Students to Return to UW System Campuses for Fall Semester

The UW System is working on guidelines as campuses develop individual plans to hold virtual and in-person classes.

By Will Kenneally

June 15, 2020

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Students walking on East Campus Mall on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. (Courtesy: Bill Martens / WPR)

Students walking on East Campus Mall on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. (Courtesy: Bill Martens / WPR)

Students will return to University of Wisconsin campuses in the fall for some in-person instruction, according to new guidance from the UW System president and board of regents.

“We must all recognize that our universities will be different this fall than what we’re used to and there will be campus-based decisions on how to best address particular issues. But students will be back on campus this fall,” said UW System President Ray Cross.

System administration released a series of guidelines, including moving classes of more than 50 online and creating attendance policies that encourage sick students to stay home, to help campuses create their own policies.

“We are preparing an environment that reduces risk so that students, faculty, and staff can return to campus in person this fall,” Cross added.

This comes as campuses work to adjust to teaching under pandemic conditions, rendered more difficult by the close-quarters nature of lecture halls, dorms and dining halls. Cross said last month that the system was working to make testing widely available for students and staff.

The UW-Eau Claire campus will use student center space for classes and have students record their temperature and symptoms using a Mayo Clinic app. UW-Stout indicated the campus would use a phased approach to reopening.

UM-Madison announced it would reopen in the fall with a mix of in-person and online classes, but that further details would come no later than the end of July.

This comes as the university system continues the search to replace Cross after he announced his intention to retire last fall. The sole finalist from the search withdrew last week, saying he wanted to weather the pandemic in his current position at the University of Alaska.

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