MILWAUKEE — UW-Milwaukee is extending its spring break and preparing to suspend in-person classes due to a university employee who became sick after making contact with someone returning from a country affected by COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.
Following spring break, which has been extended one week to March 29, the university is preparing to hold most of its classes online, Chancellor Mark Mone said at a news conference.
The move is being made out of an abundance of caution after a university employee who works for the university's foundation was in contact with someone recently returned from a Level 3 country. The employee has now been tested for COVID-19. The results of this test won't be known until later this week.
All classes will be held as scheduled until spring break starts on March 15. Additional information on plans for after spring break will be shared with students and others later this week.
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Three total cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Wisconsin so far. Two are currently active - one in Dane County, and one in Pierce County. A third case in Dane County has since recovered and tested negative for the disease.
UWM joins a growing list of major colleges across the country that have made the move to suspend in-person classes, including Harvard, Princeton, Indiana University, and dozens of other institutions.
The Department of Health Services says that if the COVID-19 virus begins to spread further throughout the state, public health officials may consider temporary closures of child care facilities, encouraging workplace social distancing and measures such as modifying or postponing mass gatherings.
The DHS also says people who have traveled to high-risk countries with active cases of COVID-19 in the past 14 days should self-monitor and self-quarantine themselves. If you or anyone you know has symptoms, like fever, cough, or breathing problems, contact your local health department and health care provider for possible testing.
To avoid getting sick be sure to wash your hand thoroughly, cover coughs and sneezes, avoid touching your face and stay home when sick.