NewsLocal News


'We're meeting regularly': College and universities take precautions as coronavirus cases rise

Posted at 7:12 PM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-10 20:39:37-04

Wisconsin's third confirmed case of coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a person in Dane County. The news came less than a day after a second reported case in Pierce County.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services said both people contracted COVID-19 while traveling in the United States. They did not disclose where the patients went.

"They did travel to a domestic location where there is community spread going on," said Traci DeSalvo, Communicable Diseases Epidemiology Section Chief with DHS.

The person who tested positive for COVID-19 reported mild symptoms. They attended the Destination Imagination event at Osceola High School over the weekend. The school district canceled classes for cleaning.

"Each local health department is following up with residents in the community who attended this event, but I want to emphasize, again, the risk to the people that attended this event per CDC guidance is low," said AZ Snyder, Health Officer for Pierce County.

DHS is urging caution for people traveling. They warn those who go to areas in the last two weeks where COVID-19 has been should self-quarantine and monitor symptoms for 14 days.

There are no suspected or confirmed coronavirus cases at Milwaukee School of Engineering, but school leaders are watching the situation closely and taking precautions.

"There's a lot of information coming at us rapidly and every day as a different day, so we're meeting regularly," said Eric Baumgartner, Vice President of Academics at MSOE.

School leaders are telling roughly 20 students overseas in Germany, the Czech Republic, and New Zealand to stay in place. Summer study abroad trips are canceled. MSOE also canceled university-sponsored travel to countries with a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice. International travel by faculty and staff to other countries must be approved.

"Last bit of work, we're starting to plan for a potential closure potential shut down of MSOE as an academic institution. We'd move a lot of our content and our courses to an online or digital format," said Baumgartner.

Milwaukee Area Technical College has similar changes limiting travel. Students that return from CDC Level 2 or 3 areas must contact the school and should self-quarantine and monitor symptoms for 14 days. MATC has not canceled any school-wide or campus-wide events. The school is exploring options to allow employees to work from home.

Report a typo or error // Submit a news tip