MADISON – University of Wisconsin System universities are preparing for the return of precollege and youth programs to campuses this summer with safety protocols in place and in consultation with local and state health authorities.
After widespread cancellations of such programs in summer 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wisconsin’s public universities are re-introducing the programs this year as a result of renewed demand, more advanced knowledge of how to contain virus spread, and increasing vaccinations across the state.
“UW System is taking steps to safely bring youth back to our campuses for these learning opportunities so they can continue their personal growth and experience what our universities have to offer,” said UW System President Tommy Thompson in a news release. “Our health and safety protection efforts for youth programs is a promise not only to the public that entrusts us with their resources, but to the families who entrust us with their students.”
The UW System is supporting system campuses in implementing COVID-19 mitigation strategies for precollege and youth programs by assisting in the development of mitigation protocols and planning guidance.
UW System’s goal is to make sure each UW System campus provides a safe environment for minors who participate in youth camps, activities, and programs on campus by mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
Some of the steps the UW System is taking to help campuses safely restart precollege and youth programs include:
- Training and implementation around pre-arrival testing, symptom screening, face coverings, physical distancing, hygiene measures, and cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
- Developing a systemwide youth testing program.
- Supporting campus precollege liaisons in building customized reopening plans for minors on campus.
- Providing guidance to campus youth program staff and administrators on how to establish and enforce specific processes for programs to meet youth protection standards.
- Offering monthly professional development opportunities for all youth-serving staff and precollege liaisons.
- Providing standardized templates for informing parents and participants of possible spread of COVID-19 and how to mitigate the spread.