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UWM extends spring break, will move classes online after employee tested for COVID-19

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is extending its spring break by one week amid mounting coronavirus concerns, Chancellor Mark Mone announced this evening.

Mone spoke at a 5 p.m. press conference at UWM's Chapman Hall, where he revealed that a UWM employee was tested on Monday at a local hospital for COVID-19. The employee had become ill following contact with somebody who had traveled to a Level 3 country. "The results won't be known until the end of the week," Mone said. "The individual who was tested is not at work."

The university will extend its spring break through March 29, Mone said, "so that UWM can prepare to move the majority of its classes online after that break."

The university made the decision after leaders and department chairs met Tuesday morning. "This is something we have been preparing for," Mone said. Mone also said the university is updating its travel guidelines. You can read those new guidelines below.

"All university-sponsored travel for students is canceled for the remainder of the semester," according to the new guidelines. "Students already overseas with study abroad programs in countries that do not have Level 3 warnings should consult with UWM study abroad administrators on whether to stay in place or return home.

"University employees may not engage in university-sponsored travel to areas severely impacted by coronavirus, which currently include China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Spain. Employees who independently travel to those areas must self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to UWM."

"In addition, UWM strongly discourages students, faculty and staff from non-essential travel outside of Wisconsin through the end of the semester. Those who do travel will be expected to self-monitor for coronavirus symptoms, which include fever, cough and difficulty breathing, for 14 days."

Mone said all major UWM events for the semester, including sporting events, have been canceled. "We are taking a cautionary tone here," he said.

The announcement came after news that a third COVID-19 case was confirmed in Wisconsin, and that three Cardinal Stritch University students had been placed in isolation after contact with COVID-19 positive people.

This is a breaking story. We will have more as it develops.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons