A number of University of Wisconsin System campuses are shifting classes completely online after Thanksgiving break to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
As hospitals around Wisconsin are nearing capacity for new patients due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, schools, including UW-Madison, have asked students who are traveling for Thanksgiving to stay off campus until the spring semester.
A University Health Services statement asked students who need to be on campus until the end of the semester to not travel at all over the break.
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“If you decide to travel to be with loved ones during the holidays, make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep yourself and them safe,” the statement said. “There are steps you can take right now and while traveling that can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
UHS also cited the CDC, stating traveling increases the chance of spreading or getting COVID-19.
Executive Director of UHS Jake Baggott said students need to step up now, as they have seen a concerning number of cases increase at the university, in Madison and across the state.
Baggott also said in the past two weeks, UW-Madison’s seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate average has doubled and 100 students are currently in on-campus quarantine and isolation.
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A number of other UW System schools have also announced a shift to online learning after the Thanksgiving break with a few specialized courses that are keeping some in-person meetings.
An email sent from UW-Milwaukee on Friday announced the switch.
“While UWM campuses have been relatively safe, the move comes as Wisconsin and the country have faced rapidly rising cases of COVID-19,” said the email. “The state has set records of new cases several times over the past week, and caseloads are threatening to overwhelm Wisconsin’s health care system.”
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The email also mentioned how Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order asking people to stay home, avoid gatherings and limit travel.
UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow sent an email on Friday that said their school would also move online following Thanksgiving break.
“We feel our campus is among the safest places in La Crosse — as evidenced by our daily COVID-19 test results — but in light of alarming numbers of positive cases in the greater La Crosse community, we want to give our students the ability to choose where they will reside as they complete their fall semester courses through online [and] other remote modes,” Gow wrote.
Other UW System schools with post-Thanksgiving plans include UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls, UW-Stout, UW-Superior, UW-Parkside, UW-Platteville, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Green Bay, UW-Stevens Point and UW-Whitewater.