UW-Madison students should plan to return to campus for mainly in-person instruction and expect a “new normal” this fall, said Chancellor Rebecca Blank.
In a March 25 blog post, Blank announced that the fall semester at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will look more like fall 2019 than fall 2020. While guidelines for the semester have not yet been defined, they will be based on the state of the pandemic, Blank said.
“As you’ve seen recently with campus events guidelines, these continue to evolve in response to changing conditions,” said UW-Madison Communications Director Meredith McGlone. “We do not yet have guidelines for the fall but will share those when they become available.”
Campus culture being one of the vital aspects of the college experience, it is important that students have the opportunity to learn and interact in-person with the benefit of enhanced technology incorporation, Blank said.
“We are a community that thrives on the connections between people who converse, learn, and discover together, in person,” said Blank in her blog post. “It is the connections and interactions that make UW-Madison a great university and that bring students here for a high-quality residential learning experience.”
In addition to in-person classes, dining-facilities, and academic and research resources will be open. Residence halls on campus will be at full occupancy.
“I would really like to emphasize how we must not become complacent and rush to return to how things were before,” said ASM president Matthew Mitnick. “This transition will take time and we must be patient. It is better to be safer and value public health.”
While testing will remain available and mandatory, students who are vaccinated will not need to be tested. In her blog post, Blank urged all students to get COVID-19 vaccines when they are eligible.
“With regards to the upcoming fall semester, it will be completely irresponsible to return to in-person courses and activities unless all of campus is vaccinated,” said Mitnick.
As more information about fall COVID-19 guidelines become available, Blank will release those to the public.