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Thompson rejects call to send UW-Madison students home for rest of semester

The Brillion News

MADISON – The day after Dane County Executive Joe Parisi asked the University of Wisconsin to send all of its undergraduate students on the Madison campus home for the rest of the first semester, UW System President Tommy Thompson rejected the idea.

“The rapid increase in positive cases over the past week comes after Dane County had dramatically lowered caseloads through aggressive public health orders aimed at pushing down numbers and rates of infection. We are an interconnected community,” Parisi said on Wednesday, September 9. “The University is an integral piece of our identity as students and staff live, work, and recreate here. Given that, the UW’s experience with

COVID-19 stands to have a profound effect on the health of the greater Dane County community.”

Thompson, however, said he likes a plan announced by UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank to keep students on campus.

In a letter to undergraduate students, she imposed restrictions through September 21.

“I am directing all undergraduate students to restrict their movements over the next two weeks in order to reverse the recent rise in COVID-19 cases,” Blank wrote. “I’m calling on all undergraduate students to severely limit in-person interaction and restrict their movement to that which is required for essential activities only.”

“These steps are not unlike those employed by other universities around the country,” Thompson said. “Students will remain on campus, as recommended by health experts, and UW-Madison will take a two-week period to deliver all courses online, halting in-class delivery out of an abundance of caution.”

Thompson noted that such measures have been effective at other large universities, and he said area hospitals have not experienced a significant surge in patients nor strains on staff and facilities.

Thompson said the other 12 universities in the UW System, and their satellite campuses, are continuing to operate as expected under their own “return to campus” plans.


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