Aug. 27, 2020

Dear MSOE Community,

One week from today our freshmen will begin the process of moving into the residence halls. We are excited to welcome them to campus! Our Residence Life team has laid out a very detailed and organized plan to help the process flow smoothly and safely.

Each of us plays an important role in keeping our community healthy, safe and open! I ask that you be an ally. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Stay away from high-risk situations. Monitor your symptoms. Follow the Raider Responsibility Pledge.

We have spent months preparing for this time, but it is near impossible to anticipate every situation. As you see areas for improvement, please work with your supervisor and/or use the Raider Return Suggestion Form.

While all of our offices are open for business, how we interact with the different areas of campus may be different. For example, you may need to schedule an appointment in advance for things like financial aid counseling, technical support or counseling services instead of “dropping in”. You can find more information about this here: Accessing Campus Offices.

In closing, we are living and working in a completely new environment. None of us has ever experienced a pandemic situation, and I ask for your patience as we navigate these new opportunities to be extraordinary together. There is no doubt we will face some challenges in the coming weeks. It is incumbent upon each of us to adhere to the protocols that have been laid out so we can have a successful and healthy academic year.

Thank you all for your cooperation. I look forward to greeting everyone (from a socially safe distance) soon!

Sincerely,
John Y. Walz
MSOE President

Aug. 13, 2020

 Dear MSOE Community,

I am happy to be able to report that the Milwaukee Health Department has approved MSOE’s plan for reopening for the fall 2020 quarter. This means we will move forward with hybrid instruction for this term. You will find complete details in the Raider Return Plan

Our plan outlines policies and procedures that will keep MSOE students, faculty and staff safe in the classroom, across campus and in the residence halls. Policies and procedures outlined in the plan include, but are not limited to:

  • In-person classroom/laboratory meetings will focus on the hands-on, application-oriented activities. We are reducing density in these educational spaces to allow for proper social distancing.
  • Faculty will utilize digital and online formats to supplement in-person activities and to deliver most of the lecture-based content.
  • We are implementing one-way foot traffic in the buildings where possible and encouraging social distancing in common areas.
  • Additional hand sanitizers have been added in stairs, elevator lobbies and all other building common areas. We also implemented enhanced cleaning guidelines for high traffic and high-touch areas.
  • Facial coverings are required.
  • Faculty, staff and students will receive two facial coverings and a thermometer to do daily temperature checks.
  • Plans are in place for contact tracing and procedures if someone is experiencing symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19.

The full Raider Return Plan provides additional in-depth details to ensure safety across campus.

The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff are our top priority. We would not be reopening if we were not confident in our ability to keep students, faculty and staff safe.

We have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions, and encourage you to continue using the suggestion form to submit your suggestions and questions.

Thank you everyone for your continued work and dedication as we prepare to reopen this fall.

Sincerely,
John Y. Walz
MSOE President

July 23, 2020

The City of Milwaukee has announced that they will allow colleges and universities to reopen pending approval of each institution’s reopening plan by the Milwaukee Health Department. We are in communication with the Health Department and will be submitting the MSOE Raider Return Plan for review very shortly. We look forward to a positive response. 

I want to again emphasize that we would not be reopening if we were not confident in our ability to keep our students, faculty and staff safe. While we are eager to welcome students back to campus, this fall term will be unlike any other, as there will be numerous structural and operational safeguards in place to support appropriate safety measures while still providing the outstanding education that distinguishes our institution.

Regards,
John Walz

July 17, 2020

Dear MSOE Community,

I sincerely thank each of our faculty and staff members for the time and effort they are putting in to prepare our campus and courses for the return of students this fall. We’ve been diligent in our plans to safely reopen campus and give our students the MSOE education they expect. The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff are a top priority.

The same work is happening at colleges and universities throughout southeastern Wisconsin. At MSOE, we continue to plan as though students will physically return to campus and take courses in a hybrid format, ensuring that CDC and other governmental guidelines are followed.

However, under the City of Milwaukee’s current orders, institutions of higher education are not allowed to reopen until the city reaches Phase 5 of its reopening plan. I, along with the presidents and leaders of 19 southeastern Wisconsin colleges, universities, professional organizations and economic development groups, have united in our request to the City of Milwaukee to amend their plan to allow our universities to reopen.

We hope the City will respond quickly to our request. I will share more information once it is available.

Sincerely,
John Walz

July 16, 2020

Our Raider Return Task Force continues its work to ready the campus for the return of students, faculty and staff.   As mentioned in our last update, MSOE has instituted a Facial Covering Policy. Since then the City of Milwaukee has passed an ordinance requiring masks in the city. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with this information.

Next week, two masks will be sent to all employees via interoffice mail so they will be ready for you when you come to campus. Details are forthcoming for student mask distribution.   

Here are some of the FAQ’s we’ve received about campus cleaning:  

How is MSOE cleaning and disinfecting buildings across campus?   

In addition to the routine custodial cleaning schedule, the university has implemented an enhanced cleaning frequency to clean and disinfect common areas and commonly touched surfaces in occupied buildings. Touchpoints such as entrance handles, handrails, elevator buttons, tables, restroom stall handles/doors are being cleaned at least once daily, five days a week, using EPA-registered disinfectants. Each person is encouraged to use hand sanitizer and wash their hands frequently.  

What can I do to help?  

Classrooms, Laboratories, Meeting Rooms
We are asking faculty and staff to help keep everyone healthy by thoroughly cleaning classrooms, laboratories and meeting rooms when they are done using the space. Terminator disinfectant, disposable paper towels, and cleaning instructions will be made available in these spaces before the start of the school year. Terminator is a heavy-duty disinfectant, cleaner, sanitizer and deodorizer. It is an effective one-step disinfectant designed for use in schools, nursing homes, hospitals, residential facilities, health clubs and more.  

Printers/Copiers
Procedures are being developed to clean printers and copy machines on a regular basis, but they will not be cleaned in between each use. You are encouraged to bring a stylus to reduce the number of times you have to physically touch the device, and to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after using the device.

Will additional hand sanitizer stations be installed?

MSOE installed more than 40 additional dispenser stations containing alcohol-based hand sanitizer throughout campus, and will continue to review needs. Dispenser stations are available at building entrances and elevators, near time clocks, and other frequently visited locations. It is recommended that each person carries their own hand sanitizer bottle as well. Although hand sanitizer can help prevent the spread of the virus, practicing the CDC’s proper hand-washing technique is considered to be more effective.

How can I disinfect my personal workspace?

Clean commonly touched surfaces several times per day this includes door handles, desks, tables, chair arms, phones, remote controls, printers, copiers and computer equipment. MSOE recommends that departments or units purchase EPA-registered disinfectants such as single-use disinfectant wipes and multi-surface spray cleaners. Always use cleaning products as recommended on manufacturer labels, including wearing disposable gloves where directed.  

Wash hands thoroughly on a routine basis as well as after cleaning. Handwashing should include the use of regular soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. If soap is not immediately available, use hand sanitizer with 70% alcohol content or greater.

July 2, 2020

MSOE Facial Covering Policy

Effective July 6, 2020 and until further notice, Milwaukee School of Engineering will enforce a policy mandating that all students, faculty, staff, contractors and campus visitors wear a facial covering (1) when they are inside university buildings and vehicles, and (2) when they are outdoors on campus and social distancing of at least six feet is not possible. Facial coverings must cover the nose and mouth. 

Facial coverings may only be removed when an individual is alone in a room, more than six feet from other people when outside, or participating in activities in which facial coverings cannot practically be worn, such as eating or drinking.

You can find the complete policy online.

As a courtesy, MSOE will provide two washable cloth masks to each student and employee. If you are unable to wash these masks on a daily basis, you are required to provide additional facial coverings for yourself.  The masks are currently on order. When they arrive on campus, details will be provided via email on how to obtain your masks.

Building Access

The Raider Return Task Force is designating foot traffic patterns to help individuals move safely throughout campus buildings. This includes one-way traffic on stairwells, some elevators, and through building entrances/exits. Signage will be installed over the next few weeks

MSOE is continuing its phased approach to re-opening campus buildings within the city’s health order. If your department is interested in reopening, please send your reopening plan to Dr. Eric Baumgartner for review by the Raider Return Task Force. Faculty, staff and students are required to continue to work from home until their return to campus plan has been approved unless their job does not warrant this option. Please contact your supervisor if you have any questions.

The Grohmann Museum is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed July 3-4 for the holiday).

The Kern Center will open with limited capacity to current MSOE faculty, staff and students July 6. No guest passes will be issued. Hours, guidelines and restrictions are posted on the Kern Center website.

June 18, 2020

Health Guidelines and Social Considerations    

As previously noted, everyone on the MSOE campus is strongly encouraged to wear a mask or facial covering whenever they are in the presence of others and to maintain proper social distancing. This recommendation is made based on guidance from the CDC.  

The City of Milwaukee’s Moving Milwaukee Forward Safely plan transitioned from Phase 2 to Phase 3 on June 5. This phase allows non-essential business to open as long as they abide by certain gathering size limits, protective measures and safe business practices. The order utilizes data-driven gating criteria that align with federal and state guidance.  

MSOE is also implementing a phased approach to re-opening campus buildings within Phase 3 of the city’s health order once these reopening plans have been reviewed and approved by the Raider Return Task Force which is meeting weekly throughout the summer. Please send your reopening plan to Dr. Eric Baumgartner at baumgartner@msoe.edu if you wish to present your plan to the Raider Return Task Force. Faculty, staff and students are required to continue to work from home until their return to campus plan has been approved.  

Building Access  

As such, we are excited to announce that the Grohmann Museum and the Kern Center will soon resume limited operations.   

The Grohmann Museum will formally reopen Tuesday, June 30 with limited hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Attendance will be limited to 120 patrons, and only one group (attending together) will be allowed in each gallery at a time. Families/groups must stay together and attend to standard museum etiquette. All tours and events have been canceled through Sept. 7, 2020.   

The Kern Center will open with limited capacity the week of July 6. The building will be open only to current MSOE students, faculty and staff, and they must use their MSOE ID card to self-swipe at the front desk to gain access into the workout areas. Only the weight room area near the main entrance, the cardio ellipse and the track workout spaces will be open. No guest passes will be issued. Hours:  

Monday, July 6 – 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
Tuesday, July 7 – 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. 
Wednesday, July 8 – 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
Thursday, July 9 – 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. 
Friday, July 10 – 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
Closed: July 11-14 to analyze facility usage from the previous week and to make any needed adjustments 

Kern Center staff will implement safety measures including enhanced cleaning protocols, increased spacing between equipment and more. Users are expected to come dressed to work out, bring their own towel and water bottle, and to wipe down the equipment before and after usage. There may be time limits on machines or equipment, and equipment will not be available for checkout. Locker rooms and showers will not be available. Additionally, workout times may be restricted to MSOE athletic teams. For a complete listing of guidelines and restrictions, please visit the Kern Center web page.

The building will re-open Wednesday, July 1 5 for current MSOE faculty, staff and students with a valid MSOE ID. It will be open Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

Kern Center staff anticipates re-opening to all community members on Aug. 1, assuming the City of Milwaukee has entered Phase 5 of its “Moving Milwaukee Forward” orders. 

June 4, 2020

The Raider Return Task Force is continuing its work to plan for the return to campus this fall. As of today, the City of Milwaukee is still under stay at home orders. As such, the campus remains closed.  

Members of the task force include Betty Albrecht, Residence Life; Eric Baumgartner, VP of Academics; Dave Bugalski, Athletics; JoEllen Burdue, Marketing Communications; Rick Furmack, Environmental Health and Safety; Robin Gates, School of Nursing; Allison Heine de Romero, Student Life; Kip Kussman, Student Life; Dan Meiser, Wellness Center; Kevin Morin, Operations; Rebecca Ploeckelman, Human Resources; Catherine Scholz, IT; Saj Thachenkary, Marketing Communications; and Tim Valley, Enrollment Management and Student Life.  

As we look toward the fall, here are a few things you can expect to see:

Health Guidelines and Social Considerations  

Everyone is strongly encouraged to wear a mask or facial covering whenever they are in the presence of others and to maintain proper social distancing.

We are asking the entire campus community to do a daily self-check of symptoms and, if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, to self-isolate and contact their primary health care provider. Our Wellness Center is also available as a resource to students and we are currently in the process of hiring a nurse practitioner in the Health Services Department.  

We have identified dedicated rooms that can be used to isolate students who live in the residence halls and have tested positive for COVID-19. Once someone has tested negative, they will be able to resume normal activities.  

Delivery of Education  

Hands-on, application-oriented experiences are hallmarks of an MSOE education. As we welcome MSOE students back to campus this fall, we will focus our in-person activities on these types of experiences while reducing classroom and laboratory capacities in order to provide a safe learning environment for faculty, staff and students. Faculty will also utilize digital and virtual formats to deliver course content and complement in-person activities. We believe that this hybrid approach to an MSOE education will provide our students with the best and safest possible educational environment in light of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Any time a student is feeling ill (regardless of the type of illness), they are encouraged to reach out to their professors to let them know they will not be in class and make arrangements to get lecture notes or make up missed work. If their absence extends beyond a few days, then staff in Student Accessibility Services will work with students and their faculty to make accommodations to assure their education continues as best possible for their situation. These are processes we’ve had in place long before COVID-19 and it has worked quite well. Students who do not wish to return to campus due to underlying health conditions should also contact Student Accessibility Services to develop an accommodation plan that will allow a student to continue their education in a fully online format.  

Reopening our Buildings  

Each building on the MSOE campus has unique features and requires an individualized approach to reopening. The Raider Return Task Force is in the process of evaluating each building to determine its needs. Sneeze guards are being installed in reception and transactional areas. Signage will be installed and furniture may be rearranged to encourage social distancing and designate foot traffic patterns.  

These are just a few of the many things the task force is addressing. As plans are solidified, more information will be shared at a minimum of every two weeks.  

May 21, 2020

Much has been in the news regarding Wisconsin, and Milwaukee’s, Safer at Home orders. While many businesses are allowed to reopen and our community is beginning its return to a more normal environment, you may be wondering if MSOE’s campus is reopening.  

MSOE employees should continue working from home, to the greatest extent possible, through the summer months. Working from home should continue to be the rule and not the exception.  

The Raider Return Task Force and university leadership are working to identify the areas that need to return first to help us move forward, and to map out the requirements for a phased return to operations. MSOE will then determine when employees will be allowed to return to campus based on the institution’s ability to prepare the workplace per the steps outlined in the plan.  

Expectations and guidance have been established for employees who must be on campus to carry out their responsibilities: 

  • Prior to arriving on campus you must self-conduct symptom monitoring every day. You must be free of any symptoms potentially related to COVID-19:
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Repeated shaking with chills
    • Runny nose or new sinus congestion
    • Muscle pain
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • Fatigue
    • New GI symptoms
    • New loss of taste or smell
  • Employees with pre-existing conditions that put them at a higher risk for COVID-19 should contact Human Resources to see what accommodations can be made.
  • You are strongly encouraged to wear a mask or facial covering whenever you are in the presence of others and in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • Maintain social distancing by staying at least 6 feet from other people at all times, not gather in groups, and stay out of crowded places.
  • If there are multiple people working in close proximity, supervisors should implement scheduling options to help maintain social distance, such as: alternating days or staggered reporting/departing.
  • Use stairs, when possible. Only one person should be on an elevator at a time.
  • Maintain good personal hygiene with frequent hand-washing, use of hand sanitizer, sneezing into your elbow or a tissue (that must be discarded), and using hand sanitizer after touching high-contact surfaces.
  • Be responsible for wiping down work areas and shared-space locations with disinfecting cleaning solutions.  

The Raider Return Task Force and university leadership are mapping out the requirements for a phased return to operations following state and local guidelines.  

In Phase One of the Badger Bounce Back plan (the state of Wisconsin’s plan to decrease COVID-19 cases and deaths to a low level and increase capacity in the health care system so that a phased reopening of businesses is possible), non-essential businesses will be allowed to begin limited operations.  

MSOE will then determine when employees will be allowed to return to campus based on the institution’s ability to prepare the workplace per the steps outlined in the plan. Post-secondary educational institutions can pursue a partial reopening to employees when Phase One is achieved while institutions can consider reopening to students when Phase Two is achieved. A full opening of higher education institutions without restrictions will only be achieved when Wisconsin enters Phase Three of the Badger Bounce Back.  

More details will be forthcoming about Phase One, followed by information later this summer to map out subsequent phases. Once MSOE employees can return to campus, certain conditions and restrictions will be established in order to maintain a work environment that seeks to keep the MSOE community as safe as possible.  

May 13, 2020

Recently, President Walz was interviewed by TMJ4-TV to discuss re-opening campus to students, faculty and staff for the fall 2020 term.  Read the story here.

May 12, 2020

Living at MSOE

As previously announced as part of the RWJ Residence Hall renovation, only first-year students will live in the MSOE residence halls for the 2020-21 academic year. (Current residents for the 2019-20 academic year have been released from their housing contract to coincide with the renovation work.)

Several online resources are available to students who are searching for off-campus housing options for the 2020-21 academic year. For resources that include financial aid/student account meetings as well as open houses of local rental properties, please visit the Living Off Campus page.

A group of MSOE leaders is working on guidelines and recommendations to ensure the safety of our campus community. More information will be shared as it becomes available.

April 30, 2020

President John Walz shares his message to current students about returning to campus this fall.