arrangements may
include, but are not limited to:

  • An employee telecommutes one day per week until K-12 schools return to in-person classes.
  • An employee telecommutes for 14 days due to the unexpected, temporary closure of a daycare or quarantine requirement.
  • An employee telecommutes five days per week for three weeks due to a temporary shift to virtual K-12 schooling.

Employees requesting to telecommute for situations outside of these guidelines are required to submit a telecommuting application for review and approval by the supervisor, dean/director, and division administrator.

Employees who are unable to telecommute due to the nature of the work responsibilities, operational need, or due to difficulties managing childcare and their work responsibilities, should work with their supervisor and the Human Resources office on available leave options.

Where can employees get COVID-19 testing at no cost?

The University of Wisconsin-Stout is currently offering free rapid-result COVID-19 antigen tests to off-campus students, UW-Stout employees, and community members. The tests are being offered through a partnership between the UW System and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help address the current surge in COVID-19 virus in Wisconsin.

The Abbot BinaxNOW antigen tests will provide a result in 15 minutes. The antigen tests are self-administered using a light nasal swab under the supervision of medical professionals. In certain situations, a free follow up polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test will be required to confirm the original result.

In the Menomonie community, the following clinics also offer COVID-19 testing at no charge: 

  • Mayo Clinic Health System Red Cedar: 715-2353-7777 
  • Marshfield Clinic: 844-342-6276 
  • Prevea Health: 715-717-4582 

If you live outside the area, please contact the healthcare facilities in your area for information on COVID-19 testing. 

What should an employee do if they test positive?

Please review the COVID-19 response flow chart on the procedure for a positive test result.  The response procedure is also featured on page 10 of the Return to Spring 2021 Plan.

Employees must follow the guidance of their medical provider or Public Health before returning to work. 

What information is shared on COVID-19 cases?

The results of students tested on campus for both antigen and PCR tests are reported on our dashboard.

Individuals will be contacted through the contact tracing process if they are identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Our response procedure overview is in the Return to Spring 2021 Plan on page 10.

Do we have a threshold for a fully virtual pivot?

We will continue to consult with local health officials, other medical experts, and UW System Administration to determine how to best respond to any changes in the health of our campus. There is no one factor that would compel us to reconsider our plans; rather we are monitoring a range of factors, including campus cases, isolation and quarantine capacity, and community measures.

Updated Travel Guidance

Travel increases your chances of being infected and spreading COVID-19; therefore, university-funded travel remains suspended, with limited exceptions for essential travel with Chancellor approval.  

Employees are also asked to limit non-essential, personal travel. If you must travel, employees are encouraged to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and others, including wearing of masks, practicing social distancing, practicing good hand hygiene and avoiding large gatherings.

While all forms of travel are discouraged, certain forms of travel can pose a higher risk. This includes airports, bus stations, train stations, rest stops and any locations where there are high numbers of individuals, lack of PPE, and difficulty maintaining distance from others.  

After all forms of travel, employees shall be diligent with their symptom monitoring in order to protect the UW-Stout community.  If symptoms consistent with COVID-19 develop, employees must stay home from work, notify their supervisor, and contact their medical provider for additional guidance.  

Prior to travel, employees should review current WI Department of Health Services and Centers for Disease Control for travel guidance. As the situation continues to evolve, new guidance and requirements may be issued, including self-quarantine requirements and travel restrictions.

Additional Faculty & Staff Resources

UW-Stout Memos for Faculty & Staff

Memos are listed in the order they were released.