College News

UW System President ‘fully expects’ UW campuses to reopen for fall 2020

While it is still unclear what a reopening would like, UW System President Ray Cross announced he “fully expects” UW campuses to reopen for the upcoming fall semester.
While it is still unclear what a reopening would like, UW System President Ray Cross announced he “fully expects” UW campuses to reopen for the upcoming fall semester. Image By: Jeff Miller

UW System President Ray Cross announced Friday he anticipates the reopening of UW campuses for the upcoming fall semester. 

“We fully expect to remain open in the fall,” Cross said. “How we deliver education for students depends on a number of factors.”

Yet, there is still much to consider in what reopening will look like.

One option included testing students and staff for coronavirus, Jack Jablonski, executive director of public and community affairs, told NBC15 News.

Additionally, Cross stated officials from UW System have already started to prepare for a fall reopening, launching a new task force called “Plan Ahead Team” to review all available options. The task force will be composed of university officials and medical experts.

The announcement coincides with the state Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Gov. Tony Evers’ “stay-at-home” order, as well as pressure from Republicans and the business community to reopen the economy.

After the court overruled the statewide Safer-at-Home order, approximately 17 communities issued new mandates similar to what Evers had put in place and was supposed to last until late May. But, by Friday evening, at least eight had dropped them. 

The decision to either keep in place or nix the order now varies county to county. Some cities — like Madison and Milwaukee — have opted to keep while others — like Waukesha County — are looking at social distancing measures as recommendations rather than requirements.

With 11,685 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state and 445 deaths, some fear lax requirements will lead to a spike in cases. Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said a surge was “inevitable” on CNN.

“I guess that’s what happens when you insert politics into state pandemic response,” Rhodes-Conway said.

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