MADISON — The chancellor of UW-Madison is calling all undergraduate students to "severely" limit in-person interaction and restrict their movements amid rising COVID-19 cases in the university.
In a letter to students, faculty and staff on Monday, Chancellor Rebecca Blank said that testing statistics over the last five days "have not been good" and warned that rising coronavirus cases "threaten our ability to continue a semester where campus is open to students."
Effective at 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 7, through 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21, all undergraduate students are required to limit their in-person interactions with other people, Blank announced,
Blank explained the rising cases are especially prevalent among students living off-campus, and can be linked to students not wearing face masks or practicing social distancing.
"Unfortunately, too many students have chosen to host or participate in social gatherings that seem to demonstrate a high disregard for the seriousness of this virus and the risk to our entire community," Blank warned the community in the letter.
According to the university's COVID-19 dashboard, reported cases have skyrocketed over the last five days, starting around Sept. 1. The fall semester, not surprisingly, started the next day, on Sept 2.
Blank continued that the university has reached a point where, if they do not level the rising number of cases, campus may have to be closed.
Blank asks students to only leave their residences for the following activities:
- Participating in academic activities including classes, studying or research; in-person classes will continue and study spaces will remain open; there is no evidence of virus transmission in these activities
- Receiving a COVID-19 test or other medical care
- Purchasing food
- Going to your on- or off-campus job
- Engaging in an individual outdoor activity, such as running or walking
- Attending a religious observance
The university is taking the following actions to support this two-week effort:
- All in-person social events are cancelled.
- All other student meetings, with the exception of in-person and hybrid classes, should be held online only
- All registered student organization (RSO) events will be online only
- All RecWell facilities will be closed during this time period
- Union dining facilities will be carry-out only
- No visitors will be allowed in the residence halls