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With students' return, colleges try to control spread of COVID-19

Downtown skyline with Buildings in Milwaukee USA
Posted at 6:05 PM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 19:05:12-04

MILWAUKEE — College campuses face challenges balancing COVID-19 mitigation efforts and student behavior.

"We have seen a number of videos of parties and things that had occurred over the weekend. And we, again, just want to appeal to our community that we all have a responsibility here for reducing the risk of COVID-19," said Jeanette Kowalik, Milwaukee's Health Commissioner, during a briefing on Tuesday.

Following the Labor Day weekend, Kowalik pleaded with college communities to continue taking precautions to deter the spread of the virus, adding her department has received complaints from college students concerned about safety.

"We have been working on having some follow-up conversations with some school administrators about some of the complaints and things that we've seen," said Kowalik.

Carroll University in Waukesha recently suspended three students for a semester. According to a statement from the school, the students violated the school’s code of conduct for COVID-19 by hosting an unsanctioned off-campus event without social distancing or masks.

Colleges in southeast Wisconsin are reporting positive COVID-19 cases since school started. That includes the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette University, and Carthage College.

Officials at Cardinal Stritch University in Fox Point say as of Tuesday they have no positive COVID-19 cases to report.

"We are continually appealing to the idea that this is this is for the moment. It’s the COVID-19 moment we’re living in and we’re asking everybody to just please be careful and use good judgment, and so far we’ve been pleased with the results," said Dan Scholz, interim President at Cardinal Stritch University.

Back at UW-Milwaukee, efforts to control the virus are ramping up. Campus police plan to increase efforts in the surrounding neighborhoods to encourage social distancing and deter large gatherings.

"We’re intervening at a lower level, a more educational level- talking with explaining to them, helping people understand this isn’t just about you," said Chief Joseph Lemire with UWM Police.

UW-Milwaukee will also implement mandatory testing for students living in residence halls within the next week.

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