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Message to students: Have fun, stay safe this weekend

October 22, 2020

To our students,

The upcoming return of Badgers football, Homecoming this week and Halloween on Oct. 31 are all exciting. But because of COVID-19, we need everyone’s help to stay safe.

First, I want to thank all of you who have been following health protocols and taking COVID-19 seriously. It poses a threat not only to your own health, but to the health of everyone with whom you come into contact.

While UW–Madison has seen generally good trends over the last six weeks, the rate of infection across Wisconsin and much of the Midwest has been staggering. Large gatherings put yourself and others at risk, and they’re also against the law.

While it’s tempting to gather to cheer on the Badgers and celebrate Halloween, I need to ask you to do three things:

  • Watch the game on TV or online with your roommates or housemates. The game will be on the Big Ten Network and available on ResNet cable for Housing residents.
  • Freakfest for Halloween isn’t happening this year. Dress up at home, keep costumes culturally appropriate, and save the trip out around State Street for next year.
  • Stay on guard. It’s tempting to take a break from the health and safety protocols. We urge you to continue wearing a face covering as much as possible, if you’re able, and continue to practice physical distancing.

You may be wondering, “What can I do instead?”

Finally, I need to continue to share how we respond to those who disregard our advice:

Students and registered student organizations not following public health orders can be subject to heavy municipal fines and disciplinary action with the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and University Housing.

If you witness a large student gathering on or near campus that violates public health orders, I encourage you to report the incident online or to call the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards at 608-263-5700. The office will be open 5–10 p.m. on game day, and staff will be contacting the residents of reported properties to have them disperse gatherings.

We have needed everyone’s commitment to making this semester work and appreciate all you have done already. With a bit more effort, we can reach our goal of completing the semester and continue to make the most of our campus experience.

Christina Olstad
Dean of Students