English Language Academy Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As of March 11th, UWM as a university campus has announced that changes will be made to daily operations and classes due to the current circumstances surrounding the spread of COVID-19 and the official declaration by the World Health Organization of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. UWM is taking strong precautions to ensure the safety and health of all students, faculty, and staff. The English Language Academy is also doing everything we can to ensure the same. Below are updates regarding this situation and our students. As a department that services international students, we are taking extra precautions to ensure not only our students’ health and safety but also to keep all our students’ visas in status during this time of uncertainty.

Spring Break

UWM has extended Spring Break by one week. Spring Break is now officially March 15th – March 29th. Additionally, we strongly encourage and recommend that students do not travel outside the state of Wisconsin. Because COVID-19 is spreading to large cities in the United States in states such as New York, California, and Florida, international students risk not only their health, but students also risk not being able to return if they manage to reach their intended destination. If students cannot return to Wisconsin for their classes, they put their visa status at risk.

Classes after Spring Break

UWM is requiring that the great majority of classes go online from the period between the end of the extended Spring Break (March 30th) until April 10th. Students will be receiving instructions and updates in their UWM emails from their teachers and the English Language Academy administrative staff regarding taking classes online. If classes need to remain online after this April 10th date, students will be informed through their UWM emails. So, all students must check their UWM email at least once a day if not multiple times a day.

English Language Academy events

Unfortunately, because of these current circumstances, English Language Academy has elected to cancel our events and extracurricular activities. Below is a list of the events that are cancelled and each event’s cancellation status.

F2F International Graduate Conversation Group – cancelled until further notice

Talk! International Undergraduate Conversation Group – cancelled until further notice

International Graduate Movie Night – cancelled for the rest of the Spring 2020 semester

ELA Friends Events (including volunteering and bowling nights at the UWM rec center) – cancelled until further notice

Independent Study for Intensive English Program Students – cancelled until further notice

We have one remaining IEP field trip scheduled for Monday, April 13th. We still plan to run this field trip. If, however, classes must remain online after April 10th, then this field trip will be cancelled as well. Again, students must check their UWM email every day to stay informed on updates.

Residence Halls

For students that live in the university residence halls, students are permitted to stay in their dorms for the duration of the semester and for Spring Break. However, students must inform their Resident Assistants and University Housing that they are remaining in the dorms during this time. Their will be limited food service over the duration of the first week of Spring Break (March 15th – March 22nd). Students should receive up to date information from university housing in their UWM emails. Again, students must check their UWM email every day.

Summer Travel

Because of the nature of this global pandemic, things change on a daily basis. Given the unpredictability of these current circumstances, English Language Academy strongly advises to not travel during the summer break. The virus might spread even more, and the United States could close off its borders for an extended period of time. So, students who choose to go home during the summer break might not be able to return to the United States in time for the start of the Fall 2020 semester. This will make it difficult for students who intend to begin academic study in the Fall 2020 semester.

How to Stay Healthy

  1. If you are an international student and you think you might have COVID-19, the required health insurance that all international students have through the UW system covers the cost of the test for COVID-19. If the test is done in network, then insurance covers it 100%. If the test is done out of network, then insurance covers it 80%.
  2. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or by using your elbow. Do not cough or sneeze into your hands.
  3. Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water
  4. Avoid physical contact with other people (hugs/handshakes)
  5. Clean and disinfect – this includes your smartphone, your laptop, and your headphones
  6. Use handsanitizer
  7. Do not touch your face (mouth, nose, eyes).
  8. Get plenty of sleep (between 6-8 hours is best practice)
  9. Eat healthy foods (fruits and vegetables with vitamin C and vitamin D)
  10. Exercise for at least 30 mins every other day
  11. Most importantly – wash your hands often with hot water and soap and for at least 20 seconds each time


If any of our English Language Academy students have questions, then they can contact the English Language Academy in person in Curtin Hall 672, on the phone at 414-229-5757, or by email at el-academy@uwm.edu. If any English Language Academy student has an emergency, the student needs to call our main phone line 414-229-5757.

If any students in the Intensive English Program have a question about their health insurance, the student needs to contact our Financial Specialist, Jody Forbeck, either by email at forbeck@uwm.edu or by phone at 414-229-4268.

To remain up to date on information regarding COVID-19 from UWM, students, faculty, and staff can consult the website.