Important message from Chancellor Watson on Warhawks Return
Dear Campus Communities,
Our current times are fraught with anxiety and stress around the COVID-19 pandemic, and what it means for our health and safety. These uncertainties affect our university, our communities, our economy and the future of so many aspects of our lives. The UW-Whitewater leadership team understands the strain and stress our community is feeling because we are experiencing this duress as well.
Yet, during this time, we are called to work diligently to create conditions that relieve some of the stress and provide campuses where you can learn, live and work in the safest and healthiest environment possible given the ever-changing dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we have said before, the monumental task of ensuring the health and safety of our campus as we return to our modified normal status in the fall is being handled by the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The EOC represents areas from across campus and reports directly to me and the Cabinet for final decisions. We’ve involved our governance leaders in these discussions for their collaboration and consultation. We take this responsibility seriously and with the best interest of our students, faculty and staff in mind.
I’d also like to remind you that in order to focus our work, we have established guiding principles for the fall semester. They are:
- UW-Whitewater will prioritize student and employee health and student academic progress in planning and delivering its mission for the fall 2020 semester.
- The goal is to maximize in-person instruction for the fall 2020 semester.
- Housing will be open and available for students in the fall 2020 semester.
- UW-Whitewater will offer flexibility for employees, particularly in high-risk categories, to work remotely to the extent practicable.
- We will maintain public and stakeholder confidence through frequent and transparent communications in a variety of modalities.
- We will monitor the impact of decisions on our financial viability.
Our first priority has always been, and remains, providing for the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. We know that in bringing students, faculty and staff together there is inherent risk, but we are doing everything possible to mitigate that risk and to ensure the best learning environment possible.
Today, I am proud to share with you an executive summary called Warhawks Return: Practices for Fall 2020. This concise document lays out our key principles of operations and includes links to more detailed information for your review, if you so desire.
Let me share a few of the highlights from that document:
Health and Safety
As we have said from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our priority is to keep our campuses as safe as possible. We have outlined a number of preventative measures that we are asking each of you to commit to for the sake of your own health and safety and those around you. We ask that you pledge to be a community member in good standing and to willingly take part in these actions. These include:
- Social distancing, or keeping a minimum of six feet in all directions between you and another person. Social distancing is required in all areas of our campuses, both indoors as well as outside.
- Face coverings have been shown to reduce the spread of infection. Appropriate face coverings must cover both the nose and the mouth, and are required to be worn at all times while in public areas, shared spaces in all buildings, hallways, classrooms, restrooms and university vehicles, as well as outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained. We understand that some people may not be able to wear face coverings for medical reasons, and there is an exemption process in place for those individuals.
- Personal hygiene includes covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze and washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer will be provided in all classrooms, department offices and in other key areas of all buildings.
- Cleaning and disinfecting of campus buildings will happen frequently.
— Classrooms will all be equipped with cleaning materials, hand sanitizer and disposable face coverings. Individuals will be asked to clean their personal space before and after use. Classrooms will also be cleaned regularly by custodians.
— Employees will be responsible for cleaning their workspaces, and cleaning supplies will be supplied.
— Public spaces will be cleaned and disinfected by custodians twice daily. These areas include entrances, hallways and restrooms.
— Residence Halls will follow the same campus standards and will provide information to residents regarding the cleaning and disinfecting of individual rooms and common areas.
- Daily individual online health screening will be requested for anyone who is on campus or coming to campus. The quick survey advises those who may have symptoms to remain at home. The survey will assist with contact tracing if necessary.
- At this time, COVID-19 testing will be available on campus in a limited capacity through University Health and Counseling Services for students who are symptomatic. Free tests are available at various clinics and hospitals in the area. Individuals are strongly encouraged to use outside facilities for testing.
- Barriers and physical controls will be used in areas where face-to-face interactions are required.
- Traffic flow patterns, indicated by signage, will be used in buildings and classrooms to help limit potential exposures.
As we have stated before, we want to be open as widely as possible for our students, while still providing as much protection for both students and faculty and staff. Our classes will begin in the fall as planned on Wednesday, Sept. 2. After Friday, Nov. 20, all courses will move to a fully remote modality for the remainder of the fall semester. Residence halls and dining services will remain open for students who prefer to remain on campus. At this time, there will be no housing and dining refund or proration of costs for the fall semester.
Students will be informed regarding the format of their classes prior to the start of the academic year. The amount of face-to-face time will be unique to each course. There are several modalities for courses. They include:
- Face-to-face. All students will meet face-to-face during each class period.
- Online format. Online courses are developed in advance using techniques that primarily involve asynchronous instruction.
- Remote format. The class is fully remote, but not designed in the same way as online courses. Some remote classes will be held during the scheduled class time using synchronous instruction. Others will be a blend of synchronous and asynchronous instruction, or even fully asynchronous.
- HyFlex format. This term is used to describe a wide range of instructional formats, but in general suggests that the course will be taught in ways that allow the student to choose the particular format of the instruction (in-class or remote).
- Hybrid format. The class will be taught with a mix of face-to-face and remote teaching. Some subset of the students would meet face-to-face during a class period, while other students would learn remotely. Other days a different cohort could meet face-to-face during a class period, and other students could learn remotely.
Our desire is to have our campus as open as possible. We will not be the same campus we were in the fall of 2019. Yet, we are committed to providing students with excellent instruction, support and services.
We will host three Town Hall meetings on Thursday, July 9 regarding the return to campus. The sessions are:
- 11 a.m. for faculty and staff at both campuses
- 1 p.m. for members of the Whitewater and Rock County communities
- 3 p.m. for incoming and returning students and their families
If you have questions regarding the return to campus please submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than noon on Thursday, July 3. Links for those town halls can be found below and reminders will be sent closer to the date of the events.
We still have much work to do regarding our safe return to campus. We will provide as many answers as possible when we host the town hall meetings. Between the town halls, I encourage you to visit the recently launched Warhawks Return website. This website will be updated often with current information, and has a user-friendly frequently asked question format for various constituents. I believe you will find it an easy way to access information regarding our return in the fall.
I will continue to provide you with as much information as possible. At the onset of this message I said we are living in challenging times. You may know that I am an optimist by nature, and my optimism is buoyed by the intensity of the work being done by so many people across our campuses. Please accept my heart-felt gratitude for all that you have done and continue to do to make sure our return to our campuses is safe for everyone.
We’ve come together in real and meaningful ways this entire year as we’ve faced other challenges. Warhawks do not shy away from obstacles; instead they soar and find alternative ways to serve students and ensure their success. Thank you for all that you do, because we are truly even better together.
Dr. Dwight C. Watson
July 9, 2020 at 11 a.m. – Campus Town Hall
Event address for attendees:
Event number: 133 707 6554
Event password: YgTJwP3hG44
US TOLL FREE
Access Code: 133 707 6554
July 9, 2020 at 1 p.m. – Community Town Hall
Event address for attendees:
Event number: 133 987 1219
Event password: TMgqJ7Zmk42
US TOLL FREE
Access Code: 133 987 1219
July 9, 2020 at 3 p.m. – Students and Families Town Hall
Event address for attendees:
Event number: 133 125 3473
Event password: PXfd6h336Rc
US TOLL FREE
Access Code: 133 125 3473
If you have a disability and desire accommodations, please advise us as soon as possible. Requests are confidential. UW-Whitewater provides equal opportunities in employment and programming including Title IX and ADA requirements. Please contact Nicole Caine at email@example.com for further information.