UWM’s financial outlook

August 4, 2020

UWM faces unprecedented challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our top priority is the health and safety of students, faculty and staff as we plan fall classes, ramp up research activities and continue to engage meaningfully with the community.

But the pandemic also has had a major impact on our budget, which will require difficult decisions in the months ahead. Here is an update on the campus’s current financial situation as the start of the Fall 2020 semester nears.

For the fiscal year that ended on June 30, UWM has been anticipating an operating deficit of $15 million to $18 million, based on the net impact of pre-COVID-19 enrollment declines, COVID-19 refunds and expenses, and the state budget lapse at the end of the fiscal year. Very recent end-of -year information suggests that reductions to spending in the final quarter were larger than expected, such that this anticipated deficit may be reduced significantly. Final results for FY 2020 will be shared when available.

For the 2020-21 fiscal year, which started on July 1, we anticipate a net loss for the academic and non-auxiliary administrative units of $25 million to $54 million, without considering measures to cut costs. These units are funded mostly by tuition and state support.

We currently estimate an overall decline in enrollment of 5% to 10% for Fall 2020 compared to the previous fall, which will result in a reduction of tuition revenue.
In addition, the state announced a $250 million state spending cut last month, and UWM’s anticipated portion amounts to a 7.5% cut in state appropriations. UWM had anticipated additional reductions in state appropriations in FY 2021, so the latest spending cut has been accounted for in our planning. The state could increase that cut in the future, before the fiscal year is over.

Other factors affecting UWM’s budget include:

  • Expenses for personal protective equipment, supplies and other health and safety measures related to COVID-19.
  • Fewer students living in University Housing as we reduced capacity during the pandemic. As of July 29, we anticipate residence halls being at about 60% capacity in the fall. A smaller housing population means fewer students using dining and transportation services, reducing overall auxiliary revenues.

The university announced early in July a $25 million cut in academic and administrative expenses for the 2020-21 fiscal year. University-wide actions that started in the spring, such as furloughs and hiring and travel freezes, will help get us to that goal.

In addition, every school, college and division has been assigned a portion of the cut and asked to contribute savings from such things as reducing supplies and expenses, leaving vacancies open and instituting additional furloughs. Divisions may also consider layoffs where a permanent reduction in staff is needed, although the preference would be to shrink the workforce through attrition if budgetary savings can be achieved through other means.

For more information on the university’s financial situation, please view Vice Chancellor Robin Van Harpen’s remarks during the July 29 town hall for faculty and staff. Chancellor Mark Mone also detailed some of UWM’s budget issues in a campus update last month.


UWM adopts COVID-19 safety rules

August 3, 2020

UWM has adopted a set of rules intended to keep the campus community safe by limiting the potential spread of COVID-19. All students, visitors, faculty and staff are required to wear face coverings, maintain social distancing and wash their hands. Following these guidelines will benefit students, faculty, staff and visitors.

Individuals who have a fever or other symptoms, have been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a health care provider, or have been recently been in close contact with someone who has the disease. should stay away until public health guidance or their medical provider permits returning. Students who meet the above conditions who also live in residence halls should contact University Housing to make arrangements for isolation or quarantine.

Everyone must remain at least six feet apart in all shared indoor spaces on any UWM property, and rules regarding the maximum number of people permitted in any space on campus also need to be followed.

Everyone must also wear a face covering indoors and outdoors when six feet of distancing cannot be maintained. Face coverings may be removed while eating, working alone in an office or by students in their own residence hall room.

All students and employees must complete online COVID-19 safety training and sign a pledge promising they will abide by all UWM health and safety rules. Anyone violating this policy may be subject to discipline.

Requests for exceptions to these rules will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

UWM will provide a UWM mask to all faculty, staff and students on campus and will have additional masks available for those who come to campus without them. UWM will also provide hand sanitizer and engage in frequent cleaning of classrooms, elevators, and other frequently used spaces on campus.

Adherence to these guidelines will go a long way in keeping our campus community safe and healthy.

Procedure developed to provide PPE and supplies necessary for campus operations

The Emergency Operations Center’s PPE and Supplies Team has developed a strategy to ensure that UWM maintains a readily accessible inventory of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other essential safety supplies during this time of extraordinary demand. This program is intended to supplement regular procurement by campus departments by serving as a strategic reserve for when PPE and supplies are difficult to obtain through regularly used vendors.

PPE and supplies are being purchased at a central level and will be distributed to any campus department in need to maintain essential operations. Individual departments will not be charged at least through Fall 2020. Contract and grant submissions are recommended to include PPE costs in award proposals if allowable by sponsors.

Units that need supplies will use a new PPE and Supplies Request Form. The request form is accessible only to UWM employees. The request form collects UWM division and department information.

Coordinate with your department/work unit and submit only one PPE request form. By reducing the number of forms submitted, the turnaround time for distribution will also be reduced.

PPE and supplies of relevant need and currently being purchased at a central level include:

  • Washable cloth face coverings/masks
  • Disposable procedure masks
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Disinfectants
  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Face shields
  • Disposable gowns
  • Coveralls
  • Respiratory protection (N95s)

Products not listed above will not be purchased centrally and should be procured by individual departments.

Additional guidance for PPE and supplies requests:

Hand sanitizer – Request various bottle sizes for offices, common areas, etc. Have large bottles (gallons) at reception/service desks and smaller bottles spread throughout office spaces. Locate hand sanitizer and disinfectants near one another.
Save hand sanitizer bottles and pumps when empty. They can be refilled or returned to environmental/custodial services staff for reuse.

Disinfectant spray bottles – Request two disinfectant spray bottles for each office area depending on the number of people who will use it. (General rule: Get one disinfectant spray bottle per five employees.) Locate hand sanitizer and disinfectants near one another.

Save spray bottles and triggers when empty and return to environmental/custodial services staff for reuse.

Disposable procedure masks – Although the expectation is that students, employees, and visitors bring their own cloth face covering/mask to campus or use the one issued to them, in the event they forget their own, the department/work unit or building should have a designated location (for example, a reception desk) with a box of disposable procedure masks available.

Washable cloth face coverings/masks (unbranded) – Request two cloth masks for every employee if required. (Additional information will be forthcoming on distribution of UWM-branded cloth face coverings.)


Guidelines updated for large-group events

July 29, 2020
Guidelines have been updated for UWM departments or units planning large-group events amid the pandemic. These guidelines apply to events on UWM campuses and offsite events sponsored by UWM. They are subject to change with public health guidance.
A “UWM large-group event” is defined as one that is not an academic course published in the UWM course schedule (including co-curricular programs), is sponsored by UWM and includes more than 15 people at one time.
Here are the guidelines:
All UWM large-group events must follow guidelines from the CDC, local public health authorities and UWM administration on masks and social distancing, as outlined in the Panther Health and Community Safety Standards.
All UWM large-group events, regardless of location, must follow current City of Milwaukee orders related to “gatherings.” Currently, gatherings in homes or public venues must be the lesser of these three:
  • 50% of the total occupancy of the location
  • One person for every 30 square feet
  • 250 people
UWM large-group events with 50 or fewer people at a time, whether indoors or outdoors, are allowed and do not require special approval.
Indoor UWM large-group events with more than 50 people at a time are generally prohibited through Nov. 30, 2020. This applies to events on and off campus, and the date may be extended depending on health and safety conditions.
Outdoor UWM large-group events with more than 50 people at a time, whether on or off campus, are discouraged through Nov. 30, 2020. This date may be extended depending on health and safety conditions.
  • If a UWM department wishes to pursue an outdoor large-group event involving more than 50 people at a time, it must submit a request for review and approval to the Emergency Operations Center’s Special Requests Team at special-requests@uwm.edu.
  • The Special Requests Team may require event organizers to work with designated venue management (see managed venues, below).
  • The Special Requests Team will bring any recommendations to Crisis Management Team leadership for final approval.
Advanced ticketing is highly encouraged for all events and will be required for some. This may include assigned seating within event spaces.
Food and beverage service for UWM large-group events is discouraged and must receive prior approval from the Special Requests Team. Approval may include strict limitations.
Union Event Servicesreservat@uwm.edu, will be the central hub for all nonacademic, co-curricular special event requests held in venues on the Milwaukee campus that do not have dedicated event management staff.
Exceptions to this policy may be granted only by the chancellor after submittal to the Special Requests Team (special-requests@uwm.edu).

Managed venues

Managed venues, which are UWM spaces with dedicated event staff management, are expected to develop and adhere to their own safety plans and procedures. Those plans and procedures must be consistent with campus guidelines. Managed venues include:
  • Peck School of the Arts venues (Art Building, Music Building, Theatre Building, Mitchell 254, Kenilworth Square East and Zelazo Center)
  • UWM Student Union
  • Golda Meir Library
  • School of Continuing Education & Hefter Center
  • Zilber School of Public Health
  • East Lake Towers
  • Klotsche Center & Pavilion
  • Lubar Entrepreneurship Center
  • Manfred Olson Planetarium
To request events at the Union, please use the Union Event Services web application. For all other managed spaces, please follow the processes developed by each area, which most likely require an email to the building chair or a request via ROAR for classroom space.

Tuition stable, fees reduced for fall semester

UWM’s tuition and fees are set annually by the Board of Regents. UWM tuition and fees consist of several components: tuition, which pays for teaching and instruction; segregated or mandatory fees, which pay for services such Norris Health Center and University Recreation; and other distance education and differential program charges.
For most students, tuition won’t increase for the 2020-21 school year. This includes undergraduates from Wisconsin and surrounding states that are part of the Midwest Student Exchange Program: Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and Ohio. In fact, most of these students will see a slight decrease in their total tuition and fees, depending on their program and course schedule. This is the eighth consecutive year that there has been no tuition increase for undergraduate Wisconsin residents.
Tuition at the Milwaukee campus will increase by 1.5% compared to the 2019-20 school year for undergraduates from other states and countries and all graduate students. More information for international students can be found at UWM’s Center for International Education’s website.
With more than 190 programs offered by UWM, we encourage students to review tuition, fee and financial aid information pertinent to their program and course selections. The complete schedule of tuition and fees for Fall 2020 will be available July 30. We anticipate fall term billing statements will be distributed during the first week of August.

Segregated and Instructional Technology Fees

UWM is committed to delivering a high-quality educational experience regardless of course format. Many Fall 2020 classes will be online or in a hybrid format because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hybrid classes will involve a mix of online and face-to-face instruction.
To address these changes, UWM has reduced segregated fees and the instructional technology fee (the distance education fee) for Fall 2020. Most students will pay the same or less under this modified fee schedule than they would have paid under the pre-COVID fee schedule.
For Fall 2020, segregated fees will be charged to all courses that follow the traditional fall tuition schedule regardless of whether the course is delivered online or in person. We want to ensure that all students have access to university support services during this challenging time. However, because some services may be limited or unavailable during the fall, segregated fees for full-time students at the Milwaukee campus have been reduced by 23% compared to Fall 2019. Segregated fees for associate degree programs at UWM at Waukesha and UWM at Washington County have also been reduced. Segregated fees do not apply to courses where a fee is charged in lieu of tuition.
UWM will also reduce its instructional technology fee for courses that follow the traditional fall tuition schedule and have an online component, i.e. online and hybrid classes. This fee will be reduced to $10 per credit, or $30 for a typical three-credit class. In comparison, the most common rate in Fall 2019 was $275 per course.
It is important to note that these fee modifications are limited to Fall 2020. We will continue to monitor the public health crisis to determine whether modifications also are needed for Spring 2021 or later semesters.

Segregated fee services for those far from campus

UWM quickly adjusted many operations to offer more services in an online format.
All students can access the Virtual Student Union in Canvas to connect to student communities and services including student organizations, virtual events and involvement opportunities with the Center for Student Involvement; the Centers for Advocacy and Student Engagement, which include the Women’s Resource CenterLGBTQ+ Resource CenterInclusive Excellence Center, and Military and Veterans Resource Center; the UWM Student Association; virtual fitness courses and outdoor groups offered by University Recreation; and virtual community service opportunities with the Center for Community-based Learning, Leadership, and Research; and many more.
In addition, many Norris Health Center services are now offered virtually. Check out the app YOU@UWM or participate in a virtual Let’s Talk chat. Norris Health Center also offers virtual medical and counseling appointments.
For a complete list of support services, please see the student handbook.

Assistance offered to students during crisis

UWM continues to work to mitigate the impact of this crisis on our students and their families. Support efforts include:
  • Distributing nearly $8.4 million in federal emergency CARES Act grants to eligible students
  • Refunding $7.4 million in Spring 2020 housing, dining and parking charges to students
  • Providing $630,000 in one-time leave payments to separated student workers
  • Increasing institutional financial aid for students for the 2020-21 school year
  • Distributing UWM emergency grants to nearly 270 students between March 23 and July 23

Building signage available

A key component of implementing building safety plans will be signage. Signs have been created to reinforce campus standards for face coverings and social distancing, direct foot traffic, and indicate where to sit and form lines. Signs will note specific doors for entry and exit, whether stairwells are one-way or two-way, and space capacities.
signage collection has been posted for campus units to download, print and use. The items also can be ordered as decals or laminated signs. There is also a blank template to insert your own text for building-specific needs.
UWM has allocated limited funds for the printing and installation of COVID-related signage, and there will be no charge to individual units who order signage for the fall semester while those funds remain.
Units should be aware that the Emergency Operations Center’s Building Preparedness and Operations Team will order and install signage for common areas, such as hallways, stairwells, elevators, general assignment classrooms and public restrooms. Contact the BPO co-chairs Zack Steuerwald and Rick Thomas with questions about building signage.

Reopening of offices and facilities

July 23, 2020

While more staff will begin returning to campus in early August and more campus facilities will be open, staff should not assume that their office or work location will be ready for occupancy on Aug. 1. For now, employees working on campus must continue to be designated as Essential Onsite Employees by their division heads, have completed the required acknowledgement related to that designation, and, if engaged in research, be working under an approved research safety plan.

Two important steps must be completed before faculty and staff who have been working remotely can return to their offices or facilities open for general campus community access.

First, departments must complete a Return to Campus Department Work Plan. Division and departmental Human Resources staff will coordinate this process, with supervisors/department heads submitting plans to their dean or division head (or a designee) for approval. Plans will be submitted via UWM’s e-workflow tool, Streamline.

Second, a building safety plan for each facility preparing to reopen for general staff occupancy or the general campus community must be submitted and approved by the Emergency Operations Center Building Preparedness and Operations (BPO) group. Safety plans for each facility should be developed by a designated building administrator or building chair who should draft the plan from a building-wide perspective, incorporating all departments housed in the facility and all uses of spaces into the plan. BPO members will conduct facility walk-throughs with building administrators and chairs to assess each facility and the safety plan recommendations. A building should not reopen until the safety plan has been approved, all safety-related facility modifications are complete, and required supplies are in place.

Completing these two steps ensures that divisional and department leaders understand how areas plan to operate as campus reopens and that critical campus departments such as Facility Services, Environmental Services and the UWM Police Department are aware and prepared to support buildings that are reopening. Once the steps are completed, supervisors and department heads will be notified, and they will notify faculty and staff.

A new onsite employee guidance document and training program is being developed. All employees will be required to view the online training, review the document and attest to having completed the process. More details about this process will be shared in the near future.

Face coverings required for all

Everyone on all UWM campuses is required to wear a face mask and maintain social distancing whenever possible. Masks are required when indoors, except when in residence hall rooms or private offices. Masks are also required outdoors in situations when 6 feet of social distancing cannot be maintained.

Public health authorities have determined that consistent usage of face coverings can greatly limit the spread of COVID-19. UWM is not the only institution requiring face masks. Similar rules apply at all UW System facilities. The City of Milwaukee and other local municipalities have begun requiring the use of face masks, as have several states and retail store chains nationwide.

A free UWM-branded face mask will be provided to students, faculty and staff at the beginning of the fall semester. Details on distribution will be provided when they are available.

For visitors without a mask, service/information desks and department offices throughout the Milwaukee and branch campuses will have a supply of disposable masks available.

There are a few exceptions to the mask rule, including:

  • Where an individual’s own health condition prevents the wearing of the mask and the individual has received an approved exception from Human Resources (for employees) or the Accessibility Resource Center (for students)
  • Where the individual’s work or school responsibilities prevent wearing of a mask
  • When working in a personal office or other non-shared space, or in one’s own residence hall room
  • Environments where hazards exist that create a greater risk by wearing a mask, such as engineering bays, or biology, research and instructional labs
  • When performing physical exertion, such as manual labor, running and athletics training
  • When in an indoor area designated for eating food and social distancing has been maintained

In all cases where a mask cannot be worn and social distancing cannot be maintained, alternative methods must be used to limit potential transmission of COVID-19.

Emergency aid for students

Students in need of help to cover expenses related to unforseen emergency may apply for a UWM Student Emergency Grant. This includes students who endure financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Students must have demonstrated financial need and have exhausted all other funding options before consideration. This grant is not intended to support ongoing or recurring expenses. 
You can encourage students to visit the UWM Emergency Grant page to learn more information and apply. Students in need are also encouraged to reach out to the Dean of Students Office for help to direct them to other potential resources.

Milwaukee Health Department approves UWM reopening plan

July 22, 2020

I am pleased to report that UWM’s reopening plan has been approved by the City of Milwaukee Health Department. As many of you know, the Health Department recently enacted more restrictive guidelines for when in-person classes may resume. We are the first college or university in Milwaukee to receive permission from the Health Department to move forward with a combination of in-person and online instruction.

I’d like to thank City of Milwaukee leaders, including Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik and her team of health professionals, as well as UW System President Tommy Thompson for working collaboratively with us on this issue. We share a common goal of doing everything we can to protect the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff while still meeting students’ educational needs.

I’m pleased that we will be able to continue moving forward with our plans for the fall semester. Our reopening plan is based on the Emergency Operations Center Report and detailed in hundreds of FAQs on our reopening website. Please visit that website for more information on what the fall will look like at UWM.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Town hall meeting next Wednesday

Chancellor Mark Mone and other campus leaders will hold a 90-minute virtual town hall meeting at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, July 29 especially for faculty and staff. They will provide updates on the university’s plans to reopen campus in fall and will answer questions.

Questions can be sent to uwm-townhall@uwm.edu. When submitting a question, please indicate whether you would prefer to remain anonymous.

The Fall 2020 Reopening website includes extensive information about plans for fall, including periodic updates, FAQs organized by topic and available to search, links to reports that include recommendations and more. Please check the website before submitting a question; it may already be answered there.

The town hall will be held via Microsoft Teams. The event can be viewed later at the same link. Live viewing with an interpreter is available by making advanced arrangements with Amy Hogle in the Accessibility Resource Center.

Microsoft offers instructions for how to view a Teams event and how to use live captioning during a Teams event.


Update on the format of fall classes

July 21, 2020

Many of you have read recent news stories about the City of Milwaukee Health Department enacting more restrictive guidelines for when in-person classes may resume. These reports have raised many questions about UWM’s plans for the fall.

We are writing to let you know that UWM’s leadership is working closely with the city Health Department so that we will be able to teach a portion of our classes in person this fall, as we’ve been planning. There have been a series of constructive conversations, and although we don’t yet have final details, we are confident that UWM’s significant planning for the fall will result in a positive outcome. We want to again express our gratitude to the many faculty and staff members involved in fall planning for their good work. Your efforts with careful and thorough planning have made a big difference.

We will share more information with you as it becomes available.


Travel prohibition extended

July 16, 2020

The prohibition on university-sponsored travel has been extended to at least Aug. 23.

Effective July 1, individual airline tickets can be canceled in Concur or by contacting Travel Incorporated. Group block airfare tickets can be canceled by contacting Fox World Travel.

Because of the unpredictability of the pandemic situation, UWM’s Emergency Operations Center travel team will review and possibly update its recommendations on Aug. 1.

University-sponsored travel includes, but is not limited to:

  • Travel on UWM-related business
  • Travel that relates to an employee’s professional interests and positions, such as board or other professional organization roles
  • Travel paid in full or in part by UWM
  • Travel organized, endorsed and/or sponsored by UWM or organizations associated with UWM, such as student clubs
  • Travel that involves academic credit granted by UWM

Limited exceptions will be granted for essential travel, which is travel critical to UWM’s mission, cannot be rescheduled and is for work that must be conducted in person. Public health guidance should be reviewed before requesting an exception.

To request an exception, faculty and staff must complete this travel exception form. This form should be used by employees, staff and those with UWM credentials engaging in university-sponsored travel. For travelers who do not have UWM credentials, please continue to use this form.

Exceptions will be managed and approved by Risk Management and designated campus leadership. This approach allows for an individualized review of relevant health and safety considerations for each requested exemption.

While travel is currently restricted because of the pandemic, budget concerns also will limit travel in the upcoming year. All nonessential travel funded through unrestricted funds is frozen through June 30, 2021. Once the travel prohibition due to the pandemic is lifted, travel funded through external gifts and grants may be approved by the division head, although use of funds that could be used for higher priorities is discouraged. Deans and division heads will be responsible for approving travel that is essential or funded through external sources.

Booking for future travel

Bookings of new university-sponsored travel is suspended until further notice.

Balancing child care and work

Some faculty and staff have wondered how the university will assess the productivity of employees who may have to care for children whose K-12 schools shift to remote learning in the fall. How will it affect promotion and tenure?

UWM understands that faculty and staff may encounter issues with child care or elder care as a result of changes related to the pandemic. Employees who may face such situations should contact their supervisor and their human resources representative. The HR rep can get guidance for the employee about the possibility of using accommodations provided by an expansion of the federal Family Medical Leave Act. The rep can assist employees through the process of requesting an accommodation or explain other options appropriate for each circumstance.

In March, Provost Johannes Britz released information about how to request either an extension of the tenure clock or academic staff probationary period due to pandemic-related disruptions. For more information, please read Provost Johannes Britz’s update from March 30 or go to the FAQs about the tenure clock and academic staff probationary period.


Guidelines created for large events

July 13, 2020
Guidelines have been created for UWM departments or units planning large-group events on UWM campuses amid the pandemic.
A large event is defined as one that is not an academic course published in the UWM course schedule (including co-curricular programs) and includes more than 15 people. In general:
  • Events will have capacity limits in compliance with CDC and/or local guidelines.
  • Advanced ticketing for events will be highly encouraged and will be required for some activities. This may include assigned seating within event spaces.
  • Food and beverage service for special events will be discouraged and strictly limited when it is approved.
Union Event Services (reservat@uwm.edu) will be the central hub for all nonacademic, co-curricular special event requests held in “non-managed venues,” which are venues without dedicated event management staff.
Union Event Services will coordinate approvals and permissions from each space usage authority.

Managed venues

Managed venues, which are those with dedicated event staff management, are expected to develop and adhere to their own safety plans and procedures, factoring in campus guidelines. Managed venues include:
  • Peck School of the Arts venues (Art Building, Music Building, Theatre Building, Mitchell 254, Kenilworth Square East and Zelazo Center)
  • UWM Student Union
  • Golda Meir Library
  • School of Continuing Education & Hefter Center
  • Zilber School of Public Health
  • East Lake Towers
  • Klotsche Center & Pavilion
  • Lubar Entrepreneurship Center
  • Manfred Olson Planetarium
To request events at the Union, please use the Union Event Services web application. For all other managed spaces, please follow the processes developed by each area, which most likely require an email to the building chair or a request via ROAR for classroom space.

Outdoor events

UWM-sanctioned outdoor events are discouraged at this time, as social distancing and appropriate population density may be difficult to maintain. This recommendation will be reevaluated closer to the beginning of the fall semester. Requests for exceptions should be emailed to Union Event Services staff, who will consult the UWM Emergency Operations Center and building chairs from buildings near the requested event space.

Dining options on campus this fall

Food will be available from selected outlets in the UWM Student Union. Initial plans call for the Grind coffee shop and the Flour Shop, which are located on the atrium level of the Student Union, to be open. All operations will be modified for contactless service, with orders and payments being made using cellphones or other mobile devices.
Students living in University Housing will be able to purchase meals in their residence halls.

Registrar’s Office designating online vs. hybrid classes

The Registrar’s Office has begun noting in PAWS which classes will be online or hybrid during the fall semester, and many students are likely seeing changes in their class schedule. Changes will continue to be made until July 20, and the schedule students see now may not be their final schedule.
Current plans call for roughly one-third of UWM’s approximately 6,000 classes to involve some face-to-face instruction this fall. Class formats are being determined at the department level with consideration for health and safety and educational effectiveness. The number of hybrid classes students have will vary from program to program.
We know that many students are concerned about the proposed temporary rule announced Monday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requiring international students enrolled only in online classes to leave the United States or face immigration penalties. We share these concerns and ask for patience while we work on options for these students.
Students have been encouraged to wait until July 20, when class formats will be finalized, before reaching out to their advisors for assistance.

Procedure developed to provide PPE and supplies

June 30, 2020

The EOC-PPE and Supplies Team has developed a strategy to ensure that UWM maintains a readily accessible inventory of personal protective equipment and other essential safety supplies during this time of extraordinary demand.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies are being purchased at a central level and will be distributed to any campus department in need to maintain essential operations.

Individual departments will not be charged at least through Fall 2020. Information on supplies gathered now will be used for future planning purposes, including costs, needs and chargeback rates for those items. When a decision is made to begin charging for the items, a university-wide communication will be shared. Contract and grant submissions should include PPE costs in award proposals if allowable by sponsors.

Units that need supplies will use a new PPE and Supplies Request Form: uwm.edu/ppe. The request form is accessible only to UWM employees. The request form collects UWM division and department information, and has the capability to display prices and itemize orders so a chargeback system can be easily implemented in the future.

PPE and supplies of relevant need and currently being purchased at a central level include:

  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Washable cloth face coverings/masks
  • Disposable procedure “surgical” masks
  • Disinfectants (disposable wipes and spray bottles)
  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Face shields
  • Disposable gowns
  • Coveralls
  • Respiratory protection (N95s)

Those products that are not listed above will not be purchased centrally and should be procured by individual departments.

If possible, coordinate with your department/work unit and submit only one PPE and Supplies Request Form. By reducing the number of request forms submitted, the turnaround time for distribution will also be reduced.

Faculty-led study abroad programs canceled

Given ongoing public health advisories against international travel, UWM has decided to cancel all faculty-led study abroad and exchange programs for the Fall 2020 semester.

Individual students may apply for an exemption through UWM’s International Travel Policy by filling out a Travel Risk Assessment form. However, please note the U.S. Department of State has issued a Level 4 global travel advisory, which advises U.S. citizens to avoid traveling abroad because of the pandemic. That advisory has no defined end date. Also, most countries have travel advisories for people traveling from the United States.

Faculty-led study abroad programs for the Summer 2020 term, along with a summer seminar program at the United Nations in New York, have already been canceled.


Faculty and staff returning to campus

June 25, 2020
Now that we know students will be returning to campus in the fall, we can begin bringing more faculty and staff back to our campuses. Access to campus has been restricted to essential employees, including police and researchers conducting high-priority research such as COVID-19 projects. Over the course of the summer, more and more faculty and staff will return.

In general, employees will return in this order:

  • Researchers, per the stages outlined in the access to research plan
  • Workers in academic and student support services as needed for essential summer activities supporting students and prospective students
  • Employees who are needed to prepare facilities and operations for the return of students
  • All other administrative functions and employees, in an order to be determined by campus leadership in consultation with the Emergency Operations Center and University Safety & Assurances, while noting that we do not expect all employees to be working on site during the fall semester
Faculty and staff who return will not do so all at once. Supervisors will consider how best to bring back employees to the numbers of onsite staff that will be required to serve the campus in the fall, depending on the service needs of the function and space configurations and ability to observe social distancing requirements. Depending on those factors, some areas may have larger numbers of onsite staff than others in the fall; some areas might continue working nearly entirely online for the fall.
The specific timing for an area’s employees’ return to onsite work will depend on the readiness of the building and coordination with the EOC’s Building Preparedness and Operations subteam’s work. Employees who will continue to work partially or fully remotely in the fall should complete a tele-working agreement form, which will be available soon.
Returning to campus, employees will find things operating somewhat differently:
  • Faculty and staff will be required to wear cloth face masks at all times, except when they are in a private office or outdoors with proper social distancing. Employees can use their own masks, or departments will be able to order masks.
  • Meetings should continue to be held virtually when possible. If not possible, social distancing should be maintained for in-person meetings.
  • In open office spaces, workstations will be placed at least six feet apart. In spaces that cannot be reconfigured to meet the social distancing requirements, supervisors will work with staff to set up alternate onsite work schedules or find alternative workspaces for staff to ensure distancing is met.
  • In high-service reception areas, plexiglass will be installed. Excess furniture will be removed, and visual cues will be installed so that people maintain social distance.
  • Break rooms and kitchenettes should generally not be occupied by more than one person at a time. Users should clean surfaces before and after using them. Food may not be brought in to share.
  • In shared spaces such as meeting and copier rooms, social distance should be maintained. High-touch surfaces such as doorknobs and copiers should be cleaned before and after use.
  • Basic cleaning supplies will be provided for each office space. Occupants will generally be required to clean their own spaces and empty garbage and recycling so that custodial staff can be deployed to student and public areas.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be available at the entrances to office spaces.

Parking on campus

UWM will begin charging for parking on campus on July 13.
Until Dec. 31, most parking rates will be discounted and prorated to the purchase date.
All UWM parking garages and lots will be open, and annual, semester and monthly permits will be available for purchase online in June. There is no need for physical permits as the license plate numbers are considered parking permits. On-site touchless payment options and mobile apps should be available for daily parking in the fall. All parking machines will be cleaned frequently with alcohol-based disinfectants.
In recognition that more employees will be parking on campus on a part-time basis, discounted rates and options for part-time parkers are being developed. They will be added to the permit sales page on the UWM Transportation Services website shortly.
The Transportation Services office at the Student Union will remain closed until all customer service safety protocols have been implemented. The Transportation Services website will provide opening details when available. In the meantime, all permits can be purchased online. Please email Transportation Services at uwmpark@uwm.edu if you need assistance.

MCTS bus pass (UPASS)

We recognize that many of our students don’t have access to cars, and we are working with our county transit partners on options for them. Students will not be automatically charged a segregated fee for a Milwaukee County Transit System bus pass (known as U-PASS) for the Fall 2020 semester. Instead, they will have the option of purchasing an individual Milwaukee County bus pass for the semester if they need one. We are currently negotiating the rate for that pass but expect it to be significantly discounted from the regular monthly pass rate charged to Milwaukee County riders.

UPARK and residence hall shuttles

The residence hall and Capitol/Humboldt parking lot (UPARK) shuttles will begin running when the fall semester starts with safety guidelines in place for drivers and passengers. Go Riteway buses will be running and follow all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. All bus seats will be wiped or sprayed with a disinfectant before each shift, and deep cleaning will be performed daily each night. UWM IDs, social distancing and face masks will be required to ride the buses.

BOSS ride service

The Be on the Safe Side (BOSS) nighttime ride service will run in Fall 2020 on a schedule as close to normal as feasible and as needed. Safety guidelines will be in place for drivers and passengers. All passenger seats will be wiped down or sprayed with a disinfectant before each shift, and deep cleaning will be performed daily. Student IDs and face masks will be required to ride the vehicles.


Town hall meeting on Thursday

June 22, 2020

Chancellor Mark Mone and other campus leaders will hold an online town hall meeting for faculty and staff at 9 a.m. Thursday, June 25. They will provide updates on the university’s plans to reopen campus in the fall and answer questions.

Questions can be asked during the town hall or by emailing uwm-townhall@uwm.edu. When submitting a question, please indicate whether you would prefer to remain anonymous.

The Fall 2020 Reopening website includes extensive information about plans for fall, including periodic updates, FAQs organized by topic and available to search, links to reports that include recommendations and more. Please check the website before submitting a question; it may already be answered there.

The town hall will be held via Microsoft Teams. The event can be viewed later at the same link. Live viewing with an interpreter is available by making advanced arrangements with Amy Hogle in the Accessibility Resource Center.

Microsoft offers instructions for how to view a Teams event and how to use live captioning during a Teams event.


Chancellor’s Update: Fall 2020 Reopening Decisions

June 17, 2020

Dear UWM Faculty, Staff and Students,

I am pleased to announce that after months of planning, UW-Milwaukee will reopen for fall of 2020. Today I share the highlights of our decisions to date, which were guided by our goal to provide a safe and healthy environment for students, faculty and staff.

There are many factors involved in resuming operations, and we do not know everything at this point. More details will develop as we prepare for the fall semester, and we will continue to share updates, including at a town hall meeting for faculty and staff on Thursday, June 25, from 9-10 a.m. We will send an invitation for the employee meeting shortly, and we will offer town hall meetings for students as we get closer to the start of the academic year.

How We Got Here

Our decisions align with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local public health authorities. We will continue to work closely with state and local public health officials on prevention, planning and response to COVID-19, and will modify our guidelines and decisions as needed to protect the health and safety of our students and employees. We ask for everyone’s patience and understanding as we navigate this new and evolving environment.

Our announcements today are possible due to the significant efforts of 140 faculty, staff and students within 14 planning teams that have addressed issues related to instruction, building preparations, student services, housing, human resources, IT, research, travel, purchasing, supplies and more. Our teams have put in countless hours to study and offer solutions to many complicated and challenging issues. I extend my thanks to all the team members for their dedication and commitment to this critical work and our future.

Decisions

There are too many planning details to capture entirely here, and thus, I encourage you to examine the specific information in the resources cited below. As an overview, our main decisions include:

Personal Health and Safety

  • Face coverings and six feet of social distancing will be required, with exceptions such as in private offices or residence hall rooms.
  • Buildings are being modified to direct traffic flow and include plexiglass in high-traffic areas.
  • Prioritized cleaning will occur for high-touch areas (e.g., door handles, light switches, elevator buttons, bathrooms, etc.).
  • Classrooms will be cleaned once or twice each day.
  • Staggered entry and exit protocols will be used in classrooms.
  • Hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies will be provided in classrooms for instructors and students to clean at their discretion the individual space they occupy.
  • Hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies will be provided for office spaces.
  • Environmental Services cleaning staff and other Facility Services staff will be scheduled appropriately to prioritize the outlined safety standards.
  • Students and employees are expected to monitor their health, watch for symptoms and stay home if they are sick.

Classroom and Remote Learning

UWM will allow face to face instruction within the constraints of social distancing and other public health guidelines, balanced with a wide array of online options, as follows:

  • Classes with capacities of up to 100 will use a hybrid model of both face to face and online instruction with no more than half the class meeting in person at a given time.
  • The maximum number of students who simultaneously attend an in-person class will be 50.
  • As usual, UWM will offer hundreds of courses entirely online, including all classes with more than 100 students.
  • The academic calendar will remain the same.
  • Some lab, studio, and other experiential courses will be conducted entirely or almost entirely face to face with social distancing unless there is a need to convert to online instruction.
  • Students who request online course content will be accommodated to the extent possible.

Facilities

Buildings remain closed through July 31. However, about 1,000 people are currently approved to be on our campuses at different times to perform essential functions. To allow even more people to return, we will use a phased approach to resume operations in this order:

  • Research operations will move to Stage 2 of the Office of Research’s process;
  • Academic and student services as needed for essential summer activities to support current and prospective students;
  • Employees who will prepare our facilities and operations for the return of students, faculty and staff in the fall; and
  • Employees from all other functions, in an order to be determined by campus leadership in consultation with our Emergency Operations Center and University Safety and Assurances.

We do not expect all employees to work on site during the fall semester.

Housing

  • Student housing assignments will be made largely as they have in the past, with single and double rooms. Room assignments will be made in phases as we address student demand and work to assign students with their preferred roommates.
  • Some housing units will be reserved for isolation space for exposed or infected residential students who do not have alternative housing options.
  • Testing for students will be available on-site, focused primarily on students with COVID-19 symptoms.

Resources

Details on all these topics are available in two reports:

In addition, we have launched a  Fall 2020 Reopening website with updates, FAQs organized by topic and a feature to submit questions. This site contains a wealth of resources, and I encourage you to use it to access the latest information.

We look forward to safely welcoming students, faculty and staff to our campuses this fall. While classes and operations will look different, we will remain a caring and supportive environment for our students and employees. We will continue to prioritize health and safety and continuity of academics, research and engagement. I thank everyone in advance for your efforts to make us successful this fall, which will include monitoring our own individual health and following guidelines aimed at keeping our fellow Panthers safe and healthy.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


UWM employee COVID-19 update

June 10, 2020

Planning for Fall 2020

The chancellor and members of the Crisis Management Team are reviewing recommendations this week from the Emergency Operations Center and Scenario Planning Work Group, which were responsible for developing and evaluating options for the Fall 2020 semester.

The two groups include more than 100 faculty and staff from all UWM divisions, and their recommendations address both academic offerings and campus operations. Decisions on their recommendations are expected by mid-June.

Meanwhile, a new Campus COVID-19 Preparedness, Response and Planning Summary provides an overview of how UWM responded to the pandemic, as well as a look ahead.

Travel recommendations

The EOC Travel Team has recommended the current prohibition on university-sponsored travel be extended to at least July 31

The prohibition applies only to university-sponsored travel. Employees considering personal travel this summer are encouraged to follow applicable health and safety guidelines and advised to review the following:

  • Wisconsin Department of Health Services COVID-19 travel page: This page provides information about travel within the state of Wisconsin and is updated frequently regarding self-quarantine recommendations by the state health department.
  • Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 travel page: CDC guidance includes details related to travel in the United States and international travel, with specific FAQs. The City of Milwaukee Health Department recommends following CDC guidance related to travel.
  • U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs travel guidance

It is also advisable to check your destination’s health department travel guidance and health guidance along your route. Plan to keep checking for updates as you travel. The CDC has a list of health departments.

Because of the unpredictability of the pandemic situation, the EOC Travel Team will review and possibly update its recommendations on July 1.

Commencement changed to virtual ceremony Aug. 16

In light of health and safety concerns, the spring 2020 UWM Commencement ceremony has been moved to a virtual celebration on Sunday, Aug. 16.

The university had planned an in-person ceremony on Oct. 10, but there remains a great deal of uncertainty surrounding large gatherings as COVID-19 remains a threat in the community. Events that include large groups are still being canceled, including the September version of Summerfest. Public health authorities are still recommending social distancing and other safety measures.

The virtual ceremony will be streamed at a time to be determined on Aug. 16 and will be available for viewing anytime after that. Additional details about the ceremony will be shared soon. Questions about caps, gowns and regalia can be directed to Herff Jones Customer Service at 800-837-4235. General questions about commencement can be sent to secofunv@uwm.edu.

Community news

Wisconsin State Journal: COVID-19 in photos: How state is coping

News updates


UWM employee COVID-19 update

May 29, 2020

Libraries to provide contactless pickup

The UWM Libraries are excited to announce a contactless pickup service for books and DVDs at all library locations. Pickups will begin on June 1; students and faculty may begin requesting items May 27.

While the libraries assess interest in this new service, there will be a limit of five items at a time and one scheduled pickup per week per person.

Throughout this spring’s closure due to COVID-19, the libraries’ extensive digital resources remained available. This new service significantly expands access to the libraries’ books and DVDs, putting these materials back into circulation.

More information about the service and specific procedures can be found on the libraries’ COVID-19 announcements page.

For questions, please contact the circulation department at 414-229-4132 or libcirc@uwm.edu.

Intermittent furlough days

The first intermittent furlough (IF) date for UWM 12-month employees is on Friday, June 19, 2020, and the pay reduction for the IF date will be realized on the June 30, 2020, paycheck (for employees paid monthly) or the July 2, 2020, paycheck (for employees paid biweekly). The first IF date for 9-month employees is on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, and the pay reduction for the IF date will be realized on the Oct. 1, 2020, paycheck (monthly employees) or Sept. 24, 2020, paycheck (biweekly employees).

Human Resources has prepared a chart so employees can determine which paychecks will be affected by the scheduled furlough days and calculate the percentage reduction for each affected paycheck. More information on intermittent furloughs can be found on the Human Resources website.

To provide general information and address questions regarding IF, Human Resources will host two information sessions via Teams Live Events. The first will be on Thursday, June 4, 9-10 a.m. While all employees are welcome, the content will primarily be geared toward 12-month employees. The second event will be on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 9-10 a.m., and will be geared primarily toward 9-month employees.

To join the June 4 event, please click here.

A link for the Aug. 26 event will be provided closer to that date.

In the meantime, employees are encouraged to submit any questions they have about furloughs to HR-furlough@uwm.edu.

Community news

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Latest coronavirus updates
WISN: More than $4.4 million loss from Wisconsin State Fair cancellation
WUWM: Why haven’t thousands in state received unemployment relief?
WITI: First suspected cases of inflammatory syndrome in children identified in Wisconsin

News updates

UWM Report: Campus gardens growing again to help out during pandemic
Wisconsin Public Radio: UW System adminisration announces dozens of layoffs
WDJT: Psychology profs at UWM answer questions on mental health during pandemic
Vulture: UWM film historian talks about history of theaters during disease outbreaks


UWM employee COVID-19 update

May 19, 2020

CARES grants for students

The university notified more than 8,000 students Tuesday that they will receive grants as part of UWM’s distribution of nearly $8.5 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding. The federal money is intended to help students struggling with expenses such as food, housing, course materials and child care after campus operations were disrupted by the virus.

Each grant will be worth $950, and students are expected to receive checks within two weeks.

More than 6,000 grant applications were submitted by the priority deadline of May 12. CARES grants are being given to eligible applicants as well as low-income students who did not apply for CARES grants but are eligible. Low-income status was determined by Pell Grant eligibility.

Students who did not qualify for CARES grants have two weeks to request reconsideration. After that, the remaining funds — currently about $665,000 — will be distributed to eligible students who applied after May 12.

Failure to complete a 2019-20 or 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form was the most common reason students were ruled ineligible for a CARES grant.

More information about CARES grants and an application form are available on the Dean of Students website.

Planning underway for fall semester

As we wrap up spring semester amid unprecedented circumstances, you may be wondering what UWM will look like in the fall. Campus leaders have been looking at every aspect of college life and the best ways to deliver a top-flight education in a safe way.

Much depends on circumstances out of our control: Has the pandemic receded? Will it come back? What social distancing measures will be in place? How much testing capacity will there be?

We can’t wait for all the answers, so we are planning for the most likely scenarios:

  • School starts with mostly in-person instruction, albeit with social distancing and other safety measures in place, along with some classes being taught online.
  • School starts in the fall mostly online, along with some face-to-face classroom instruction.
  • Fall instruction is entirely online, with the possibility that it will remain so next spring.

Decisions on how to offer classes will be made with two primary considerations: how to provide the best possible education for students, and how to provide a safe environment for students, faculty and staff.

Face-to-face learning will likely be different. Classes will be planned to allow for proper social distancing. Large lecture courses might remain online. Furniture in the libraries, dining areas, UWM Student Union and other places might be placed farther apart. Facilities will undergo more frequent disinfection.

In every scenario, online learning will continue to play an important role. UWM is a national leader and innovator in online educational delivery and research, educating more online students than any other university in the state of Wisconsin. UWM’s portfolio includes more than 700 online courses offered each semester and 40 online degree and certificate programs known nationally for their high quality. U.S. News & World Report has ranked UWM nationally as #31 in Best Online Bachelors Programs for Veterans and #48 in Best Online Bachelors Programs overall. Since COVID-19, UWM has further bolstered its capacity to deliver online instruction and is continuing to provide instructors with new and enhanced training in the best ways to teach remotely.

While we do not yet have all the answers regarding what the future holds, we want you to know that UWM remains committed to providing the best education possible and to communicating plans with you as decisions are made.

Dates of intermittent furloughs

A reminder that the dates of intermittent furloughs have been set and are as follows:
Twelve-month employees will take one furlough day on June 19, 2020. Intermittent furlough dates for the 2020-21 fiscal year are:

12-month employees

  1. Friday, July 3, 2020
  2. Friday, August 21, 2020
  3. Friday, October 30, 2020
  4. Friday, November 27, 2020
  5. Monday, December 28, 2020
  6. Friday, January 22, 2021
  7. Friday, March 26, 2021
  8. Friday, May 28, 2021

9-month employees

  1. Monday, August 31, 2020
  2. Friday, November 27, 2020
  3. Monday, December 28, 2020
  4. Friday, January 22, 2021
  5. Friday, March 26, 2021
  6. Friday, May 14, 2021

With few exceptions, all employees are subject to intermittent furloughs. More information is available on the UWM coronavirus website.

Resources available to help supervisors support their teams

We understand that faculty and staff are facing additional pressure and stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Community Support & Impact Team, a multi-disciplinary group led by Dean of Students Adam Jussel and including members from Human Resources, Enrollment Management, Academic Affairs and Student Affairs, has put together a supervisor “toolbox” aimed at helping supervisors support their teams during this difficult time.

The toolbox can be found on the UWM Human Resources website.
The CS&I team also produces a weekly Wellness Wednesday email, designed to provide good news and valuable staff wellness information. Please click here to sign up for the Wellness Wednesday emails.

Community news

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Latest coronavirus updates

News updates


Employee COVID-19 update

May 15, 2020

How UWM intends to use CARES Act institutional funding

Under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, UWM was allotted $16.9 million for pandemic relief. Half of that is going to students in emergency aid grants. The other half can be used by the institution to cover costs associated with the pandemic.

UWM intends to use the vast majority of the institutional portion of CARES Act funding – almost 95% – to reimburse university units that provided direct refunds or other payments to students. The remainder will be used to cover additional expenses associated with transitioning to remote learning and work, including computers, headsets and remote grading/testing software.

The breakdown is as follows:

  • Housing refunds: $4,100,879
  • Dining refunds: $3,175,020
  • COVID-19 leave payments to student employees: $630,000
  • Additional hardware and software for remote learning: $446,686
  • Parking refunds for students: $110,248

Free testing for COVID-19 offered

Free testing for COVID-19 is now available at two sites in Milwaukee. Testing will be available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day, including weekends, at United Migrant Opportunity Services, 2701 S. Chase Ave., and Midtown Center, 5700 W. Capitol Drive.

The tests are available to everyone, but officials hope that anyone experiencing symptoms will get tested immediately. The tests take just a few minutes, and results will be available in about three days.

No appointment is needed for a test. Both walk-up and drive-through testing is available.

Those who need transportation should call 211 to be connected to a community health center that can provide transportation. Those with symptoms should not take public transportation to the testing sites.

Those who test positive will be contacted by health officials and contact tracers to determine who they had contact with. Officials are asking anyone who has had contact with someone with COVID-19 to self-isolate.


Chancellor’s Update: Creating UWM’s Future

May 12, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

I write today to share updates on our planning and the processes we are using to create a new UWM. It’s fair to say that – thanks to your help – UWM handled the initial six weeks of this pandemic with immediacy, prioritizing the protection of students and employees, and communicating at unprecedented levels and frequency. We must now think ahead and prepare for the future with a spirit of doing whatever it takes to safely continue our academic, educational, research and engagement mission.

You have probably heard, “life can change in the blink of an eye.” In just the last week, UWM experienced changes with funding, furloughs and launching our planning for how UWM will operate in the fall. In light of cataclysmic change at both personal and societal levels, people are asking, “How do we get back to where we were?” The answer is, we won’t. As Panthers, what we must ask instead is, “What is needed for the future of UWM, for our students, faculty and staff, and the larger communities that we serve?”

I am proud of the valiant actions at each of our campuses to manage the disruptions and engage so meaningfully during this pandemic. From converting classes online, moving students out of residence halls, learning how to meet and work remotely, and becoming accustomed to operating around the clock to decide upon new courses of action, you have all responded admirably. Special recognition is deserved for our researchers and volunteers so diligently working on COVID-19. As but one example, Engineering Professor Konstantin Sobolev is leading a team of researchers that’s creating a spray that could protect surfaces from contamination. Other researchers from several of our schools and colleges are actively fighting the coronavirus, along with campus teams volunteering for PPE supply drives and other important activities.

These efforts – and more importantly, the people behind them – have my deepest appreciation and thanks. So many of our faculty and staff are part of the solution. I am confident that we have the right people and processes to help us succeed.

Years into the future, we will look back at the tumultuous change and how our people rose to the occasion with ingenuity, fearlessness and humanity to transform UWM for what lies beyond COVID-19. We have come so far already with technological shifts, nimbleness and adaptability. I can see a time when we will marvel at what we have become and wonder, “Why weren’t we doing things this way before?”

That said, I also share many of your concerns about the future. There are no easy choices now. The pandemic is unlike a hurricane or forest fire; it will not be contained quickly and allow us to revert to the UWM we knew just a few months ago. And yet, there are some silver linings. Let me explain.

Historically, we have adapted quite well

Before COVID-19 dealt its devastation, UW-Milwaukee was facing enrollment, financial and operational challenges. Although higher education is not known for its agility to rapidly embrace change, UWM and the UW System (UWS) have historically adapted to best serve the needs of Wisconsin. Recognizing our major turning points of the past strengthens the resolve for where we are going.

Two major turning points come to mind. When the population grew dramatically after World War I, the Regents voted to discontinue college courses and instead focus only on the instruction of teachers. To meet that need, we began offering four-year education-related degrees and evolved into the Milwaukee State Teachers College. Less than two decades later, millions of veterans returned home needing civilian careers. The demand for higher education was overwhelming and the college was authorized to award more four-year bachelor’s degrees. Five years later, UWM became a doctoral research university. Each turning point was spurred by major historical events, and each time we rose to meet needs and advance positive change.

Our future’s turning point is now

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 represents a significant inflection point today, requiring accelerated creativity and change. What won’t change is our continuous engagement with shared governance and inclusion of key stakeholders as we continue to provide access to a high-quality education and top-tier engaged research. Building on our forward-thinking strategic directions, we formed and charged the Think Tank 2030+ work group to envision a different future. Composed of faculty, staff and students, including governance leads, this group was planning aggressively and developing recommendations when the pandemic struck. This group will finish its work soon, and many of its members are participating in the scenario planning group discussed below.

In my most recent (May 1) campus message, I shared our financial outlook. Last week, the UW System announced its Blueprint for the University of Wisconsin System Beyond COVID-19, which is also clearly a turning point toward the future. UWS’ blueprint is subject to Regent approval at a later date — presumably the June Regent meeting. I note that the UWS plans regarding program reviews do not include UWM. We had completed much work in this area well before the pandemic hit and will continue to review and refine programs through traditional faculty and staff governance channels.

UWM is preparing for the future

Looking ahead, we are engaged in extensive planning, deeply examining health and safety, financial and operational scenarios. Our goal is to open campus for students, faculty and staff this fall in the safest way possible given important factors. What does this mean, exactly?

Although we have not yet made a decision about fall, we are moving forward with several plans to get us there. We are looking at how we test for COVID-19 on campus, methods to track cases, enact definitive ways to social distance and – when needed – separate and isolate groups of people, and attain necessary personal protective equipment. There are a range of other things that we are examining, including plans for masks and sanitation, classroom cleaning, sanitation stations, traffic patterns on campus, accommodations for those who need them, and more. Many of our jobs will look different than they do now. Work groups are considering many possibilities, including:

  • Hybrid face-to-face in the fall, with two versions:
    • Majority face-to-face instruction with some select courses online
    • Majority of online instruction with some select courses face-to-face
  • Fall all online
  • Online all year

Scenario planning work will conclude at the end of this month, and our goal is to decide about fall in early- to mid-June. We will drive these efforts and address logistics through June and July, communicating with you regularly. We have a responsibility to plan for the various scenarios with health and safety as the top priority, and we will defer to state and local health authorities. How and when we move forward thereafter is contingent on where the world is in midsummer. What will student interest be – how many will take a gap year or a semester? For those communities that “open” before ours, will there be a resurgence of the coronavirus that heralds a public health warning? Many questions remain.

More communications are forthcoming, and we are in the early planning stages for another virtual town hall meeting for faculty and staff in a few weeks. I encourage you to review the most up-to-date FAQs on our coronavirus website. If you don’t see your question answered, you can submit it via the webpage form or feel free to share your questions at uwm-townhall@uwm.edu.

As we look ahead, we know that UWM will not operate in the same way it did in the past. What got us to where we are today will not work the same way going forward. We need — and will create together— a new model for UWM. What will be constant is our commitment to students, our inclusion and our core mission that seeks to open doors to education, equitably and affordably, and to uphold research and knowledge creation and dissemination.

There is no doubt in my mind that UWM, Milwaukee and Wisconsin will need you to not only emerge from this pandemic but to ignite our economy. Our state will be hobbled without an educated citizenry that has 21st century skills and competencies and can think critically. Moreover, the research we do is helping to solve the most vexing problems we face. We have the right people taking the right steps to work inclusively with shared governance, faculty, staff and students to get us there. You have my most profound gratitude.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Furlough date changed

The original list of dates for intermittent furloughs for 9-month employees identified March 29, 2021, as a mandatory furlough date. Upon further consideration, to avoid disruption in instruction, that date has changed to May 14, 2021.

The dates for intermittent furloughs in fiscal year 2021 are:

12-month employees

1. Friday, July 3, 2020
2. Friday, Aug. 21, 2020
3. Friday, Oct. 30, 2020
4. Friday, Nov. 27, 2020
5. Monday, Dec. 28, 2020
6. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021
7. Friday, March 26, 2021
8. Friday, May 28, 2021

9-month employees

1. Monday, Aug. 31, 2020
2. Friday, Nov. 27, 2020
3. Monday, Dec. 28, 2020
4. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021
5. Friday, March 26, 2021
6. Friday, May 14, 2021

In addition, 12-month employees will take a furlough day on June 19, 2020.

More information about intermittent furloughs is on the UWM Human Resources website.


Additional COVID-19 leave available

May 5, 2020

To comply with the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, UW System is providing an extension of when the COVID-19 leave may be used. The permissible reasons for taking this leave are identified in the UW System policy and include leave for the purposes of child care and COVID-related illness.

Previously, the UW System Interim COVID-19 Leave Policy granted employees COVID leave only until May 1, 2020. Now, an employee may use COVID leave up to a maximum of 80 hours (prorated for full-time equivalency) through Dec. 31, 2020. Any COVID leave taken between April 1, 2020, and May 1, 2020, counts toward the 80-hour maximum.

Employees on furlough (position-specific or intermittent furloughs) may not use leave to remain in paid status, including COVID leave. However, employees may use COVID leave for any of the reasons permitted in the policy when they return from furlough.


Chancellor’s Update: COVID-19 Financial Implications and Moving Forward

May 1, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

The past two months have upset our lives in numerous ways. COVID-19 has taken the lives of 61,000 people in the U.S. and more than 1 million people have been infected. Since mid-March, more than 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment insurance benefits, including more than 440,000 in Wisconsin. And, we’ve all seen the headlines about the U.S. GDP shrinking 4.8% in the first quarter of 2020 – the largest decline in 12 years.

Closer to home and at UWM, we are not immune to these drastic trends. As individuals and as a university, we have responded with compassion, innovation, courage and determination. Your commitment to our students is remarkable. Thank you for the enormous energy you have exerted to create some academic and emotional normalcy for our students even as most of us are simultaneously trying to adapt in our own lives.

In the following materials, I share details of COVID-19 impacts on UWM.

Assessment of our current situation

As we near the end of the spring semester, we know that our campus operations will be minimal through July 31 and that our summer courses will be delivered online. We moved the May 17 commencement ceremonies to Oct. 10 and are working closely with public health authorities on the safest and best ways to resume operations. It is our goal to have campus courses, research and residential operations back in person as soon as realistically feasible, and we will do so in a safe, socially distant manner when the time is right.

Financial outlook

Even before the pandemic, we were confronting a budget shortfall of approximately $8-9 million spurred by larger than expected enrollment declines this year as well as additional pay plan expenses. We experienced $9-10 million in losses due to the pandemic-related refunds for lost revenues in our auxiliary units, such as housing, dining, and parking/ transportation. UWM will receive federal CARES funding of $8.5 million for the institution, which we will use to mitigate these losses. This week the Wisconsin Department of Administration announced a 5%, one-time funding lapse for 2019-20 for all state agencies, including UW System (UWS) institutions. We are awaiting confirmation of UWM’s portion but estimate it will be $6-8 million, which effectively negates the institutional portion of the federal CARES funding in terms of total impact to UWM. It is quite possible that the state will take additional budgetary action, in the form of an additional lapse or cut, in the next fiscal year. We simply don’t know at this time.

Between that and our projected revenue declines this fall, we have been examining every tool available to address these unprecedented and tremendous financial pressures. Our end goal is to take action that will allow us to emerge from this crisis as strong and best prepared for the new normal as we can be. Over the years, I’ve talked a great deal about how our workforce, salaries and benefits represent the largest expense to our institution. Regrettably, we will not make it through this situation unless we significantly reduce those expenses.

Furlough summary

Before instituting a furlough plan, we took swift actions early in this pandemic to control costs to protect our employees, including:

  • Canceled university-sponsored travel
  • Limited non-essential expenses
  • Deferred or changed some infrastructure projects
  • Increased efforts to retain our current students and enroll a strong freshman class
  • Enacted hiring and salary freezes, with limited exceptions

These actions, however, were not sufficient to cover our financial deficit. Thus, we needed to take the additional step to furlough employees, both on a position-specific basis and intermittent furlough days for most employees. A furlough is mandated unpaid leave and is not a layoff or non-renewal. Since we are facing this challenge as a community, we are asking for a shared sacrifice among faculty, academic and university staff, with the largest contributions from our leadership and highest earners, as described below. We estimate that total savings from the furloughs described below will be about $9-11 million, and we appreciate everyone’s contributions to this effort.

As announced last week, UWM will implement the first phase of position-specific furloughs for employees who currently cannot work due to the disruption of campus operations, beginning May 4. These are employees who do not have the ability to work remotely and who have not been designated as essential to current, limited onsite operations, as well as employees in operations that were most immediately impacted by refunds to students and revenue losses. Most of the employees in this first group are furloughed through Aug. 31 but could be called back earlier as work is available. We expect that these furloughs will save about $2 million over four months.

Additional position-specific furloughs are set to begin May 16, with employees being notified by May 9. The employees included in this group will be those performing duties and responsibilities that are not mission critical at the present time, where budgetary savings can be achieved through furlough to help UWM mitigate overall anticipated losses. UWM successfully lobbied UW System to include partial furloughs in UWS policy, which allows some employees to work part-time and retain a portion of their appointment. Partial furloughs are considered where they are feasible operationally and can be accommodated safely, for employees working onsite. Once the population of this second group is known, Human Resources will share more information about impacts for employees, as well as anticipated savings from this group.

We are also now poised to begin implementation of intermittent furloughs broadly across most academic staff, faculty and university staff. Graduate assistants, student employees, post-doctoral fellows, non-FTE appointments, externally funded (i.e., grants) positions and those on H1-B and E-3 visas are excluded. Employees earning $15 an hour or less also will not participate in intermittent furloughs.

The intermittent furloughs will be implemented as follows:

Fiscal Year 2020:

All 12-month employees will take one furlough day on June 19, 2020.

Fiscal Year 2021

12-month employees will take the following number of furlough days, founded on base earnings

  • $15/hour or less, and Graduate Assistants (TAs, PAs and RAs): zero furlough days
  • Over $15/hour, up to $99,999 per year: eight furlough days
  • $100,000 to $174,999: 12 furlough days
  • $175,000 and up: 16 furlough days

9-month employees will take the following number of furlough days, based on base earnings

  • $15/hour or less, and Graduate Assistants (TAs, PAs, and RAs): zero furlough days
  • Up to $99,999 per year: six furlough days
  • $100,000 to $174,999: nine furlough days
  • $175,000 and up: 12 furlough days

The base eight furlough days (six for nine-month employees) in fiscal year 2021 will be scheduled dates. Additional furlough days beyond the base set are floating and may be taken in full or half-day increments.

Both Provost Britz and I will take 10% pay reductions and all vice chancellors will take a 6.16% pay reduction in fiscal year 2021. Employees making over $100,000 per year will have an option to voluntarily forgo furlough days above eight and opt for a temporary pay reduction instead. We estimate savings from intermittent furloughs to be about $7 million. Details on the dates of furloughs and other information is available in UWM’s Guidelines on Intermittent Furloughs with FAQs here and we will plan informational sessions in the coming weeks.

Other UW institutions have already issued or will be issuing furlough plans. Each institution is making these decisions based on individual campus needs, and thus, plans will not be comparable. UWM’s goals included: 1) To provide employment continuity and access to health insurance coverage for those going on position-specific furloughs; and 2) To outline a 13-month plan on intermittent furloughs that provides advance notice to affected employees for the coming year.

Planning for future

We are in the process of scenario planning for the year ahead – financially, academically and with a top priority on safety and health for our faculty, staff and students. Our goal, again, is to be operational, in person, in 2020-21 but we need to do so responsibly given unknowns and the possibility of future waves of the COVID-19 virus. Financially, the principal risks include having few or reduced students and activities on campus and the resulting enrollment and revenue declines. What makes this especially challenging is that we may be dealing with a hybrid situation in the process and costs of transitioning back from full online status, possibly with setbacks along the way.

Support for students: Chancellor’s Student Success Fund

As we all know, much we took for granted has changed over the past several weeks in ways we could never have predicted a few short months ago. Despite all the change and unknowns, however, we are bolstered and comforted by one certainty – UWM faculty, staff, alumni and friends are always ready to step forward and help.

Thousands of our students lost their jobs and much needed income as campus, restaurants, retail stores, and service organizations shut down. Their families, too, are experiencing lost jobs and wages. In the immediate aftermath of COVID-19, we turned to our faculty, staff, alumni and friends for the basic human needs of our students – assistance to pay rent, to purchase food and to acquire other necessities of life. We thank the hundreds who responded generously, allowing us to provide emergency financial assistance and food to nearly 1,000 students to date, with a waiting list for support.

Our students will continue to need emergency assistance and more – scholarships and other financial assistance – to allow them to complete their degrees successfully. With this in mind, today I am announcing my gift of $50,000 to launch a $1 million fundraising campaign for a new fund – the Chancellor’s Student Success Fund. I invite those who are in a position to help to join me and others in making a gift to what matters most – our students’ success. Details about the fund and how to give will be available soon.

Being strong – and realistic

I want to end with reflection of the hardships that you have faced and how heroically you have responded. Yesterday, several of us briefed some of the regents on our circumstances and how we are responding and planning. They shared very supportive comments about all we are doing and know the difficulties you have addressed. Please know that our campus leaders and I realize the burdens you may feel – stress, anxiety, hard work and burnout take their toll. We know that college students here and nationally face significant mental health issues, but we also know that faculty and staff are not immune to these pressures. Because the pandemic represents a long-term reality, I encourage you to pace yourself, reach out to colleagues, family and friends and stay connected. Please know that we have resources available through our Employee Assistance Program and, please see this piece about the need for self-care from UWM Psychology Department Chair Hobart Davies.

The magnitude of challenges we face from the COVID-19 pandemic are unlike any we have ever experienced, but we can and will overcome them. To do so requires difficult sacrifices from us all. We will need our combined strength and will need to dig deep for endurance for an unknown length of time. This is true of UWM, all of higher education, and the national and global levels. Rest assured, at UWM we will be steered by our strong sense of purpose for students, research and engagement and our guiding values. We are in this together and will meet what lies ahead head on.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


UWM employee COVID-19 update

April 28, 2020

Furloughs

As announced last week, UWM has placed on furlough employees who currently cannot work due to the disruption of campus operations. These are employees who do not have the ability to work remotely and who have not been designated as essential to current, limited onsite operations. As of Friday, 267 employees who met these criteria had been identified for furloughs. About 30 of those furloughs will be partial. The rest will be full-time. Employees are furloughed through Aug. 31 but will be called back as work is available.

A second group of furloughs is scheduled to begin May 16, with employees being notified by May 9. The employees included in this group will be those performing duties and responsibilities that are not mission critical at the present time, where budgetary savings can be achieved through furlough to help UWM mitigate overall anticipated losses. Once the population of this second group is known, Human Resources will share more information about impacts for employees.

CARES grants for students

UWM has received nearly $8.5 million through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help students who are struggling with expenses such as food, housing, course materials, laptops and technology, health care and child care.

To qualify for a CARES grant, students must:

  • Have been financially impacted by the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. Eligible expenses include food, housing, course materials, laptops and other technology, health care and child care. Here are some examples of common expenses:
    • Signing up for home internet service to complete online coursework
    • Buying a laptop or other computer equipment to do coursework
    • Buying groceries after campus dining operations closed
    • Paying a fee to end a lease early or rent for an apartment the student is no longer living in
  • Be enrolled in a degree or certificate program eligible for federal (Title IV) financial aid. Most UWM programs are eligible. Nondegree students are not eligible.
  • Have filed a 2019-20 or 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to document eligibility to participate in federal (Title IV) programs.
  • Have been enrolled in at least one in-person or hybrid class on March 13, 2020, when President Trump issued his “Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak” proclamation. Students who were enrolled exclusively in online courses on March 13, 2020, are not eligible.

If you know of students in need who meet these qualifications, please ask them to complete this short grant application. If they have any questions, they can email cares-grant@uwm.edu.

Please note that the federal CARES program is separate from UWM’s emergency grant program. UWM has already distributed $90,000 in emergency grants to more than 130 students, and we continue to raise money for additional aid.

Public records

As UWM is largely operating remotely, we remind you that written communications, documents and recordings created by employees and relating to university business must be retained and made available to the public upon request according to the applicable records retention policy, regardless of whether employees are working on campus or remotely.

Items created in Microsoft Teams, such as chats and recordings, are records and may be subject to public records requests. Work-related communications and documents created on non-university platforms, such as text messages, Gmail and Slack, also are records and may be subject to public records requests.  For more information about your records responsibilities during the COVID-19 crisis, please contact the Archives Department at askarch@uwm.edu or the Office of Public Records at public-records@uwm.edu.

Information security awareness training deadline

The deadline for UWM employees to complete the UW System policy-mandated information security awareness training is Thursday, April 30. Check your email for the initial message with the subject line “University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Online Training” from the email address donotreply@lawroom.com. If you haven’t yet completed your training, reminders have been sent out regularly, with the subject line “University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Course Status Reminder.” These messages contain your personalized link to access the online training course.

Community news

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Latest coronavirus updates
WUWM: For domestic abuse victims, Safer at Home can mean trapped at home
WISN: City gives businesses choice to open, most stay closed
WITI: Wisconsin Democratic Party to hold virtual state convention

News links

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: No clear answers on when Wisconsin can reopen
UWM Report: Zilber students immersed in coronavirus work
WTMJ-AM: Chancellor talks about pandemic’s effects on UWM
Milwaukee Courier: UWM volunteers to help older adults


UWM employee COVID-19 update

April 22, 2020

Building closures

Academic and administrative buildings will remain closed through July 31, 2020. This is a continuation of our current work arrangements, with most employees working remotely.

Essential employees who have received permission to come to campus for onsite work may continue to do so.

Other employees are permitted a short trip to campus to pick up personal items or work materials. They should work with their building chairs to schedule those visits.

Students who need to get into academic buildings to retrieve personal items should contact their instructors, who in turn should work with their deans to arrange access.

Length of Service

The annual Length of Service Awards ceremony has been postponed from April 29 to a fall date still to be determined. We want to thank all of our longtime employees for their service and look forward to celebrating your accomplishments with you when we return to campus.

Community news

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Latest coronavirus updates
WPR: Milwaukee Will Mail 300K Absentee Ballot Applications To Voters For Fall Election
Fox 6: Get ready to tee it up: 8 Milwaukee County golf courses to open Friday, April 24
Racine Journal Times: City Council approves round of small business grants, not loans

News links

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: UWM research finds racial disparity in coronavirus infection, deaths
WUWM: UWM assistant professor discusses the difficulty of infertility, conception during pandemic
WMTV: UWM student, mother sew hundreds of face masks for local community
UWM Report: UWM research aims to test effectiveness of coronavirus screening tool


Chancellor’s Update: Follow-up on Furloughs

April 21, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

This is a particularly difficult message to share today as we continue to see the catastrophic economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. UW-Milwaukee and every UW System institution face new and serious financial challenges. And, every day we are confronted with painstaking decisions that none of us wants to make but that are necessary to keep our campuses operating and to carry out our dual mission. These decisions hurt and we know they will have considerable impact on the people we care deeply about and on whom we rely to serve our students – our faculty and staff.

While UWM will benefit from $17 million in federal support through the CARES Act stimulus funding, half that amount ($8.5 million) is directed toward financial relief for students. We fully support that relief for our Panthers. The remaining funding will help UWM with its FY 2020 operating deficit created by COVID-19. Having said that, the operating and enrollment-related losses continuing into this summer and next fall, under the best-case scenario, are expected to be far greater. Most institutions of higher education are predicting, at a minimum, very significant losses in onsite operating revenues and enrollments, even if institutions are able to offer onsite instruction in the fall, a decision to be made later.

We shared the likely need for furloughs in my message to you last week and in comments from our leaders during the April 17 town hall meeting. We talked about how furloughs can help us to address the dramatic financial toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. Provost Britz and I have been in consultation with our governance leaders, deans, division heads, and others about the need for both across-the-board and position-specific furloughs on our three campuses.

A furlough is an unpaid, required leave of absence, either intermittently or for a specified consecutive number of days, during which the employee remains an employee of the institution. A furlough is not a layoff. We are using furloughs instead of layoffs because it is our goal to bring employees back to their positions when normal campus operations resume, and our revenue sources are stabilized. Furloughs also help us to preserve employees’ positions and benefits.

Position-Specific Furloughs

We are at a point now that we must move ahead with position-specific furloughs (PSFs). UWM’s implementation of PSFs is based on UW System’s Interim Policy on Furloughs. In the UWS policy, PSFs are referred to as “Consecutive Day Furlough Assignment.” UW System has published FAQs on its policy. PSF does not apply to UWM faculty. We will implement PSF initially over two phases.

The first group of employees will be placed on position-specific furloughs beginning May 2 through Aug. 31, 2020. Deans, division heads, and directors were asked to identify employees whose work cannot be performed remotely and who are not designated as essential to current onsite operations, as well as employees in units most impacted by our immediate financial losses. Employees who fall in this group will be notified by April 24.

The second group of employees to be placed on PSF include individuals who are performing duties and responsibilities remotely that are not mission critical at the present time. This will help achieve budgetary savings and mitigate overall anticipated losses to UWM. This group of employees will be placed on position-specific furloughs beginning May 16 through Aug. 31, 2020. Employees who fall in this group will be notified by May 9. Due to campus needs, some employees may be identified later than May 16 and would be furloughed for a different period of time.

For further details on position-specific furloughs, please see UWM’s PSF guidelines here. Supervisors will be in direct communication with their employees to share details and discuss individual circumstances.

Across-the-Board Furloughs for all Employees

We will implement a furlough plan for all employees beginning as soon as logistically possible and the details are confirmed, through June 30, 2021. We are currently looking at 8 furlough days for 12-month employees, with six furlough days for 9-month employees. There will be a higher number of furlough days for higher-income employees. Voluntary furloughs are also being considered. We are working through the details of these plans and will update you as soon as those details are available.

We anticipate additional financial challenges tied to the interruptions and uncertainties of COVID-19 before we see a clear path to recovery and returning to normal campus life. We hope to learn more by early summer about the pandemic forecast and the possible continued impact on instruction, housing and other operations in fall. As difficult as it is to be patient during this ambiguous time, I ask for your understanding and fortitude.

We are not alone in these struggles. Campuses across the nation are similarly grappling with these very same wrenching decisions. I am grateful for the thoughts already offered by shared governance leaders and other groups and the guidance they will continue to provide as we venture into difficult months ahead

As chancellor, I take responsibility for the tough decisions of today and for our future. Please know that decisions are approached in such a way to help us remain effective after passing through this COVID-19 vortex. UWM will support you and we will get through this together.

Best regards,
Mark A. Mone
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


UWM employee COVID-19 update

April 20, 2020

Outside Activities Reports

Faculty, academic staff and limited appointees in 50% or greater appointments must complete an annual Outside Activities Report (OAR) by April 30.

University staff are not required to complete an OAR.

Those required to complete an OAR must do so to be eligible for compensation increases, including raises included in the State of Wisconsin Pay Plan. Anyone who needs help accessing or completing an OAR should contact the Human Resources Business Partner/Prep who serves their school, college or division. That contact can be found here.

Event cancellation extended

Events on campus are canceled through July 31. A decision will be made on or before June 15 regarding events in August.

Travel restrictions extended

The suspension of university-sponsored travel has been extended through June 30. A decision will be made by June 1 regarding July travel.

University-sponsored travel includes, but is not limited to:

  • Travel on UWM-related business.
  • Travel that relates to an employee’s professional interests and positions, such as board or other professional organization roles.
  • Travel paid in full or in part by UWM.
  • Travel organized, endorsed and/or sponsored by UWM or organizations associated with UWM. such as student clubs.
  • Travel that involves academic credit granted by UWM.

Limited exceptions will be granted for essential travel, which is travel critical to UWM’s mission, that cannot be rescheduled, and is for work that must be conducted in person. The recent extension of Gov. Evers’ Stay at Home order through May 26, 2020. and public health guidance should be reviewed prior to requesting an exception.

To request an exception, faculty and staff must complete this form. An e-workflow process is under development to streamline exception requests in the future, and more information will be shared about that when it is available.

Exceptions will be managed and approved by Risk Management and campus leadership, who also approve employees for on-site work. This approach allows for an individualized review of relevant health and safety considerations for each requested exemption.


Chancellor’s Update: Town Hall Follow-up and Furloughs

April 17, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold as does the relentless rate of change we are experiencing as individuals, families, colleagues, and as a university. Yesterday’s extension of the state’s Safer at Home order through May 26 ensures that our lives will continue to be very different. There’s no way around it. These are historically significant times that generations have never experienced. And, none of this is easy. How we respond in this unparalleled and ambiguous time will shape how UWM emerges from this global crisis.

We talked a great deal about change at today’s town hall meeting. Thank you to all who participated and for your questions. For those who could not join us live, I encourage you to view the April 17 town hall on YouTube. And, please know that we will be holding more town halls in the future.

As we discussed, UW System developed an interim furlough policy to help address the dramatic financial toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday afternoon, the Board of Regents executive committee approved authority for the UWS and UW-Madison, which have separate human resource policies, to implement furloughs. A furlough is an unpaid, required leave of absence, either intermittently or for a specified consecutive number of days, during which the employee remains an employee of the institution. A furlough is not a layoff. We are using furloughs instead of layoffs because it is our goal to bring employees back to their positions when normal campus operations resume, and our revenue sources are stabilized. The UW System’s interim policy document and FAQs can be found here.

The UWS interim policy includes authority to implement three types of furloughs: across-the-board, position-specific and voluntary. We will now quickly examine the details and options and will start planning for both an across-the-board furlough and position-specific furloughs. Details about voluntary furloughs will be developed later.

Across-the-Board Furloughs for all Employees

We will most likely implement a furlough plan for all employees beginning July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. We are currently looking at eight furlough days for 12-month employees, with six furlough days for 9-month employees. We will also be requiring a higher number of furlough days for higher-income, 12-month employees.

Position-Specific Furloughs

This type of furlough would be applied to certain positions and it is likely that employees would be placed on furloughs in several stages. Some employees could be placed on position-specific furloughs as early as May 2, which is when COVID-19 leave expires. Areas to be examined for position-specific furloughs will initially include employees whose work cannot be performed remotely and who are designated as essential to current onsite operations, as well as employees in units most impacted by our immediate financial losses. Position-specific furloughs do not apply to faculty.

It is important to note that we are moving quickly to address the many details involved in implementing the UWS interim furlough policy. We know this is difficult and that you have many questions. In the coming days, we will have more concrete answers including UWM-specific FAQs and will share that information with you as soon as it is available. In the meantime, I encourage you to review the UW System FAQs, which provide significant details, and to communicate directly with your supervisors about individual situations and circumstances.

It is extremely unfortunate that we need to implement furloughs and I understand you have many concerns. There is support available for those who need it through our employee assistance program.

You have heard me say many times before that we are a university that cares for one another. We can weather this storm together by doing what we know how to do best – lifting up and supporting each other. We are Panthers and we are resilient.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


UWM employee COVID-19 update

April 15, 2020

Town Hall reminder

Chancellor Mark Mone invites all faculty and staff to a Microsoft Teams town hall meeting at 9 a.m. on Friday, April 17, to share plans and the latest actions taken in response to COVID-19. The chancellor will be joined by Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Johannes Britz and Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administrative Affairs Robin Van Harpen.

The chancellor will host the town hall and share the big picture on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected UWM. Provost Britz and Vice Chancellor Van Harpen will provide academic, HR and financial updates. All will be available to answer questions.

How to Ask a Question 

You can share questions in advance or ask during the town hall by emailing uwm-townhall@uwm.edu. When submitting your question, please indicate whether you would prefer to remain anonymous. We have created a FAQ resource that is updated daily at uwm.edu/coronavirus. Please check this comprehensive resource before submitting a town hall question; there are hundreds of answers available just a few clicks away.

Accessing the Town Hall Meeting

Faculty and staff at all campuses are highly encouraged to participate by joining the town hall meeting here. A captioning function is available; see below for details. Live viewing with an interpreter is available by contacting Amy Hogle in the Accessibility Resource Center.

To view a playback of the Microsoft Teams meeting, visit the chancellor’s webpage. A YouTube video of the meeting will be available on the chancellor’s webpage within 48 hours of the town hall.

Need help with Microsoft Teams? 

Please see this UWM knowledge base article for Teams Live Events. Read this information from Microsoft to learn more about the captioning function.

Employee evaluations due 

UW System requires all employees to have an annual performance evaluation between April 1, 2019, and March 31, 2020. That deadline was extended to May 1, 2020, in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Supervisors who have not completed their employees’ evaluations should be mindful of this deadline. All employees must have a current evaluation on record to be eligible for pay plan increases, and supervisors must have completed employees’ evaluations to be eligible for their own increases.

Summer courses and fees 

We announced last week that all classes this summer will be offered online or through distance education. This decision was made to ensure that students could continue their education, even if physical distance was still required.

With this adjustment in course delivery, UWM has adjusted course and segregated fees.

All courses that follow the traditional summer tuition schedule will have a reduced segregated fee and a reduced distance education fee. These fees will pay for the technology to offer classes online and modified student services. We want to ensure that all students have access to campus support services during this challenging time. Most students will pay the same or less under this modified fee schedule than they would have paid in fees last summer.

There will be no changes for students enrolled in courses that are charged fees in lieu of tuition.

The university is committed to resuming in-person instruction as soon as possible, and we currently plan to offer in-person classes for Fall 2020. These classes would follow the standard tuition and fee schedule.

Community news

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Latest coronavirus updates
WUWM: For Domestic Abuse Victims, Safer-At-Home Order Can Mean Trapped At Home
NPR: What An ER Nurse Learned From Ebola Outbreak And Now COVID-19
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Gov. Tony Evers signs coronavirus relief bill amid criticism of its treatment of first responders

News links

UWM Report: UWM Prototyping Center helping design reusable masks to aid COVID-19 first responders
UWM Report:  Friendly Caller Program offered for sheltered seniors
UWM Report: Audiology group holds emergency drive-through service for hearing aid repairs
WPR: UWM psychology professor discusses mental health care during pandemic


COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall

April 9, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

During these unprecedented times of COVID-19, we understand how changing circumstances can be unsettling. Please join me, Provost Britz, and Vice Chancellor Van Harpen for a Microsoft Teams town hall meeting at 9 a.m. on Friday, April 17.

We will share the latest actions taken and plans in response to COVID-19. I will host the town hall and share the big picture on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected UWM. Provost Britz and Vice Chancellor Van Harpen will provide academic, HR and financial updates and will join me in answering your questions.

Your voices are important and we invite your questions, which can be shared in advance or asked online during the townhall by sending to: uwm-townhall@uwm.edu. We have created a FAQ resource that is updated daily at uwm.edu/coronavirus. Please check this comprehensive resource before submitting a townhall question; there are hundreds of answers available just a few clicks away.

Faculty and staff at all campuses are highly encouraged to participate by joining the town hall meeting here. The same link can be used for viewing the meeting at a later time.

Need Microsoft Teams Training?

An online session is available on Wednesday, April 15, from 10-11 a.m. Details are here. You can also view an IT News & Events article about the upcoming course.

We plan to hold a series of town hall meetings in the future, including some that are designed for our students. See below for an additional update.

Best regards,
Mark A. Mone
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Miwaukee

Support for students

Dell Technologies is loaning UWM 100 laptops for students who need computers to complete their coursework online this spring. The laptops will be distributed next week to students on the UWM Surplus waiting list for computers.
The partnership with Dell Technologies is just one way UWM’s Development team is working to provide support for students during this tumultuous semester. The team’s priority is raising money for the UWM Student Emergency Fund and the UWM Food Center & Pantry. As of today, 312 gifts totaling $44,585 have been raised to help students through this crisis, with 135 gifts from UWM faculty and staff contributing more than $16,000 of this total. Anyone who would like to give to those efforts can do so here.


Chancellor’s Update: May Commencement Rescheduled to October 10

April 9, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

It is heartening to share good news with you today – our May 2020 Commencement ceremonies are rescheduled for Saturday, Oct. 10. Our students deserve to celebrate their hard work, all-nighters, sacrifices and achievements. And, unlike any other graduating class in our history, this group has endured unforeseen and challenging circumstances spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We needed to consider many factors in rescheduling Commencement, including availability of the UWM Panther Arena, which is controlled by the Wisconsin Center District. The possible lengthening of social distancing guidance in Wisconsin also remains a factor we will continue to monitor.

One Ceremony or Two?

Traditionally, we hold two ceremonies in May due to the large number of graduates in the spring. At this time, we are exploring whether to hold one or two ceremonies on Oct. 10. I acknowledge that by October – several months after most will have graduated – that individuals will be busy with new jobs, graduate school, volunteer work, families and more. We are developing a student survey to help determine how many graduates will participate in the Oct. 10 commencement. We expect to send that survey to eligible graduates no later than the first week of May.

Please note that commencement is the celebration of students’ work, and eligible May 2020 graduates will still graduate, or earn their degree, on time.

I’d ask that all who have contact with eligible graduates to express your thanks and acknowledge the extraordinary patience, flexibility and added stress these students have faced – and continue to manage – during this pandemic. For you and our students alike, the impact of COVID-19 has been highly personal. I sincerely hope that many of you will be part of our Oct. 10 commencement, whether as volunteers or ceremonial participants.

Best regards,
Mark A. Mone
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


UWM employee COVID-19 update

April 7, 2020

Summer session

Almost all summer classes will be offered online or through remote instruction this year because it remains unclear what public health guidance might be in place by May and beyond. According to the state’s Safer at Home order, all public and private gatherings of any number of people that are not part of a single household or living unit are prohibited, except for the limited exceptions outlined in the order.

A few in-person summer classes may be offered, and the provost is working with the deans to determine what these will be. Those classes ideally would be scheduled during the latter half of the summer session, subject to public health guidance at that time. We hope to share more information about summer classes later this week.

EAP services

UWM’s Employee Assistance Program provider, FEI Behavioral Health, can help faculty and staff manage the challenges and changes caused by the pandemic. FEI, which has been providing services for more than 40 years, offers assistance in areas including:

  • Managing uncertainty and anxiety.
  • Achieving work-life balance, including negotiating arrangements for school-age children or elderly parents.
  • Coping with financial uncertainties.

To contact FEI, please call (866) 274-4723 or visit them online by clicking here. More information is available by going to this UWM Department of Human Resources page.

Community news

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Latest coronavirus updates
WUWM: Poll Workers Called Heroes Of Wisconsin Election
WTMJ radio: Pick ‘n Save to limit number of shoppers in stores in wake of coronavirus
WISN 12: Home internet access could hinder learning for some MPS students

News links

UWM Report: Coverage of the impact of COVID-19 on campus
UWM Athletics: A letter from Director of Athletics Amanda Braun
Roar Report: MKE Baseball – The Waiting Game
Milwaukee Magazine: What It’s Like to Go To UWM Online During the Health Crisis


UWM employee COVID-19 update

April 3, 2020

Remote work and COVID-19 leave

UWM’s Department of Human Resources has published guidance for supervisors on successfully managing remote work and employees’ use of COVID-19 leave. This guidance document may serve as a helpful resource for both supervisors and employees.

The Department of Human Resources also provides this clarification about the recent expansion of COVID-19 leave for employees under the UW System Interim COVID-19 Leave Policy. The policy has been expanded to allow employees up to 272 hours of COVID-19 leave for the time period of March 17 through May 1. This will enable employees to use COVID-19 leave as defined by the policy at their full-time equivalency rate through May 1. The policy does not allow the use of COVID-19 leave after May 1 and this leave may not be converted into another type of leave. The UW System policy can be found by clicking here.

Minimal employees on campuses

Deans and division heads are working hard to significantly reduce the number of individuals working onsite at our three campuses, consistent with orders from the state and city. As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Wisconsin, every opportunity for person-to-person contact increases the risk of transmission. Therefore, only those UWM employees who must work onsite for purposes of life, safety and critical infrastructure will be permitted to do so until we are cleared to bring all employees back onsite.

From this point forward, anyone continuing to work onsite at any of UWM’s campuses, whether occasional, part-time or full-time, must have formal approval to do so from the applicable dean or division head, who must seek approval from one of four UWM leaders. More information can be found by clicking here.

UWM Emergency Management representatives will be monitoring the list of approved individuals and contacting both employees and their supervisors to ensure that they are implementing UWM’s On-Site Essential Employee Work Practices. These required practices are designed to ensure safety for employees who must work onsite.

Community news

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Latest coronavirus updates
Milwaukee Magazine: What Are the Political and Local Ramifications of Pushing Back the DNC?
AP: Wisconsin GOP says election should go on as scheduled
Urban Milwaukee: Washington Heights Mural Has Simple Message

News links

UWM Report: Feeling sick? UWM launches project to better track spread of COVID-19
UWM Report: UWM community donates personal protective gear to local health care facilities
WUWM: UWM history professor talks about rise of anti-Asian racism reports
TMJ4: UWM assistant professor documents COVID-19 pandemic by collecting items in the community


UWM employee COVID-19 update

April 2, 2020

Timing of Title & Total Compensation

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UW System Title & Total Compensation Project has been delayed. While some behind the scenes work on the project will continue, forward facing work like the manager/employee conversations, are on hold. UW System Administration will work with institutions’ chief human resources officers to establish a new timeline and communicate again once that is established. Further information is available at this UW System link.

COVID symptom tracker

Environmental epidemiologist Amy Kalkbrenner in the Zilber School of Public Health has developed an online tool designed as a public health strategy to help manage the COVID-19 crisis. The confidential online survey at wecountcovid19.com collects by ZIP code and day the symptoms people with respiratory illness are experiencing. Those who are sick, both in Milwaukee and across the U.S., can contribute using their smartphone or computer. If you are experiencing symptoms, we encourage you to contribute to this important work.

Open meetings

Given that most UWM employees are working remotely due to the pandemic, UW System has developed guidance on complying with the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law when meeting virtually.

According to that guidance, the organizer of a public meeting that is not face to face must provide the public with an “effective means to observe the meeting that is the equivalent of being present in the room for a face-to-face open meeting.” A line like the following can be added to open meetings notices to satisfy that requirement:

To be held via teleconference/videoconference/virtually at [insert link and/or call-in number].

When using the UWM submission form for open meetings, that information can be entered into the location field, which now includes a prompt to note either a physical location or the conference call/teleconference connection information. Please note there is no character limit for that location field.

When a meeting goes into closed session
Asking participants to leave an open meeting when it goes into closed session depends on the software being used. For Microsoft Teams, you can just ask those who should not stay for closed session to leave. You can confirm by checking if they have left the participant list.

You can also view the participant list and remove participants as needed by clicking on “remove participant.”

Resources for teaching online

We want to thank faculty and staff who put in long hours as we transitioned more than 6,000 in-person classes to those being taught online or through alternate delivery due to the pandemic. This is an extraordinary effort that reinforces your dedication to providing the best instruction possible through unprecedented circumstances.

Don’t forget about these resources from Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning if you need help or have any questions:

  • Daily informal, online question-and-answer sessions held twice a day with no formal agenda. Each session is an hour. Feel free to attend the full session or just a portion. Click here to sign up.
  • Connect with colleagues virtually in the Online Teaching Partnership Program. CETL will connect you with a partner based on interest in the type of online instruction. All levels of expertise are welcome. Complete this form if interested.

CETL is also available for support weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at cetl@uwm.edu or Microsoft Teams at https://uwm.edu/cetl/teams/. Normal hours are weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Community news

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Latest coronavirus updates
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Federal judge extends absentee balloting by six days but does not delay April 7 election in Wisconsin
CBS 58: DNC Milwaukee 2020 pushed back to week of August 17 due to COVID-19
TMJ4: List of Milwaukee-area restaurants offering carryout, delivery

News links

WUWM: The Coronavirus’ Impact On UW-Milwaukee
Milwaukee Business Journal: COVID-19 cost the NCAA $1 billion. Now Marquette, UWM athletic departments have tough decisions to make


Extension of COVID-19 Leave and Vacation Carryover

April 1, 2020

It’s April Fools’ Day and I am delighted to share some good news that is no joke. Our lives will be impacted by COVID-19 for a prolonged period and thus, UW System is extending COVID-19 leave with an additional 272 hours. UW System is also extending the vacation carryover deadline for this fiscal year.

The interim policy took effect yesterday (March 31). It implements leave provisions during the COVID-19 pandemic prioritizing the health and safety of our people.

Under the policy, faculty, academic staff, university staff, limited appointees, employees-in-training, graduate assistants, teaching assistants, research assistants and program assistants, and temporary employees who are unable to perform their assigned duties during the COVID-19 pandemic may use up to 272 hours (prorated based on percentage of appointment) of COVID-19 leave for the period of March 31 through May 1, 2020. This is in addition to the 80 hours that were provided for March 17-30. This will cover employees who are:

  • unable to work remotely (telecommute or telework);
  • diagnosed with COVID-19 or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a diagnosis;
  • caring for an immediate family member who has a diagnosis of COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a diagnosis;
  • caring for an immediate family member subject to a quarantine or isolation order or who has been advised to self-quarantine; or
  • caring for children or elders due to school/care closures.

Further guidance and FAQs from our HR team are under development and will be available soon. Questions may be sent to hr-covid19@uwm.edu.

Employees may enter COVID-19 leave in HRS as they would other types of paid leave and should contact their unit’s payroll coordinator with any questions. It is important to note that COVID-19 leave will become unavailable after May 1, 2020. For that reason, it is helpful to use COVID-19 leave now instead of vacation, sick leave, or another type of paid leave. Information about leave bank processing guidelines is available here.

Vacation Carryover
The carryover deadline for unused vacation has been removed this year given the reality that many people canceled planned vacations to respond to the pandemic. See below for more details and additional important coronavirus-related updates.

I also encourage you to tune into WUWM 89.7 FM tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. or thereafter for a special edition of the UWM Today show about how we are managing the COVID-19 crisis. Vice Chancellor of University Relations Tom Luljak interviewed me, Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administrative Affairs Robin Van Harpen, and Chief Student Affairs Officer Kelly Haag.

Until my next update, please take good care of yourself and loved ones.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Vacation carryover

Many employees have canceled vacations due to travel restrictions in place for the pandemic. Given the circumstances, UW System will be extending the deadline for employees to carry over vacation from the 2018-19 fiscal year. This means that employees will be able to carry over unused vacation from the 2018-19 fiscal year as well as the current 2019-20 fiscal year into the 2020-21 fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2020.

You can check your vacation balances in the human resources system (HRS). Vacation carried over from the 2018-19 fiscal year currently appears in HRS as “vacation carryover.” Vacation allotted in 2019-20 appears in HRS as “vacation.”

More details about the extension of the deadline to use vacation will be provided when they are available.

Grad student accommodations

On Monday, we shared details about the interim policy on an emergency grading accommodation for undergraduate students. Today, we have an update on a similar interim policy affecting graduate students.

Grading
The Emergency Graduate Grading Accommodation Policy expands the credit/no credit option for graduate students and will apply to eligible courses with letter grades and to courses with satisfactory/unsatisfactory grades. Schools and colleges will identify courses that are ineligible for credit/no credit grading by April 14. Students will be assigned a letter or satisfactory/unsatisfactory grade in each course by the grading deadline of May 21. Graduate students may exercise their option to change a spring 2020 course to credit/no credit on or before July 3. For more details, see the policy posted here.

Time Clock
The Emergency Time Clock Accommodation for Graduate Students extends the timeline to complete doctoral and master’s degrees by one year for students who entered their programs before or in the Spring 2020 semester. The COVID-19 emergency also will be regarded as an extenuating circumstance for all current doctoral students to request up to one-year extension of the deadline to complete the preliminary examination. For more details on the policy, click here.

Course illness policy

We would like to clarify yesterday’s message on course illness policies.

This semester, faculty and instructional staff should not require a student to provide an excuse from a health care professional when missing class or assignments due to illness. Health care systems are becoming overburdened and may not be able to provide excuses. For this semester, if a student informs you of an illness, we ask you to take the student at their word.

Faculty and instructional staff are also asked to be flexible with students whose families have been impacted by COVID-19. During this time, our students may be caring for loved ones who are ill or otherwise need their support, or contending with other complications related to the pandemic.

We also ask that faculty and instructional staff consider posting this information in their Canvas course announcements.

Prowl Line and parking

Prowl Line shuttle service has been suspended until further notice because of the pandemic. The Prowl Line provided service from the Capitol and Humboldt (UPARK) surface lot to the UW-Milwaukee campus and residence halls.

We are urging nonessential employees to work from home as much as possible for the health and safety of those who must come to campus for work. If you must come to campus, please note that employees may now park in campus surface lots free of charge.

Community news

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Latest coronavirus updates
WPR: Madison, Milwaukee Open Voluntary Coronavirus Isolation Centers
Fox 6: ‘Urgent need’ for poll workers creates questions of what to expect on April 7
TMJ4: St. Francis cake decorator hopes to bring normalcy, joy to clients during times of uncertainty

News links

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: UWM student brings native Moroccan dishes, traditions to Milwaukee
WUWM: Latest higher education updates


UWM employee COVID-19 update

March 31, 2020

COVID-19 leave update

Some employees may have already used sick leave or vacation to cover an absence due to COVID-19. Those employees can instead use COVID-19 leave, even if they have already reported the absence, if that absence is covered by the UW System COVID-19 leave policy and occurred on or after March 17, when System issued that policy.

Please reach out to your supervisor, unit payroll coordinator or the Central Payroll office at payroll@uwm.edu for assistance.

The COVID-19 leave provides up to 80 hours of paid leave for employees who can’t perform their assigned duties during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency due to the following:

  • inability to work remotely
  • self-quarantine
  • self-isolation
  • illness
  • care of an immediate family member
  • child/elder care due to school and day care closures

You can find more information on guidelines at the UW System COVID-19 leave policy page or through the UWM coronavirus website FAQ.

Tenure clock and academic staff probationary period

The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to disruptions in the normal progress of tenure-track faculty in areas of research, scholarship, teaching and service. Tenure-track faculty affected by the pandemic disruption can send a request for an extension of the tenure clock to their dean, who will then forward the request to the provost for approval. Because the circumstances are beyond the control of the faculty member, there is a presumption of approval of these requests.

Requests for an extension of the tenure clock for up to a year due to COVID-19 should be sent to your dean on or before Dec. 23. The provost will provide a report on approved requests to the University Committee.

Accommodation also will be made to extend the probationary period for academic staff on track toward indefinite status. Similarly, there is a presumption of approval of these requests since the circumstances are beyond the control of the staff member. Extensions will be available for individuals who have files due on or before Dec. 31, 2020. More information can be found in the provost’s most recent campus update by clicking here.

Microsoft Teams training

UWM’s first Microsoft Teams online training class on Friday was a success, with 275 faculty and staff members signing up for the session. Campus technologists led a virtual tutorial about the Teams app and the features that can help faculty and staff work remotely.

Another virtual training session is coming up on Thursday, April 2, from noon to 1 p.m. No prior registration is necessary – just go to this Office 365 @ UWM website for more information on how to join on Thursday. A recording of last Friday’s session is also available on that page.

Campus parking permits

Effective today, all faculty/staff parking permits will be canceled and payroll deductions will be stopped. Those with a vehicle still in a garage after March 31 will need to press the help button at the garage exit to be let out. Employees may park on campus surface lots for free. Those interested in continuing to park in a garage and continuing the payroll deduction must make a written request to uwmpark@uwm.edu and get approval from Transportation Services.

For employees and students with semester and annual permits that were paid in advance, prorated balances will be refunded to credit cards upon request by filling out this form. Due to high volume, it could take up to four weeks before the credit appears on your credit card account.

Course illness policy

Faculty and instructional staff should relax requirements this semester for doctor’s or health care provider’s notes when a student misses class due to illness. This request is to help relieve pressure on overburdened health care workers. We also ask that instructors do not request notes from students’ parents, as many UWM students live on their own. It is appropriate this semester if a student informs you of an illness to take the student at his or her word.

Community news

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Latest coronavirus updates
WUWM: Coronavirus: A Look Inside The North Shore Health Department
AP: Evers seeks disaster declaration as unemployment grows
CBS 58: FBI warns of coronavirus scams — here’s what to look out for

News links

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: UWM social epidemiologist talks about statistical estimates of when coronavirus might peak in Wisconsin
WISN-TV: UWM, Concordia University hailed as ‘persons of the week’ for creating 3D printed masks
Spectrum News: UWM music student provides virtual guitar lessons
WUWM: UWM Shifts 6,000 In-Person Courses Online Mid-Semester


Chancellor’s Update: Updates on Interim Grading Policy, COVID-19 Leave and Compensation

March 30, 2020

Dear UWM Faculty and Staff,

Changes and approaches to COVID-19 issues continue to be part of our everyday lives. Today, I write to share updates on how we are addressing student grading this semester, clarifications on compensation and leave, and access to campus buildings.

Emergency Grading Accommodation – Interim policy
After consulting with a multitude of internal constituencies and with the approval of the University Committee and the Academic Staff Committee, the provost has issued an interim policy on emergency grading accommodation for undergraduate students.

All enrolled students will receive a letter grade in each enrolled Spring 2020 course by the grade deadline of May 21. Students will have until July 3 to designate courses to be graded on a credit/no credit basis or to keep the grade they received. Students who earn a C- or better in a course may opt for the credit/no credit option for that course. The current limitations on the number of courses/credits for the credit/no credit option are being suspended for the spring semester. By April 14, each school/college will designate a limited number of courses as ineligible for the credit/no credit grading option due to licensing, certification or accreditation requirements. Students will have until July 3 to exercise their option by submitting a form to their academic advisor. Students should consult with their academic advisor with questions about this policy and procedures.

While we have the grading accommodation interim policy, please encourage all students to put forth the full effort in each enrolled class to successfully complete the coursework. A similar policy for graduate students is being finalized and we will share details tomorrow.

COVID-19 Leave
To minimize the spread of COVID-19 per the state’s Safer at Home order, most employees have been directed not to perform work in-person at any of our campuses. Up to 80 hours of paid leave are available for faculty, academic staff, university staff, limited appointees, employees-in-training, graduate assistants and temporary employees who can’t perform their assigned duties during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency due to the following:

  • inability to work remotely
  • self-quarantine
  • self-isolation
  • illness
  • care of an immediate family member
  • child/elder care due to school and day care closures

Employees may enter COVID-19 leave in HRS as they would other types of paid leave, and should contact their unit’s payroll coordinator with any questions. It is important to note that COVID-19 leave will expire when the pandemic concludes (that date is currently undetermined). For that reason, it is helpful to use COVID-19 leave now instead of vacation, sick leave, or another type of paid leave. Information about leave bank processing guidelines is available here.

Clarification on Compensation
On Friday, we announced that compensation adjustments are frozen, or no longer being approved. This means that individual requests for salary adjustments, including for merit, expanded duties, or other reasons, currently are not allowed. The freeze does not apply to promotional increments or January 2021 compensation plan increases, which are still planned.

Minimal Employees on Campuses
We have undertaken efforts to significantly reduce the number of individuals working onsite at our three campuses as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Wisconsin. Faculty and staff should talk directly with their supervisors about options before coming to campus.

Access to UWM Buildings
Academic buildings were locked on March 18, and we have since closed access to administrative buildings, our libraries, Klotsche Center and the UWM Student Union. For the remainder of the semester, all UWM facilities, except for students approved to remain in Sandburg Hall and Kenilworth Square Apartments, will be accessible only to individuals with keys or other access to unlock enter the building.

Accommodations are being made for employees engaged in research to maintain access to labs and other needed facilities. If there are special needs for unlocking a building, individuals should contact UWM Police at 414-229-4627. Those individuals will need to have appropriate employment permissions to enter the building, and those employees should be prepared to show University ID.

Students have expressed needs to get into academic buildings to retrieve personal items, and thus, dean and divisional offices should establish and clarify what processes students should follow to gain access.

Please visit our COVID-19 website often and encourage our students to do the same. New information and helpful FAQs are being added every day.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


COVID-19 Impact on Our Budget

March 27, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

We have never experienced anything remotely akin to the COVID-19 pandemic. The greatest toll, of course, is the thousands of people who have died and hundreds of thousands more who have been infected by the disease. Hour by hour, we also are seeing the financial impact the pandemic is having on businesses and institutions, including UWM and other colleges and universities. Today, I write to share an update on how the pandemic is affecting our financial situation at UWM. The impacts include:

  • Lost revenue from operations that have been closed. Without open facilities, we can’t provide catering, dining, recreation, community engagement activities and other services.
  • Providing pro-rated refunds for parking permits, University Housing and dining operations budget.
  • Costs associated with providing COVID-19 leave. This is the right thing to do, but it was an unplanned expense.

As a result of these unexpected developments, I am announcing several measures to help mitigate the financial impact the pandemic is having on our campus:

Cancellation of VSIP
Earlier this month I shared our plans to move forward with a limited voluntary separation incentive payments (VSIP) plan. The VSIP was being offered as a tool to address anticipated FY21 budget reductions. Due to the unexpected and extreme impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our budget, we are canceling the VSIP program. We do not currently anticipate a restoration of the VSIP at a future date.

Hiring Freeze
We are putting into place a temporary hiring freeze, effective today. Limited exceptions will be allowed and should be forwarded through deans and division heads. All exceptions will be subject to approval from Provost Johannes Britz and Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administrative Affairs Robin Van Harpen.

Compensation
Effective immediately, compensation adjustments for our employees, other than due to promotions, will be on hold, with very limited exceptions that will be subject to the same approval used for hires.

Safety of our People
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Wisconsin, and in Milwaukee County in particular, the health and safety of all our employees are paramount. For the safety of us all and our families, we are undertaking efforts to significantly reduce the number of individuals working onsite. Deans and division heads will receive guidance and details on this later today. Employees should talk directly with their supervisors about options before coming to campus.

These are exceedingly difficult times that we are facing together. It is understandable that people are concerned, frightened and discouraged by the financial impact of COVID-19. Yet, we are needed now more than ever. It is important for us to activate our resilience as we reflect on the power of what we do – and will continue to do – to advance our students and communities.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Outside activities disclosure

The Wisconsin Administrative Code requires faculty, limited appointees and academic staff with half-time appointments or more to report outside activities for 2019 by April 30, 2020. Employees also must complete this requirement to be eligible for any future pay raises, including adjustments included in the proposed 2019-21 State of Wisconsin Pay Plan.

The criteria for reporting outside activities have not changed from prior years. Faculty and academic staff must complete disclosure forms even if they have had no outside activities or financial interests in 2019. This process will once again be done online. An email from “UWM eWorkflow Process Director” with a subject of “Outside Activities Reporting – Action Required” will be sent to all employees who must report outside activities. The email will include a personalized link for you to complete and submit your report. You will receive the email no later than April 1.

As in prior years, your department chair and the appropriate dean or director will review your disclosure. These reviews will also be accomplished via the online system.

Student privacy during online discussion

UW System has provided guidance regarding privacy concerns during online coursework, including the proctoring of online exams and the use of webcams during online classes. UW System recognizes that proctoring of exams, including online exams, is essential in many cases to protecting the integrity of courses and assigned grades. However, instructors should notify students that they are being recorded, including sending an “all-class communication” about the use of webcams or other tools as part of online coursework.

Preparing to teach online

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning is available for last-minute questions before classes resume online or through alternate modes on Monday. CETL support will be available every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Sunday, March 29. Connect with them through email at cetl@uwm.edu or via Microsoft Teams. Normal hours are weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You can also still sign up here for workshops offered daily through Sunday.
Don’t forget these other CETL resources:
  • Daily online question-and-answer sessions begin Monday. These informal, one-hour sessions will be held twice a day, with no formal agenda. Feel free to attend the full session or just a portion. Click here to sign up.
  • Connect with colleagues virtually in the Online Teaching Partnership Program. CETL will connect you with a partner based on interest in the type of online instruction. All levels of expertise are welcome. Complete this form if interested.

Refunds for online class fees

We’ve received a number of questions regarding the refund of online class fees now that all classes are being taught remotely for the rest of the semester. UWM will not be refunding online course fees.
Students who initially enrolled in online courses paid fees to help fund the digital infrastructure associated with those courses, while students who initially enrolled in face-to-face courses paid more segregated fees to support on-campus resources. We are not adding online course fees for students whose courses moved online, nor are we reducing their segregated fees. In keeping fees unchanged for the semester, all students will have paid fees to help fund campus services and infrastructure.

Contacting the Help Desk

UWM’s Help Desk will be using a new Microsoft Teams phone system to answer incoming calls from the campus community. Callers will hear an introductory message and be able to choose numbered options to route their calls to the Help Desk or the Classroom hotline. Faculty, staff and students can continue to contact the UWM Help Desk through the same methods.
All issues will continue to be handled according to the order they are received and the urgency of the issue. Help Desk personnel ask for your continued patience during this time, as they navigate a new working environment and acclimate themselves to new tools.

Community news

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Latest coronavirus updates
WUWM: Is Wisconsin Ready For A Recession? It’s In Better Financial Shape Than 2007, Report Says
WTMJ radio: Medical College CEO: Wisconsin hospitals to be in ‘crisis’ in weeks at current pace of coronavirus pandemic
Spectrum News: Wisconsin Photographer Captures Smiles and Donations for Hunger Task Force

News links

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: UWM theater professor and fellowship winner releases free tools to help connect with isolated seniors during pandemic
Milwaukee Business Journal: UWM one of several Wisconsin schools working with companies for face mask production


UWM employee COVID-19 update

March 26, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

I am pleased to announce that we have found a way to provide some assistance to student workers who have lost their positions as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

UWM will provide a one-time COVID-19 leave payment to all active student hourly workers who have logged hours in HRS on or since Feb. 1, 2020. The payments will be made as follows:

  • The payment will be $100 per week for two weeks — a total of $200.
  • The payment will be effective for the April A payroll, which begins Sunday, March 29, ends Saturday, April 11, and pays Thursday, April 23.
  • Student workers who have logged hours during the April A pay period will receive this payment in addition to their logged hours during the same pay period.

This will be a one-time action designed to help UWM student employees who have not been able to continue in their jobs.

The pandemic has caused unprecedented and unexpected changes to our operating budgets. UWM is not unique in this regard. The majority of colleges and universities – both in Wisconsin and nationwide – are facing the same circumstances. For those reasons, we also will be ending all student hourly appointments in the coming weeks, with exceptions provided for units in which student employees are helping to provide ongoing services. Supervisors are or soon will be speaking with students whose appointments are ending. We view this as a relatively short-term circumstance while the virus is forcing most people to stay home. It is our sincere hope that when isolation requirements are lifted, and the UWM campus is again a lively place for instruction, research and community engagement, student employees will return to campus jobs.

In addition, we continue to advocate to our federal elected officials for student assistance. We are grateful to the faculty, staff, alumni and others who have donated to the Student Emergency Fund and UWM Food Center and Pantry.

I realize this is a stressful time due to the rapid pace of change and significant amount of uncertainty. It is my sincere hope that the news of additional compensation will provide our student workers with some comfort and assistance. Additional coronavirus-related updates on planning and operations are below.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Students in need of a computer

On Tuesday, UWM Surplus announced a limited number of computers for sale to students at a low cost. Those computers were all reserved for purchase by Wednesday morning.

With classes resuming online or through alternate modes on Monday, UWM students still in need of a computer can fill out this form to get on a waiting list for a computer. The UWM Surplus manager will alert students as computers become available.

Workshops to help with online transition

We hope faculty and staff have taken advantage of the extended spring break period to use the many resources available to assist with the transition to online instruction.

If you haven’t signed up yet, this free course, which is the result of a UWM partnership with two other institutions, can help. Based in current learning science and online learning research, the class covers key concepts and provides guidance on how to start teaching online.

Nearly 700 people from more than 90 countries have already signed up for the course. Participants include K-12 educators, university and college faculty members, and corporate workers. The six-week course began on March 16, but anyone is welcome to join at any time, and all sessions are recorded.

Online workshops are also being offered by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

  • Sign up here for workshops offered daily through Sunday.
  • Daily online question-and-answer sessions begin on Monday. These informal, one-hour sessions will be held twice a day, with no formal agenda. Feel free to attend the full session or just a portion. Click here to sign up!
  • Connect with colleagues virtually in the Online Teaching Partnership Program. CETL will connect you with a partner based on interest in the type of online instruction. (Click here for more information on asynchronous and synchronous delivery.) All levels of expertise are welcome. Complete this form if interested.

CETL is also available for support every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Sunday, March 29. Email cetl@uwm.edu or connect via Microsoft Teams. Normal hours are weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Other valuable resources:

Microsoft Teams online training

With most employees now working from home in an effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19, many faculty and staff have started using Microsoft Teams. If you haven’t used Teams yet, or if you’re relatively new to Teams and need a primer, join an online training session hosted by campus technologists on Friday from 10 to 11 a.m.

Topics covered will include:

  • What’s Teams?
  • Teams apps
  • Creating a team
  • Chatting with your team
  • Sharing files
  • Holding virtual meetings

Click on this link on Friday to join the session. Please make sure that your device has audio capabilities before you join – either working speakers or the ability to listen with headphones. After joining the course, the instructor will show where to ask questions, as well as how to access course resources and the recording of the course.

Contact UITS Learning TECHniques at learning-techniques@uwm.edu with any questions.

Access to the Klotsche Center

Many people have asked about retrieving items from the Klotsche Center. The center is closed until further notice in compliance with social distancing guidelines. As a result, there is not currently access to retrieve items from lockers. Once a determination is made regarding the duration of the closing, the center will provide information on the steps and timeline for retrieving belongings.

Community news

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Latest coronavirus updates
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: ‘This is such uncharted territory’: Milwaukee is supposed to host the DNC in July, but coronavirus has changed everything
WPR : As State Responds To COVID-19, GOP Leaders Say Debate Over Evers’ Emergency Powers Can Wait
CBS 58: Milwaukee buildings lit up in red, white and blue to show support, solidarity amid COVID-19 outbreak

News links

WUWM: UWM gerontologist offers advice on easing senior isolation, loneliness
Mashable: UWM professor talks about the importance of prolonged social distancing
Urban Milwaukee: UWM economist discusses rising unemployment claims
Fox 6: UWM economics professor talks about potential impact of Congress’ virus rescue bill


UWM employee COVID-19 update

March 24, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Over these past few weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak, each day has brought new changes. Today is no exception. I have a promising update about UWM Commencement for the class of 2020, news about how Gov. Tony Evers’ executive decision impacts UWM, and a brief update on our advocacy efforts to receive aid.

Postponement – NOT Cancelation – of Commencement
In my March 20 update messages, I shared the unfortunate news that our May 17 in-person commencement would be canceled. What I didn’t spotlight enough then are the efforts underway to plan for alternative ceremonies. We are actively seeking future dates to hold in-person commencements for our Class of 2020. While we do not yet have dates determined, we are looking at the possibilities of adding ceremonies in October or November or expanding our Dec. 20 ceremonies. Availability of the UWM Panther Arena, whose scheduling is controlled by the Wisconsin Center District, will be a factor in the dates we ultimately select. For May, we are asking UWM schools and colleges to consider what limited, interim and virtual recognition within academic units would entail. Please note that eligible graduates will still graduate on time; there is no postponement of graduation (just the ceremonies).

State Safer at Home Order
Today, Gov. Tony Evers directed the Department of Health Services to issue a Safer at Home order that prohibits all nonessential travel, with some exceptions. The order goes into effect at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25 and remains in effect until April 24. Please know that the City of Milwaukee Health Department has also issued a Stay at Home order. UWM is subject to both the state and city orders.

Both orders allow UWM and other educational institutions to continue to operate for the purposes of alternative/online learning, critical research, and essential functions as determined by the institution.  At UWM, deans and division heads have authority to determine what functions are essential and need to be performed onsite at UWM, whether full-time, part-time, or periodically.  These decisions also may change from week to week. We will be working to provide deans and division heads with more guidance on how to make these important decisions consistent with the letter and spirit of the orders.

There is also a Department of Administration request for UWM and other universities/colleges to provide housing space for COVID-19 emergency operations. We are permitted under both the state and city orders to continue moving students out of University Housing. The safety of our students, families and staff is our top priority, and we have carefully orchestrated our move-out process to align with social distancing standards and other healthy practices. Further details are available in the modules below this message.

UWM and UW System Advocacy Efforts to Receive Aid
Yesterday, I joined UW System President Ray Cross in asking Congress to include emergency funding for UWM and other UW System schools in the economic relief legislation it is considering in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In my letters to U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson, I emphasized the important role UWM has in our community as an institution committed to our access and research mission. Details on our specific requests are included in President Cross’ letter to both senators.

We are in a period when great patience, empathy and understanding are of the highest value. None of us has a playbook for the pandemic that is wreaking havoc on our daily lives. What I can assure you of is that everything we do is grounded by our guiding values and the maxim of what is best for our students, faculty, staff and UWM during these extraordinary times.

Additional important updates on campus operations and services are found below.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Low-cost computers for students

When the libraries closed, we promised to make computers available to students who needed them at little or no cost. A limited number of computers available for check out have been loaned to students. We are now making additional computers available at a very low cost.

Students who need a computer when classes resume online or through alternative delivery on Monday have an opportunity to purchase one at low cost from UWM Surplus, which has a limited number of used Apple and Dell laptops and desktops for sale. The computers are available only for UWM students and cost between $20 to $50.

Students must pay cash.
• Apple iMacs have macOS 10.13.6, High Sierra, installed, which is the most current version they can support.
• Dell devices have Linux installed and the student may install Windows by going to this website.

Interested students should contact UWM Surplus manager Andrew Avery-Johnson at averyjoh@uwm.edu or 414-659-1391. He is available weekdays from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. You will also schedule an appointment to pick up the computer.

• Computers must be picked up at the University Services and Research Building, north of North 1st Street and West Capitol Drive.
• At the scheduled pick-up time, Avery-Johnson will meet the student buyer outside the “Surplus Door” entrance at the University Services and Research Building.
• Social distancing measures will be in place. A computer will be set down outside the entrance and the student can then pick it up.

Students can also contact the Dean of Students Office at dos@uwm.edu if they do not have access to technology and need support.

All events canceled through May 31

All university-sponsored events are canceled through May 31 in response to city and state orders limiting public gatherings during the coronavirus health emergency. This includes all events for the rest of the spring semester, other than those that have been moved online or are being held by alternate means.

Staff are asked to update event calendars by doing the following:
• Add the word “CANCELED” in all caps before the name of the event in the title field
• Add the sentence “THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELED” in all caps as the first line of the event description.

A select list of major events that have been canceled, as well as other now-virtual events, can be found here.

Employee assistance webinar on COVID-19

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic creates disruptions to even our basic daily routines. The nonstop news cycle can cause stress and worry about the future of our families, communities and workplaces.

UWM’s Employee Assistance Program provider, FEI Behavioral Health, is offering a special webinar to help navigate the anxiety and stress of the COVID-19 crisis. The webinar will be held on Thursday, March 26 from 11 a.m. to noon. Register here if interested.

Items left at Klotsche Center

For the safety of the campus community, the Klotsche Center is currently closed until further notice. As a result, no access is permitted for retrieving items from lockers. UWM will provide information on the steps and timeline for retrieving items once it is determined that it is safe to reopen Klotsche.

Online voter registration extended

The deadline to register online to vote in the Wisconsin presidential preference primary has been extended to March 30.

You must be registered to vote to request an absentee ballot. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is April 2, though the Wisconsin Elections Commission is urging anyone planning to vote to request one be mailed to them as soon as possible at the My Vote Wisconsin website. As of Tuesday, the Elections Commission said it was working to reinstate online registration.

Mail service and packages

To faculty and staff working remotely who have arranged for personal packages to be sent to their personal residence instead of their campus address – thank you!

Unfortunately, we’re still receiving some packages at campus addresses, including those from Staples and Amazon. Those packages must be picked up at the Mail Services building. Please call 414-229-4742, or send an email to warren@uwm.edu, if you plan to come out to pick up a package.

Business-related FedEx and UPS deliveries should be directed to the Mail Services building:

UW-Milwaukee
115 E. Reindl Way
Glendale, WI 53212

UWM Mail Services is operating on regular hours from 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Some departments have already contacted Mail Services about delivery arrangements. If your department has not, please call 414-229-4742, or send an email to warren@uwm.edu.

To send out mail if you are not having regular delivery to your office, use the Mail Services drop boxes around campus.

Community news

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Latest coronavirus updates
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Public health manager, a UWM graduate, waiting for transplant knows about dangers of coronavirus
Gmtoday.com: Economic resources for employees, businesses during COVID-19 crisis
WISN 12: Company moves from making American flags to making medical masks

News links

UWM Report: Aid available to UWM students facing financial crisis
WUWM: Coronavirus: Milwaukee-Area Higher Education Updates
Cap Times: Travel shutdown leaves recent UWM grad stranded in Peru
WTMJ: UWM athletic director talks about potential change in NCAA transfer rule


UWM employee COVID-19 update

March 20, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff, 

We understand the challenges and sacrifices you are facing during these extraordinary and unprecedented times. The spread of COVID-19 has compelled us to make difficult choices that put the safety of our faculty, staff, students and their families first. This was not the semester anyone expected. 

Each day, and nearly by the hour, we are addressing new issues and making difficult decisions. Today, I am sharing much of the same information that we are sending to students so that you can see a more complete picture of developments on campus and can help empathize with students.  

In-Person Commencement and Honors Ceremonies Canceled
Given the circumstances facing our university, our communities, the nation and the world, we have decided we cannot hold our in-person graduation ceremonies on May 17 nor Honors Commencement on May 11. These decisions are consistent with Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ executive order barring mass gatherings.

We know how profoundly disappointing this is for those graduating, as well as families, supporters and friends. These decisions are not made lightly, but with the best interests of our campus communities and our students’ families and loved ones in mind, especially since many people would make travel plans to attend. We appreciate your understanding of this difficult decision. 

For your background, below is some additional information we are sharing with students.  

Refunds of Housing Fees and Updates on Tuition and Other Fees
In response to the COVID-19 public health crisis and its impacts to UWM students and families, UWM will refund the prorated charges for housing and dining for the remainder of the spring semester for students who vacate their on-campus student housing (and do not receive a COVID Accommodation to remain on-campus).

Prorated reimbursements will exclude the period of the originally scheduled spring break and shall be issued by the close of the spring academic semester, though efforts are being made to expedite the refund process. Crediting these funds toward future semesters in lieu of a refund is not an option because of rules related to the awarding of federal financial aid. There is a team working on other fee issues, and we will share updates as they become available. 

We also have extended the Spring 2020 payment deadline. UWM will not assess late payment fees or interest charges from March 20 to June 2. We are committed to working with our students and families to the best of our ability through these challenging times. Students who cannot make payments on time are encouraged to contact the Bursar’s office at bursar@uwm.edu 

University Housing to Close
We are closing University Housing with the exception of those individuals who do not have other options.  All residents will receive a separate email from University Housing with details later today explaining how and when they can retrieve their belongings. 

We know what a disruption has been placed on your lives during this crisis. Your continued patience and understanding are most appreciated. 

Additional important updates on campus operations and services are found below. 

Best regards, 

Mark A. Mone, PhD
Chancellor 

Libraries

Libraries at all three UWM campuses were closed yesterday, and interlibrary loan service has been placed on hold because of the pandemic. Faculty who need interlibrary loans can request digital delivery of portions of books, rather than complete, physical editions of books.  

Online databases, articles and e-books continues uninterrupted, and reference support is available online. Note that many publishers are also providing expanded, free, online access to their content during the pandemic. 

Go to the UWM Libraries’ Coronavirus Update page for the latest information. 

Access to campus buildings

Only individuals with keys or access cards can enter academic buildings, which are locked until further notice. Faculty and staff who don’t have a key or access card, but who still need to get into research labs, music studios or other spaces on a regular basis for work should contact their supervisor to arrange access.  

Employees should contact UWM Police at 414-229-4627 for other special requests to unlock a building. Those individuals will need to have appropriate employment permissions and a UWM ID to enter the building.  

Campus practices regarding COVID-19 infections

The City of Milwaukee Health Department notified the University of one case of COVID-19 in a UWM employee early this week. Local health departments are following state and federal public health guidelines related to contact investigations. With the majority of students and employees not on campus individuals should follow the information related to COVID-19 of their local community and local health department.

Student and employee health matters are confidential, and while UWM may have a count of employees taking COVID-19 leave, they may be doing so for reasons other than illness, such as child care. 

UWM food pantry

The UWM Food Center and Pantry on Thursday handed out about 200 bags of food totaling more than 2,000 pounds, emptying once-stocked pantry shelves and underscoring the impact that the pandemic has already had on UWM students. The overwhelming demand meant the cancellation of a distribution scheduled for Monday. The food pantry hopes to receive a delivery from their food bank partner, Feeding America, in time for the next scheduled distribution of food on Thursday, March 26.  

If you are able to help, please visit the food pantry’s website for more information. The options include donating to an Amazon wish list. 

Online or alternative delivery of classes

Online and alternative delivery of instruction begins on Monday, March 30 following the extended spring break period. If you haven’t accessed them already, here are some helpful resources to prepare for the transition: 

Community news

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Latest coronavirus updates

WUWM:  Coronavirus: How Wisconsin Hospitals Are Handling The Outbreak

Spectrum News: TipMKE launched to provide “tips” for out of work service industry employees

Urban Milwaukee: Florentine Presents Its ‘Carmen’ Digitally

News links

UWM Report: UWM works to help instructors move courses online 

UWM Report: UW-Milwaukee, UT-Arlington partner on free online course to support faculty during pandemic

Milwaukee Record: UWM historian building digital archive of what life is like in Milwaukee during pandemic


UWM employee COVID-19 update

March 19, 2020

Timely communication is critical

Deans, division heads and other supervisors are asked to reach out to all employees to make sure that they are reading coronavirus updates from the Office of the Chancellor and University Relations & Communications. The coronavirus pandemic is spurring many rapid changes, and these messages summarize the most urgent and impactful campus decisions. With many people working remotely, it is critical that employees stay informed so that they can protect themselves and their families while completing their research, campus work and serving our students. Along with these summary updates from the Office of the Chancellor and University Relations & Communications, employees should watch for additional information from their supervisors and the heads of their units.

Libraries closing

Libraries at all three UWM campuses were closed as of 5 p.m. today until further notice.

Access to online databases, articles, and e-books continues uninterrupted, and many additional publishers are providing free, online access to their content during the coronavirus pandemic.

Reference support is available online. Interlibrary loan service has been disrupted by the pandemic, and it’s recommended that faculty submit requests for digital delivery of portions of books, rather than complete, physical editions of books.

See the Libraries’ Coronavirus Update page for the most complete and current information.

Campus access

There have been a number of questions about access to campus after academic buildings were locked yesterday. For the remainder of the semester, they will be accessible only to individuals with keys or other access to unlock the building. If you do not have a key or access card but need to get into a research lab, music studio or other facility on a regular basis for work, please contact your supervisor to arrange access.

If there are other special needs for unlocking a building, individuals should contact UWM Police at 414-229-4627. Those individuals will need to have appropriate employment permissions to enter the building, and those employees should be prepared to show a University ID.

Parking

Payroll deductions for parking and transportation will automatically stop for employees after the March deductions. The exception is a small number of employees with large balances who are past due.

For monthly employees, that means the last deduction will be taken out of the April 1 paycheck. For biweekly employees, the last deduction will be taken out of the March 26 paycheck.

Refunds for parking paid in advance

  • Monthly permits: Refunds will not be issued for monthly permits that have been valid for more than 10 days.
  • Semester and annual permits: Prorated refunds will be issued back to your credit card upon request.

To cancel a permit paid for with a credit card please fill out this UWM Transportations Services form. Due to high volume, please note that it may take up to four weeks before the refund appears on your credit card statement.

If you want to continue your bus permit, please contact Transportation Services at uwmpark@uwm.edu.

Those with parking permits for Lubar, NWQ, Pavilion, and Union can still park in those garages for the duration of the permit. The garages are only closed for parkers who do not have a permit.

UWM passwords

As of Friday, March 20, the current 180-day period before UWM login passwords expire will be extended to 365 days for all UWM faculty, staff and students with ePantherID. The hope is that this will help reduce the likelihood of inadvertent faculty, staff and student lockouts during UWM’s period of remote operations. Please contact the UWM Help Desk at (414) 229-4040 or visit their website if you have questions.

Microsoft Teams and campus technology

Your computer must have speakers and a microphone to use the online meeting and internal calling features of Microsoft Teams. University-provided headsets are available for UWM faculty and staff members whose devices do not have a speaker and microphone.

Headsets will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis and only one will be available per person. They can be picked up on campus weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., through a “drive-through” service set up in the Merrill Hall parking lot (Lot #18) to help protect the health of our university community.

You must call (414) 229-5480 when you arrive at the Merrill lot and provide your name and UWM ID number. More information on pick-up and Microsoft Teams is available at the Campus Technology website.

Important note: There is also an “audio only” option for those who have not yet downloaded the Microsoft Teams app. Call-in information, which includes a phone number and conference ID number, is usually found in the notes section of your calendar invite to that meeting, below a link that says “Join Microsoft Teams meeting.”

Reminder: Information technology specialists from across campus have put together a detailed guide on how to prepare for working remotely.

Mail service and packages

Many packages are still being delivered to campus.

Any employee expecting a package from Amazon at a campus address must pick up that package at the Mail Services building.  Please call 414-229-4742, or send an email to warren@uwm.edu, if you plan to pick up a package.

If you are working remotely and use a campus address to receive Amazon packages, please change the Amazon delivery address to your home address.

Business-related FedEx and UPS deliveries should be directed to the Mail Services building:

UW-Milwaukee
115 E. Reindl Way
Glendale, WI 53212

UWM Mail Services is operating on regular hours from 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Some departments have already contacted Mail Services about delivery arrangements. If your department has not, please call 414-229-4742, or send an email to warren@uwm.edu.

The delivery options are:

  • Delivery and pick up at your office, as usual (morning only)
  • Special circumstances and requests including, but not limited to
  • day-specific delivery (only M,W, F, for instance)
  • delivery to a central spot in the building for multiple departments
  • holding mail until further notice

To send out mail if you are not having regular delivery to your office, use the Mail Services drop boxes around campus.

Community News

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Latest coronavirus updates.

Wisconsin State Journal: Tony Evers restricts child care center capacity as state COVID-19 cases top 100

TMJ4: Pick ‘n Save, Metro Market stores to offer ‘senior hours’ seven days a week during coronavirus pandemic

CBS58: Kohl’s stores to close nationwide due to coronavirus

News links

Washington Post: The United States might have a secret weapon against coronavirus

New York Times: Census suspension “unprecedented,” UWM expert says

Cheddar: Financial hit to airline industry is “really, really bad,” UWM economist says

Milwaukee Magazine: UWM archive is chronicling Milwaukee’s coronavirus experience

 


UWM employee COVID-19 update

March 18, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

I write with the latest developments on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on UWM faculty, staff and operations. We continue to take steps to promote your health and safety, as well as that of our students, and to help limit the spread of the virus.

UWM will extend online or alternative delivery of instruction from Monday, March 30, to the end of the spring semester. Yesterday, Gov. Evers issued an emergency order that allows universities to continue instruction and operations but prohibits gatherings of 10 or more people in a single room or enclosed space. For this reason, online and alternative modes of delivery are the best way to continue and complete instruction this semester.

If you haven’t accessed them already, many resources are available to help with the transition. To start, information technology specialists from across campus have put together an excellent guide on how to prepare for working remotely.

The websites for the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and the Division of Academic Affairs offer tips, guides and links to more information. CETL has online workshops nearly every day through March 27, and UWM is also working with two other institutions to provide assistance with the transition to online instruction.

As a reminder, we began strictly limiting most onsite, non-essential operations at noon today on all three campuses. This includes closing most offices and services that are open to walk-in traffic and having staff provide services remotely when they can do so. Please note that our campuses are not closed. Indeed, some employees will continue to provide critical in-person services, such as caring for students living in our residence halls, providing core IT and networking services to campus, maintaining academic research programs, providing library services, continuing payroll operations and providing security for those accessing campus.

There will be impact on student employees, many of whom are unable to perform their duties remotely. Student employees are a valuable part of our workforce, and as operational planning is solidified, supervisors will be in contact with employees as to their status. We asked UW System to discuss with the state some form of compensation relief for student employees. Please know that it is unlikely such compensation will be provided as we are subject to state authority on this issue, and early indications are that the state is unwilling to pay what is essentially a leave benefit to employees who are not eligible for benefits. We will explore alternative student hourly employment opportunities and share more information as this develops. Meanwhile, our Development team is working to raise money for the UWM Student Emergency Fund.

I realize this is a stressful time due to frequent changes and uncertainty, and it is not what any of us were expecting this semester. Please know that your hard work and flexibility during this unprecedented period are very much appreciated. You will find additional details below on campus operations, and we will share more information as developments occur. If you have questions, please continue to submit them here. I wish you good health, and please stay safe.

Best regards,
Chancellor Mark A. Mone

Academic Buildings

Academic buildings were locked at noon today. For the remainder of the semester, they will be accessible only to individuals with keys or other access to unlock the building. Accommodations are being made for employees engaged in research to maintain access to labs and other needed facilities. If there are special needs for unlocking a building, individuals should contact UWM Police at 414-229-4627.  Those individuals will need to have appropriate employment permissions to enter the building and those employees should be prepared to show University ID.

 

Other Facilities

The Klotsche Center, including all athletics practice and training areas, closed at noon today.

The UWM Student Union was also closed at noon today.

The Norris Health Center will continue in-person medical services to students and the dispensary will be open. All students must call in advance, (414) 229-4716, for any services.

We know many faculty and staff refer students to University Counseling Services, which is closed for in-person services starting today. Phone lines, 414 229-4133, will remain open during regular business hours. For students with a mental health crises , during regular weekday business hours, they can call 414-229-4133 for a crisis consultation. For after hours-crisis assistance, students can use these resources. https://uwm.edu/norris/health-services/emergencies/

The Children’s Learning Center will close at the end of the day on Thursday, March 19.

The Union, Lubar, NWQ, and Pavilion parking garages will be closed since staffing is needed to keep them open.

All outdoor parking lots will be open, in addition to the Sandburg and EMS garages.

We are evaluating the status of our residence halls. Currently, they remain open for students approved to stay, including those who are not able to return home or have other reasons for remaining on campus. Very limited services in the residence halls are available.

Mail Service

UWM Mail Services is operating on regular hours from 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Some departments have already contacted Mail Services about delivery arrangements. If your department has not, please call 414-229-4742, or send an email to warren@uwm.edu.

The delivery options are:

  • Delivery and pick up at your office, as usual (morning only)
  • Special circumstances and requests including, but not limited to:
    • day-specific delivery (only M,W, F, for instance)
    • delivery to a central spot in the building for multiple departments
    • holding mail until further notice

To send out mail if you are not having regular delivery to your office, use the Mail Services drop boxes around campus.

All Fed Ex and UPS deliveries should be directed to the Mail Services building:

UW-Milwaukee
115 E. Reindl Way
Glendale, WI 53212

Community news

News links


UWM employee COVID-19 update

March 17, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

With COVID-19 spreading rapidly, your health and safety, as well as that of our students, are paramount. To help control the spread of the virus, we will be strictly limiting all onsite, non-essential operations and moving most operations to virtual or remote methods no later than noon tomorrow. This includes closing all operations and services that are open to walk-in traffic and having all employees who are able to work remotely do so.

There may be limited circumstances in which some employees need to continue working on campus and can do so in secure, private areas, such as research labs. Deans and division heads will grant permission to these employees to continue their work on a case-by-case basis. Those decisions are subject to change in light of the rapidly evolving situation.

Please note that campus is not closed, but we are closing and limiting access for many areas to limit exposure to COVID-19. Indeed, some employees will need to provide critical services, such as caring for students living in our residence halls, providing core IT and networking services to campus, continuing payroll operations and providing security for those accessing campus. But, all who can work remotely must do so, and we ask all supervisors to make those determinations as quickly as possible.

We also realize there are some employees who are not required to work onsite and who cannot work remotely. Those employees may be eligible for special COVID-19 leave, which was announced today by UW System. This provides up to 80 hours of paid leave for employees who can’t perform their assigned duties during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency due to the following:

  • inability to work remotely
  • self-quarantine
  • self-isolation
  • illness
  • care of an immediate family member
  • child/elder care due to school and day care closures

Delivery of instruction to students, which is work that can be performed remotely, does not qualify for COVID-19 leave without extraordinary circumstances and the availability of course coverage.

Faculty, academic staff, university staff, limited appointees, employees-in-training, graduate assistants and temporary employees are eligible for COVID-19 leave, with the approval of campus administration. The leave may be used prior to using any other type of accrued leave and will be available until the president of UW System determines the pandemic emergency has concluded.

I also want to let you know that the City of Milwaukee Health Department has confirmed one case of COVID-19 in a UWM employee. Like all large institutions in Milwaukee, we expect to have more cases confirmed in the coming days. We want to respect the privacy of these employees and will not be identifying them. This is not a time to panic, but a time to stay committed to our core values of treating everyone with respect and maintaining an environment free from discrimination. It’s also a time to support and care for each other. In the balance of this employee update, you will find more details on testing, access to campus facilities, updates to our travel guidelines and other information to help you through this time.

Mark A. Mone
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Where do I get tested?

If you recently traveled to an area with community spread or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 and has symptoms, the Milwaukee Health Department urges you to call your primary care provider. Do not seek care without calling ahead because doctor’s offices and hospitals are overwhelmed. More information on testing can be found here.

Monitoring your health

Symptoms

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure: fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms, call your health care provider for medical advice before going to a health care facility.

How to Protect Yourself
The CDC and White House are urging measures to protect yourself including:
Clean your hands often
Avoid close contact
Stay home if you’re sick
Cover coughs and sneezes
If you are an older person, stay home and away from other people
Avoid social gatherings in groups of 10 people or more
Avoid unnecessary travel

Important resources
Besides the CDC, updated information on the coronavirus crisis and response can be found at the following websites:
Milwaukee Health Department
Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Campus access changes

The UWM campus is not closed. However, by tomorrow at noon, we will be closing and limiting access to many areas to limit exposure to COVID-19. Those areas include the Klotsche Center, a facility for which we’ve received many inquiries.

Access to academic buildings
Starting around noon on Wednesday, buildings will be locked and accessible only to individuals with keys or other access to unlock the building. If there are special needs for unlocking a building after that time, individuals should contact UWM Police at 414-229-4627. UWM Police will continue to patrol the campus and provide dispatch services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Parking
The following changes will go into effect by noon Wednesday:

The Union, Lubar, NWQ and Pavilion garages will be closed because staffing is needed to keep them open.

All outdoor lots will be open, in addition to the Sandburg and EMS garages. Open parking areas will be free for any UWM employees who need to come to campus.
Individuals may not park vehicles in UWM parking facilities overnight without express permission.

Change in travel policy

Effective today, UWM is prohibiting any employee from booking university-sponsored and paid travel until better information is known about when travel may resume.

As a reminder, UWM announced on Monday that all employees who have traveled to states with sustained community transmission must stay out of the workplace for 14 days. States with verified sustained community transmission now include Illinois, California, New York and Washington. This means UWM employees who live in Illinois must make arrangements with their supervisor, such as working remotely, to follow this guideline.

Who needs to self-quarantine?
Anyone who has traveled internationally to countries with widespread transmission, according to the CDC, and/or traveled in the United States to states with sustained community transmission. The CDC is updating this list regularly. Visit this page, and after the U.S. map, click the States + bar to reveal the state list. Look under the Community Transmission column for states marked yes.

Should I travel for a personal trip?
Should you decide to travel, be aware of the risks to your health. If you are returning from countries with widespread transmission according to the CDC and/or U.S. states with sustained community transmission, you are prohibited from returning to the workplace and must self-quarantine for 14 days, even if you do not exhibit symptoms.

Correction: Deadline for voting absentee by mail in the April 7 election

Because of the COVID-19 crisis, voters are strongly urged to act now to vote absentee for the April 7 spring election and presidential preference primary. Wednesday, March 18, is the deadline to register to vote by mail or online for the presidential preference primary and spring election. After this date, voters must register in person in the municipal clerk’s office or at the polling place.

The deadline for registered voters to request an absentee ballot be mailed to you is the Thursday before the election, April 2. However, the Wisconsin Elections Commission urges voters not to wait due to possible delays in mail delivery.
You can request a ballot be mailed to you. For more information, visit the Wisconsin Elections Commission website.

Community news

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Latest coronavirus updates
TMJ4: Froedtert South opens drive-thru coronavirus testing site in Kenosha County
Fox 6: 11 Milwaukee County leaders issue order closing bars, restaurants except for carryout, delivery

News links

Insider: UWM professor talks about challenges of online teaching
Newsweek: UWM epidemiologist says Europe travel ban will have limited effect 


UWM employee coronavirus update

March 16, 2020

Beginning today, university administration will be providing regular updates for all UWM employees with the latest developments related to the coronavirus pandemic. As you know, this is a dynamic situation with new information becoming available constantly.

For the time being, this email will replace the weekly faculty/staff newsletter sent each Wednesday. It is our hope that we will be able to provide all UWM employees with real-time information to help us all manage our work responsibilities as safely and efficiently as possible.

Update on remote working assignments

We have asked all supervisors to determine whether or not employees can complete their work assignments remotely. Our goal is to have as many employees as possible work remotely at this time. Tim Danielson, director of Human Resources, is sharing this message with supervisors today, providing guidance during the COVID-19 crisis.

Support to move courses online

Starting March 30, UWM will initiate alternate forms of instruction, including online instruction. Updated information on support to help move courses online and identify alternative delivery methods can be found here. The support includes workshops.

UWM also is working with two institutions to provide additional assistance with the transition to online instruction. The course, “Pivoting to Online Teaching: Research and Practitioner Perspectives,” is a partnership of the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA) at UWM, the University of Texas at Arlington’s LINK Research Lab, and the University of South Australia’s Centre for Change and Complexity in Learning (C3L).

The course, which starts today, is based in current learning science, learning analytics, and online learning research. It covers key concepts and provides guidance on how to start teaching online. The course offers a series of online webinars addressing planning and design, overview of teaching technologies, fostering interaction, student voices, and planning assessment. Read more here. Registration is free for this course at Edx.

Campus building hours

Starting today, the following building hours are in effect, until further notice:
Buildings are open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and closed on weekends. The exceptions on UWM’s main campus include:

  • Northwest Quadrant will be open until 6:30 p.m. to accommodate the Children’s Learning Center.
  • The Lubar Entrepreneurship Center & UWM Welcome Center closes at 5 p.m.
  • The Klotsche Center will be open over spring break, today to March 29, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Starting Tuesday, March 17, only the Daniel M. Soref Learning Commons will be open at the Golda Meir Library. Helpful library staff will retreive items from the general collection and Course Reserves, as needed. Access to online databases, articles, and e-books continues uninterrupted. Distinctive collections are closed at this time. Spring Break hours remain 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and closed on weekends.
The libraries at the Waukesha and Washington County campuses remain open to the public during the extended spring break hours. They are closed on weekends.

  • Waukesha: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday.
  • Washington County: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to noon Friday.

We will provide updates with changes or other exceptions.

Important update to travel policy

In light of the rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases around the country, UWM will now require all employees who have traveled to states with sustained community transmission to stay out of the workplace for 14 days. States with verified sustained community transmission now include Illinois, California, New York and Washington. This means UWM employees who live in Illinois must make arrangements with their supervisor, such as working remotely, to follow this guideline.

Who needs to self-quarantine?

Anyone who has traveled internationally to countries with widespread transmission according to the CDC and/or traveled in the United States to states with sustained community transmission. The CDC is updating this list regularly. Visit this page, and after the U.S. map, click the States + bar to reveal the state list. Look under the Community Transmission column for states marked yes.

Should I travel for a personal trip?

Should you decide to travel, be aware of the risks to your health. If you are returning from countries with widespread transmission according to the CDC and/or U.S. states with sustained community transmission, you are prohibited from returning to the workplace and must self-quarantine for 14 days, even if you do not exhibit symptoms.

New deadlines for data security/privacy training and annual staff evaluations
Deadlines have been extended for employees to complete their required online data security and privacy courses by one month. The new deadline to complete this work is April 30.

The deadline to complete and file all annual employee performance evaluations also has been extended. The new date for completing that work is May 1.

Deadline for voting absentee by mail in the April 7 election

Because of the COVID-19 crisis, voters are strongly urged to act now to vote absentee for the April 7 Spring Election and Presidential Preference Primary. Those interested in voting absentee by mail must request a ballot by Thursday, April 2. You can request a ballot be mailed to you. For more information, visit the Wisconsin Elections Commission website.

Community news

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Latest coronavirus updates
WISN-TV: Spectrum offers free broadband, WiFi to homes with students who don’t have access
TMJ4: CDC says don’t touch your face, but it turns out it’s a lot harder than it seems


Impact of local school closings on UWM faculty, staff and student employees

March 13, 2020

Today, as President Trump declared a national emergency, the state of Wisconsin has announced 11 new coronavirus cases, including the first two in Milwaukee County. In an attempt to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers today ordered the closing of all K-12 public and private schools in the state.

All UWM campuses continue to remain open. But we realize many of you have immediate questions concerning today’s new developments.

As a result, UWM is considering a variety of options for employees. Here is what we can tell you now:

What if my child’s school or daycare is closed and I have no one else to take care of my child?

It’s important for you to talk to your supervisor as soon as possible about your options, given your duties at UWM. If you will not be working, you may request to use paid leave time or choose to utilize unpaid leave. You can also talk to your supervisor about the possibility of a flexible work schedule. Until these conversations occur, we ask that employees make arrangements to come to work as usual.

Will I be able to work remotely?

In order to implement suggested guidelines for social distancing, deans, division heads and supervisors will consider which employees perform mission-critical work that must be completed on site, and what work can be completed off-site.

Supervisors will be provided with guidance on considering whether employees may work remotely or if they need to perform their duties on site.

Deans, division heads and supervisors should communicate to all of their employees whether they may work remotely or be allowed to adjust their schedule.

Meanwhile, information technology specialists from across campus have put together an excellent guide on how to prepare for working remotely at uwm.edu/technology/working-remotely.

What if I do not have the ability to work remotely?

At this time, there is no provision in state policy that allows for employees to be paid without working or using paid leave. We realize this may create a hardship for some employees. We are monitoring this situation very closely and should this change, we will communicate with you. You may choose to use paid leave time to remain in paid status or you may elect to take unpaid leave. It is suggested you contact a benefits specialist in the Office of Human Resources so you understand the consequences of unpaid leave.

Student employees

Student employees are an important component of our workforce. Student employees should work with their supervisors on their planned work schedules over the extended break and beyond. Student employees are not prohibited or discouraged from working at their UWM jobs under our current COVID-19 guidelines.

Because many campus operations will continue, some student employees will be needed to maintain key student services and campus functions. If students have concerns, they should work with their supervisor. Additional information will be shared if the situation changes.

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unfolding crisis for our entire country. We ask for your patience as we work through the personnel considerations we are all now facing. In the coming weeks, we will continue to provide regular updates to all of our employees.


Chancellor’s Update: Study Abroad Programs, Travel and Campus Operations

March 12, 2020

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

As we near our extended Spring Break (March 15-29), I want to thank you for your understanding, resilience and patience as we continue to safeguard the health and well-being of our campus communities.

Today, Governor Tony Evers declared a public health emergency for the state of Wisconsin. This announcement is another reason why UWM is responding swiftly and decisively as the COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve in our state and further abroad.

At this time, there are no confirmed cases of the virus on any of our campuses. We received the good news today that the UWM Foundation employee who was tested earlier in the week for COVID-19 received confirmation that they are not infected with the virus.

Since my last message, we have additional information about travel restrictions, steps for students to take as they depart campus, and campus operations.

Study Abroad and Travel
All study abroad programs currently underway are being suspended and all 63 students who are currently overseas are being recalled. Students returning from countries designated as severely impacted will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. This currently includes China, Iran, South Korea, Japan and 26 European countries identified by the CDC as Warning Level 3.

Due to the changed alert level for 26 European countries being elevated to a Level 3 Warning, faculty-led summer study abroad programs in the summer of 2020 will be canceled to the following countries: France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Spain. We are evaluating the remaining faculty-led study abroad summer programs to other countries.

All upcoming university-sponsored travel for students is being canceled through the end of the semester. This includes university-sponsored Spring Break trips, but does not include NCAA athletics which will be subject to guidelines established by the Horizon League and the NCAA.

All upcoming university-sponsored travel for employees, both domestic and international, is being canceled through April 10, with limited exceptions from the Office of the Provost.

We continue to strongly discourage employees and students from any non-essential travel outside of Wisconsin until the end of the semester. This does not apply to out-of-state students who are returning home for the extended Spring Break. If you do opt to travel, please know that there are health risks involved. If you travel outside of Wisconsin to a U.S. state where the CDC has determined that sustained community transmission is occurring, the Wisconsin DHS recommends that you self-quarantine at home for 14 days. Other travelers should self-monitor for 14 days for fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

Preparing for a Period of Alternate Instruction
As announced yesterday, UWM is proceeding with plans for a minimum of two weeks (March 30 – April 10) of alternate delivery of instruction (including online). All in-person classes are suspended during this time.

Students who are returning home or to an off-campus residence during the extended Spring Break and the additional two weeks while classes are being delivered alternatively are being asked to take essential items such as laptops, medications, and items related to coursework. While the residence halls are not closing, we are discouraging trips back and forth to retrieve items.

Campus Operations
All three UWM campuses – Milwaukee, UWM at Waukesha and UWM at Washington County – will remain open. At the Milwaukee campus, the Golda Meir Library, Klotsche Center, UWM Children’s Center and the Student Union will remain open at this time.

UWM Commencement
At this time, UWM plans to hold its two commencement ceremonies on May 17. We will keep you informed if this changes.

Student Employees
Student employees should work with their supervisors on their planned work schedules over the extended break period and beyond. Student employees are not prohibited or discouraged from working at their UWM jobs under our current COVID-19 guidelines. However, UWM will respect students’ decisions not to work during the extended break and beyond. Additional information will be shared if the situation changes.

UWM Employees
All employees should continue working as they normally would unless advised differently by their supervisor, director or dean. Please see the HR FAQs for further information.

Care and Respect
This is a challenging time and many individuals are feeling nervous or frightened. We are a campus community that cares for one another. Any forms of discrimination or racism will not be tolerated and the reporting of such actions will be handled with great concern.

The one thing all of us can do is follow recommendations on the best ways to avoid contracting the virus.

Precautionary Measures
The best ways to avoid contracting COVID-19:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and cough/sneeze into your elbow
  • Practice social distancing

If You Develop Symptoms:

  • Stay home; do not go to work, class or public areas
  • Separate yourself from people and animals in your home
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Wash your hands often
  • Clean “high-touch” surfaces every day
  • Avoid using public transportation, ride-shares, taxis, etc.

We are carefully monitoring the COVID-19 crisis as the situation continues to change rapidly. Additional campus updates will be shared via email, the COVID-19 website, our FAQs and social media. We are striving to keep everyone safe and disruptions to studies as minimal as possible.

Best Regards,

Mark A. Mone
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


COVID-19 Updates on Classes and Campus Operations

March 11, 2020

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

First, I want to reinforce that the health and well-being of our campus communities are paramount. Since my message to you yesterday, we have additional information regarding our campus’ response to the COVID-19 virus, along with important news on how classes will be taught after spring break.

Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Today’s WHO announcement underscores why UWM is moving quickly and decisively to prepare our students, faculty and staff for this unfolding worldwide crisis.

I want to emphasize that there currently is NOT a confirmed case of the virus on any of our campuses.

The reason classes and other scheduled events and activities will continue this week through Saturday, as originally scheduled, is because there is no immediate threat due to COVID-19 to the health of our students, faculty, staff and visitors. All three of our campuses remain open: Milwaukee, UWM at Waukesha and UWM at Washington County.

While the situation on our campuses is stable now, public health officials believe there is a possibility of COVID-19 spreading in coming weeks. For those reasons, we extended spring break, which will now run from March 15-29 (this means all classes – including online – will not be taught during this time). The longer break provides UWM faculty and instructors with additional time to prepare for alternative course delivery, including online classes.

Plan for Classes After Spring Break

To reduce risks to our students, faculty and staff, we are suspending in-person instruction beginning on Monday, March 30 (after the extended spring break), when we will initiate alternate forms of delivering our classes (including online). This will continue until at least Friday, April 10. It is our hope that we will return to our normal instruction and operations the following week, beginning Monday, April 13. However, due to the dynamic nature of the pandemic, we will be re-evaluating the timeline and will keep you informed on when in-person instruction will resume, with one week’s notice. More specific information on your courses will be forthcoming from your instructors.

Residence Halls

Because in-person classes are suspended after this Saturday, students who live in University Housing are encouraged to return home or to an off-campus residence during the extended spring break and the additional two weeks while classes are being delivered alternatively (March 15-April 10). The residence halls are not closing. We will accommodate and care for students who do not have alternative housing and need to remain on campus. Please notify University Housing staff if you plan to stay in a residence hall. A follow-up communication will be sent by University Housing to all affected residents, including information about housing fees.

Students Living Off Campus

Students who live off-campus can continue with their studies from their off-campus residences.

Student Employees

Student employees should work with their supervisors on their planned work schedules over the extended break period and beyond. Student employees are not prohibited or discouraged from working at their UWM jobs under our current COVID-19 guidelines. However, UWM will respect students’ decisions not to work during the extended break and beyond. Additional information will be shared if the situation changes.

UWM Employees

All three UWM campuses are open and all employees should continue working as they normally would unless advised differently by their supervisor, director or dean. Additional information for our permanent employees is available at https://uwm.edu/hr/coronavirus-faq/.

Travel

All upcoming University-sponsored travel for students is being canceled through the end of the semester. This includes university-sponsored spring break trips, but does not include NCAA athletics, which will be subject to guidelines established by the Horizon League and the NCAA.

All upcoming university-sponsored travel for employees is being canceled through the end of the semester for areas severely impacted by COVID-19. This currently includes China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, Japan, South Korea and Spain. This list may change as additional areas are impacted by COVID-19. Anyone returning from these severely impacted areas must self-quarantine for 14 days, whether or not symptoms are present, before returning to UWM campuses.

We also strongly discourage employees and students from any non-essential travel outside of Wisconsin until the end of the semester. If you do opt to travel, please know that there are health risks involved. If you travel outside of Wisconsin, we ask you to self-monitor for 14 days for fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

Students who are already overseas with study abroad programs in countries that do not have Level 3 warnings should consult with UWM study abroad administrators on whether to stay or return.

Campus Events and Gatherings

University-sponsored events and gatherings of more than 50 people should be canceled from March 15 through April 10. Exceptions may be granted by Provost Johannes Britz and Vice Chancellor for Finance & Administrative Affairs Robin Van Harpen.

What To Do If You Develop Symptoms

Please stay at home if you are sick. The CDC guidelines are here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html. Contact your health care provider if you develop COVID-19-like symptoms, including fever, cough or difficulty breathing.

UWM faculty and staff should not come to work if they are sick. Please use sick leave or discuss alternative arrangements with your supervisor or human resources.

Your Questions and Concerns

We know that there are additional questions and concerns that arise as the COVID-19 situation continues to quickly change. Please see our FAQ page that answers the most commonly asked questions. You can also refer to our COVID-19 website for updates. You can submit questions that are not already included in the FAQs or on the website to: https://uwm.edu/coronavirus/ask-a-question/.

Our Panther family is strong, resilient and innovative. We will continue to monitor the global COVID-19 outbreak, assess its impact on UWM and adapt our actions and plans. Our goal is to keep everyone safe with minimal disruption as students continue their studies.

Mark A. Mone, PhD
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


Possible COVID-19 Case and Spring Break Extended – Mar. 10, 2020

March 10, 2020

Dear UWM Faculty, Staff and Students,

We have all been hearing updates on the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, across the country and the globe. Today, I write with an update about how COVID-19 is impacting UW-Milwaukee.

We have learned that an employee was tested yesterday at a local hospital for the COVID-19 virus. The employee became ill after having had contact with a person who had been to a country with a Level 3 warning. The results will not be known until the end of the week. The individual works in our UWM Foundation office, which is connected to the Cambridge Commons student housing facility on North Avenue on Milwaukee’s eastside. The individual who was tested is not at work. It is important to note that the majority of individuals in Wisconsin who have been tested have tested negative for COVID-19.

With the health and well-being of our campus communities being paramount, we are taking quick and decisive steps as a safeguard based on the rapidly changing environment in Wisconsin and worldwide.

We will extend our Spring Break by one week to March 15-29 so that UWM can prepare to move the majority of its classes online following the extended spring break. Students should make arrangements to be away from all three campuses during this extended break. Students who live in University Housing will receive additional details by Friday. Today, Provost Johannes Britz asked deans and other campus leaders to provide information on additional classes that can be moved online. We will send a follow-up communication with further details later this week.

UW-Milwaukee is updating its travel guidelines to include:

  • All upcoming University-sponsored travel for students is being canceled through the end of the semester. This includes university-sponsored Spring Break trips.
  • All upcoming University-sponsored travel for employees is being canceled through the end of the semester for areas severely impacted by COVID-19. This currently includes China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, Japan, South Korea and Spain. This list may change as additional areas are impacted by COVID-19.
  • Anyone returning from these severely-impacted areas must self-quarantine for 14 days, whether or not symptoms are present, before returning to UW-Milwaukee campuses.
  • We also strongly discourage employees and students from any non-essential travel outside of Wisconsin until the end of the semester. If you do opt to travel, please know that there are health risks involved. If you travel outside of Wisconsin, we ask you to self-monitor for 14 days for fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
  • Students who are already overseas with study abroad programs in countries that do not have Level 3 warnings should consult with UWM study abroad administrators on whether to stay or return.

This is a rapidly changing health issue and we will provide updates to our campus communities as quickly as possible when additional information becomes available. In the meantime, you may also check our COVID-19 website. Thank you for your patience, compassion and empathy.

Best regards,
Mark A. Mone, PhD,
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,


UWM Update Regarding Travel and Coronavirus – Mar. 6, 2020

March 6, 2020

Dear UWM students, faculty, and staff,

The situation internationally and within the United States regarding COVID-19 has continued to evolve rapidly. To date, there have been no confirmed cases in the city of Milwaukee or in Waukesha or Washington counties. Our campus community, like many other communities that are in areas where there is not local transmission, is still at low risk.

In the past two days, the (national) CDC and state and local public health officials have provided separate guidance for higher education institutions. Their guidance emphasizes important and unique issues for higher education to consider and the importance of preparedness. UWM’s Infectious Disease Preparedness Team and Crisis Management Team have been closely monitoring the situation and working closely with public health professionals.

We have taken a number of important steps before and as a result of the new guidance. UWM developed an Interim International Travel Policy to establish clear guidelines for the restriction of student study abroad programs and faculty and staff travel. UWM suspended university-sponsored programming in Level 3 Travel Warning countries, which include Italy, South Korea, and mainland China. All UWM study abroad students who are returning from Level 3 countries have been asked to follow public health guidelines and self-quarantine (stay home and do not go to work, classes, athletics events or other social gatherings) at their permanent home address for 14 days and to monitor for fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

Given upcoming spring break travel, both locally and abroad, by many members of our campus community, it is important to re-emphasize key items within the International Travel Policy as well as our expectations of all returning international travelers.

Faculty and Staff Travel

If you are a faculty or staff member planning University-sponsored travel to a Level 3 CDC or Level 3 or Level 4 Department of State country, you are required to complete a Travel Risk Assessment Form to be submitted for review.

Self-Quarantine for All Travelers to Certain Countries

Consistent with recent state and CDC guidelines for the general public, all travelers returning from Level 3 countries should self-quarantine for 14 days in order to further support the health and well-being of their communities. For those returning from any location that is a Level 2 CDC Travel Health Notice, we advise that when you arrive home, you self-monitor for 14 days for symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath). For more details related to self-quarantine and self-monitoring details are provided on the Department of Health Services website. If you become ill, you should immediately contact your healthcare provider and the local health department for further instructions.

Reporting to Local Public Health Authorities

UWM is being asked to report the names of travelers who are known to be returning from Level 3 countries to local public health authorities. Local public health authorities will contact you and provide support and resources.

Work Arrangements during Self-Quarantine

Employees returning from Level 3 countries should self-quarantine for 14 days and contact their supervisor to request time off. You must use sick leave or other leave time if you are advised to -self-quarantine unless your supervisor is able to plan for you to work remotely.

Student Housing during Self-Quarantine

Students returning from a Level 3 country who live in University Housing should plan to return to their permanent home address or other off-campus location for the duration of the 14-day self-quarantine. If they do not have such an alternative, University Housing may be able to assist you by calling (414) 229-4065.

Student Class Attendance during Self-Quarantine

Students returning from a Level 3 country should not attend classes that require in-person participation. They should contact their instructor to discuss possible alternatives for completing coursework. The Dean of Students office is available to assist you by calling (414) 229-4632.

As this situation continues to evolve, guidelines may change, and it is likely that there will be additional countries and areas within the U.S. where widespread community transmission is occurring. Please monitor CDC and Department of State sites before and during all travel for the most recent information. Enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a good way to get up-to-date information. You may also consult UWM’s COVID-19 website and UW System’s Coronavirus Preparedness website.

Sincerely,

Julie Bonner, MD
Campus Health Officer
Executive Director Norris Health Center,
University Counseling and Health Promotion


Chancellor’s Update: Interim Travel Policy to Address Coronavirus – Feb.28, 2020

March 2, 2020

Dear UWM Faculty and Staff,

As developments about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) accelerate and our spring break approaches, I am writing to inform you of a new interim travel policy. As a globally-engaged university, there are many from our campus communities who are involved with international education, research and outreach.

Effective immediately, UWM employees engaged in University-sponsored travel are strongly discouraged from going to, from, or through locations for which the U.S. Department of State or the CDC have issued travel warnings. Students engaged in University-sponsored travel are prohibited from going to, from, or through locations with travel warnings in place. Students will be sent a message in early March related to personal spring break travel and precautions to take.

Please refer to the interim policy for details on what is considered University-sponsored travel. Travel warning locations include places that are under a U.S. Department of State Level 3 or Level 4 advisory, a Center for Disease Control’s Notice Warning Level 3, or those locations additionally identified by the Provost as representing significant health or safety risks for UWM travelers.

I have asked the Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs to oversee the implementation of the interim travel policy. UWM’s Infectious Disease Preparedness Team will continue to closely monitor the coronavirus outbreak and will provide regular updates.

For personal travel, we strongly urge you to monitor travel advisories related to the coronavirus outbreak as cases of the virus continue to emerge across the globe. This is a rapidly changing epidemic and the health and well-being of our campus communities is paramount.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone, PhD
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


UWM Health Update Regarding Coronavirus – Feb. 21, 2020

February 21, 2020

Dear UWM students, faculty, and staff,

UWM’s Infectious Disease Preparedness Team has continued to closely monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. While the international situation is serious, the local circumstances have not changed. To date, there have been no confirmed cases in the city of Milwaukee, or in Waukesha or Washington counties. Our campus community is still at low risk.

The concern over the COVID-19 outbreak comes at a time of year when a much more common disease, influenza, is prevalent. Only a very small number of cases of coronavirus disease have developed in the United States. In contrast, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than 26 million people in the U.S. already have gotten the flu this season.

This week the City of Milwaukee Health Department reminded our community that it was not too late to get a flu vaccine this season. In fact, the university is partnering with the Milwaukee Health Department in hosting a flu shot clinic at the UWM Student Union on Tuesday, Feb. 25, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be no cost for the vaccine while supply lasts.

In addition to getting vaccinated, individuals also can help prevent the spread of flu by following these guidelines. Since both flu and coronavirus are caused by a virus, the same prevention tips apply to each. These include:

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After use, throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.

While following the prevention tips is the best strategy to stay healthy, it’s still possible to get the flu. The signs and symptoms include a fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, sore throat and body aches. If you experience these, stay home from class and work, and avoid other people. Stay home for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medicines, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Missing classes, work and other responsibilities may be challenging, but taking time to rest will benefit you and protect others.

Another event next week is aimed at raising public awareness of COVID-19 in the general community. The Zilber School of Public Health presents a panel discussion, “Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) – What We Know and What We Need to Consider,” on Wednesday, Feb. 26, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

The panel includes me, UWM faculty, city and state public health professionals, and the enterprise epidemiologist from Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin.

We will continue to regularly communicate with the UWM community with updates related to this emerging infectious disease. Our website is a primary source of information and is updated regularly.

Students who have general questions about influenza or the coronavirus, or who are sick and need medical advice, can call the Norris Health Center at 414-229-4716 to speak to a nurse. Faculty and staff, please consult with your health care professional.

Sincerely,

Julie Bonner, MD
Campus Health Officer
Executive Director Norris Health Center,
University Counseling and Health Promotion


Campus Preparedness and Coronavirus

February 5, 2020

Dear UWM Students, Faculty and Staff,

I am writing with an update related to campus preparedness and 2019 novel coronavirus.

As of now, there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the City of Milwaukee. One case has been confirmed in Dane County. Although our campus community continues to be at low risk, we are nonetheless taking steps to be prepared to respond in the event that these circumstances change.

At UWM, the Infectious Disease Preparedness Team is meeting regularly to monitor the situation, to review rapidly evolving guidance from national, state and local public health authorities, and to coordinate across departments to address needs. We are working closely with state and local health departments and in close consultation with UW System and global health and infectious disease experts.

Our campus team is led by me and has representation from the following departments/groups: Norris Health Center, University Police, Dean of Students, Academic Affairs, University Safety and Assurances, College of General Studies, Human Resources, Center for International Education, University Housing, Partners for Health, University Relations, and Legal Affairs. Our team will continue to monitor the situation and respond as needed.

We have created a website that provides accurate and up-to-date campus information related to the coronavirus. We have also formed a community support group that will partner with staff from the Division of Global Inclusion & Engagement, University Counseling Services, and the Centers for Advocacy and Student Engagement toidentify proactive educational information and ensure that appropriate people are aware of available resources.

Every person can contribute to campus preparedness by following good prevention practices. We are in the peak of Wisconsin’s influenza season right now. Please follow the tips of our February “Take Good Care of Yourself Campaign,” starting with frequent hand-washing. Stay well-informed and share accurate information to protect your own health and the health of the community. A daily update can be found on the website of the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Students who have general questions about influenza or the coronavirus, or who are sick and need medical advice, can call the Norris Health Center at 414-229-4716 to speak to a nurse. Faculty and staff, please consult with your health care professional.

Sincerely,

Julie Bonner, MD
Campus Health Officer
Executive Director Norris Health Center,
University Counseling and Health Promotion


UWM Health Update Regarding Coronavirus

January 25, 2020

Colleagues,

As state, national and global public health authorities address the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus, I am writing to you as the campus health officer to provide situational context for UWM faculty and staff.

About the Coronavirus
The Centers for Disease Control has provided the following overview:

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.

Outbreaks of novel virus infections among people are always a public health concern. The risk from these outbreaks depends on characteristics of the virus, including whether and how well it spreads between people, the severity of the resulting illness, and the medical or other measures available to control the impact of the virus (for example, a vaccine or treatment medications).

Investigations are ongoing as we seek to learn more, but person-to-person spread of 2019-nCoV is occurring. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. It’s not clear yet how easily 2019-nCoV spreads from person to person. It’s important to know this in order to better assess the risk posed by this virus. While the CDC considers this is a very serious public health threat, based on current information, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general American public is considered low at this time. Nevertheless, the CDC is taking proactive preparedness precautions.

UWM Preparedness
The campus Infectious Disease Preparedness Team has been convened, and we are carefully monitoring the coronavirus outbreak in China, in close consultation with UW System and local and state public health agencies. Those agencies have not identified any confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases at UWM. We are not aware of any students studying in or faculty working in China, although it is possible in a large university that a member of the campus community may travel without informing UWM.

The health of our students, faculty and staff is a top priority at UWM. The university will continue to monitor the situation and respond as needed. More information can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. Thank you for your time and attention to this important health briefing.

Sincerely,

Julie Bonner, MD
Campus Health Officer
Executive Director Norris Health Center,
University Counseling and Health Promotion