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Thompson wants 75% of fall UW classes in-person

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Posted at 11:06 AM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 12:06:22-05

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

Thompson said in a column that he’s directed system campuses to ensure students will have what he called “as classic a UW campus experience as possible.”

He said the system’s social distancing, masks and aggressive testing protocols have kept COVID-19 infection rates low. He noted the system has administered about 250,000 free tests in campus communities. Testing on Tuesday revealed only 24 infections across the system’s 13 four-year campuses, according to the system’s latest data.

Thompson said it’s time to resume as much of an in-person campus experience as possible, including classroom instruction, hands-on research, attending athletic events and live performances and opening dining halls.

The announcement comes as the system is grappling with pandemic-related revenue losses. UW-Madison alone is expects to lose $320 million by the time the state fiscal year ends in June due to dwindling tuition and loss of revenue from athletic events, housing and student unions.

Gov. Tony Evers’ executive budget calls for increasing state aid to the system by $190 million. Thompson has been trying to bolster the system’s standing in the eyes of Republican legislators in hopes of securing the funding.