August 31, 2020

A fall semester start unlike ever before

UW-Superior starts its fall semester for the 125th time on Sept. 2 with many firsts due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

UW-Superior starts its fall semester for the 125th time on Sept. 2 with many firsts due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

UW-Superior starts its fall semester for the 125th time with many firsts due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

On Wednesday, September 2, the University of Wisconsin-Superior will begin its 125th fall semester. Yet, in the long history of the university, this opening day will be unlike any that have come before.

Under the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, this first day of the semester will include hand-sanitizing stations, masks and plenty of social distancing. Even though many things on campus will look different, the tireless work of countless individuals throughout the spring and summer has made it possible for students to be back on campus – safely – for the beginning of classes.

This summer more than 95 percent of UW-Superior instructors participated in the Superior Learning Experience, a five-week training to maximize the quality of instruction for both on-campus and online courses. UW-Superior is unique among the University of Wisconsin System campuses to have so many instructors participate in such a program. This intensive training, the largest single investment in UW-Superior’s history, emphasized best practices, optimal use of technology and was premised on a set of quality teaching and learning standards. The training put students at the heart of designing a high-quality academic experience, with the expectation of a successful academic year.

For the fall 2020 semester, UW-Superior is offering planU, an alternative online option for those looking for an affordable and convenient way to get started on their college degree. This one-semester program offers a highly transferable set of online courses taught by instructors known for their online instruction skills and personal interaction with students. The program allows students to study from the safety of their home while benefitting from the vibrant UW-Superior campus community through online student activities, resources and connections with other students.

On campus, extensive measures have been taken to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff. In accordance with UW System recommendations, the State of Wisconsin Emergency Order and the City of Superior, face coverings are required in all indoor public spaces with limited exceptions and strongly encouraged outside when physical distancing is not possible. UW System campuses, including UW-Superior, will be offering COVID-19 antigen testing to all residential students every two weeks. If antigen tests come back positive, UW-Superior will provide additional diagnostic testing through St. Luke's.

Hospital-grade MERV-13 air filters have been installed throughout buildings on campus to remove particles from the inside air. Custodial services acquired an electrostatic sprayer, which applies a disinfectant using an electric charge to fully cover surfaces. Entrances to buildings have been limited to allow for proper sanitization several times a day. Hand sanitizing stations were added across campus at all main entrances and high-traffic areas on each building floor. Each classroom and lab features a touchless paper towel dispenser and spray bottle that contains sanitizer for hands and surfaces. In these spaces, teacher stations have been equipped with Plexiglas shields. In many of the buildings, such as Swenson Hall, central gathering spaces have been modified by removing furniture to accommodate at least 6-feet of social distancing. In larger spaces such as theatres and fixed-seating classrooms, every other row has been taped off and every third seat on open rows is available. Reception desks and food service locations now include floor decals and stanchions to encourage social distancing.

“While the fall 2020 semester won’t begin quite the same as in year’s past, the hard work performed by faculty and staff to welcome students back to campus is certainly commendable,” said UW-Superior Chancellor Dr. Renee Wachter. “The university’s commitment to provide a quality education through a supportive and inclusive campus community remains the driving force in what it truly means to be Superior.”

UW-Superior starts its fall semester for the 125th time on Sept. 2 with many firsts due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

UW-Superior starts its fall semester for the 125th time on Sept. 2 with many firsts due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

UW-Superior Faculty/Staff

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