Currently there is a firehose of news coming through relating to the COVID-19 issues in the area. In an attempt to keep people informed there will be a daily article that will be updated throughout the day. In a lot of cases it will just provide links to other sources of information. This is a very fast-changing story and will undoubtedly continue to change quickly. Many events in the area are being canceled. This will not be comprehensive but we'll try to keep you informed on the most important news. If you have any items you want to see covered please either comment here or send an email to [email protected]

UW-Eau Claire has canceled all in-person classes for the next three weeks, and they are extending spring break. In person classes will end at the close of the day today, Friday March 13. Spring Break will run from March 23 - April 3. Classes will resume on-line on April 6 and continue until April 17, at which time the University will re-consider. The campuses will remain open, but all cultural and arts events are being canceled, including the 46th Annual Viennese Ball, the first time this has ever not been held on schedule. Further updates from UW-Eau Claire will be at their COVID-19 information page. A video message from Chancellor James Schmidt is included in this article.

The WIAA has announced that the remainder of the state high-school basketball tournament is canceled. There will be no boy's tournament, and the girl's tournament was truncated yesterday.

The Traditional and Green Skills event from the Hay River Transition Initiative was intended to be held tomorrow, Saturday March 14. It has been canceled, though some plans are underway to try to hold some of the classes virtually.

Events in the WisCommunity calendar are being canceled at a very fast rate. We cannot keep up with marking them canceled. If you are interested in any of these events, please check with the event organizers to ensure that they are still taking place. At this point you can probably assume that events with large attendances in the next few weeks are not going to happen.

The Leader Telegram has an article today about the Chippewa Valley school districts and how they are exploring the possibility of virtual classes. One problem with this is that many students do not have access to broadband. Certainly this is an ongoing issue in Menomonie as much of the area does not have reliable broadband available. 

According to the Leader Telegram The Pablo Center in Eau Claire is shutting down all events for a month. There will be no performances at the Pablo until  April 19. This closure will result in a $300,000 loss to the Pablo as well as perhaps a $200,000 loss to the community groups doing the performances. The local economic impact of the virus is going to be staggering.

Charter is offering free internet service to students where school has been closed. There are some limitations, and of course many areas of the country are not served by Charter.

Co-Lab in Eau Claire has announced that they will be closed from today, March 13, through March 31.

For at least the time being the Heyde Center in Chippewa Falls will remain open and continue to host events, but with more precautions to prevent the virus spread.

Dotter's Books in Eau Claire has announced that their shop will close at 4 PM on Sunday for an indefinite time. Their on-line store will continue to operate.

The major surprise of the day came late this afternoon with the announcement that all schools in Wisconsin will close starting next Wednesday. 

This is a continuing story and will be updated throughout the day.

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Steve Hanson

Steve is a web designer and recently retired from running the hosting and development company Cruiskeen Consulting LLC. Cruiskeen Consulting LLC is the parent company of Wis.Community, and publication of this site continues after his retirement.

Steve is a member of LION Publishers and the Local Media Consortium, is active in Health Dunn Right, and is vice-president of the League of Women Voters of the greater Chippewa Valley

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