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Sunday, January 23, 2022

UW System Chancellors react to in-person plans for Fall semester

Chancellors from UW-River Falls, UW-Stout and UW-Eau Claire have pledged to plan for a fall semester with in-person classes and “a traditional college experience.”

UW-River Falls Chancellor Connie Foster, UW-Stout Chancellor Katherine Frank and UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt announced their support in response to UW-System President Tommy Thompson’s statement from Thursday, when the lead administrator announced his goal for at least 75% of classes to be held in person for the Fall 2021 semester. 

In the statement, all three UW campus administrators stressed the importance of reverting back to a campus life which features engagement and interaction among students and faculty.

“As Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, this means students can enjoy a return to lab and studio spaces, thriving residence hall communities and the chance to enjoy the vibrant Menomonie community with its many outdoor amenities,” said Frank. 

This sentiment of engaging through campus communities again was also echoed in Thompson’s original announcement. 

“In a traditional university setting, students learn and grow through their interactions with peers and faculty,” said Thompson. “This sort of engagement – in and out of the classroom – builds sharper thinking, contributes to social development and enriches communities.”

In a statement released on Jan. 7, UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank and Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Karl Scholz shared that they are planning for “primarily in-person classes for fall semester 2021,” citing vaccine distribution as a step towards reopening campus. 

The UW-Madison administrators also noted that remote instruction, or classes that are held in person but are also available remotely, will not be offered to students in Fall 2021. Administrators even announced plans to fill Camp Randall Stadium with live fans. 

While Thompson is planning for in-person classes and activities on the UW-System campuses, administrators remain cautious about the circumstances surrounding the pandemic.

“Rest assured, we’ll keep in mind the safety of everyone on campus and continue to consult with local, state and federal health experts,” said Thompson.

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