COVID19 Update: Financial assistance to student employees

Interim Chancellor SheryI Van Gruensven announced today (April 8, 2020) a program to provide assistance to student employees whose positions have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This Student Employee Income Continuation Program will include a one-time COVID-19 leave payment to all active student workers who have been paid through payroll on or since Feb. 1, 2020. The details of these payments are as follows:

  • The payment will be $100 per week for two weeks — a total of $200.
  • The payment will be paid on the April A payroll, with a pay date of Thursday, April 23, 2020.
  • Each student worker will only receive one payment, even if they have held multiple jobs.
  • Student workers who log hours during the April A pay period due to approved remote work will receive this payment in addition to their logged hours during the same pay period.To provide operational budget relief for the University, after these lump payments are made the HR office will be working with divisions to properly end student employee appointments for the semester if they are not currently providing essential services. We look forward to the time when the safer-at-home order is lifted and student employees once again return to their on-campus jobs.As an institution, UW-Green Bay is doing all it can to advocate for and support students that are experiencing financial hardships. Students are urged to stay in their spring classes and to register for classes in the summer and fall. Please see below for additional resources:

    Questions related to financial barriers to learning or completing coursework, including questions related to financial aid can be directed to gboss@uwgb.edu.

    Questions about the payment as announced within this email can be directed to the Office of Human Resources and Workforce Diversity at hr@uwgb.edu.

    It is hoped that this program will provide our valued student workers with some comfort and financial assistance during these uncertain times. Wherever you are, please continue your efforts to stay home, stay safe, and stay healthy.

Director of Counseling and Health, Henniges, talks about resources

Video transcript:

I am Amy Henniges, the Director of our Counseling and Health Center. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all of you who are helping to flatten the curve of the spread of COVID 19 by following the guidelines of Staying Safer at home.

Additionally, I would like to thank all of the employees that are too essential to our campus operations to stay at home, for taking all the extra precautions to keep us safe.

Safer-at-home is our currently our best option for slowing the spread of the virus and flattening the curve so that our health care system has enough beds, critical care capacity, and healthy front line health care workers to take care of those most critically ill.

It is more critical than ever to maintain at least 6-feet social distancing and to continue to cover our cough and to wash our hands and disinfect surfaces.  

New this week, the CDC is also advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to wear in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores).  Simple masks or face coverings can slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it, from transmitting it to others. You also really want to minimize how often you are going out on essential errands.

Simple cloth face covering can be made out of made at home from common materials at low cost, like a bandana.

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting changes to our lifestyles, can make anyone overwhelmed, anxious or even depressed. Please don’t hesitate to ask for help. Our campus support services remain open by phone. Our counselors, nurses and nurse practitioner are available for phone consultations with students. 

Check out our Counseling and Health website for phone appointment details, additional virtual care options for COVID Screenings in the community, and wellness resources and tips.

Employees have access to counselors by phone through our EAP program.

Finding healthy ways to cope and stay connected is so important. I also encourage you to check out the resilient.wisconsin.gov for additional tools to encourage self-care, maintain social connections, and reduce stress.

Staying Safer at Home is more important than ever, and we know it is not easy. We are all in this together and we are here to help.

UW-Green Bay students settle in to new lifestyle despite pandemic

In this story, May 2020 graduate Joshua Konecke, a Marketing and University Communication intern, describes how he and other students are adapting in an unprecedented learning and work environment.

It’s been an unprecedented four weeks as the world practices social distancing and staying at home in hopes of flattening the curve and slowing the spread of the Coronavirus. Students have been participating in receiving education from their residences through alternative delivery methods the past three weeks. This pandemic has brought about abrupt changes to our everyday life and has forced students to adapt to these circumstances. Everyone handles change differently, but the challenges we face are quite similar.

I am a senior graduating in May majoring in Communication and English. I moved out of my apartment on campus on March 18, and have been living at home since. I’ve found the delivery of online classes hasn’t been too difficult to adjust to, although I usually take at least one online class per semester, so I’ve had experience working with different methods of educational content delivery. The most difficult adjustment is maintaining a normal routine. Back in the day when classes were held on campus, which feels like an eternity ago, my Mondays and Wednesdays were the same, as well as my Tuesdays and Thursdays. There was a normal routine. Now, any given day could be entirely different depending on what I have to get done that week and when I have to get it done by.

While I don’t have a normal routine anymore, I maintain a semblance of normalcy by trying to work in 60-minute increments. Each day, I try and do something productive, whether it be homework, work, job searches, ect. four to five times a day in 60-minute segments. That way, I am being productive every day during different periods of the day, so I never go too long feeling like I’m not accomplishing anything.

Morgan Johnson, a junior earning a BFA in Writing and Applied Arts, with a minor in Arts Management, also has moved back home for the remainder of the semester. She has found it beneficial to try and do the homework for each class on the same days which she would have normally had the classes in-person. “It’s the best way I’ve found to hold myself accountable and make sure I don’t procrastinate,” she said.

Additionally, Morgan has tried to make her home feel more academic, as she hasn’t done many homework assignments at home since high school. While the first week of online learning was definitely an adjustment period for her, once she figured out how to make her room feel more like her dorm, she was able to better acclimate to learning from home, allowing her to maintain familiarity through routine study and organizational habits she had on campus. “Once I did that, I felt more motivated to do work,” Morgan said.

Another graduating student this May, Zach Schneider, majoring in English, Humanities and earning a BFA in Writing and Applied Arts, with a minor in Education, elected to stay on campus. Zach is used to seeing people move through the residence halls, but now there isn’t many people. “It’s a bit eerie living on campus. The place is pretty dead,” said Zach. People have been consolidated to certain buildings so everyone has access to a kitchen, so some people abruptly got new roommates. While all of Zach’s roommates chose to stay on campus, he knows a few people who got new roommates and have struggled to adjust to that change in the midst of everything else going on. The changes with campus dining haven’t affected Zach, as he cooks for himself. “I just try to go to the grocery store less often,” said Zach.

Although Zach has lost his normal routine, he has found it helpful to make lists on virtual post-it notes of what he needs to get done each day. These lists help him keep track of due dates and deadlines for assignments and projects, which serves to keep Zach motivated. “The biggest challenge I face is motivation. I usually am great at self-motivating, but it’s a lot harder when there aren’t physical classes to keep my head straight. My strategy to overcome my lack of motivation has been being aware of due dates and the desire to finish my last semester with good grades,” Zach said.

A non-traditional student coming from California, Wayne Borowski, is a senior graduating in May majoring in English and minoring in Film and Cinema Studies. Coming from California, where he had to take months off from school at a time, this adverse situation isn’t of total unfamiliarity to Wayne, but still distressing nonetheless. “I’m a bit more adjusted now, but the first few weeks were marked by a sense of surrender and loss,” Wayne said.  Some of the classes or clubs Wayne is a part of don’t translate well to online platforms, so many projects have either been cancelled or, at the very least, considerably marred.

Wayne has noticed the days becoming jumbled here and there, and some of his usual customs have vanished, but he has found a silver lining during these tumultuous times. “There has been understanding and patience all-around, and in some ways, despite the distance between everyone, there have been moments throughout this ordeal in which I have felt closer to many of my peers and professors than perhaps I ever had before,” Wayne said. Wayne’s college journey has been anything but ordinary, but he recognizes this experience, along with his previous college experiences, will have him graduating in May as “twice the individual I had been before I embarked on this journey.”

Whether you are at home, living on campus or a non-traditional student, you are likely facing some of the same challenges. Although the last six weeks of the semester will undoubtedly be challenging for many students, it is something that we all are going through, and we will all get through, together.

Story by Marketing and University Communication intern Joshua Konecke ‘May 20
Photo –  Joshua Konecke in his new student/employee work space

Housing and Meal Plan Refunds for students who have moved out of Residence Life

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, all students no longer living in University Housing will receive a prorated room credit, as well as a prorated credit for any remaining Housing resident meal plan funds. These credits will be applied to students’ campus SIS account. If the student has any outstanding balance on their SIS account, the amounts due will be subtracted from the credit total, and any remaining credit balance will be refunded to the student.

In order to receive refunds as quickly as possible, students are encouraged to enroll in Electronic Refunding, which allows for a direct deposit to be made to student bank accounts. More information on Electronic Refunding can be found on the Bursar’s website. For questions about electronic refunding, please call the Bursar/Student Billing at 920-465-2224 or email bursar@uwgb.edu.

Efforts are being coordinated with campus and UW System on the exact timing of when this credit will be issued. It is anticipated that credits will be applied to student SIS accounts in late April. Updates will be shared when new information is available. Thank you for your understanding and patience through this challenging time.

For questions regarding these Housing credits, please email the Office of Residence Life at housing@uwgb.edu, and someone will respond during normal work hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) For questions regarding your dining plan, please email the Union at universityid@uwgb.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it a “credit,” not a refund?
While we are refunding students for these housing and meal plan costs, we refer to it as a credit, because it is applied to their SIS account first, and any outstanding amounts due are subtracted before a refund payment is issued.

When will the credit be applied?
The credit is expected to be applied to SIS accounts by late April.

How long will it take to receive the refund?
At this time the Bursar/Student Billing are processing refunds on Wednesdays. Once you see the refund posted on your SIS account, if you are enrolled in electronic refunding you should see the deposit in your bank 2 to 3 days later. If you receive paper checks, the paper check will be mailed 2 business days after refund has posted to your SIS account.

Can I enroll in Electronic Refunding now?
Yes, students can enroll, but must be enrolled 48 hours before refunds are processed. The vendor sets this timeframe. If a student enrolls on the same date refunds are processed, the refund will not go electronically. Information on enrolling in Electronic Refunding can be found at https://www.uwgb.edu/bursar/refunds/electronic-refunds/.

What if I have a balance due?
If a student still has a balance due in their SIS account after the Housing credit is applied, they will not receive a refund payment and are still expected to pay their outstanding balance.

Can the credit be applied to next year’s housing?
No. Students cannot carry their refund into the next school year because of rules related to federal financial aid.

What are the dates that will be credited back?
As determined by UWS, prorated room reimbursements for students who vacated the residence halls will cover March 22, 2020 through the remainder of the spring semester (May 16, 2020).

Will the amount of my credit be affected by when I moved my belongings out of the room?
No. Students who were not able to get their belongings until later this semester will not be assessed any fees or see any impact on their housing costs/credits.

What if I moved out after March 27, 2020?
If you moved out after March 27, 2020, you could receive a prorated refund based on the date of your check-out as long as it happened before April 16, 2020. Per the housing contract, no refunds will be processed for move-outs during the last 30 days of a semester.

How much will the credit be?
The amount of the credit to the student’s SIS account will vary depending on the rate for their particular room type as well as the remaining balance on their meal plan.

Will the amount of my credit include my Advance Deposit?
Students who have departed campus who do not have any future housing contracts, will receive a refund of their Advance Deposit as a $200 credit to their SIS account. Any students with future housing contracts will not receive a refund. Their deposit will be rolled over to the next contract.

What happens with meal plan balances?
Remaining balances in resident meal plan accounts will be credited as a payment on the student’s SIS account. Pass Points always carry over from year to year and remain on the student’s account.

CDC: Wearing a mask is a must!

During cold and flu seasons, face masks are common sights in heavily populated areas, both home and abroad. Now, during the coronavirus outbreak, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the use of a mask in areas where social distancing is difficult.

Unfortunately, most stores are sold out and “medical grade” masks must be reserved for health-care professionals. In light of these challenges, Facebook and other social media sources are filled with hints and plans for creating your own “DIY” mask.

The primary function of this type of mask is to protect you from someone already carrying the virus who may not have obvious symptoms. So if everyone wears a mask, the risk of transmission and spread significantly decreases.

Here’s some tips to making a “hand-crafted” coronavirus mask more effective:

  • The more layers of fabric, preferably cotton (as in a bed sheet or pillow case) the better.  But not so many layers you can’t breathe through the mask.
  • Add a layer non-woven interfacing, like a reusable grocery tote or lunch bag to help block droplets of virus.
  • Tape a pipe cleaner onto the outside of the mask, making it possible to pinch the mask onto and much easier if you wear glasses.
  • Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams has released a video showing his method for using a square of cloth (or a bandana) and two large rubber bands. See the video.

Reminder to students: Watch for scams and phishing

UW-Green Bay students, stay alert! Scammers are taking advantage of the current coronavirus situation. They are monitoring the news and hoping to pray on your fears. UW-System has announced prorated room and board refunds and the scammers are aware of it as well.  Protect your account and think before you click.  For more information on the refunds, check out the FAQ. As always, if you question an email at all please forward it as an attachment to abuse@uwgb.edu and the IT Security team will verify it for you.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a site dedicated to the scams that are being reported to them regarding coronavirus.  See Cornoavirus Scams: What the FTC is doing.

Resilient Wisconsin Resources Announced

In this unprecedented time of uncertainty, adopting healthy practices for coping with stress and stay connected with friends, family and co-workers is more important than ever. Resilient Wisconsin offers resources and tools to encourage self-care, maintain social connections and reduce stress. When we utilize these tools, we help build a healthier Wisconsin for all. Here are a few practices you can put to good use today and moving forward:

  • Get the three goods: “good-for-you (healthy!) foods, a good night’s sleep, and a good amount of exercise every day.
  • Stay connected to your support system. Reach out to family and friends, colleagues, and community groups in whatever way you can—calls, texts, video chats, and more.
  • Spend time away from focusing on COVID-19. Don’t let the pandemic take over what you read, watch, or talk about. Encourage friends and family to talk about other topics.
  • Reduce anxiety by reducing your risk. You stay safer staying at home. Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet apart while running essential errands at the store, pharmacy, or gas station.
  • Check in with yourself. Everyone’s reaction to stress is different. Difficulty concentrating or sleeping, irritability, fatigue, and even stomachaches can be normal.
  • It’s OK to ask for help! If you find you are overwhelmed or having thoughts of self-harm or suicide, reach out for help right away. Text HOPELINE to 741741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Staying Safer-at-Home is important, but we know it is not easy. Resilient Wisconsin offers us a way forward as we all work towards a healthier Wisconsin. For more information, please visit resilient.wisconsin.gov. and follow DHS on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Front door with colorful paper hearts taped to the side-light windows.

UW-Green Bay faculty members create a Pandemic Poetry Exchange

UW-Green Bay Professors Alise Coen (Political Science, Public & Environmental Affairs) and Jessica Van Slooten (English, Women’s & Gender Studies) were featured in a local news story for their creation of an interdisciplinary Pandemic Poetry Exchange group. The pair talked to reporter Diana Bolander for the Herald Times Reporter.

Alise Coen
Alise Coen

The group has grown to more than 200 members on Facebook and offers a supportive creative space to help cope with physical distancing.

The Facebook group is called ‘VanCoen Pandemic Poetry‘ (a combination of their last names) and has more than 225 members. The group’s guiding principle is to be ‘a supportive space for members to read, create and share original poems (broadly defined) to help cope with social distancing and quarantine-like conditions during the COVID-19 situation.

Jessica Van Slooten
Jessica Van Slooten

Both Coen and Van Slooten said they find that the group helps them feel more connected to the world while in isolation.

Coen noted: “I am comforted and inspired by our group as a supportive space for sharing art through words. The poems shared are sometimes humorous, sometimes somber and almost always descriptive of people’s different experiences and perspectives.”

 

 

A poem and photo by Van Slooten:

Front door with colorful paper hearts taped to the side-light windows.Fold the paper vertically
and curve the scissors just
so: begin with a point,
flare into generous cures,
and finish in a deep cleft.
Unfold your heart.
Remember they come in all
shapes, sizes, colors.
Make a rainbow of hearts:
love is love is love.
Put two hearts together
to form wings, and fly.
Imagine every paper heart
beating steady, strong,
a talisman to heal broken
hearts, heart failure.
Tape the hearts on windows
and doors: spread the love

Not Aleppo by Coen

Tending to street cats
In the middle of war
The man in Aleppo
Knows far more
About trying to find peace.
Me with my books
With my smart phone in bed
Using words to escape
The traps in my head
Safely sprawled under fleece.

Still, I fell nervous
In my privileged bombless nights
Mulling over viral posts
Of healthcare worker plights
And epicenter quakes.
By the light of my screen
That comforting glow
The fear is well disguised
As a thing I need to know
So I read all the takes.

Updated guidance for State employees (travel, masks, symptoms)

As the COVID-19 virus has reached community spread levels throughout the United States, specific regional travel restrictions are no longer relevant. All in-state business travel, regardless of location, has been limited to essential operational needs where no reasonable alternative is available. Regarding personal travel, all employees should follow the Safer at Home order.

Employees with the following symptoms should contact a health care provider. In most cases, you will be advised to self-isolate by staying home and not working until you are free of fever (>100.4°F), signs of a fever, AND respiratory symptoms (for example, cough, shortness of breath) for at least three days (72 hours) without the use of fever-reducing medicine AND seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared:

·        Flu-like symptoms* [fever of 100.4° F or higher (with an oral thermometer)]

·        Cough or sore throat*

·        Headache or body aches

·        Diarrhea and vomiting

·        Symptoms of acute respiratory illness (fever of 100.4° F or higher using an oral thermometer), coughing, shortness of breath*

* Denotes COVID-19 Symptoms ​

In addition, the Department of Health Services has released guidance related to the use of cloth face coverings. Employees of DOC, DHS and DVA should follow the specific direction given by the agency and may be required to wear other masks, or personal protective equipment, if available. Where other direction is not in place by an agency, employees can wear clean, work appropriate, fabric face coverings, or masks, to work but are not required to do so.

Simple cloth face coverings may be helpful in slowing the spread of the virus to others. This is particularly true for people who may have the virus and do not know it. However, wearing a cloth face mask does not replace DHS recommendations for physical distancing and frequent hand washing. Key points include:

·       Before putting on a mask, clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.

·       Make sure the mask covers your mouth and nose with no gaps between your face and the mask.

·       Do not touch your mask while wearing it; if you do, clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.

·       Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp.

·       Always wear your cloth reusable mask with the same side facing outwards.

·       Clean your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.

·       Continue staying at least 6 feet away from other people.

·       Continue following the recommendations for social distancing: avoid crowds, stay at home as much as possible, and just leave for essential tasks (e.g. work, grocery shopping, going to the doctor, getting medications).

The DHS COVID website has additional information about using cloth face coverings as masks including making, wearing, and washing of the masks.

Contribute to ‘Community Voices: Stories for the Archives’

A project for all ages, all walks of life, all experiences.

The world is collectively experiencing unprecedented times with the fast progression of the coronavirus. Time seems to be moving differently. Hours feel like days, while days can feel like weeks with the everchanging nature of the virus. Therefore, it can be important, not just for now, but for decades later, for individuals to consider documenting their experiences during this time. This sparked the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Archives and Area Research Center to create Community Voices: Stories for the Archives. This is a program in which people are invited to share their stories during this time with the Archives, and for perpetuity.

Personnel in the Archives have created a brief series of questions meant to serve as journal prompts. Some of the questions touch upon how daily life has changed, what precautions are being taken, what is helping people cope and what emotions are being felt. Individuals can answer as many or as few of the questions as they like. Individuals can also remain anonymous and respond more than once as their circumstances change. Share your story, here or email archives@uwgb.edu.

Deb Anderson, coordinator of the Archives and Area Research Center, said the community voices shared so far are telling poignant stories about health concerns, job security as well as humorous accounts of everyone working and schooling from home.

Everyone, including members of the public, are welcome to fill out this survey. Educators of all levels are encouraged to use this with their classes. Parents can also fill it out with their children. Young people often may not get a chance to have a voice in historical records, so this is a great opportunity to do so! Looking ahead to when these times are taught in schools across the world, your voice can be one that is remembered.

Anderson noted that often times, personal experiences, feelings and thoughts are left out of official historical records. “Rather than wait for the historical record to come to the Archives, we want to be part of creating the historical record by saving the stories,” said Anderson. “Our innovative approach to gathering the stories of individuals during this unheard of time in our world will enrich how we can understand this moment in history.”

Regardless if individuals participate in Community Voices, the Archives personnel encourage people to keep diaries and journals, take photos, draw illustrations of your experiences, write letters to yourself, make a family movie or save your blog posts. Create items that can last into the future. Maybe later, you can consider donating a copy to the Archives. One UW-Green Bay student teacher has already planned to donate her students’ journals to Archives at the end of the school year.

To learn more about donating items to the Archives, please contact Deb Anderson at archives@uwgb.edu.

Story by Marketing and University Communication Intern Joshua Konecke