Our campus is continuing to monitor the rapidly changing COVID-19 pandemic, including spread of the disease and public health guidelines to mitigate its effects.
We recognize that despite the steps we have taken as a campus, there continues to be growing concern about what COVID-19 means to each of us academically, professionally and personally.
In the past few days, you have likely heard new guidelines related to large events and mass gatherings. Yesterday, Governor Evers prohibited gatherings of more than 50 people in Wisconsin, and even stricter guidelines were shared by the White House.
In light of these recent announcements, we have decided to take several additional steps for the rest of the semester:
- We will shift to alternate delivery of courses from March 23 through the end of the spring semester, including final exams. Students will receive information about instruction as plans are completed.
- In addition, we advise those who have opted to travel away from Madison for Spring Break to carefully consider whether they need to return to Madison or can continue the semester from their permanent residence.
Students in residence halls who cannot return home or who are unable to access alternative course delivery from elsewhere may remain in the residence halls. Limited dining services will continue to be open. (Residents will be receiving a follow up message from University Housing shortly.)
- All units were asked to move all possible employees into teleworking this past Monday, March 16. Beginning March 18, campus will take steps so that the only employees (including graduate student employees) physically working on campus are those needed to deliver essential services that cannot be done via telecommuting. This will be in effect until further notice. Employees who cannot telecommute and who are not involved in essential services will be eligible to use leave.
- Essential services include public safety, academic course delivery and student support, admissions, financial aid and enrollment for new and continuing students, certain research activities and associated animal care, University Housing, communications as well as core administrative and facility services.
An employee leave policy was shared Tuesday morning, addressing employees who are not at work due to illness, self-quarantine, childcare needs, or who are employed in non-essential functions and cannot telecommute. We are providing up to 80 hours of funding for leave for these employees, in addition to existing leave policy.
We recognize this update will bring up additional questions. We will share more information that might be needed with specific communities, such as Housing residents, parents, instructors and researchers.
Should you decide to travel away from Madison in response to this update, we encourage you to make the decision that is best for your health and safety. Be sure to consider guidelines from the CDC and understand the status of the location to which you are traveling.
I share the disappointment of students and employees who were anticipating Terrace chairs, sunny days on Bascom and all of the events that make spring special at UW-Madison. This is not the semester that any of us wanted.
I especially acknowledge the disappointment of those completing their studies, whose final semester at UW has been impacted by this unprecedented situation. We will share more information on Commencement plans in the near future.
This situation continues to change rapidly, and we will continue to provide updates as soon as we have them.
If this message raises questions about your situation that are not specifically addressed on the FAQ at covid19.wisc.edu, or by a follow-up message from campus you can email back to email@example.com or call (608) 263-2400.
Chancellor Rebecca Blank