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.