Coronavirus Updates

Have questions? See our list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) for the most up-to-date information.

  • A Message from President Burstein | March 24

    Watch a video message from President Burstein here.

    Dear Lawrentians, 

    These have been turbulent times for all of us. I would like to thank all members of the Lawrence community—your patience, ingenuity, and suggestions are helping us transition to distance learning and helping us do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. These have been challenging times for all of us. Guidance on how to address the spread of COVID-19 changes daily, sometimes hourly. This morning, at the direction of Governor Tony Evers, Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Designee Andrea Palm issued a safer at home order.  

    I write today to share with you information on how the University will continue with this new order in effect.  The safer at home order urges Wisconsinites to limit travel to essentials only—trips to stores and pharmacies for necessary supplies, and for medical care. It also limits business activity to essential services. Because of the nature of Lawrence, especially since we are still responsible for a residential community, much of our work remains in the essential category by definition. We have already taken steps to ensure that our University is doing its best to mitigate the spread of the virus. Many faculty and staff who are able to do so are already working from home. We are using digital tools to limit in-person meetings. And custodial services have been redeployed to high-traffic areas of the campus. To free custodial colleagues for this important work we have closed offices and buildings wherever possible.  

    The Governor asks that we remain in our homes or dorm rooms as much as possible. Faculty and staff who have not fully migrated to home for their campus office should make plans to do so now. Staff should check in with supervisors to make sure we provide appropriate accommodations to ensure work can continue without being physically present on campus. Essential employees who will continue to work on campus are to follow all precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. If special identification of essential employees becomes necessary, Human Resources will issue such identification. At this time, there is no local requirement of special identification.  

    We are focused on ensuring continuity of Lawrence’s operations and functions so that we may continue to deliver on our educational mission. Shared Governance continues to operate, with faculty committees actively addressing policy issues from instruction to curriculum. Many departments continue the work of hiring, tenure, and promotion. LUCC leadership is working to adjust its meeting processes and will continue to represent students. Core functions in all operational divisions continue and a COVID-19 management team meets daily to handle Lawrence’s ongoing response to this situation.  

    As we work to adhere to our new statewide guidance and prepare for Spring Term, I want to take a moment to remind us all that our bonds as Lawrentians will endure. Community is a hallmark of the Lawrence experience. I mourn the loss of the vibrancy of the Spring Term. While it will be different, we must find ways of sustaining our social connection in these difficult times, including connections via social media, electronic gatherings, or other virtual means.  

    In this spirit of social solidarity, I took a moment yesterday to record a short video to share my thoughts with the Lawrence community as we adjust to the many changes in our lives. As I say in the video, we promise to update our social media accounts frequently to give you a sense of what’s happening on campus. We hope that you share your experiences with us as well. Please also feel free to contact me via email or telephone to share your suggestions and ideas or just to hang out. These connections will make us stronger as a community and as individuals.  

    As the virus progresses, more operational changes will be necessary. The COVID-19 blog will be updated as soon as any change is made. The LU Insider will now come out twice a week to summarize those changes as well as provide other information about our community. And, of course, continue to check email.  

    I have faith we will weather this crisis together as we have before. Homer, David, and I look forward to having you all back on campus soon. 

    Be well and make choices that keep others well,  
    Mark 

    Mark Burstein

    President, Lawrence University


  • Updates on Developments Regarding COVID-19

    We are reaching out to provide an update on developments regarding the COVID-19 virus.

    Lawrence health officials were notified on Sunday, March 22, that a parent who was on campus Thursday, March 19, to help their child move out has since tested positive for COVID-19. The parent was on campus for approximately 90 minutes (11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) and helped with a student move-out in Hiett Hall. The parent may have had brief interactions with staff members who were assisting with check-out process, and two students also reported they may have been in contact with the parent. The interactions were limited. Lawrence was awaiting confirmed notification of everyone who may have been in the vicinity of the parent before sharing this information more broadly. That notification process is now complete.

    Public health officials from the county in which the family lives will be in touch with all those who may have had contact and will provide further guidance. Our local health department believes this is a low-risk situation; however, in an abundance of caution, we thought it best to notify the Lawrence community at this time. If you believe you may have been in contact with the parent, please contact Lawrence’s Health Services office at 920-832-6574 or email wellnessservices@lawrence.edu.

    We wish the parent involved a speedy recovery and the rest of the family good health. Our thoughts and good wishes are with everyone in our Lawrence community as we do all we can to help mitigate the spread of this virus while ensuring our commitment to Lawrence students, faculty, staff, and extended family remain intact. As the history of this infection shows, it is proving impossible to halt its spread. Our goal now is to help slow transmission and to ensure the health and safety of those Lawrentians who remain on campus.

    Lawrence continues to limit access to campus and follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in cleaning and sanitizing shared spaces. That has included limiting as much as possible access to residence halls during student move-outs. Many facilities on campus are closed, while others have restricted access to allow for more regular cleaning of areas where there is less avoidable traffic. See details here.

    Take steps to avoid becoming ill: As a reminder, the following recommendations from CDC can help limit the spread of the virus: 

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.  
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 
    • Stay home when you are sick. 
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. 
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. (If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.) 
    • Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty. 
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

    What to do if you think you might have COVID-19: Before going to your health care clinic, call your health care professional if you feel sick with fever, cough, or have difficulty breathing, AND have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19. If you are a member of faculty or staff, or a student living off-campus, this means your local health care professional. Students living on campus can reach out to Wellness Services. Your health care professional will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. Information on health services at Lawrence can be found at www.lawrence.edu/students/wellness/health.  

    A reminder: Wellness Services-Health is available for consultation to students from campus or home Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. If questions arise after-hours, call Nurse Direct (24-hour medical advice) at 920-738-2230. 

    The University will continue to send updates as warranted. Also, please watch for updates on the COVID-19 news blog. Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we adapt to this fluid environment.

    Sincerely,

    Office of Communications, on behalf of the COVID-19 Management Team


  • Access to campus buildings to be limited; facilities closed to visitors | March 20

    The following is an update on access to Lawrence University facilities as the University looks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

    The COVID-19 Management Team knows the changes listed below will be difficult as we all continue to navigate this global pandemic. Thank you for your willingness to support one another and to stay committed to our students and to each other.

    The health and safety of our Lawrence community is paramount as we make decisions about how to move forward while working to stem any spread of the virus. Cleaning and sanitizing spaces that are still being used by on-campus community members is a top priority.

    All faculty and staff who have the ability to work from home are encouraged to do so. Please work with your supervisor to make appropriate accommodations. See earlier message from HR here.

    With that as the backdrop, we are announcing today that campus will be closed to all visitors beginning immediately. Only students staying on campus, faculty, and staff will be allowed on campus, and hours and access will be limited. Parents who are here to move their student out of a residence have been asked to remain in their vehicles. Staff members are assisting students in the packing of their vehicles. See move-out instructions here. (Note that there will be certain vendors and contractors permitted on campus on a case-by-case basis and with appropriate isolation of work areas and enhanced cleaning procedures.)

    Buildings will be locked: With the exception of Brokaw Central (see details below) and the Wellness Center (see details below), all buildings on campus will be locked daily, allowing only for card-swipe access. That access should only take place between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays (see details below) unless granted permission.

    Campus facilities off limits after 5 p.m.: Effective immediately, all academic, office, and satellite buildings on campus will be closed to all at 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, so daily cleaning and sanitizing can take place. Facilities, custodial, and campus safety staff can access those buildings after 5 p.m. to clean and sanitize areas; other employees should avoid accessing buildings after 5 p.m., unless approved by their supervisor. The only exception is the café in Warch Campus Center, which will be available to students to retrieve meals until 6:30 p.m. daily (see details below). On weekends, all buildings, with the exception of the café in Warch and the Music-Drama Center, will be closed. The Music-Drama Center will be open for limited use from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. 

    Some buildings to close completely: The following buildings will be closed: International House, Sabin House, Wilson House, Mursell House, and the Diversity and Intercultural Center within Memorial Hall. Staff needing to periodically access those spaces should first notify their supervisor. The student food pantry, currently located in Sabin House, will be relocated to a space where students have easy access. Details on that will be announced shortly. The closures of these buildings are part of efforts to allow cleaning crews to focus efforts in buildings where higher traffic and shared spaces are less avoidable.

    Mudd Library: Effective immediately, there will be no physical access to the library except for library and ITS staff. Students and faculty will still have digital access to databases. If you have difficulty accessing library materials electronically, you can reach out to library staff for assistance. They will be ready and willing to lend support. Also, library staff are preparing for a system of “curbside” pickup for needed print materials. The system will involve library staff pulling the materials for you and making them available for pickup. More details to come. While there is no physical access to the library, staff will be on hand from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to assist as needed. For more information, email reference@lawrence.edu or call 920-832-6750.

    Buchanan Kiewit Wellness Center: Effective immediately, the Wellness Center will be closed to the public. The health center will be accessible by students staying on campus and building staff from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, continuing through Spring Term. The rest of the building will be closed to all. For more information, email wellnessservices@lawrence.edu or call 920-832-6574.

    Warch Campus Center: There will be no public access to the Warch Campus Center. The café will be available from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. for students living on campus, but only for take-out. There will be no in-café dining. Students will go through a line, receive their food in disposable containers and be expected to take it outside or back to their rooms. This food service will be available only to students. Faculty and staff working on campus are expected to bring their own lunch. This process is in place to feed the people who have no other means to get a meal. The Warch Campus Center will not be available as a gathering place as the University follows important CDC and state of Wisconsin guidelines on social distancing. See more from the CDC here.

    Brokaw Hall: Brokaw Central on the first floor of Brokaw Hall (south entrance) will have a cashier available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays. For cashier needs other than Monday, email financial_services@lawrence.edu. For financial aid questions, email financial.aid@lawrence.edu. For registrar questions, email registrar@lawrence.edu. Please watch for updates. Offices on the second floor of Brokaw will be closed.

    UPDATED: Alexander Gym: The Athletics Department offices, as well as the gym, weight room, cardio room, auxiliary weight room, and all locker rooms, are closed. The building will be accessible by card-swipe only. The athletic training room will be open to students for scheduled rehabilitation appointments only.

    Thank you for abiding by the campus restrictions shared here. Please watch for updates on the COVID-19 news blog at Lawrence.edu. We will get through this together as we do all we can to keep everyone in our community as safe and healthy as possible.

    Sincerely,

    Office of Communications, on behalf of the COVID-19 Management Team


  • COVID-19 Update from President Burstein | March 12

    Dear Lawrentians,

    Like many of you, I have been carefully following the global outbreak of coronavirus or COVID-19. This past week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed this country’s strategy from one of outbreak containment to acknowledgement that this goal is no longer possible. We must now work to mitigate eventual spread of the virus throughout the United States. Yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the virus had reached pandemic status, and last night President Trump suspended all travel from Europe, excluding Great Britain, for a 30-day period. 

    Our goals as a university are first to protect the health and safety of the campus community, including those members who are at high risk for severe complications from the virus, and to sustain the teaching and learning that are a hallmark of all that we do at Lawrence. Our community prides itself on the enduring relationship between faculty and students, and frequent personal interaction is core to this relationship. But this is difficult to sustain in an environment that asks for limiting in-person interaction.

    I write today to share with you updates on how the University plans to address these priorities and ensure that we remain true to our core community values of compassion and respect. While there are currently no known cases of COVID-19 on the Lawrence campus, we recognize that we can no longer continue as usual and still protect all members of our community, especially those most at risk. As a result, and in consultation with faculty, students, and staff, we have determined that the best course of action for Lawrence is to move to distance learning starting Spring Term. This was an extraordinarily difficult decision to make. 

    Here is what this decision means for our campus:

    Spring Break
    Spring Break will begin on March 19, as planned, and will be extended until April 5 to provide faculty and staff additional time to prepare for distance learning. All University-sponsored spring break trips, both domestic and international, are canceled. Students are welcome to stay on campus for spring break, but they cannot travel outside of the immediate vicinity. 

    Spring Term Classes
    Spring Term (or third term) classes will begin on April 6. Spring Term will end as-scheduled on June 10.  Classes will be taught via distance learning. What we mean by distance learning is the delivery of instruction and participation in courses through the use of technology. We recognize that some courses, such as research laboratories, studios, or ensembles, will not easily translate to this format, and we are working closely with faculty to resolve these issues prior to the start of the term. The Provost or individual faculty will be in touch with their students before classes resume. No study abroad programs will run during spring term. 

    Students can apply to the Dean of Students through this webform to remain on campus for Spring Term if returning home is impossible for various reasons. All other students will be expected to leave campus for the remainder of the academic year by April 5 and will need to plan accordingly. More information regarding move-out is available on the website.

    Financial Assistance
    Our goal is to ensure individual finances do not impact the important choices that lie ahead for each student and their familyFor students who leave campus and complete Spring Term from home, we will remove all on-campus related fees from your bill for the third term such as the final remaining room, board, as well as the student activity fee. Third term tuition still applies. Your financial aid will be adjusted proportionately to reflect the remaining amount due. For students who remain on campus, there will be no change to your third term bill or the financial aid you have already been allotted. We encourage all students to contact Financial Aid if they have any questions regarding their financial need, including their ability to travel home.

    University Operations
    The University will remain open to provide our students with needed support, including academic and career assistance. Staff will continue to work scheduled hours and will receive regular pay. We will issue guidance for University employees no later than March 19. If staff have any questions in the meantime about remote working options, leave, pay, or other issues, please contact your direct supervisor or Human Resources

    University-Related Travel
    All international travel on behalf of the university is canceled. Domestic travel is allowed only for essential purposes as approved by a member of the President’s Cabinet. Any individual who recently returned from a Category Level 2 or Level 3 country as defined by the CDC is required to self-isolate at an off-campus location for 14 days upon your return. Please note that the CDC recently designated continental Europe as a Level 3 area. Information on self-isolation and monitoring is available on the CDC website

    Campus Events 
    Campus events, such as lectures, theatre productions, musical performances, art exhibits, or other large public gatherings, are canceled for Spring Term. Information regarding Admission visit programs can be found on the website.

    Commencement
    I realize the decision to move to distance learning impacts the senior class in a unique way. The last term provides time to celebrate a glorious set of cumulative accomplishments. We are committed to helping each senior to complete their Lawrence requirements in time for graduation as well as ensure all students progress towards their degree of choice. 

    Commencement and its surrounding events may need to be modified. We are working to finalize these decisions as quickly as possible and will share our final plans with the senior class and their families by April 15. I promise you that we will do our best to recognize your achievements and celebrate your graduation, even if we cannot all be together on the Main Hall Green.

    Due to the rapidly changing nature of this global pandemic, I recognize these changes may elicit many questions. If you have any questions regarding our path forward, please email coronainfo@lawrence.edu, and we will do our best to answer them in a timely fashion.

    We will host two live question and answer sessions tomorrow: one for Lawrence faculty and staff at 1:00 p.m. CDT, and one for Lawrence families and students at 3:00 p.m. CDT. Please use this form to submit questions in advance of the webinar. 

    Also starting Friday, March 13, through Thursday, March 19, a call center will be dedicated to answering your questions. Please call 920-832-6576 weekdays between 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. In addition, please visit the COVID-19 News blog for all recent updates and resources. 

    I recognize this decision presents many challenges to our students, faculty, and staff. We have always risen to the challenges that face us with resilience and ingenuity. I know, as we have in the past, we will rise to this challenge and ensure that Lawrence continues to create a learning environment second to none. Thank you all for your patience, dedication, and, most importantly, your tireless work to support our institution. 

    Please take care of yourselves, and each other.

    Sincerely,
    Mark

    Mark Burstein
    President


  • COVID-19 Update | March 10

    Dear Lawrentians,  

    I write today to share with you the most recent updates regarding the University’s response to COVID-19. While the University remains at low risk for the coronavirus, the outbreak continues to grow, disrupting travel plans and other aspects of our lives. The expanded Crisis Management Team has issued new guidance and updates in response to the evolving situation and in preparation for potential community needs. 

    Important Updates since March 3

    • Based upon guidance from the local and state public health departments, the University now requires that any individual who travels to a Level 2 or Level 3 country self-isolate at an off-campus location for 14 days upon your return. Information on self-isolation and monitoring is available on the CDC website. We will, of course, work with individual community members to assist them if they do not have an option to return home or have appropriate off-campus housing. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Health Services at wellnessservices@lawrence.edu
    • New guidance for University travel cancellations due to the coronavirus is now available on the Lawrence website. This guidance applies to business travel for Lawrence University staff, faculty and students. 
    • Human Resources has issued new guidance and protocols (see the For Faculty & Staff section at the bottom of the FAQ) for employees if they or a family member are exposed to the virus.  
    • Advice for faculty on how to make the potential transition from in-person to remote instruction has been added to the website. We also encourage all employees to be proactive and ensure that they have the ability work remotely if this is an option for you. Please consider setting up your personal technology devices to support this. Technology Services can assist you with this process and any requirements. 

    Spring Break Housing & Travel 
    Lawrence University students have the option to remain on campus free of charge over spring break (March 19-March 29). Please note that campus services, including dining, are limited during the break. In order to help us meet the needs of those who are on campus over break, we ask that students submit their request to stay on campus prior to the start of spring break. The Request for Housing form is available in Voyager under Student Services.  

    We continue to work with faculty and students as they evaluate their spring break travel plans. As of today, the trip to Silicon Valley has been cancelled; all other trips are currently moving forward as planned. In addition, the spring term London Centre program will continue. As with all off-campus programs, the London Centre team is closely monitoring the situation. 

    Institutional Travel 
    The University currently restricts all nonessential travel to countries with a Warning Level 3 (widespread, sustained, ongoing transmission of the illness), which include China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, and Venezuela. As noted above, Lawrence is requiring students, faculty, and staff who have traveled to countries with a Level 3 or Level 2 CDC warning designation to self-isolate off-campus for 14 days. While the CDC has not yet issued an advisory for travel within the U.S., states across the country are issuing daily guidance and warnings as their situations evolve. Please continue to closely follow the CDC websites for updated guidance. 

    We recommend only truly essential institutional travel be conducted to any part of the country or globe where community spread of the virus is evident, and require that employees who travel on University business both domestically and internationally check-in with their supervisors or the appropriate administrator before embarking on your trip. We also encourage you to proactively review upcoming University-sponsored events (on- and off-campus) for potential cancellation, taking into account individual state or CDC-issued guidance as needed.  

    Personal Travel
    We strongly urge you to exercise caution for any upcoming personal travel, as documented cases are growing rapidly. You may face a higher risk of infection, significant delays returning to campus, and/or the requirement to self-isolate upon your return. If you are traveling, frequently check CDC travel alertsfor the most current guidance and recommendations. 

    Ongoing Communication 
    Please bookmark the COVID-19 News webpage and pay close attention to your email for updates. Our current plan is to share updates weekly, with additional communications if necessary. If you have any specific questions about the University’s response to COVID-19, please email coronainfo@lawrence.edu

    Stay Well 
    If you are feeling ill, stay home. Please do not come to work or attend class. The best way to prevent illness is to take preventative actions every day to avoid exposure or spread of the virus. Most important, wash your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds.

    Other preventative measures include: 

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 
    • Stay home when you are sick. 
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. 
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

    More information on prevention measures are available on the COVID-19 News website.

    If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider before you seek medical attention and tell them that you may have COVID-19. This will help your healthcare provider’s office take steps to limit exposure to the virus. 

    Finally, thank you to everyone who is helping to address this evolving situation, especially to those who are working directly with our students. Please remember that it is important that we continue to take care of ourselves and support each other through this difficult time.  

    Sincerely, 
    Christopher Card 
    Vice President for Student Life 
    Crisis Management Team Director (interim)