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Message to students about the transition to online learning

March 19, 2020

Dear students,

In the midst of an immense amount of change this week, I hope you were all able to take a break and to breathe in some fresh spring air. This new reality is still fluid and uncertain, but I want you to know that we’re not going anywhere (literally). And we are looking forward to welcoming you back to classes (virtually) on Monday!

As we continue this roller coaster ride together, I wanted to share with you a few resources to support you throughout the transition.

First, your health, safety, and well-being are our top priority. The number of COVID19 cases in Dane County continues to increase, as do the restrictions on restaurants, bars, entertainment and other activities. If your permanent residence is outside of Madison and you can safely travel home, we strongly encourage you to spend the remainder of the semester there provided you have internet access to support your studies. If you will be staying here with us on or off campus, we’ll continue to provide space in the residence halls upon request and limited services (many virtual) around campus. Wherever you are, please continue to protect your health and the safety of everyone around you by practicing social distancing and healthy habits.

Be ready for the start of classes on March 23. Our instructors are working hard to adapt their materials to our new environment. Be sure to watch for their updates in your inbox and in Canvas. We have tips for learning remotelyadvisors ready to assist you, and accommodation resources for those who need it. We’ve even got a handy checklist to help you be successful.

We are here for you. We hear your heartache on so many levels – we feel it, too. For those of you who have worried about your source of income, there is emergency financial help available through the Office of Student Financial Aid – this includes undergraduates, graduate/professional students, international students and students who have not previously used financial aid. The Open Seat food pantry will continue to serve students on or near campus (stay tuned for details). If you are concerned about your technology or internet access, there is help available. Our medical and mental health resourcesDean of Students OfficeDivision of Diversity, Equity and Educational AchievementInternational Student Services, and so many more are here to support your success.

Finally, it may feel like you are alone in your room, on your patio, or wherever you can find a quiet space these next several weeks, but you are not. We are all adjusting to a new reality, and there will be bumps along the way. Please be patient, be kind, and seek out new ways to build virtual communities of support. We are excited to try new things in a virtual environment and to find ways we can continue to blaze trails as Badgers always do. Be creative. Be committed. Be safe. We are here for you.

Please continue to visit for the latest information (we have a new section just for you) and to email us at or call (608) 263-2400 if you have questions. Keep checking in and reaching out to us in the days ahead. We may not have all the answers right away — we’re figuring this out, too — but I ask you to join us in our commitment to keeping the spirit of the University of Wisconsin–Madison alive. I can’t wait to see you all on the virtual Terrace.

On, Wisconsin!

Lori Reesor

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs