The University of Wisconsin announced Wednesday it will put two Southeast dorms — Sellery and Witte — in full quarantine for 14 days starting at 10 p.m. In a separate email, UW declared all instruction will be remote.
In a news release Wednesday night UW said it will shift all instruction online for two weeks due to increasing COVID-19 cases.
Director of Residence Life Sarah Oleksy said in a meeting Wednesday they made the decision to quarantine after case totals in Sellery and Witte were significantly higher than all other residence halls.
UW said students will be quarantined in their buildings for 14 days. If they leave, they will not be allowed to return for the duration of the quarantine. Severe infringements of quarantine could result in their contract being canceled. Students are not being asked to go home or move out during this time, the release said.
UW will provide on-site testing, and UW Dining and Culinary Services will deliver food to the dorms. All other dining halls will transition to carry-out for the time being.
UW will not be closing the lounges or dens, so students can still use them, though they will be encouraged to stay in their rooms as much as possible.
Freshman living in Witte Erin Oakley expressed her concern about the situation.
“What I’m just worried about is people are leaving for two weeks and going home,” Oakley said. “If that’s the case, you could get it when you’re home and come back and bring it.”
Southeast residents flocked to Fresh Madison Market when they got word to stock up for their quarantine.
Freshman Graycen Spritka said her plan is to live off the groceries she buys now for two weeks.
“I think sooner warning would have been nice,” Spritka said. “That’s kinda going against their whole point, quarantining but now we’re all crowded in a grocery store.”
Wednesday, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi wrote a letter to UW and UW System President Tommy Thompson asking them to send undergraduates who live in the dorms home or at least hire more staff if they cannot do that.
Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in a statement UW did not see a need to send students home yet despite UW reporting over 1,000 total students test positive in the past weeks.
Monday, Blank directed students to restrict movement for the next 14 days following an increase in COVID-19 cases on campus and canceled in-person social events and meetings excluding classes.
UPDATE: This article was updated on 9/9/20 at 8:27 p.m. with quotes from freshmen affected by the quarantine.
UPDATE: This article was updated on 9/9/20 at 9:04 p.m. to correct Director of Residence Life Sarah Oleksy’s name, which was previously misspelled.