UW Madison reveals its fall re-opening plan.

Classes will resume either in-person or online depending on their size until Thanksgiving break, after which all courses will be virtual. Photo: Richard Hurd.

Author: Sam Buisman

UW Madison unveils its re-opening plan for fall, featuring hybrid courses, mass COVID-19 testing and socially-distanced student housing.

On Tuesday morning, UW Madison launched a webpage detailing its “Smart Restart” plan for resuming instruction and campus activities in the fall semester amidst the continuing coronavirus pandemic. Under this plan, the University will resume classes on September 2 with a mix of online and in-person instruction until Thanksgiving break, after which all courses and exams will be totally online to discourage traveling students from returning to campus.

In a press release discussing the plan, UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank expressed admiration for the campus community’s tenacity against the difficulties of the pandemic.

“We will get through this strange time, and we may even learn some things that create new opportunities for the campus,” wrote the Chancellor. “I continue to look ahead with great optimism and enthusiasm.”

The Smart Restart plan outlines a series of drastic changes to on-campus instruction and living.

Almost all classes of over 50 students will be held virtually, while smaller classes will meet in large classrooms or lecture halls to maintain social distancing. Students will not be required to attend courses in person, but those who do will have to wear a mask. Tuition will be the same regardless of how students attend courses.

Regarding Student Housing, the University will routinely test residents for the virus and plans to reduce the capacity of and ban guests from the halls to avoid crowding them. All campus dining facilities will only serve residents of student housing.

Lastly, the UW pledged to launch a massive effort to monitor and control the virus on campus. The University plans to create drop-in testing sites for students, hire a cohort of contact tracers, and sequester private rooms and bathrooms for exposed students who need to quarantine.

According to the plan’s webpage, the University will inform students enrolled in the fall on the status of their courses in late July and will publish details on its policies for its athletic programs, student organizations, the Wisconsin Union and more in the near future.