WESTERN WISCONSIN (WQOW) - Three UW System schools in western Wisconsin are making plans to be fully back in person come the fall semester.
That was the announcement from UW-Eau Claire, UW-Stout and UW-River Falls on Thursday. The announcement came just hours after UW System interim-President Tommy Thompson called on all UW schools to be at least 75% in-person in the fall.
“The opportunity to engage with their fellow students and our amazing faculty and staff is such a critical part of the Blugold experience, and our community benefits as well as we bring back our students for the fall semester,” said James Schmidt, chancellor at UW-Eau Claire.
UW-Eau Claire officials say roughly 40% of classes are currently in-person, with the rest fully online or a hybrid model. Faculty say the biggest factor in getting to 75% will be vaccination rollout, and they are prepared to shift gears if cases spike again.
"Our plan is to go back to essentially a normal fall semester with normal capacities in the classrooms," said Michael Carney, associate vice chancellor in academic affairs at UW-Eau Claire. "But if it gets to the point where that does not look like it is a good idea, then we will pivot and adjust accordingly."
In a joint statement, Schmidt, UW-Stout Chancellor Katherine Frank and UW-River Falls Chancellor Connie Foster call the plan "a traditional, full college experience."
“As Wisconsin’s polytechnic university, this means students can enjoy a return to lab and studio spaces, thriving residence hall communities and the chance to enjoy the vibrant Menomonie community with its many outdoor amenities,” Frank said.
News 18 will have more on this developing story during our 6 p.m. newscast.