Thompson wants 75% of fall UW classes in-person

NOW: Thompson wants 75% of fall UW classes in-person


MADISON, Wis. (AP) — University of Wisconsin System President Tommy Thompson says he wants 75% of classes to be taught in person this fall.

Thompson wrote in a column released to the public Thursday that he's directed system campuses to ensure students will have what he called "as classic a UW campus experience as possible."

Thompson says the system's aggressive testing protocols, social distancing and masks have kept COVID-19 infection rates low.

"The testing positive rate of students coming down with infection is below 1 percent, below 1 percent. That is a tremendous figure," said Thompson. 

He also believes the vaccine will help. He says the time has come to resume as much of an in-person campus experience as possible this fall.

"With the vaccination rate, with the testing we're going to keep doing, we think we've got this thing somewhat controlled and therefore we want to make sure the students get the best education possible."

"Well, ya know, this once again comes back to the crystal ball of all of the many different factors that influence whether that will be safe or not," said Wisconsin Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk. 

She says there is some encouraging information to support we'll be in a much better place this fall. 

"If we continue to see the reduction in cases that we are seeing now, I think we're going to be in much better shape to be looking at more in-person instruction at the collegiate level as well as the K-12 level," she said, "We're going be looking at a place where it's more likely that people will be going to work and be person-to-person, but it will depend on the ongoing access to vaccine and increasing vaccination rates."

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