COVID-19 Update: Marquette to reopen for in-person instruction this fall with hybrid and online classes where reasonably possible and reduced number of students living residentially  

Dear Marquette faculty, staff and students:

After much thoughtful and deliberate consultation with the Milwaukee Health Department, our faculty and staff medical experts, and our Board of Trustees — which includes nationally renowned medical leaders — Marquette University will move forward with our plan to reopen campus in-person this fall with fewer students living residentially. We continue to be committed to an on-campus experience. In response to student feedback, we will work with undergraduate students who desire an all online or hybrid experience to find options as we are able.

Our priority is for our students to keep making progress toward their degree completion, providing a top-tier Marquette education while managing these difficult times together. We recognize the path is not the same for every student, so we are offering flexibility and as many choices as we are reasonably able. We care about the emotional, physical and spiritual well-being of each member of our campus community, and our reopening plan seeks to provide the best balance of options that we are able.

Here’s what that means for fall semester:

  • We will offer a mixture of in-person, hybrid and fully online learning options for students where reasonably possible. Additional hybrid and online learning sections will be added as necessary and where possible to meet student demand.
  • Undergraduate students will receive additional information on options related to class modalities later today and graduate students will receive more information later this week (law students received such information last week and dental students will receive information at an upcoming orientation). Students are encouraged to check with an academic adviser to discuss implications before making schedule changes.
  • First-year undergraduate students who choose to take a fully online course schedule can waive their residential living requirement for this academic year and remain in their permanent place of residence rather than live on campus. First-year students taking any in-person or hybrid classes must stay in the university residence halls. First-year undergraduate students will receive an email later today with specific information and next steps.
  • Sophomore students will have the option to be released from their residential living requirement for this academic year, regardless of whether taking in-person or fully online classes. Sophomore students can opt to retain their residence hall assignment, choose to live in university apartments or off-campus housing, or remain in their permanent place of residence. Sophomore undergraduate students will receive an email later today with specific information and next steps.
  • Undergraduate juniors and seniors in Marquette-operated apartments will have the option to be released from their leases if they choose to take a fully online course schedule. Students with leases at The Marq and other non-Marquette-operated apartments will need to work with their landlords.

Marquette will provide an increased level of medical care for our students by adding additional staff to the Marquette University Medical Clinic and contracting with other medical entities to offer additional services. More information will be shared as these plans are finalized in the coming weeks.

Marquette’s Recovery Plan is a phased approach, which allows for the ability to move from one step in the plan to the next, and step back, if needed. In consultation with the Medical College of Wisconsin, the university has developed five gating criteria to determine when and how to reassess our current state. The five gating criteria are: testing results timing, percentage of positive tests, quarantine/isolation capacity, access to personal protective equipment and percentage of contacts reached within a 24-hour period when a positive case is confirmed.

Detailed information about Step 4 of our Recovery Plan will be available on our COVID-19 website in the next week. In the meantime, below is an overview of what we can all expect this fall, with additional information and FAQs on the COVID-19 website.

Our responsibility to each other

  • A healthy campus is our shared responsibility. In the spirit of cura personalis, we must each do our part and together we can reduce the spread of the virus. We are asking all students, faculty and staff to take a Marquette pledge to promote health and safety practices that mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Without this commitment, the university may have to scale back the number of people on campus or move to a fully online environment as we did this spring.
  • All students will be required to complete an online COVID-19 education module before the start of the semester. This applies to students who have already been back on campus for instruction or student employment.
  • All students living locally will be provided a welcome kit that includes a Marquette cloth mask, hand sanitizer and a digital thermometer. Welcome kits will be available in the residence halls and at several locations throughout campus for pickup.
  • All employees who are working on campus must complete virtual training provided by Human Resources before returning to campus. Remote work will continue for various departments on campus to de-densify campus.
  • When in shared or public areas of campus and in the presence of others, a cloth face covering must be worn. This aligns with the city and state’s mask ordinance.
  • Individuals should stay at least six feet apart when in a public or shared setting.
  • Hand sanitizer and wipes will be available for faculty, staff and students at locations throughout campus.

Symptom screening, testing, contact tracing and quarantine procedures

  • All faculty, staff and students on-campus will undergo a daily screening process for COVID-19. Qualtrics software will be utilized to aid this process and help with contact tracing. More information will be shared in the coming week.
  • An on-campus testing center to test symptomatic students and their close contacts is being established. The testing center will be managed by the Marquette University Medical Clinic in coordination with the Marquette Department of Clinical Laboratory Science. As required by law, test results will be provided to the Milwaukee Health Department and State of Wisconsin.
  • For students living in residence halls, Marquette has identified rooms in residence halls and near campus to isolate infected students, and to quarantine close contacts, as needed. Students living in off-campus housing will be able to request quarantine or isolation space from the university if their current living situation does not allow for such space. Families are encouraged to discuss their plans in case of quarantine or isolation of the student is required.
  • Faculty, staff and students are asked to complete this form to voluntarily disclose whether they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, are presumed positive or have been exposed to the virus. This will aid in earlier identification of cases and allow efficient contact tracing and therefore decreased transmission.
  • To provide transparency around the number of faculty, staff and student COVID-19 cases on or near campus, the university has launched a coronavirus dashboard that is updated weekly, consistent with local government updates.

Academic instruction and research

  • A mixture of in-person, hybrid and remote instruction will provide physical distancing to decrease transmission of COVID-19. Students have the ability to update their class schedules based on instruction modality where new options are available.
  • Following city guidelines, classroom capacities have been reduced to be the lesser of 50% of the total capacity or one person per 30 square feet. In-person classes will have no more than 50 people, appropriately physically distanced. Classroom furniture will be reconfigured in some rooms to create appropriate physical distancing.
  • Cloth face coverings are required in classrooms as in all public and shared spaces on campus.
  • Hand sanitizer and wipes will be available for individuals to clean their seats and work areas in classrooms prior to the start of class.
  • All active classrooms will be cleaned and disinfected daily.
  • Academic research will continue following appropriate safety and health guidelines.

Student life and co-curricular activities

  • The common areas of residence halls and university apartments will be de-densified, with signage to explain the adjusted capacity and to designate appropriate physical distancing.
  • Marquette is working closely with Sodexo, our dining services partner, to reduce seating, add physically distanced seating areas (where possible and especially during peak times), increase online ordering, and add more takeout/grab-and-go options.
  • Fitness facility capacities will be reduced, and in-person meetings and events for student organizations, worship and other campus co-curricular activities will be limited and planned virtually to implement proper physical distancing measures.

It is clear the fall 2020 semester will be unlike any other in our history. To live the truest sense of cura personalis, we will all need to make sacrifices and change our behaviors to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect our community. While the upcoming semester will surely look and feel different, one thing will always remain the same — our commitment to delivering a transformative Catholic, Jesuit education for every student.

Thank you for your patience, flexibility, and commitment to each other’s health and safety during a very challenging and unpredictable time.


Dr. Michael R. Lovell

Dr. Kimo Ah Yun
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs