Dear Marquette students,
First, we’d like to thank you all for your work to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on our campus and in our community. Your efforts in following campus and public health guidelines have allowed us to provide an in-person, on-campus experience this fall semester.
However, with fewer than three weeks of in-person instruction remaining, it’s clear that you need to be more vigilant than ever to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our community and to help protect you and your families when you return home.
Cases of COVID-19 in the City of Milwaukee and the State of Wisconsin continue to climb and set new records. As noted on the dashboard, Marquette mirrors this trend.
To be clear: none of these cases on campus were due to transmission in classroom or laboratory settings. The increase in cases came from off-campus gatherings and situations where students did not follow university and public health protocols. Specifically, off-campus parties (including those over Halloween weekend) are primary causes for the increased cases and positivity rates on campus.
Because of the increase of cases in our community, the university has moved its COVID-19 alert level from Moderate to High.
In response to this heightened alert level, the university has implemented the following changes, effective immediately:
- Indoor gathering spaces may only be used if monitored by a faculty or staff member. If a faculty or staff monitor is not available, the rooms will be closed.
- All advising, academic meetings and tutoring will move to virtual-only meetings unless in-person is absolutely necessary and is endorsed by a department chair or college dean.
- All club and organization meetings and non-academic advising meetings must be virtual.
- All group Department of Recreational Sports activities have been canceled. Individual fitness activities remain available.
- MUPD will increase enforcement related to off-campus parties.
Classrooms—including virtual learning rooms—will remain open, and in-person classes will continue. The Raynor Memorial Library and dining halls will also remain open. These spaces are properly set up for physical distancing and maintained according to public health guidelines. There has been no evidence of spread in these areas.
Steps to stop the spread
We also want to highlight the importance of self-responsibility to limit the spread of the virus in our community and to protect your families when you return home. We are asking you to do your part.
Here are four steps that you should take now to provide a safe transition home for winter break:
- Identify and limit your social circle.
In his radio address on Nov. 5, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers suggested limiting social interactions to a circle of five. By specifically identifying your social circle and limiting gatherings to this circle, you limit potential spread, provide better ability for contact tracing and protect yourself, your family and your friends when you return home for break.
- Wear a mask and physically distance at all times.
It’s easy to fall into the mindset that masks and distancing protocols aren’t necessary when you’re with close friends. However, in order to keep your friends, your families and our community safe, we must all do our part by following mask and physical distancing protocols—no matter who we’re with.
- Stay home whenever possible.
Consider virtual visits with friends and family, use telehealth when possible for doctor’s visits, use grab-and-go or delivery options for food and limit trips to the store for essential items. The more you stay home, the more you limit potential spread.
- If you’re sick, stay home and get tested.
If positive, complete the self-disclosure form. It’s important to provide your close contacts to further decrease transmission on campus.
We are asking you to re-dedicate yourselves to these practices so that everyone may reach their final day of instruction as planned. The only way we can reach this goal is through a continued commitment to mask wearing, physical distancing, proper hygiene, staying home whenever possible, getting tested if symptomatic, and complying with contact tracing, quarantine and isolation protocols.
You make the difference. Your commitment to these steps and protocols will ensure a smooth transition to the end of the semester, and will keep you, your friends, and your families safe and healthy. We know you can do this—we are almost there!
Dr. Michael R. Lovell
Dr. Kimo Ah Yun
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer