In an email sent out to students, faculty and staff on Wednesday afternoon, Chancellor James Schmidt announced that face-to-face classes would proceed as scheduled, despite several UW System schools making the transition to online instruction in response to the COVID-19 pandemic spreading across the U.S.
Thus far, seven UW schools are modifying their instructional plans:
While classes are to be held as usual, Schmidt said the university is suspending its attendance policies.If students are sick, they should not attend class, he wrote. Students who require unique medical accommodations will be helped accordingly.
According to Schmidt, Academic Affairs is working with the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning to help instructional faculty prepare for potential course disruptions. Schmidt cautioned students that they should prepare for the possibility of classes being switched to online in the coming days or weeks.
Effective immediately, all university-sponsored international travel to areas with Level 3 COVID-19 outbreaks are canceled. University trips to states with over 100 cases of the coronavirus are also canceled.
Though the university has no control over where students travel over spring break, Schmidt said it is encouraged that trips be altered and students follow the travel guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Travel to areas where there are Level 3 COVID-19 outbreaks or more than 100 cases reported is strongly discouraged,” Schmidt said. “Should you travel to those areas, you will be expected to self-isolate for 14 days upon return.”
Those who do travel should have essential items — such as laptops, coursework-related items, work-related items and medications — in case they are unable to return to campus immediately, the email said.
The university has not yet canceled large events or gatherings scheduled on campus, though this may change in the coming days or weeks. Visits from guest lecturers or performers will be permitted on a case-by-case basis.
Staff and faculty are required to continue their work as usual. However, sick individuals are encouraged to stay home. UW System administration is working on more specific employee recommendations.
Schmidt asks students, faculty and staff to take extra precautions to ensure campus safety. This includes washing hands, avoiding hand-to-face contact, avoiding close contact with who people are sick and covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing.
Fuerstenberg can be reached at [email protected]