Marquette suspends in-person classes, instruction to be completed online

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Photo by Zach Bukowski

There have been six confirmed cases of the disease in Wisconsin.

In-person classes will be suspended from March 16-20 and all instruction will be completed online until April 10 amid coronavirus concerns, the university announced Thursday in a news release.

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has seen six confirmed cases in Wisconsin, one of which is recovered. There are no confirmed cases of the virus in Milwaukee, according to the release. One case is in Waukesha County, bordering Milwaukee County to the west.

“The highly contagious character of the virus and the danger it can pose to vulnerable populations demand that, as far as possible, we take precautions to protect all members of our Marquette community and those with whom we come in contact from possible infection,” the release said.

The university is directing students who live in residence halls and university-owned apartments to not return to campus before April 10.

Students who live in off-campus housing are able to determine whether to return and are “to avoid campus facilities to the extent possible,” the release said.

Students whose circumstances require them to collect essential belongings in a university residence are able to fill out an online form and gather items March 15.

“It is not our intention to make blanket decisions without taking into account students’ unique circumstances,” the release said.

The changes do not apply to all students. Graduate assistants, teaching assistants and research assistants should work with their supervisors to continue responsibilities, the release said. Experiential learning opportunities that take place off campus, such as internships and clinical rotations, will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Online courses will remain as scheduled.

Students in particular colleges and schools may receive separate communications with additional information specific to their programs.

Marquette is suspending all on-campus university-sponsored events with more than 50 attendees until April 10.

The university is also restricting all nonessential university-sponsored travel until further notice. Trips currently taking place are not being recalled. Any faculty or staff member or student who has traveled internationally or from any domestic states with known community transmission must self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus, the release said.

The majority of cases of coronavirus have been in Washington state, California and New York, according to the CDC.

The Office of International Education is strongly recommending that students currently studying at all locations in continental Europe, excluding Great Britain and Ireland, return immediately to the United States.

“We remain committed to the health, safety and wellbeing of our entire Marquette community, and we will work to ensure that students receive the quality education they demand from us and that they are academically successful and prepared to graduate on schedule,” the release said.

The week of March 16 will be used to develop plans to continue learning and university operations. The release said groups have been working on continuity plans for university business operations as well as on the potential of having faculty and staff work off site.

The decisions were made with the endorsement of the executive committees of the Marquette University Board of Trustees, Academic Senate, Marquette University Student Government, the University Leadership Council, Staff Senate, the Office of Mission and Ministry and the Medical Clinic.

Despite these changes, the release said Marquette will remain open during this period and will aim to continue normal operations.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee extended its spring break by one week and is moving classes online, it announced in a news release Tuesday. One of its employees is being tested for COVID-19, but the case has yet to be confirmed or denied. The University of Wisconsin-Madison also moved all of its classes online through April 10, it announced Wednesday.

Marquette will continue communicating with the campus community through the Marquette Today website and emails, Thursday’s release said. The university will continue updates through its COVID-19 website as well.