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April 9, 2020

As the academic year unfolds and we acclimate to this new normal, there has been much discussion about plans for commencement (originally scheduled for May 23). At this point, we believe the best course of action is to postpone the commencement ceremony to a date in Fall when it is safe to gather as a community to celebrate. 

We’ve received consistent feedback from many graduating seniors and their families. Our seniors have worked, lived and learned alongside their classmates and would like their own ceremony as a class rather than having it combined with another. While they understand the many reasons for rescheduling, they have committed to return to campus from anywhere their careers and lives take them to celebrate with their fellow students, faculty, staff and loved ones later this year.

Based on the input of graduating seniors and a review of university calendars, we are happy to announce that we have rescheduled Spring 2020 commencement for Sept. 19, 2020 beginning at 3:00 p.m. While we have the date secured, we are still working on the campus location where commencement will be held – this information will be provided as soon as available. 

As you can imagine, there were many great ideas and suggestions offered and discussed, coming from numerous MSOE students and, in particular, from graduating seniors. Dean of Students Kip Kussman engaged a working group of graduating seniors who have rolled up their sleeves and will continue to work on social activities for that weekend. This includes plans for an abridged senior week, scheduled for the two days leading up to commencement (Sept. 17-19). I have no doubt that this advisory committee will create a commencement program that is as unique and memorable as the class it represents. Further details and information will be developed in the coming months and will be communicated as soon as plans are finalized. However, diplomas will be sent out to graduating seniors as originally scheduled.

The past few months have forced us all to make adjustments that balance health and safety while finding a way to keep moving forward. Sometimes this results in compromises or concessions. Having watched my own children graduate and having seen the proud faces of seniors crossing the stage as President, this is one area we simply won’t concede or compromise. I speak for our faculty, staff, leadership, and Board of Regents when I say that we will do everything we can to ensure our commencement day honors the years of work, perseverance and commitment that made it all possible. I especially want to thank Dean Kussman and the group of seniors that have helped to inform our planning in this area.   Thank you for your continued patience, understanding and support as we work through these challenges. Please stay safe and healthy.

With best regards,  

John Walz

March 25, 2020

At the midway point of our first week of online education in the wake on the COVID-19 pandemic, the transition appears to be going smoothly. I’d like to commend our students, faculty and staff for their shared commitment to education in light of the challenges we’ve faced.

With Governor Tony Evers’ statewide order closing business through April 24 and the window of time closing for a return to campus before the end of the term, we have decided to continue with only online classes through the end of the spring quarter. After much consideration, I feel that this is the only viable option for students to continue their academic progress during the pandemic while promoting the health and safety of the MSOE community. I also want to reiterate that students’ graduation dates will not be delayed and students’ progress to degree completion will not be impeded.

At the top of list of the many things on my mind right now is our graduating seniors.  As many of you have heard me say, receiving a college degree from any university is a noteworthy achievement in its own respect. Receiving that degree from an institution like MSOE is truly something special. I know how much work our seniors have put in and I also know how meaningful a commencement ceremony can be.  We will be making a decision on whether to move forward with our May 23 commencement in the next several days and I will notify you right away so that you can plan accordingly.

We realize that students who were living in one of the residence halls will need to be able to retrieve their personal belongings.  Our residence life staff is currently working to develop a schedule that is compliant with current health and safety guideline as well as any existing ‘Safer at Home’ orders.

I know that reimbursements for housing and dining charges are an important topic for many of you.  Now that we have made the decision to remain with online classes for the duration of the term, we can start calculating an appropriate amount for each student and process these reimbursements as quickly as possible.  I appreciate your patience and understanding.

You’ve received a lot of communication from me this week. The information and updates are 24-7 and we want to make sure that we continue to keep you up to date. More information will be forthcoming, and more decisions will need to be made. Please know that I will continue to make decisions guided by our mission, commitment to our students and the well-being of our community. We appreciate your patience and will continue to provide updates.

Please stay safe and healthy.
With best regards,
John Walz

March 16, 2020

To help during these trying times, MSOE has proactively made a modification to students' meal plan selection and moved them to the Bronze plan for the remainder of the quarter. This lower priced option provides a savings during this interim period while providing 65 meal swipes and $245 meal dollars for the remainder of the quarter. If you would prefer to be on the Silver, Gold or Platinum plan, please request an upgrade by visiting the Housing and Meal Plan Information page on myMSOE. This is an unprecedented situation for all of us. Our leadership team is meeting frequently to balance the well-being of our students, while minimizing unplanned costs and disruption. We appreciate your patience as we continue to assess the COVID-19 situation and impact to our students, families, faculty and staff. Watch for additional information as it becomes available, including our COVID-19 web page.

March 15, 2020

Wellness Center Services and Additional Resources  
The Wellness Center has been temporarily relocated to the CC 3rd floor in the multi-use space along the south wall. It will remain open with limited services. If you need support or answers to any questions please contact wellness@msoe.edu or call (414) 277-7225. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (shortness of breath, coughing, fever) please establish and secure care with your primary health provider. If this is not an option for you, please contact the Wellness Center by email or phone. After hours, call Public Safety (414) 277-7159. If you feel like you are displaying symptoms please follow CDC guidelines:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/caring-for-yourself-at-home.html  

If you are currently working with a mental health counselor, please email or call them directly for any questions or concerns regarding your care. Also, for those who may need additional mental health support, please take a moment to read through these important mental health resources:  
Taking Care of Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty
Managing Stress and Anxiety During the Coronavirus Outbreak 

Student Employment  
All student jobs and employment have been temporarily suspended. We will provide more information on when student employment resumes just as soon as it becomes available.  

Packages in the Residence Halls
If you live in MLH, RWJ or Regents and need a package forwarded, please email living@msoe.edu and include the address as to where you would like your package delivered. While you are at home, please do not have any further packages delivered to your campus residence until you arrive back on campus. If you live in the Grohmann Tower, please reach out to the main office at (414) 277-7228 for assistance.

March 14, 2020

I would like to provide some additional information regarding plans and activities at MSOE's campus regarding the coronavirus. As I am sure you can appreciate, this has been both an unprecedented and constantly-changing situation for all of us.

First the good news. We have received some of the test results from MSOE students and all have been negative, meaning that we have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our campus. Rest assured that I will continue to update you via email and this web page as we learn more.

We have also received a number of questions about potential reimbursement of certain charges, particularly housing, dining and parking. While this is something that our leadership team has started discussing, it is still too preliminary to make a decision, as we need to understand the full impact of the COVID-19 situation. I can promise you that these discussions will continue and that we will immediately communicate any decisions to our students and families.

These are times that test who we are as an institution, but I could not be prouder of the way our community has come together. Over the last several days I’ve seen first-hand the proactive response of our custodial, environmental health and safety teams to clear, clean and disinfect our spaces to keep our campus safe. Students have responded with a smooth and orderly transition from the residence halls to their homes. Lastly, our faculty have rallied to develop online and digital resources that will allow them to continue to our students while maintaining the quality that is a hallmark of an MSOE education. While the days ahead will undoubtedly present additional challenges, I have no doubt about our ability to overcome them.

Thanks for your patience, please stay safe and healthy, and watch for additional information as it becomes available.

Sincerely,
John Walz
MSOE President

March 13, 2020

International Study Abroad

MSOE is making arrangements to bring 18 students home from study abroad locations in Germany and Czech Republic. They will self-isolate for 14 days when they return to the United States.

March 12, 2020 - 4:50 p.m.

Dear MSOE Community,

MSOE is taking steps to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus on campus and protect the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff.


Continuation of Classes

All in-person and online classes will be suspended Friday, March 13 through Friday, March 20. Beginning Monday, March 23 all classes will resume in an online format until Thursday, April 9, with an expectation that classes will resume on campus Monday, April 13. In early April, we will make a decision about the format in which classes will resume.

This suspension of classes will allow our faculty time to prepare to move their course offerings to an online format. The CREATE Institute will be offering training for faculty. To accommodate for this time off in our academic calendar, we will forgo a final exam week. Final exams or final projects will be incorporated into regular class time. Students’ graduation dates will not be delayed and the quality of education will not be comprised. In addition, students’ progress to degree completion will not be impeded.


Residence Halls

All students who live in MSOE residence halls (Roy W. Johnson Hall, Regents Hall, and Margaret Loock Hall) are asked to return home or to an off-campus residence as soon as possible if able to do so. Classes are suspended Friday to accommodate this travel. By Sunday, March 15 at 3 p.m., please take your essential belongings and everything you will need while classes are being delivered alternatively. Students who are not able to return to their permanent residence should notify Residence Life at living@msoe.edu or (414) 277-7400. Those who need to remain in the residence halls should maintain social distance, and also should be prepared for a reduced campus experience with limited opportunities for interaction and reduced campus services.


Campus Events and Student Activities

All MSOE athletic and student events, and university forums are cancelled through Sunday, April 12. A decision will be made in early April regarding events scheduled after that date.


Faculty and Staff

University business will continue as usual. Consult with your manager or vice president for more information.


Travel

As we previously announced, all short-term study-abroad programs scheduled for the spring quarter or over the summer are canceled. All university-sponsored travel to countries with a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice are canceled until further notice. University-sponsored international travel by faculty and staff to countries without this designation and any university-sponsored domestic travel must be approved by the associated vice president.


International Study Abroad

We continue to closely monitor the international status of the virus, and any decisions regarding students who are currently studying abroad will be made in consultation with the host institutions, the CDC, and the WHO in order to keep them safe.

I thank you for your patience and as we all work through this unprecedented situation together. We will share more information as it becomes available. We wish all of you safe travels, good health and continued academic success. We look forward to your return to campus soon.

Sincerely,
John Walz

March 12, 2020 - Noon 

The health and safety of our campus community is our priority. Our Pandemic Response Team is working hard to ensure the safety of our community. While there are no confirmed cases on campus, it is important for you to know that two of our students followed our protocol and contacted the Wellness Center with concern that they might be experiencing symptoms of the Coronavirus. They have been tested and are currently being monitored and isolated as a precaution until we know the results of the test.

This is a rapidly evolving situation. We know there are questions that remain unanswered and our Pandemic Response Team is working diligently with university administrators to provide answers and scenarios covering all of them. We are in consultation with public health experts and we will keep you informed.


Given the information we have at this point, we respect the individual decisions of students, faculty and staff to stay away from classes or large gatherings if they do not feel comfortable being in these settings today and to take the recommended precautions. Within the hour, I will convene the Leadership Team to discuss additional logistics, considerations and decisions. We are committed to the well-being of our community and will have more updates to share later today.

John Walz
MSOE President

March 9, 2020

MSOE and its Pandemic Response Team continue to monitor and discuss implications of COVID-19 and has a comprehensive plan in place to manage potential outbreaks. We have also been working and communicating closely with the City of Milwaukee Health Department.

The plan outline includes the following:

  • Coordination and communication around preparations for COVID-19
  • Student, faculty and staff education on COVID-19 prevention strategies
  • Working with Health Department officials to provide guidelines to faculty, staff and students on health criteria to determine when to go home, when to stay home, and when it is safe to return to school/work
  • Discussion of facility disinfection procedures both now and in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak or university closure
  • Identification of essential personnel required for university operations in the event of a closure

MSOE will continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for COVID-19 and will continue to monitor developments and revise our response plan as appropriate. Regarding international travel, MSOE is implementing the following restrictions:

  • All short-term study-abroad programs scheduled for the spring quarter or over the summer are canceled
  • All university-sponsored travel to countries with a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice are canceled until further notice. International travel by faculty and staff to countries without this designation must be approved by the associated Vice President

Continuation of Classes

A number higher education institutions across the nation have made the decision to forgo in-person classes and move to digital learning environments. Since there are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 at MSOE, we do not plan to change how we deliver our education. Our focus has always been on providing an applications-oriented educational environment that is, at its heart, student centered. However, our faculty is preparing to potentially move our learning environment to an on-line platform should that become necessary. We fully understand the significant disruption that moving to an on-line platform may cause and will only make the decision after careful consideration and consultation with health officials.