The Associated Students of Madison released a statement Tuesday calling on University of Wisconsin-Madison administrators to adopt “stronger COVID-19 precautions,” such as providing hyflex — "hybrid" and "flexible" — learning solutions and increasing the capacity for on-campus testing.
Notably, the student council proposed that all in-person courses be simultaneously offered virtually "until the COVID-19 pandemic is over," with recorded lectures and virtual discussion options available.
“ASM stands in solidarity with the Teaching Assistants Association (TAA) and other on-campus workers who demand more detailed and equitable COVID-19 guidelines rooted in protections for the most vulnerable members of our campus community,” the statement said. “No staff member should have to choose between going to work or protecting their physical health.”
ASM lists immunocompromised campus community members and “anyone in quarantine or isolation” as individuals who may not be able to safely attend in-person classes in the press release. Other recommendations include publishing the number of booster shots among campus community members on the UW COVID-19 response website and increasing on-campus testing capacity.
University spokesperson Meredith McGlone thanked ASM “for their partnership and consistent advocacy for proven public health strategies” in a campus response to Tuesday’s statement.
McGlone listed actions — increased testing capacity, booster shot encouragement and flexible course instruction — taken by the university to mitigate health concerns. “We share their [ASM] concern for the health of our campus and the surrounding community,” said McGlone.
While the university does not currently offer hybrid learning solutions for all courses, instructors are encouraged “to provide flexibility for their students and to plan ahead for situations in which students may be unable to attend in-person class meetings,” said the campus response.
McGlone responded to additional ASM requests by addressing the thousands of take-home antigen test kits available to students, free of charge, as well as the increased number of booster shot appointments available at the UHS vaccine clinic.