Chancellor Watson shared the following message to campus via University announcement:
Given the intensity of the COVID-19 situation in our state, nation and world, I believe it is vital that our community do our part to help stop the spread of this virus. It is our compassionate duty to make sure that our campuses are as safe as possible.
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater will move to alternative delivery of classes from March 30 through the end of the spring semester — including final exams. Provost Greg Cook will send additional information shortly to our faculty and instructional academic staff.
I am aware that students are registering for summer courses, most of which are already offered online and some are delivered in-person on campus. We will decide at a later date if all summer courses will go to an alternative form of delivery.
We ask all students to leave the residence halls and return home. We recognize that some students may be unable to return to their permanent residence for various reasons and will need to stay in their residence halls. For instance, some international students will not be able to return home at this time, and some may need to stay at UW-Whitewater for other reasons. University Housing has developed an exemption process for our students. University Housing will email all residents with detailed information and directions regarding the check-out and exemption process. Dining opportunities will be available for those who remain on campus. Please check the Dining Services website for locations.
A decision on spring commencement will be made at a later date, but given the gravity of this situation and the orders from Gov. Evers and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people, we may also be looking at an alternative delivery of commencement as well.
Remember, there is no ceremony requirement to receive your degree. If you are approved for graduation in May and complete your degree requirements, your graduation date will still be May 2020, even if we do not have traditional commencement ceremonies.
Again, no final decision has been made on spring commencement and we will announce the decision at a later date.
We are asking that all non-essential employees make arrangements with their supervisors to work from home as soon as possible. It is important that supervisors encourage all non-essential employees to work from home. This is a compassionate way that each of us can help limit the spread of COVID-19 and practice social distancing.
With the K-12 school closures, I know many of you who will be working from home may also be caring for children. I also know that some of you are worried you won’t be able to work a full day of work. Please, take care of yourselves and your families.
I trust that you will perform your work duties as you are able and when you are able.
I want our supervisors to be supportive and flexible in these extraordinary times. Teams are unlikely to get all arrangements right the first time. Please be flexible, evaluate frequently and adjust as necessary.
Student employees who are able to telecommute should also make arrangements with their supervisors.
ICIT has created a helpful guide for working from home that can be found on the COVID-19 website.
Public spaces such as the University Center, Williams Center, Andersen Library and the Community Engagement Center are closed to the public. This action follows Gov. Evers’ order to limit gatherings to less than 10 people.
We understand there are many more questions and we will update campus as quickly as possible. I encourage our community to check email frequently in the coming days.
There will be a Facebook live session at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 19. We will share information and answer questions. I hope you’ll join us.
Thank you for your assistance in this difficult situation. And please, stay safe and healthy, and take care of yourself and your family. We pride ourselves on being a Warhawk family — let’s live those values now more than ever.
Dr. Dwight C. Watson