OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV) — Following a spike in coronavirus cases across the state, Governor Tony Evers declared a new public health emergency Tuesday, extending the statewide mask mandate through November 21.
According to officials, Wisconsin is seeing a surge in cases as the school year starts, especially among young people. Wisconsinites between 18 to 24-year-olds have a case rate five times higher than any other age group.
At UW-Oshkosh, 419 active cases had been reported as of Tuesday.
“It’s really hard to like meet people and spend time with people because of all of the different quarantine guidelines that are in place,” Meghan Numrich, a first year student at the university said.
Her first semester of college hasn’t been the typical college experience.
“The just environment and things have been different from what you hear about in high school,” Numrich said.
She said she is okay with those differences, “as a student body we’re really trying to uphold to those so that we can stay on campus.”
The school recently saw a surge in cases.
“We certainly knew that this was going to happen,” Chancellor Andrew Leavitt told Local 5 Tuesday. “When you bring college kids together, college students together, it’s always going to be a challenge.”
According to Leavitt, what’s proven effective in the face of that challenge is masks.
“We haven’t had a single faculty or staff member test positive for coronavirus as a result of being in a classroom, so the classroom is one of the safest places you can be,” he said.
Masks are required inside on campus buildings.
“When they [students] leave campus, or when they go into the residence halls, that mask adherence is maybe really not where it needs to be,” Leavitt said.
“I think some people kind of have a mentality that it’s not gonna happen to them or it’s not gonna effect them,” Numrich said. “Sometimes [they] don’t really realize the big overall impact that their decisions are making.”
Decisions, the Chancellor says, that could make all the difference.
“If the entire community wore a mask, that would be amazing,” he said. “That would be one way that we could really knock this back, but you really have to have the discipline to do it.”