Chancellor’s Update: Continuation of Online Instruction and Facilities Updates

Dear Students,

I write with the latest developments on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on UWM students and operations. We have made several decisions to promote your health and safety and to help limit the spread of the virus.

UWM will extend its delivery of online or alternative delivery of instruction starting Monday, March 30 to the end of the spring semester. Yesterday, Governor 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 ideal ways for you to continue and complete your academic progress this semester. We realize the change to alternate instruction delivery will impact students who have been living in our residence halls. Those students will be contacted by University Housing with additional details.

We have also, as of noon today on all three campuses, begun strictly limiting most onsite, non-essential operations. This includes closing most offices and services that are open to walk-in traffic and having staff provide services remotely as 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, 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 discussed with UW System whether it would be possible to pay student hourly employees per their normal schedules even if they cannot work remotely or to extend COVID-19 leave to student employees who are not ordinarily eligible for paid leave. Unfortunately, given state rules and the financial exigencies created by this situation, we cannot pay our student hourly employees who are not working, and COVID-19 leave will only be provided to employees who otherwise receive paid leave benefits. We are exploring alternative student hourly employment opportunities and will share more information as this develops.

Changes for UWM facilities and services include the following:

At noon today, academic buildings were locked and for the remainder of the semester are accessible only to individuals with key or other access to unlock the building. We understand many graduate and undergraduate students are actively involved in research activities that take place in our facilities; the faculty and research staff you work with will contact you to discuss additional details. If there are special needs for unlocking a building after that time, 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.

The library locations on all three campuses, which have internet access, will remain open to students as previously announced. Due to the Governor’s order, UWM staff will be monitoring admission (so please bring your student ID card) and distancing to ensure we are following the gathering protocol mentioned above. At the Golda Meir Library, only the Daniel M. Soref Learning Commons in the first-floor west wing of the will be open. Library staff will gladly retrieve items from the general collection, the Music Library, the Curriculum Collection, and Media & Reserves, as requested. Access to online databases, articles, and e-books also continues uninterrupted. The American Geographical Society Library, Archives, and Special Collections are closed at this time. Hours for all libraries, including those on our 2-year campuses, can be found here.

The Klotsche Center will be closed starting today. This will include all athletics practice and training areas as well.

The Norris Health Center will continue in-person medical services and the dispensary will also be open. All students must call in advance, (414) 229-4716, for any services, as this is a rapidly evolving situation. Patients scheduled for routine appointments will be contacted to reschedule.

University Counseling Services will not be open for in-person services starting Wednesday March 18. Clients that have upcoming scheduled visits will be contacted for alternative options. Phone lines, 414 229-4133, will remain open during regular business hours. For mental health crises, during regular weekday business hours, please call 414-229-4133 for a crisis consultation. For after hours-crisis assistance, please use these resources.

Effective immediately, Survivor Support and Victim Advocacy services will be closed for in-person services. Students may call 414-229-4582 or email victimadvocacy@uwm.edu for assistance.

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.

Residence halls will remain open for students approved to stay including those who are not able to return home or have other reasons for remaining on campus. Thus, very limited services in the residence halls will remain available. As stated above, in light of the decision to move to alternative instruction delivery, all residents will receive communication from University Housing on other details.

The Student Union has been closed, effective at noon today.

We have learned that the City of Milwaukee Health Department has confirmed one case of COVID-19 in a UWM employee. Given the wide reach across communities, we expect to have more cases confirmed in the coming days. Due to respect of the privacy of such employees we will not be identifying them. This is not a time to panic, but a time to stay true to our guiding values to be a caring, compassionate and collegial community.

Please continue to follow recommended public health guidelines, which include:

    • Clean your hands often
    • Maintain 6 feet of separation from others
    • 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 more than 10 people
    • Avoid unnecessary travel

Additional updates and resources can be found at the UWM Information on the Coronavirus website. I encourage you to check this often as UWM is updating it frequently.

I realize this is a stressful time due to frequent changes and uncertainty, and it is not what any of us were expecting for this semester. We are working to address your concerns as quickly as possible. Your ongoing success and progress to graduation are fundamental to your futures, and we know that interruption of that progress is disorienting. We are doing all that we can to continue your academic progress as smoothly as possible under these unexpected circumstances, although we understand that some academic experiences may be altered due to the pandemic. I wish you good health and please know we will share additional updates as further developments occur.

Best regards,
Chancellor Mark A. Mone