​Frequently Asked Questions
Health and Wellness 

 What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that range from the common cold to other viruses like MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). Coronaviruses commonly circulate in animals and sometimes also infect humans.

COVID-19, is a new respiratory disease first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The outbreak in Wuhan has been connected to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting a possible animal source to the outbreak.

 Why is it called a coronavirus?

image of coronavirus

Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surface.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/types.html

 What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:

  • ​Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of break or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell​

In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia and other complications, especially for older individuals and those with other health conditions.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If you have any of these emergency warning signs* for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: Notify the operator that you have, or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a cloth face covering before medical help arrives.

 How is coronavirus transmitted?

It can be spread between humans through close personal contact, such as coughing or sneezing, touching surfaces with coronavirus on them and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

There is much more to learn about the spread, severity and other features of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after contact with someone who has COVID-19. 

More can be found at CDC COVID-19, How it Spreads and CDC COVID-19 Symptoms.

 How can I help protect myself?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection, and there is currenlty no specific treatment. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. If you have not been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days, your risk is very low.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends these everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

See also

 I'm sick. How do I know if it is coronavirus or something else, like the flu? Should I be tested?

Coronavirus symptoms and flu symptoms can be similar. 

Should you be tested? The following criteria is being used for patients who think they have COVID-19:
  • If you are a student and have symptoms, call the Student Health Service at 715-346-4646 for further evaulation.

  • If you have mild symptoms (runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, body aches, fever) or mild illness for which you would not normally seek care, testing is not recommended. However, if you think you have been around someone who has been sick with COVID-19 and have mild symptoms it is recommend you stay home and self-isolate yourself (stay away from others) for 14 days. You also must be fever free with no other acute symptoms for 72 hours. Self-isolation guidance can be found through the CDC.

  • If you have mild symptoms and are an older adult, have chronic disease and or immune issues and you think you were around some who has been sick with COVID-19 you should contact your physician and discuss symptoms and testing. You also should self-isolate for 14 days, be fever free with no other acute symptoms for 72 hours.

  • If anyone has severe symptoms (difficulty breathing, chest pain, and/or difficulty arousing), they should call their provider immediately or if necessary 911. “If you are healthy and have mild symptoms, you should manage your illness at home.” Hersil shared. “By staying home, you avoid putting other people at risk. For the same reason, stay home from work if you have a flu-like illness. Most people do not need a test for COVID-19.” It is very important if individuals develop severe symptoms, they call their health care provider before seeking care. Your doctor will determine if you should be tested for COVID-19.

If your symptoms worsen to high fever, chest pain and/or difficulty breathing:

  • Call your health provider or, if necessary, 911. Call ahead before you go to your doctor's office or to an emergency room. Tell them your symptoms.
  • Do not use public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis.
  • Wear a face cover and maintain six feet of distance from other people.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze.

 I have been diagnosed with COVID-19, now what? Who needs to know?

1.   First, isolate yourself from others. Follow CDC isolation guidelines.

2.   Submit an online report.

    • Students, complete this form to notify UW-Stevens Point if you have tested positive for COVID-19/coronavirus.
    • Faculty and staff, complete the form when you have tested positive for COVID-19/coronavirus and you have physically been on campus during the past seven days.

3.   Notify close contacts, who should quarantine for 14 days per UWSP policy.

    • Use the WI Exposure Notification App.
    • What if I want to remain anonymous but still notify my close contacts?
      The online tool "Tell Your Contacts" allows for anonymous text or email notifications. To send notifications from this tool:
  1. Visit tellyourcontacts.org.
  2. Select email or text notification.
  3. Enter your contacts' information and exposure date.
  4. Select either the pre-written message or customize your own. You do not need to enter your name.
  5. Send your message.

 How do I monitor myself for symptoms of COVID-19?

For the 14 days after possible close contact, you should monitor yourself for symptoms.

Self-monitoring instructions:

  • If possible, take your temperature twice a day with a thermometer. A fever is typically a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater. If you do not have a thermometer, symptoms of fever may include feeling unusually hot for no reason, having chills or having the sweats.
  • Watch for fever, cough, runny nose, headache, shortness of breath/trouble breathing.
  • If you develop any symptoms, call your healthcare provider for further instructions.
  • If you are considered a close contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19, the local health department will contact you for further instructions.

 How do I know if I am a close contact to COVID-19?

You are a close contact if ANY of the following situations happened while you spent time with the person with COVID-19, even if they didn't have symptoms:

  • Had direct physical contact with the person (for example, a hug, kiss or handshake)
  • Were within six feet of the person for a total of more than 15 minutes in a single day
  • Had contact with the person's respiratory secretions (were coughed or sneezed on; contact with a dirty tissue; shared a drinking glass, food, towels, or other personal items)
  • Live with the person or stayed overnight at least one night in a household with the person.
If my friend was exposed, am I exposed?
  • Just because your friend was exposed, doesn't mean you were. If you are healthy and your friend did not have any symptoms, you do not have to get tested, self-quarantine or take any special precautions.


 What should I do if I have been exposed to a person with COVID-19?

You may have been exposed to someone with symptoms of the virus or you may find out that a classmate or acquaintance has tested positive. 
Find the next steps here and learn what it means to be a close contact. Student Health Service is available to help guide students through this process. Employees, please contact your health care provider for guidance. By monitoring your own symptoms and quarantining if needed, you can help stop further spread.

 What is the difference between isolation and quarantine, and why should I quarantine?

Isolation keeps a person who tested positive for COVID-19 away from others, even in their own home. The person may be showing symptoms, but may also be symptom free.

If you test positive for COVID-19 or think you have the disease, you should isolate in your home, away from others until:

  • At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared AND
  • You have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication AND
  • Other symptoms have improved

If you test postive for COVID-19, but do not have symptoms, you should still isolate in your home, away from others:

  • Stay home until after 10 days have passed since your positive test.

Quarantine keeps a person who was a close contact to someone who has COVID-19 away from others. It can take up to 14 days for a person who was exposed to develop symptoms. Quarantining while you are not sick allows you to limit the number of people you have contact with in the event you become ill.

If you had close contact with a person who has COVID-19:

  • Stay home until 14 days after your last contact.
  • Check your temperature twice a day and watch for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If possible, stay away from people who are at higher-risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.

Even those who initially test negative need to quarantine for the following reasons:

  • It can take up to 14 days to test positive or show symptoms. A negative test does not mean you do not have COVID-19, unless it is completed on the 14th day of your quarantine.

  • You can spread COVID-19 to others beginning two days before symptoms start until several days after symptoms start and about one day after you recover. You can spread the virus even if you never develop symptoms - not everyone with COVID-19 will get sick.

  • By remaining in quarantine, you are helping stop the spread.

Authority. The department or the local health officer acting on behalf of the department may require isolation of the patient or an individual, quarantine of contacts, concurrent and terminal disinfection, or modified forms of these procedures as may be necessary, and which are determined by the department by rule. - Wis. Stat. § 252.06 (1)

Penalties. No person, other than a person authorized by the public health authority or agent of the public health authority, may enter an isolation or quarantine premises. A violation is subject to a fine not to exceed $10,000 or imprisonment not to exceed nine months, or both. - Wis. Stat. § 252.06 (4)(b)

Police Power and Limitations. Expenses for necessary medical care, food and other articles needed for the care of the infected person shall be charged against the person or whoever is liable for the person's support. - Wis. Stat. § 252.06 (10)

 How do I self-quarantine?

  • Stay home. This means do not go to school, work, public areas or attend large gatherings such as parties, weddings, meetings and sporting events. If you need medical care, call your health care provider. Call ahead before you go to your doctor's office or to an emergency room. Tell them your symptoms and that you traveled to an area that has a COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Do not use public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis.
  • Do not go out to restaurants or have guests over to your house.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items, such as dishes, drinking glasses, cups, utensils, towels or bedding.
  • Postpone any travel. If travel is absolutely necessary, you must contact your local health department first for instructions. Please know, if you choose to travel and become ill while you are away, you may not be able to return home using public transport (for example, air travel) until you are well and released from possible isolation by the local health department.
  • Wash your hands often and practice good hygiene.
  • As long as you feel healthy, you may leave the home (in a private vehicle) for a limited time to take care of routine and necessary activities, such as grocery shoppin or visiting the pharmacy. Try to avoid busy times of the day.
  • Postpone all nonessential mediacal appointments (for example, dental cleaning, eye exam, routine check-up) until you are out of quarantine. If you have an essential appointment during the quarantine, please call your provider ahead of time and tell them that you traveled to an area experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak. Your local health department may also be able to help you.
  • Consider minimizing contact with people and animals in your home (stay in your own room and, if possible, use your own bathroom.) Avoid sharing personal household items such as dishes, towels and bedding.

 How should I clean if I have a sick person at home?

  • In the sick person's bedroom/bathroom, reduce cleaning to as-needed (ex: soiled items and surfaces) to avoid unnecessary contact with the person.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in common areas (ex: tables, countertops, doorknobs, light switches, toilets, sinks, tablets, phones).
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean with soap and water before disinfecting.
  • For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70 percent alcohol and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
  • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing: 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water.
  • Do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing the virus through the air. If possible, wash items using the warmest water setting.

 Contacts, psychological tips for managing concerns

If you need help:

Recognizing Distress - A Self-Check List

  • Increased anxiety, worry, fear, and feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Depressive symptoms that persist and/or intensify
  • Inability to focus or concentrate accompanied by decreased academic performance
  • A feeling of hopelessness and/or a paralyzing fear about the future
  • Sudden anger and disruptive behaviors or noticeable changes in personality
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Excessive crying
  • Isolating or withdrawing from others, fear of going into public situations
  • Unhealthy coping (e.g., increased alcohol or drug use, engaging in risky/impulsive behaviors)

Psychological Health Tips

  • Acknowledge reactions. Allow yourself time to reflect on what you are feeling and how you may be reacting to any fears and uncertainties of the future.
  • Maintain your day-to-day normal activities and social outlets. Resist withdrawing and isolating yourself from the support and caring that others can provide.
  • Seek accurate information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and limit exposure to social media and news reports that provide no new information.
  • Pay attention to positive news instead of only focusing on negative and fear-producing reports.
  • Follow protection and prevention tips given by medical professionals such as Student Health Service here on campus, national medical authorities and your own medical doctor.
  • Practice calming rituals. Stay grounded in the present moment, which can help you maintain an internal sense of stability and balance when outside events feel threatening.
  • Seek supports & use campus resources. Reach out to friends and family and learn about campus resources available. If you or someone you know has high distress that does not seem to be lessening, talk about it with others. Students can make an appointment to visit the counseling center. Employees can reach out to the Employee Assistance Program. See contact numbers for each under Additional Support below. Your campus community is here to help!

Avoid Stigmatizing or Generalizing

  • Be aware of your behavior or attitude change towards others from another country
  • Avoid generalizing anyone who is sick as potentially having the 2019 novel coronavirus
  • Examine any irrational or rigid thoughts that can exist when there is uncertainty


 Should I wear a cloth mask to protect myself and others?

Public health officials, including the CDC and WHO, recommend that wearing face coverings to protect others, especially when physical distancing is difficult to maintain.

UW-Stevens Point requires that everyone who comes to our campuses wears a face covering, especially in public settings where physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain. This is part of our ongoing effort to protect health and safety and to slow the spread of coronavirus in our communities. 

Cloth face coverings and a refillable bottle of hand santizer are being distributed to those returning to campus. For information on using your cloth face covering, go here. Those working on campus may request a mask through slebow@uwsp.edu or hspringe@uwsp.edu.

The CDC advises using simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings made from household items or common materials at low cost at home can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure. See this CDC page for more, including how to make face coverings. These face coverings are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.Those critical supplies must continue to be reserved for health care workers and other medical first responders.

The key point is that cloth masks are not intended to provide protection to the person wearing it. Rather, cloth masks decrease the risk of that individual spreading the virus when they are asymptomatic or having mild symptoms of early illness. This is to protect the general public and help decrease the spread.

If an employee is not wearing a face covering, gently ask them to do so, following university policy. Be aware that some may need an accommodation, may need frequent breaks from wearing a cover or they may wear a different type of covering. If an employee refuses to comply, refer them to the university guidelines, particularly the COVID-19 page. Please report non-compliance to your supervisor, not Police and Security Services.

If a student refuses to comply, resources are available. See Guidance to Faculty and Instructors Regarding Face Coverings in the Classroom for suggested language and steps on enforcing the mask requirement. 

 What is UW-Stevens Point doing to protect the campus community?

UW-Stevens Point has taken proactive measures to reduce the risk of the novel coronavirus on our campuses for most of 2020. The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff members are top priorities. UWSP Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has been activated and is monitoring the situation, working closely with university leadership and state and county public health officials.

As we begin to carefully return to our campuses this summer and fall, our commitment to protecting the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff members, and our communities is heightened. We have increased precautions in numerous ways as we prepare our facilities and our people for this new environment.

You've received prior communications about efforts to monitor and protect your health including:

  • Requiring Daily Symptom Screening before coming to any UW-Stevens Point location
  • Providing testing through Student Health Service
  • Encouraging physical distancing of six feet from others
  • Requiring face coverings in all buildings and whenever physical distancing of six feet is difficult to maintain
  • Distributing cloth face coverings and hand sanitizer to those who are on campus.
  • Rearranging classrooms, labs and collaboration spaces to allow adequate distancing using a bubble diagram and a radius of 4.5 feet in most circumstances (the most conservative standard in the UW System)
  • Providing training videos and information on social distancing, facilities usage and exchanging your provided hand sanitizer bottle
  • Encouraging alternatives to in-person meetings of 10 or more people.
  • Working remotely, when possible
  • Increased cleaning and disinfecting
  • Placing sneeze shields in key service areas
  • Encouraging frequent, thorough hand washing 

To ensure that all employees have reviewed and acknowledged all policies and procedures related to COVID-19, UW-Stevens Point has created the COVID-19 Employee Training Module, to be completed by Monday, Aug. 31.

  • Please view this Canvas course using Chrome or Firefox. You will be asked to use your UW-Stevens Point login, then enroll in the course. It includes an instructional video, pledge form and a list of UW-Stevens Point's COVID-19 online resources.

  • Employees who have limited or no access to the Internet will be required to complete the training when they return to work. We are also asking that employees who are not working on campus to view and acknowledge the training to better understand the requirements of working onsite and current CDC guidance and safety practices. We kindly ask that supervisors work with their employees to complete this training by Aug. 31.

UWSP Facility Services - Custodial Work Unit, which services all academic, residential and administrative buildings and university centers on campus, uses a Clorox® Total 360® System, an innovative disinfecting system. This helps keep our students, faculty, staff members and visitors safe from harmful germs and illnesses, such as fast-spreading stomach, norovirus and flu bugs. Learn more.

Each of us has a role in preventing the spread of any illness. Thank you for doing your part to stay healthy and to stay home if you are ill.

 Where can I refill the bottle of hand sanitizer I received from the university?

There are five hand sanitizer stations located across campus for you to leave your empty 2 oz. bottle of hand sanitzier and pick up a filled bottle.

To download and print a map of those location, click here.

 Will UW-Stevens Point be doing COVID testing?

See guidelines here for testing.

We continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American College Health Association guidelines to proactively reduce the risk of COVID-19 and identify individuals who may show no symptoms of the disease.

  If someone on campus becomes infected, what will happen?

In spite of our diligent efforts and extensive precautions to prepare our campus for a safe return, COVID cases are likely to occur. 

If a case is confirmed on campus or in our local communities, UW-Stevens Point will take immediate steps to properly respond to any health and safety risk to the campus community and will follow all recommendations from the CDC, Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Portage County health officer.Our notification process balances the privacy of individuals with transparency to notify our employees and students.

If there is a positive incidence of COVID-19 on campus, the flowchart here outlines our process well for both students and employees.


 Will COVID-19 testing still be required by students and employees who have been vaccinated?

Students and employees who receive the vaccine must still be tested. This recommendation is based on guidance from CDC, DHS, the local health department as well as UW System. At this time we do not have data that tells us if vaccinated individuals are no longer able to transmit the virus to others, so we need to continue surveillance testing.

For more information, see the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Frequently Asked Questions site

 Will COVID-19 vaccines be available to employees and students at UW-Stevens Point campuses?

As of Feb. 5, 2021:
COVID vaccines are available in Wisconsin to specific groups of people at higher risk for COVID-19 infection. It will take several months to reach all those in each priority phase because of limited vaccine supplies. 

UW-Stevens Point Student Health Service plans to vaccinate eligible students and current employees on the Stevens Point campus when additional vaccine becomes available through the state allocation process. Student Health Service is now an approved vaccinator through Wisconsin Department of Health Service (DHS) for COVID vaccine.

UW-Stevens Point is not a community vaccine site at this time. Retired employees are encouraged to seek the COVID-19 vaccine from their personal provider or local health department.

To help Student Health Service staff plan for this vaccination process, please complete a survey if you are in one of these categories currently eligible for vaccines:

  • Frontline health care personnel
  • Residents in skilled nursing and long-term care facilities
  • Police and fire personnel, correctional staff
  • Adults ages 65 and older

If you are in one of these populations and haven't received the vaccine, please complete this survey:

Student Health Service will contact eligible individuals who complete the survey when the COVID-19 vaccine is available to schedule an appointment. The demand for vaccine far exceeds the supply Wisconsin receives currently but supplies from the federal government are expected to increase in the next 2-3 weeks.

If you are not in a currently eligible group, please do not complete the survey now. Please do not call Student Health Service directly for vaccine information.

Those currently eligible may also want to contact their health care providers directly or go to the organization's website for more information. Watch for details from county public health departments, too.

The next eligible group includes faculty and staff in higher education settings who have direct student contact. The state Department of Health Services anticipates the next group will be eligible about March 1, depending on vaccine supply. Student Health Service will provide additional information for these groups as it becomes available. For more details on vaccine eligibility, see www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-about.htm.

The COVID-19 vaccine is a crucial part of slowing the spread of the coronavirus. To help inform your decision about the vaccine, see these trusted resources:

DHS - www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-faq.htm

CDC - www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/

Please continue to do your part to stop the spread of COVID-19: Wear a face covering, practice physical distancing, avoid large gatherings, frequently wash your hands and continue university-sponsored COVID testing regularly on your campus.

Please see vaccination information for Portage County, Marathon County and Wood County for more information on vaccine rollout.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Heath Services, the vaccine will be disseminated in phases. Definitions of who is included in each phase is determined the State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee. The phase definitions will determine when UWSP students and employees are eligible to receive the vaccine.  Please note that it is expected the vaccine will not be widely available to community members until summer or later in 2021.  

 Where can I learn more facts about COVID-19 vaccines?

To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines, such as frequently asked questions and common myths, go to these trusted resources:


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