Marquette University suspends in-person classes through end of spring semester, postpones commencement

Updated: 4:13 p.m. on March 23, 2020

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Marquette University has made the decision to extend remote learning until May 10, the end of the spring semester. 

This includes final exams, which will be taken online or through a remote learning method determined by instructors.

The university also announced that in-person commencement ceremonies will be postponed, possibly until August. A team will be working on options and gathering feedback from spring 2020 graduates.

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Posted: 11:58 a.m. on March 12, 2020

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Marquette University announced changes to their schedule on Thursday, March 12, over coronavirus concerns. 

A news release from the school said, after careful consideration of the many dimensions of our campus life, MU's mission to our students, and responsibility to one another, and based on clear and convincing medical evidence about the university’s ability to contain a spread of the virus on campus.

Here's a breakdown of the changes: 

  • From March 16 through March 20, in-person classes are suspended. Faculty will receive training in online course deployment and will be working to develop a plan for moving instruction online. This is NOT an extension of spring break; students should complete their assigned readings and coursework. Faculty will follow up with specific instructions for their classes.
  • From March 23 through April 10, all instruction will be accomplished online.
  • Students who live in on-campus residence halls and university-owned apartments are directed not to return to campus before April 10. Those who live in off-campus housing are asked to use their best judgment on whether to return and to avoid campus facilities to the extent possible.
  • The university is suspending all on-campus university-sponsored events with more than 50attendees until at least April 10.

The news release said, throughout this period, MU will assess our options for the remainder of the semester based on the spread of the virus. These decisions were made with the endorsement of the executive committees of the Marquette University Board of Trustees, Academic Senate and Student Government; as well as the University Leadership Council; Staff Senate; the Office of Mission and Ministry; and the Marquette University Medical Clinic.

It is not our intention to make blanket decisions without taking into account students’ unique circumstances. Students whose circumstances require them to return to their on-campus residence to retrieve essential items should fill out this form so that we can communicate directly with them about proper protocols and provide appropriate support. Students whose circumstances require them to return to their on-campus residence to collect essential belongings should arrive on Sunday, March 15, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Staff will provide direction at the front desk.

There are several important things to know:

  • Next week (the week of March 16) will be used to develop plans for continuity of learning and university operations. Work groups are addressing continuity plans for business operations and potentially having faculty and staff work off-site, depending on the impacts of the virus. As the university is continuing its operations, faculty and staff are expected to work during this time. In the spirit of cura personalis, any employee who feels uncomfortable coming into work can talk with their supervisor about working from home.
  • Not all students are affected by this decision. Please see below for exceptions.
  • During this period, the university remains open. To the extent possible, we will aim to continue with normal operations, although we recognize that usual business may need to be conducted by phone/virtual meetings. We know that many students have appointments scheduled on campus in the coming weeks — with advisers, Counseling Center staff, the Office of Student Affairs, etc. We encourage students to keep those scheduled appointments by phone/video meetings if you can do so and if the faculty and staff you are meeting with are able to accommodate the appointments through alternate means.
  • The following resources are available for those who need support:
    • Office of International Education
    • Division of Student Affairs
    • Counseling Center (students)
    • Employee Assistance Program (faculty and staff)
    • Campus Ministry (students)
    • Faber Center (faculty and staff)

It is important to note that this suspension of in-person instruction and on-campus learning does not apply to:

  • Graduate assistants, teaching assistants and research assistants should work with their department chairs or direct supervisors to continue their responsibilities
  • Scheduled online courses
  • In-progress research activities (unless otherwise directed by the faculty members leading the research teams)
  • On-campus clinics are working to determine their operations going forward, and that information will be communicated in the near-term
  • Experiential learning opportunities that take place off campus, such as internships, clinical rotations, student teaching, etc., will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Students should contact their Dean’s Office for further instructions.

New travel restrictions
As noted yesterday, Marquette is restricting all new, non-essential university-sponsored travel (domestic and international) until further notice. Trips currently taking place are not being recalled. This difficult decision was made in consultation with our campus’ infectious disease experts in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. Faculty and staff should work with their supervisors to determine which travel is essential.

Any faculty, student or staff who has traveled internationally, including cruise ship travel, or from any domestic states with known community transmission) MUST SELF-QUARANTINE for 14 days before returning to campus. Those who are 14 days symptom free may return to campus. You can work and learn online per university policy. Visitors to Marquette are being asked to follow these same guidelines. Visitors to Marquette are being asked to follow these same guidelines.

Additionally, the Office of International Education is strongly recommending that students currently studying at all locations in continental Europe (excluding Great Britain and Ireland) return immediately to the United States.

Communication going forward
We understand that these decisions have campuswide implications, many of them interdependent. We have a dedicated team working through these complex issues to identify the best courses of action in the coming days and weeks. We will follow up with additional information soon and are updating the FAQs on our COVID-19 website. Our top priority today was letting you know this decision as soon as possible so you that you may plan ahead.

Further, going forward, we will be providing frequent updates via Marquette Today all-campus emails, as well as campuswide emails when there is breaking news or urgent decisions to announce. We will also update our COVID-19 website as soon as possible to reflect all of these changes. Additional questions can be directed to Marquette Central at (414) 288-4000. Students in particular colleges and schools also may receive separate communications from their deans’ offices with additional program-specific information.

In keeping with the long tradition of Jesuit missionary efforts, we are addressing this evolving situation according to our guiding principles, but with the flexibility to adapt nimbly as conditions change. We ask your continued patience as leaders and medical professionals work through this complicated issue. We remain committed to the health, safety and wellbeing of our entire Marquette community, and we will work to ensure that students receive the quality education they demand from us and that they are academically successful and prepared to graduate on schedule.

We offer our prayers for healthy days and months ahead.

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