Chancellor’s Update: Shift to Primarily Online Instruction After Thanksgiving

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

As we near the holidays and see the continued and disturbing increase of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin, we have made the decision to shift to primarily remote instruction following the Thanksgiving recess (Nov. 25-29). Most UW System (UWS) campuses are doing the same. While our campuses have been relatively safe, our state is in the midst of a spike in cases, and our healthcare systems are reaching their capacities. Earlier this week, Gov. Tony Evers released Executive Order #94 encouraging Wisconsin citizens to stay home, avoid gatherings and limit travel.

All three of our campuses will remain open, including Milwaukee, UWM at Waukesha and UWM at Washington County. Further details will be provided early next week about any adjustments to hours for facilities and services. UWM employees will continue to work remotely whenever possible.

Classes

With very few exceptions, current in-person courses will be delivered online for the remaining 11 days of instruction following the Thanksgiving recess. Students in the few specialized courses that will retain some in-person meetings after Thanksgiving will be notified early next week by their instructors. More specific information on the conversion from in-person to online instruction will be forthcoming from your instructors.

Residence Halls and Dining

The residence halls and dining operations will remain open. We will accommodate and care for students who remain on campus. However, per UWS guidance, there will be mandatory COVID-19 testing for those who leave for the Thanksgiving recess and return. A follow-up communication will be sent by University Housing with further details.

COVID-19 Testing

We will continue our regular COVID-19 testing for students living on and off campus. In addition, we will continue our surge testing program in partnership with UWS and the federal government for employees and community members.

UW System is requiring all UWS institutions to test those students who plan to return to campuses after the Thanksgiving recess. Any student leaving our campus communities for the holiday with the intent of returning to campus is required to be COVID tested once before the break and an additional two times soon after they return. Between tests, students need to remain separated, wear masks, maintain social distancing, and monitor for symptoms. Individuals testing positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate according to UWM’s and CDC’s guidelines.

Winterim and Spring Semester

Winterim courses will be primarily online. We plan to return to our mix of in-person, hybrid and online course–delivery options for the spring semester. This means that we are planning for the return of students to campus in January of 2021 and will be following our current academic calendar.

Your Questions and Concerns

We acknowledge that this change is difficult, stressful and unwanted, and that you have additional questions and concerns. We are carefully – but quickly – working on details 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.

While we are operating in challenging times, there is hope on the horizon with all that we have learned and promising advances in COVID-19 vaccines. We remain optimistic about the future and the new normalcy that will come. Our efforts to control spread of the virus on our campuses have been successful thanks to the hard work of our faculty, staff and students. Your continued diligence makes all the difference. As always, our goal is to keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe with minimal disruption as our students continue their studies.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone, PhD
Chancellor

Johannes Britz, PhD
Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs