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Update to Libraries’ Operations Following Chancellor’s Statement on Sep. 7

September 8, 2020

On September 7, the Chancellor announced activity restrictions, particularly for the undergraduate community, effective September 7 through September 21. These protocols are in response to an observed rise in positive COVID-19 cases among undergraduates. While an increase was anticipated, precautions over the next two weeks are necessary to decrease these numbers and flatten the curve.   

The Libraries recognize this creates questions related to our operations. At this time, we are not altering our services or hours during this two week window, and will continue to offer Library by Appointment. As Chancellor Blank referenced, studying and research are essential activities, so study spaces will remain open and students will be allowed to go to their campus jobs. The Provost reaffirmed that the Libraries are providing essential access to resources, computing, and study space that allows students and faculty to continue their academic endeavors. 

We continue to work with campus and health officials to ensure our operations proceed safely. The careful planning we have done and attentive implementation continue to include the best ways to mitigate risk. 

Here are the key takeaways to be aware of during this period: 

  • The campus is directing undergraduates to refrain from all but essential activities and to limit in-person interactions until September 21. 
  • Academic activities, such as classes, research, and studying, continue to be permitted. Study spaces will remain open, though students must avoid meeting in groups. The Libraries already prohibit group study, so no change is needed in our protocols.
  • Classes continue in person. Instructors will teach an in-person class if scheduled. Instructors should remind students that classes will continue to meet in person, on regular schedules.
  • As referenced in the statement, there is very little evidence of infection among staff and faculty at this time and “in the few instances where we have seen cases, we do not have evidence that infection occurred through on-campus activities.”
  • To ensure this remains the case and that all members of our academic community remain safe and healthy, we must continue to follow and apply all safety protocols, including the new set provided on Monday.   

We will share updates on our news page and Libraries Restart Dashboard as well. Additionally, the campus continues to provide the smartrestart@vc.wisc.edu email to get university-level questions answered.

These developments, while not unexpected, will require flexibility and continued attention to information coming from campus. We will share updates as they become available.