Clarification on city health order; university continues to discuss with health department and plan for fall 2020

The university is aware that many questions remain regarding Marquette’s plans for the fall 2020 semester, some spurred by a recent article about the City of Milwaukee’s June 25 health order in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Indeed, this story, Milwaukee Public Schools’ decision to begin its term remotely, and the rise in COVID-19 positive cases in the city and state have made Marquette’s situation less clear. What is certain is that the city’s current health order, which has been in place since June 25, did not change last week, nor does it preclude Marquette from continuing to plan for the best-case scenario of in-person instruction this fall. In this way, Marquette is no different than any other organization — educational or otherwise — that has a duty to its community to think proactively and plan ahead. If the university does not plan this summer, we will not have the ability to open this fall if the city’s guidelines change — it would simply be too difficult on such a short time frame.

In short, Marquette will keep moving forward with our planning efforts and continue conversations with health experts, the Milwaukee Health Department and the City of Milwaukee. The university will reassess and make a decision about fall 2020 during the first week of August.

The majority of our students have made it clear they want to return to in-person instruction in the fall. We engage our students as adults who we believe are capable of following a new community contract that would require all of us to change our behaviors to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable among us.

The events of this past spring clearly demonstrated how much circumstances can change in the matter of only a few weeks. The planning we are doing now permits us to adapt however the circumstances do change. At the moment, health experts are hopeful that COVID-19 numbers will start to level off and decline in the wake of the city’s new mask ordinance — this is encouraging news.

As we continue to work through this unprecedented uncertainty, please refer to Marquette’s COVID-19 website, which is updated daily.