UW-Eau Claire to transition to online instruction

In the wake of COVID-19, classes canceled and spring break extended

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At 4 p.m. today, Chancellor James Schmidt sent an email to all students regarding the cancellation of in-person classes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Classes will be canceled at all three locations: UW-Eau Claire, UW-Eau Claire-Barron County and Marshfield.

The email said spring break will be extended a second week, from March 23 through April 3, and there will be no face-to-face classes from Saturday, March 14 to Friday, April 3.

Online classes will go through April 17 and in-person classes will resume April 20. 

Through April 20, the email said all campus locations will remain open and students may choose to remain in the residence halls — all essential student support services will continue to be available through the extended spring break and April 20. 

Schmidt held a press conference at 4 p.m. today in the Alumni room in Davies Center to address the situation. 

Universities should make decisions based on data, research and the expertise of people who study the question, Schmidt said.

“We’ve had great assistance from the county health department and other health care providers in the area,” Schmidt said. 

Schmidt then broke the news that campus would not be holding any face-to-face classes until April 20. 

He said the three week period, which includes the campus’s regular spring break, will give the faculty sufficient time to put together course materials in an online format. 

Schmidt also mentioned that university-sponsored groups or groups that wish to hold events on campus will be limited to no more than 25 people. 

Music and theater performances, as well as other events, will be affected, Schmidt said. 

“We will be taking extraordinary steps in canceling all sections of cultural events,” Schmidt said. “There’s certainly a long list of cherished events on this campus as spring is certainly a time to come together to celebrate the accomplishments of our student artists in cultural aspects.”

Schmidt said the NCAA made an announcement just before the press conference saying all remaining winter and spring athletic events in the NCAA will be canceled. 

Dan Schumacher, the athletic director at UW-Eau Claire, said that during a wrestling meet for the Blugolds at a university in Iowa. 

The match was stopped for the announcement about the cancellation of NCAA events to be made, and the Blugolds were directed to their buses and sent back home. 

A question was raised about the returning students from study abroad in Europe regarding their class registration and whether or not they will be enrolled in classes. 

Schmidt said most students abroad are enrolled in other universities that UW-Eau Claire is partnered with, and some universities overseas have moved their classes online, so students returning to UW-Eau Claire will finish their courses online. 

“We’re still working through that, it will be complicated.” Schmidt said. 

Earlier today, The Spectator received a press release regarding Governor Tony Evers declaring a public health emergency in response to new COVID-19 cases, totaling eight. 

View the live coverage here.

In that time, the remaining UW schools, UW-River Falls, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Whitewater, UW-Parkside, UW-Platteville and UW-Eau Claire all made the decision to switch over to all online classes for a period of time. 

This is an ongoing story. Updates to come.

Dirks can be reached at [email protected]