UW System

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The University of Wisconsin-Madison's chancellor on Monday pushed back against repeated calls from Dane County's top leaders to close the campus to slow COVID-19, saying he needs to stop wishing students were gone and crack down on off-campus gatherings.

Rebecca Blank's remarks are the latest in an escalating war of words with Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, who has complained that the rash of student infections since campus opened several weeks ago are skewing the county's case numbers upward.

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The University of Wisconsin-Madison decided Monday to eliminate spring break next semester in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The university's Faculty Senate voted 140-7 to erase the nine-day break from the 2021 spring calendar. Officials said the move is designed to discourage students and staff from traveling long distances and bringing the virus that causes COVID-19 back to campus, officials said.

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Updated 9:20 p.m.

UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank announced Wednesday evening that due to increasing COVID-19 cases among students, the university would shift to remote instruction for two weeks.

Students in two residence halls, Sellery and Witte, will also be quarantined for two weeks and tested for the virus. Blank said, this is because a rising number of positive COVID tests are now occurring in the on-campus population.

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Whether college campuses can stay open safely during this pandemic is becoming more uncertain as the fall semester gets underway.

On Monday, UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank sent an urgent directive to undergrad students: limit your social activity for the next 14 days or risk campus shutting down.

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The University of Wisconsin System’s new interim leader wants to expand a free tuition promise program for low and moderate-income students to all UW campuses in the coming years. But it’s dependent on funding that may be difficult to procure during the COVID-19 crisis.

Lauren Sigfusson / WUWM

University of Wisconsin campuses will test students living in dorms for COVID-19 every two weeks, under a new plan announced Thursday. The plan applies to all UW schools except Madison, which has its own testing procedures for the fall semester.

Lauren Sigfusson / WUWM

A cloud of financial trouble is hanging over the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as it plans for its first full semester in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lauren Sigfusson / WUWM

The University of Wisconsin System is forging ahead with plans for a combination of in-person and online classes this fall.

Some universities in other states have walked back their plans for in-person learning out of concern about rising coronavirus infections.

Lauren Sigfusson / WUWM

Updated on July 14 at 3:27 p.m. CT

The Trump administration dropped its plans to impose restrictions on the number of online classes international students in the U.S. are allowed to take in the upcoming school year. The reversal was announced at a hearing in the lawsuit brought against federal officials by Harvard and MIT. 

Monique Musick

Jim Johnsen, the embattled University of Alaska president whose term has been marked by no-confidence votes from the faculty amid deep budget cuts, has resigned, the university announced Monday.

The change in leadership was a mutual decision made after Johnsen consulted with the Board of Regents, according to a statement. His biography was immediately removed from the university’s web page.

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The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents is hiring one of Wisconsin’s most well-known politicians to the role of system president. Former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson will lead the UW System for at least a year, beginning in July.

>>Regents Select Tommy Thompson As Interim UW President

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Updated at 12:46 p.m. CT

The University of Wisconsin System regents' leader has picked Republican darling Tommy Thompson as the system's interim president, delivering another twist in what has become a messy search to replace outgoing President Ray Cross during the coronavirus pandemic.

Emily Files / WUWM

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will reopen its campus for the fall semester, with a slew of safety precautions to protect against the transmission of COVID-19.

Students and staff will be required to wear masks indoors. Classrooms will be reconfigured for social distancing. And large-enrollment courses will remain online.

In a normal semester at UWM, about 20% of classes are online. But this fall, the number will be reversed, according to Scott Gronert, dean of UWM’s College of Letters and Sciences.

Emily Files / WUWM

The UW System announced Sunday that all campuses would have some degree of in-person instruction this fall.

Leaders on each campus will make their own decisions on what exactly the fall semester will look like. But the system administration has released guidelines for how to reopen in the safest way possible.

Monique Musick

Updated Friday at 10:23 a.m. CT

Jim Johnsen withdrew from the search for University of Wisconsin System president on Friday. He was the lone finalist, drawing criticism from UW System faculty and staff.

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