UWM announces plans for fall classes, campus operations: 'Face masks will be required'

MILWAUKEE --  The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Wednesday, June 17 announced their plans for falls classes and campus operations. UWM will be open this fall with both in-person and online classes.

Face masks will be required, and university buildings are being modified to encourage social distancing and install plexiglass barriers in high-traffic areas.

“We have given very careful consideration to what is best for our students educationally and to address the health needs of our students, faculty and staff, and our community,” Chancellor Mark Mone said. “We know students and families have been waiting for this announcement, but it was important for us to take the time to get it right. We knew from surveys that our students wanted to be back on campus, but we needed to make sure that we could bring them back in as safe a manner as possible.”

Kaitlyn Linskens

It's music to the ears of some at UWM.

"I'm so excited that we're come back," said student Kaitlyn Linskens.

University residence halls will be open, and student services and activities will be provided online and in person. Their final report is available here.

"We're really moving from a planning phase into an implementation phase," Kelly Haag, chief student affairs officer, said. "All kinds of traffic management, plexiglass ordering, stickers on the floor."

Sandburg Hall

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Planning for the fall started in the middle of the pandemic. 14 teams made up of 140 faculty, staff and students came up with a blueprint that makes changes from extracurriculars to classes.

"We have to look at which course will be offered in a face-to-face format or be offered online, which classrooms we'll go into," said Scott Gronert, dean of the College of Letters & Science.

Class sizes may be smaller or more spread out. Contactless dining will be offered.


Students are looking forward to campus life returning to what it was -- hitting the books and following a new set of rules.

"Let's just try to be safe, adhere to the guidelines and we'll be able to get back to normal I hope," Bret, a UWM student, said.

UWM will follow its original academic calendar, with classes beginning Sept. 2.

UWM release the following information in a press releases: 

Many classes this fall will be offered with a hybrid approach that involves a mix of face-to-face and online instruction. For example, in a Tuesday/Thursday class, half of the students would attend in person on Tuesday and have online instruction on Thursday, while the other half would have the opposite schedule. This approach reduces the number of students present at one time to 50 or fewer and allows for more efficient implementation of social distancing in classrooms. Students with health concerns may request accommodations to complete their coursework online.

Some classes, such as labs and studios, are being structured to meet entirely or almost entirely in person while maintaining social distancing standards. Instructors will be prepared to move the classes online should public health conditions require it.

And, as usual, UWM will offer hundreds of courses entirely online, including all classes with more than 100 students.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, UWM was already home to Wisconsin’s largest online education program with over 850 online classes and more than 40 fully online degrees and certificates. It has been rated Wisconsin’s best online college by TheBestSchools.org and ranked among the nation’s 50 best online bachelor’s programs by U.S. News & World Report.

Preparations for the fall semester have already begun with modifications to university buildings that include the installation of signage and floor markings that indicate where to line up and enter and exit in order to maintain social distance. High-traffic areas, such as the Bursar’s and Registrar’s Offices, will have plexiglass installed at their service counters.

Classrooms will be professionally cleaned at least once per day and stocked with hand sanitizer and disinfectants that students and instructors can use.

Single and double rooms will be available in UWM residence halls, which are suite-style, with two or three bedrooms connected to a bathroom. UWM does not have group showers or large communal restrooms like some other universities.

Dining services in the residence halls and the UWM Student Union are being adapted so meals can be ordered and paid for using a cellphone or other mobile device. Service will be contactless.

Employees and students will be required to wear masks unless they are in a private office or their own residence hall room. Masks also must be worn outside when six feet of distance can’t be maintained.

COVID-19 testing will be available for students with COVID-19 symptoms at UWM’s Norris Health Center, but widespread on-campus testing of people without symptoms is not planned at this time. Students and employees are expected to monitor their health, watch for possible symptoms and stay home if they are sick.

UWM continues to work with local, state and national public health authorities monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and will adjust its plans in accordance with public health guidance. For more information on the fall semester at UWM, please visit uwm.edu/coronavirus/reopening.