Community Updates

  • End of Term Travel Guidance and Recommendations for Students | November 12

    Dear Students, 

    As we approach the end of the fall term, many of you are making plans to depart, and I write today with relevant information regarding appropriate safety protocols as you travel to your various destinations. I am sure that you are aware that the state, nation, and several parts of the world are experiencing significant surges in Covid-19 positivity rates. It remains incumbent on all of us to abide by the prevailing health guidance to protect ourselves and each other as you travel. Your efforts to Honor the Pledge have been outstanding and allowed our university to get to this stage in the term without any significant disruptions to our fall plans. I commend you for your diligence and celebrate our achievements around good compliance with our protocols and policies! Please continue this commitment to the pledge in the remaining days and as you depart campus. 

    As you plan your travel away from campus, you are advised to take the following steps to maintain good health and to minimize any risk of exposure to yourself and to those you will meet along your travel route and at your final destination: 

    • Stay on campus whenever possible prior to your departure and limit exposure to off-campus venues.
      • Limit public venues like stores and restaurants. 
      • Avoid physically gathering with persons outside of your everyday contacts. 
      • Avoid indoor places where masks and physical distancing is difficult, such as bars and indoor restaurants.
    • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds or use at least 60% alcohol hand sanitizer. 
    • Keep (at least) a 6- foot physical distance from others. 
    • Wear a mask.  
    • Avoid touching your face. 
    • Keep surfaces clean, focus on high touch areas. 
    • Monitor your health, contact a healthcare provider if you develop symptoms.
    • Create a travel list and determine what to pack. If you are not returning to campus next term, remember that you will have to remove all items from your room and take them with you. 
      • Complete all possible shopping more than 2 weeks before moving. 
      • Order on-line when possible. Make the least number of trips to the store as possible. 
    • Determine what, if any, Covid-19 related travel measures and policies are in place for the areas along your travel route as well as for your final destination. Note that some places may require evidence of a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival as well as quarantine periods. 

    COVID-19 Testing Options for End of Term
    Lawrence University will be offering testing on the following dates: 11/16/2020 and 11/17/2020.  All campus community members may self-select for testing during these dates. There will be no on campus surveillance testing during Finals week. 

    The Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team did discuss offering testing prior to departures, but ultimately decided not to offer for several reasons. Students leave campus at various times, so it would be difficult to make it available for individuals at their desired times. In addition, the 2-5 days turnaround for test results does not meet the standard that some states are requiring for return. Students who want to be tested immediately prior to their departure are welcome to be tested in the community. For a listing of Covid-19 testing sites in the area, please refer to the Wellness Services website. The Urgent Care Physicians location offers rapid results test but does have a charge. You may want to check to see if Covid-19 testing is covered by your health insurance plan. 

    Plan for how to protect yourself and others during travel 

    • Bring a mask to wear, have a backup mask with you. 
    • Bring hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and keep it within reach. 
    • Pick up food at drive-thrus, use curbside restaurants and stores. 
    • Bring your own food and drinks when possible. 
    • Be aware of any travel restrictions you may encounter during your travel.
    • If you are able, get an influenza vaccine if you have not yet done so.

    *If you become ill of any kind before traveling away from campus, you may contact the Dean of Students Office or the Department of Residential Education and Housing to arrange for a delayed departure from campus. 

    Best wishes to you as you wrap up this term and complete your final assignments. If you have questions about anything in this message, please reach out for clarification. Here are additional resources that may address any questions/concerns you have:·        

    Warm regards, 


    Christopher Card
    Vice President for Student Life

  • Announcement for Winter and Spring Terms | Nov. 2

    Dear Lawrentians,  

    Based on the inspiring commitment of students, staff, and faculty to the health of our community, we can announce today that the university plans to offer the opportunity to live, learn, and work on campus for the Winter and Spring Terms. The Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team (LPPT) thanks the many health experts and members of our community with whom we consulted before making this decision. Like the fall, students, faculty, and staff will have the ability to make the decision that is best for their successful learning, working, and living. We also plan to provide a distance learning option for each term for those who decide not to return to campus.We grounded our decision in three guiding principles: protecting the health and safety of our community; sustaining our academic mission; and supporting all community members.

    We could not determine our path forward without considering the current situation in the Fox Cities where the widespread community transmission of COVID-19 has been—and will continue to be—a challenge that we must address. Thanks to the Lawrence community’s diligent efforts to Honor the Pledge, the positivity rate for COVID-19 has remained low on campus, even as it has risen around us. This fact, as well as the staff’s daily efforts to keep the campus environment healthy for all and the faculty’s commitment to providing a robust and flexible academic program, gives us confidence in the university’s ability to meet the needs of all Lawrentians. But we continue to live in unpredictable times. In response, we will continue to monitor the situation closely, to enforce all aspects of the Pledge, and to follow the stoplight guide to determine if our plans need to change.

    Here is what you need to know about Winter and Spring Terms:

    • Personal Decisions: Like Fall Term, students, faculty, and staff will decide whether they will live, learn, and work on campus, based upon their individual needs. In response to the pandemic, the campus experience is unlike any we have provided in the past. Please be sure this is something you want to do and also that you are willing and able to observe the Pledge before you decide to commit to residing or working on campus. We will offer a mix of in-person and online courses to ensure continuity of experience throughout the term. We will also offer remote learning opportunities for those who will not be on campus due to personal circumstances, travel challenges, or an inability to adhere to our health framework. Students living on campus should expect an experience that includes online instruction. Please contact your instructors directly on teaching modality for winter courses. For those students who have an F1 visa, please contact Leah McSorley at International Student Services to ensure maintenance of your status. The university will do everything it can to provide the required course work. 
    • Campus Capacity:  Our experiences during Fall Term demonstrated that we can safely accommodate roughly the same number of students in on-campus residences, approximately 900 students, for Winter and Spring Terms.
    • Academic Calendar: The academic calendars for Winter and Spring Terms will remain as scheduled. Classes for Winter Term will begin on January 4, 2021, and the last day of finals will take place on March 17. Spring break will last from March 18-28, and the first day of Spring Term will be March 29. Commencement is scheduled for Sunday, June 13.
    • Winter Break: Student Life will be in contact by the end of the week regarding Winter Break, including more information for those students who need to remain on campus through December.
    • Campus Move-In: The first two weeks of Winter and Spring Terms will consist of remote instruction only. This will allow us to stagger the return of the on-campus population over several days and facilitate our initial term testing protocol (see below). Additional restrictions similar to the beginning of Fall Term will also be required through the testing period to limit possible viral spread. Student move-in for Winter Term will occur January 3-5, 2021. Information about Spring Break and details regarding move-in for Spring Term will be available later in Winter Term. We are currently planning to allow students to leave campus for spring break if they follow the Pledge in their travels. 
    • Testing and Protocol for Returning to Campus: We will test all students living and/or learning on campus upon their arrival and then again 14 days later. Additional restrictions on activities and behaviors will also be required through the testing period, as it was at the start of Fall Term. Faculty and staff working on campus will be tested as they return to campus and then randomly thereafter. Like Fall Term, students, faculty, and staff will take part in frequent testing and daily symptom monitoring throughout the term. The plan for Spring Term will mirror the plan for Winter Term.
    • Living on Campus: Our regular housing practice of assigning students to the capacity indicated by the type of room (for example, two students to a double room or four students to a four-person suite) will continue. Students can apply for a single room if they prefer that choice. Students living on campus Fall Term, and who plan to make a housing change for Winter Term, will be informed of their final housing assignment and complete the move to their new room prior to leaving campus this fall. Students returning to campus for the first time in January will be informed of their housing assignment by mid-December. We will allow students the opportunity to change their residency decision between Winter and Spring Terms. A survey will be distributed during the latter part of Winter Term, asking students to confirm their spring residency decisions. If the room you chose last Spring during housing selection is currently vacant, we will honor that selection. But it is possible that room selection is no longer available due to optimizing space for health and safety. If that is the case, we will need to house you elsewhere.
    • Working on Campus: Faculty will choose whether they will continue to teach and work remotely. Staff will continue to work remotely unless their duties or other needs require them to work on campus, or unless they would prefer to return to campus.
    • Safety Protocols: We ask all students to take preventative steps for 14 days before coming to campus to ensure a safe and healthy arrival at Lawrence (e.g., practice physical distancing, self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, consider taking a COVID-19 test). All members of the Lawrence community will be expected to honor the pledge, following all university health and safety protocols, in order to live, learn, and work on campus.

    More details and an extensive FAQ can be found on the Plan for Academic Year 2020/21 website. I encourage every member of the Lawrence community to review the site and explore the FAQs. 

    Student Survey 
    We ask each Lawrentian to complete the following survey (login required) to indicate your plans for Winter Term:

    If student demand for on-campus housing exceeds our upper limit, we will allocate spaces according to factors that may include academic year, academic program, fall housing status, or student needs. We will share more details if survey results indicate that we must make such allocations.

    To help students and families fully understand our plans for the rest of the academic year and to answer any questions you may have, we are hosting a town hall for students and families this Thursday:

    If you can’t attend during this time, the session will be recorded and made available for future viewing on the Plan for Academic Year 2020/21 website. If you have additional questions, please email

    Faculty & Staff Plans
    Like the fall, faculty and staff (excluding those staff determined to be essential to daily on-campus operations) will determine, in consultation with their departments and offices, whether they will teach or work on campus or remotely. Later this month, we will provide a link to a short survey in Voyager that will allow employees to indicate their plans for the Winter Term. It is important that you fill out this survey, as it will help us determine our testing protocols.

    To answer any questions you may have about our plans or our current protocols, we are hosting a town hall for faculty and staff next week:

    The session will be recorded and made available for future viewing. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please visit the Plan for Academic Year 2020-21 or email

    Moving Forward, Together 
    Lawrence’s ability to come together this fall to protect ourselves and our community is one of my proudest moments as president of the university. The pandemic, the contentious political environment, and the ongoing impact of systemic racism has had a direct impact on all of us. Yet we have continued to come together to sustain our mission, to deliver an engaging academic program, and to do the work necessary to becoming an antiracist university. I want to thank all Lawrentians who have gone above and beyond to ensure our progress in a challenging moment. You have my deepest gratitude for your patience and commitment.

    One of the most important lessons we have learned since last March is that the spread of COVID-19 is unpredictable. We will continue to monitor the health of our campus and surrounding communities and to adjust university operations if needed. We encourage you to continue to track the COVID-19 Dashboard, which is updated every Monday, and to pay close attention to your university email for any potential updates from the LPPT.

    Sustaining a healthy and successful academic year will continue to be a community effort. I know that together, we as Lawrentians will meet these challenges with ingenuity, creativity, and compassion. We remain committed to doing everything within our power to keep the Lawrence experience strong, supportive, and safe.

    As always, be well and make choices that keep others well.



    Mark Burstein
    President, Lawrence University

  • Update on COVID-19 Testing

    Dear Lawrence Community,

    For the second week in a row, we saw an increase in the number of positive COVID-19 tests through our on-campus surveillance testing. You can see the full results of last week’s testing and an update on active cases on the COVID-19 dashboard

    Surveillance Testing
    Last week’s surveillance testing results brought total positive cases to 27 out of 4325 on-campus tests since August 31. This equals an on-campus total positivity rate of .6 %. Of the 598 on-campus tests administered last week (October 19-25), seven students and two employees tested positive, resulting in a positivity rate for last week’s surveillance testing of 1.5%. The individuals who tested positive are now in isolation. Please note that the dashboard’s total new and active cases reflect both on-campus and off-campus diagnostic results.

    Campus Active Cases
    This week we saw a rise in the number of our campus active cases. Over the past three weeks our active cases have grown from 2 to 12 to 27 cases. As the spread of the virus in Appleton and beyond continues to grow, we are not surprised that our on-campus COVID-19 rates have also increased. That said, we remain concerned and even more diligent in our efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus on our campus. We will continue to adapt our weekly testing selection and closely monitor the results to identify areas of concern. We also encourage all members of our community to honor the pledge–continue to wear your masks, physically distance, wash your hands, and monitor your health daily. If you are experiencing any symptoms, please call your health care provider.

    We will also continue to update the campus if we notice any concerning trends or if an update of the university’s operational status is necessary. We remain thankful to all members of the Lawrence community who continue to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus and beyond. If you have any questions or concerns, please email

    Be well and stay well,
    Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team 

  • COVID-19 Dashboard Update

    Dear Lawrence Community,  

    Earlier this month, we announced a change in the university’s operational status to Yellow in response to the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases in our surrounding community. This change resulted in a reduction in the number of non-essential employees on campus to 25% or fewer and an increase in our testing pool to approximately 50% of our on-campus population tohelp us better assess the presence of the virus on campus during this time of increased risk.  

    To more quickly provide our community with information on weekly testing, we are now updating our COVID-19 Dashboard on Monday mornings. This change allows us to provide the previous week’s results two days earlier. The results of last week’s testing are now available.  

    Last week’s testing results brought total positives cases to 19 out of 3,725 on-campus tests since August 31. This equals an on-campus total positivity rate of .51%. Of the 605 tests administered last week (October 12-13), six students and two employees tested positive. Those individuals are now in isolation. Please note that the dashboard’s total active cases reflect both on-campus and off-campus diagnostic results. 

    While any increase in positivity rates is concerning, we are grateful that our overall positivity rate is still less than one percent. We will test approximately 50% of our on-campus population again this week and will pay close attention to the results, making strategic decisions for ongoing testing selection based on the trends that emerge. We will also continue to update the campus if we notice any concerning trends or if an update of the university’s operational status is necessary. 

    Our continued thanks and appreciation to all members of the Lawrence community who continue to honor the pledge and help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus and beyond. If you have any questions or concerns, please email

    Be well and stay well,
    Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team 

  • COVID-19 Update: Yellow Light Operational Status

    Dear Lawrence Community, 

    Last week President Burstein alerted the Lawrence community to the alarming spread of COVID-19 in the Fox Cities. Since his original message, the situation has continued to deteriorate. Widespread transmission is present in Appleton and beyond, testing the capacity of our local health care facilities and public health departments. The results of our current round of on-campus testing indicates that we at Lawrence have continued our outstanding efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus. Our rate of positivity remains less than one half of one percent—a continuing testament to your diligence in adhering to health and safety guidance. 

    We remain grateful for your efforts to Honor the Pledge, as it is only by working together that we will mitigate the spread of the virus and keep each other healthy. Yet the alarming spread of the virus in our surrounding community has caused the Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team to rethink and reconsider our current operational status.

    After careful assessment of the situation in Appleton and following the protocols and metrics of the Stoplight Guide, the LPPT has changed the university’s operational status to Yellow Light: Open, Moderate Risk

    The following enhanced safety precautions will take effect immediately:

    • We are reducing the number of non-essential employees on campus to 25% or fewer. This includes both faculty and staff. Essential services, such as dining, campus safety, and Mudd Library, will continue, while diligently following all university health and safety protocols. This is in line with yesterday’s Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services emergency order limiting the size of crowds in public spaces to 25% of capacity.
    • Our randomized testing pool will be increased next week to help us better assess the presence of the virus on campus during this time of increased risk. If you are selected for testing, you will receive an email notification.
    • Individuals who believe they may be at higher risk for contracting the virus will be given the opportunity to participate in next week’s testing. For this context, higher risk is considered individuals who have multiple contacts with individuals off-campus. Examples may include a student who works with the public off-campus or an employee who has multiple in-person contacts with the Appleton community. These individuals have the opportunity to attend testing on Tuesday, October 13, between the hours of 8 a.m.-11:45 a.m. or 1 p.m.-5:45 p.m.  Please remember you should be tested ONLY if you are not exhibiting any symptoms of the virus

    The LPPT has decided not to limit campus activities, including in-person classes, as outlined in the Stoplight Guide because there is currently no evidence that community spread of COVID-19 is present on our campus. In fact, the Appleton Health Department has advised us that our campus is the safest place for our community at this time. 

    To keep our campus and community safe, it is more important than ever that we do all that we can to mitigate the spread of the virus:

    • It is imperative that we continue to Honor the Pledge both on- and off-campus: Practice physical distancing no matter where we are, wear a mask, and monitor your daily symptoms.
    • If you reside on campusplease stay on campus as much as possible. Our colleagues in Student Life are working to provide more areas on campus where students can safely gather or study, as well as additional food options and on-campus or virtual programming. Vice President of Student Life Christopher Card will be sharing a message with the campus community tomorrow with more details on these opportunities for students. 
    • If you commute to or from campus to learn or workbe even more diligent in following all university health and safety protocols, as well as regional or statewide mandates. Please also consider working remotely if this is possible for you. The Texas Medical Association created a helpful guide to the health risks associated with our activities and behaviors. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with these guidelines, assess your own level of risk, and avoid any activities outside of the low risk category.

    The university’s operational status will remain Yellow for the foreseeable future or until evidence suggests we move in a different direction. We will continue to closely monitor and review the situation on campus and in the Fox Cities, including regular check-ins with the Appleton Health Department and local health care providers, in our weekly LPPT meetings. Any changes to the university’s status or the presence of the virus on our campus will be communicated immediately with our community.

    We understand that this change in status has an impact on our daily lives, both physically and emotionally. If you are experiencing anxiety or stress, please take advantage of the many supportive resources available on campus for our community. Please continue to submit any questions or concerns you may have to, check the COVID-19 Dashboard, and pay close attention to your email for additional updates and information.

    Thank you all for your continued support, resilience, and patience as we weather this global pandemic together. It is because of your ongoing efforts that we have successfully mitigated the spread of COVID-19 on campus. Please continue to take care of yourselves and each other.

    Be well, and stay well,

    Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team

  • Community Health & Safety

    Dear Lawrentians,

    In this unprecedented time, our goal of protecting the health and safety of our community is more important than ever. Each week—and often every day—brings news that is deeply troubling, whether it is our nation surpassing more than 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 or the presence of a potential hate crime in a neighborhood near our campus. I write today both as your president and as a Lawrentian to address the critical issues of the health and safety of our community.  

    The spread of COVID-19 in the Fox Cities has reached alarming levels. According to data from the Appleton Health Department, we have moved from community spread to widespread community transmission. The Federal Government has designated the Fox Cities and most of Wisconsin a “red zone” the highest designation for community transmission of the virus. Please take seriously this frightening increase in the presence of COVID-19 in our surrounding community.  Limit all nonessential interactions off campus. For those living on campus, the safest place for you right now is the Lawrence campus. For those commuting to campus for work or learning, please exercise great care in your life at Lawrence and beyond. 

    In the midst of such a fast-moving outbreak, we at Lawrence have done a truly amazing job mitigating the spread of the virus. As of September 27, we have administered 2,878 tests on our campus and have only 7 total active cases among those living, learning, or working on campus. This is a rate of positivity of less than one half of one percent:  a testament to your diligence in adhering to health and safety guidance.  

    On this Giving Day when we thank our community for their support of Lawrence, I cannot fully express how thankful I am for the actions all of us are taking to mitigate the spread of the virus. We have all worked to Honor the Pledge—wearing masks, physically distancing, limiting your exposure to the virus. We have become a model for members of our surrounding community. Please continue with your practices. It is only by working together that we will mitigate the spread of the virus and keep each other healthy. 

    As was communicated earlier this week, the unrest, violence, and vitriolic, blatantly racist actions associated with our current political moment have again touched our campus. The police are actively investigating this weekend’s incident, targeting a private home in a neighboring community, as a potential hate crime. Sharing more details on this ongoing investigation may impede the investigation. We also want to ensure the privacy and safety of those individuals directly affected by the weekend’s event. The goal for us and for the city is to find the perpetrator(s) as quickly as possible.  

    Although we cannot offer further details, we can say this: 

    Lawrence University does not tolerate hate speech or actions of intolerance, including racism, white supremacy, anti-Semitism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia.  We believe that Black Lives Matter.  

    I know these recent events have generated stress, anxiety, even fear and anger in our community. I am struggling with these feelings myself. I know that many of you are experiencing them in your own lives. But I am strengthened when I remember the University’s core values of respect for justice and the dignity of all human life.  These values inform our current work to become an antiracist institution, work that is wholeheartedly supported by the Board of Trustees. In addition to this effort, practicing empathy towards our fellow Lawrentians is one of the most important actions we can take. Remember that our own daily struggles and those of our peers and colleagues may not always be visible.  

    Being a Lawrentian is one of the true honors and privileges of my life. I will continue to Honor the Pledge and do all that I can to become antiracist. I ask each of you to join me in this work. Please support and protect each other, stand up to racism and intolerance, take advantage of the services the university offers, and work to make a positive difference—to be the light—in our community. 

    Be well and make choices that keep others well. 



    Mark Burstein
    President, Lawrence University
    Sampson House, 711 E. Boldt Way | Appleton, WI 54911-5699 | Office 920.832.6525

  • New COVID-19 Dashboard

    Dear Lawrentians,  

    Thank you to all members of the Lawrence community who have worked so hard to plan, prepare, and launch this term like no other in the university’s history. We also greatly appreciate the efforts everyone on campus and beyond are making to honor the pledge and help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.   

    Today, we announce the launch of a new dashboardto track the impact of COVID-19 on campus. The dashboard will be updated weekly on Wednesdays and will track the following information: 

    • Active COVID-19 Cases
    • Number of tests administered on campus 
    • Student Cases
    • Employee Cases 

    All data represents students, faculty, and staff currently living, learning, or working on campus. Categories may be adjusted as more information or guidance is available from local, regional, or national health agencies.   

    Please bookmark and check the dashboard regularly. A link to the dashboard will also be included in the weekly LU Insider. Additional notifications will be shared via all-campus email onlyif there’s a significant increase in positive cases or if there is a change in the university’s operational status.  

    Testing on campus began on August 31, and three rounds of testing have taken place to date:  

    • Summer student residents and faculty and staff who will work on campus this fall (8/31, 9/2 and 9/3); 
    • All incoming students living on campus (9/8); 
    • All returning students living on campus and all commuters (9/10, 9/12). 

    We can report that 1,480 tests have been completed since August 31. Five employees and 1 student received positive test results to date, which is less than one percent positivity rate among those individuals tested on campus. Please refer to the dashboard for additional information.  

    These will not be the last positive cases of COVID-19 on our campus. The policies, protocols, and planning put in place over the summer, including dedicated isolation/quarantine spaces, were created to help our community quickly address and mitigate virus spread on campus. We will need everyone’s help as we continue to live with COVID-19 in the days and weeks ahead, especially in light of Appleton’s current high level of community spread for COVID-19. The Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team is tracking these numbers and remains in close contact with the Appleton Health Department as we work to mitigate the spread of the virus on campus and in our surrounding community.  

    With this news, it is more important than ever that we all continue toHonor the Pledgeboth here on campus and in our home communities.Continue to wear a mask, practice physical distancing, avoid public transportation and large gatherings, and monitor your daily symptoms. We encourage students to remain on campus as much as possible. We can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect ourselves and others by practicing proper safety measures, including monitoring your daily symptoms if you live, learn, or work on campus.  

    Our thoughts are with all members of our community as we work to overcome the impact of the virus and wrestle with the effects of this global pandemic on all facets of our lives. If you are experiencing anxiety or stress, please take advantage of the many supportive resources available on campus for our community, including Wellness Services, the Center for Academic SuccessSpiritual & Religious Life, the Diversity & Intercultural CenterOffice of Diversity & Inclusion, and International Student Services.   

    Thank you for the collective and individual efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 at Lawrence. We look forward to a successful—and healthy—fall term.   

    Be well. Stay well. 
    The Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team 

  • Fall Term Update

    Dear Lawrentians, 

    In a little more than a week, we will begin to welcome students to campus.  I had planned to distribute a letter today welcoming our community to the term.  However, before I offer words of welcome I want to recognize the unfolding events in Kenosha, Wisconsin and the impact on the Lawrence community.  The tragic shooting of yet another Black person, Jacob Blake, reinforces the need for continued antiracist work and underlines how important and how hard this work will be.  My heart goes out to the Blake family and to all who have been impacted by this tragedy.   

    We continue to dismantle systemic racism through individual and organizational learning; through curricular, pedagogical, and policy change; and through enhanced efforts to increase the racial diversity of students, faculty, and staff.  We also continue to collaborate with the City of Appleton to help ensure that Lawrentians are safe and welcome here.  Our goal is to create a campus climate that allows each of us to feel that we belong in this community whether we are learning on campus or at a distance.   

    Even amid the challenges and grief this year has brought, the beginning of a new school year is a moment that I cherish.  I am looking forward to the academic year, seeing new and familiar faces virtually and on campus.  Welcome Week starts on September 8, followed bythe first day of classes on September 14.  This year will offer a robust academic program and co-curricular experience for both distance and on campus learners while adhering to the best public health guidance available to us.  

    Recently, we asked students to share their plans for living and learning this fall.  Thank you students and families for responding to this survey and to the staff and faculty who worked to respond to student questions about this unusual term.  At this time, we expect roughly 60% or about 800 students to live on campus, and the rest will join us from their homes around the world and in the Fox Valley.  Most courses will be taught via distance learning this term, and many faculty and staff will work primarily remotely. 

    Only we, working together, can ensure the health and safety of the Lawrence community and beyond.  We require every person joining the campus community this fall—students, faculty and staff—to affirm the Lawrence Campus Community Pledge.  If you cannot observe the pledge’s commitments for any reason then please do not join us in Appleton.  You and we will be safer if you remain a distance learner for the term.  We are personally and communally responsible to keep ourselves, and each other, healthy:  to physically distance, to wear masks, to monitor our health, and to regularly clean personal campus spaces.  All of us living, learning, and working on campus this fall need to understand and to honor the responsibilities outlined by the Pledge.  We will all be held accountable for our actions as we join together to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  

    I also ask each of you joining from a distance to review the Lawrence Campus Community Pledge.  While not every aspect of the pledge may apply to your own situation, the spirit of the Pledge is applicable to us all as we live with COVID-19 in the weeks and months to come. 

    I honor the Pledge because I believe I should do everything I can to keep all Lawrentians healthy.  Fellow Lawrentians honor the Pledge for many different reasons.  Please watch this video to help us all understand the importance of our actions.  To review the Pledge and learn more about the Honor the Pledge campaign, visit

    Even in this new environment, I am optimistic about the coming academic year.  This confidence is rooted in Lawrence’s enduring commitment to its mission and its community, as well as in the creativity and compassion that faculty, staff, and students have demonstrated in the face of a global pandemic.  With our community dispersed around the world, our connections as Lawrentians extend beyond place and can be found in our shared values, experiences, and traditions.  

    Student feedback about Spring Term has helped faculty pursue new ways to teach and learn in virtual and physically distanced environments. 

    We have developed new guidance informed by health leaders and the CDC on how we can safely gather in-person as a community. 

    Plans for virtual gatherings, productions, and concerts are in the works. I am also aware of how different fall term will be for all of us.  

    We will not be able to proceed with many cherished traditions that have marked the experience of Lawrentians across the generations.  I am sure many of you share with me this sense of loss.  But I also believe our community’s ingenuity will lead us to develop new ways to create and sustain our unique learning community.   

    A number of colleges have already shifted their plans in response to pandemic challenges.  Our extensive planning includes the recognition that Lawrence may also have to change course as the virus and its impact continue to evolve.  We have developed a set of metrics and protocols to monitor community safety and move us to necessary action.  Even if our course changes, I can assure you that our commitment to community, learning, and mission will persevere. 

    Please continue to follow the Planning for Fall 2020 blog and the university’s social media accounts for the most current information.   

    At the start of a fall term like no other, we join together near and far to learn; to strive toward our aspirations of becoming an antiracist, equity-minded institution; to celebrate our opportunity to be in community despite the many challenges facing our world; and to protect the health and wellness of all Lawrentians.  As always, please reach out to me or anyone else on campus if you have any questions or concerns. 

    Be well, and make choices that keep others well, 

    Mark Burstein

  • Update on Fall Course Listings | Aug 13

    Dear Lawrentians,

    With one month to go before the first day of class, a summer of preparing creative, engaging approaches to the coming academic year is nearing completion. Today I write to share with you some important details of our plans so that you can begin making your own preparations for learning at Lawrence.

    Over the course of the past few months, faculty have been hard at work adapting courses to make certain they will conform to campus protocols ensuring a safe and healthy educational experience for us all. In making their decisions about how best to teach their courses, faculty have carefully considered how campus requirements for masking and social distancing will affect in-person instruction. In addition, they have participated in workshops enabling multiple refinements and improvements in distance instruction.

    Thanks to this careful planning, I can assure you that this fall’s classroom experience will little resemble that of the spring, when faculty at Lawrence and across the nation made swift, last-minute adjustments to courses that had never been designed with remote instruction in mind.

    With those adaptations complete, we have updated our fall schedule so that each course’s modality (or how it will be taught in the fall) is now included, along with other important information about the class. The updated course schedule is now available and can be accessed here.

    We recognize that a great deal of information is presented there. To guide you through this wealth of detail, we have provided a set of clear instructions, definitions, and images to help you navigate the course listing information.

    Information for Returning Students

    Please reach out to your faculty advisor to discuss any changes you are considering in your course schedule. Returning students will be able to adjust their schedules between August 18 and August 30. Please check Voyager to learn your assigned time frame for course adjustments within that window.

    Information for New Students

    You will receive an e-mail soon from your faculty advisor to set up an appointment to discuss course selection and registration. As a helpful reminder, advising and registration dates for new students are as follows:

    August 18-30: Advising for first-year and transfer students
    August 31-September 6: Course registration for transfer students
    September 1-6: First-year student registration
    September 10: Final registration for transfer students
    September 11: Final registration for first-year students

    While the challenges of teaching and learning in the midst of a pandemic have resulted in several modifications of our academic program, the core commitments to engaged learning and close student-faculty interaction that are the hallmarks of a Lawrence education remain unchanged. Whether working with you in person or online, Lawrence faculty are there for you.

    Stay well and keep your Lawrence light alive. The world needs your brilliance.

    Catherine G. Kodat
    Provost & Dean of the Faculty

  • Fall 2020 Update from the Office of Student Life

    Dear Lawrentians, 

    While this coming fall will be unlike any fall we’ve experienced, we look forward to the start of the academic year. It will be truly rejuvenating to see more students on campus, including many new faces, and to connect in new ways with those of you studying remotely.  

    The Office of Student Life has been working hard over the summer to plan for the start of the academic year and the arrival of students on campus, focusing on the health and safety of our community and exploring new ways we can all stay connected even though we may be apart. I write today to share with you more information for those planning to return to campus, as well as initial plans for sustaining our community connections during this global pandemic. 

    Preparing to Return to Campus 

    We ask all students who will live on the Lawrence campus—or in Appleton—this fall to be vigilant about your safety and avoid potential coronavirus exposure for 14 days prior to your arrival on campus. I understand limiting your contacts runs counter to the normal impulse to see friends and family before leaving, but your actions will help ensure the health and safety of our entire community. Avoiding exposure involves not only following standard safety protocols, such as wearing a mask, physical distancing, and washing your hands, but also staying at home whenever possible and planning how to protect yourself and others during travel. More specific protocols for returning to campus can be found in the Planning for Fall 2020 FAQ

    If you experience illness of any kind before traveling to campus, please stay home and contact the Dean of Students to arrange for your arrival on campus.

    Returning to Campus

    As was shared in the July 31 message from the Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team, move-in dates for those students returning to campus are as follows:  

    September 2-3: New International Lawrentians  
    September 8: New Lawrentians   
    September 10 & 12: Returning Lawrentians 

    To protect the health and safety of our students and staff during move-in, students will be assigned an individual date and time frame to arrive on campus. One additional person may accompany students into their residence to help with move in. Move-in times and testing information will follow the confirmation of housing assignments on August 24.  

    We will finalize and communicate via email our plans for Welcome Week (WW) shortly. WW will be an abbreviated and re-imagined version of our typical programming but will still prepare you to make a successful transition to Lawrence. More information, including updates on parent programming, is available on the WW webpage

    All students living on campus will be tested upon their arrival. If you have resided on campus over the summer, we will share a specific date with you in the coming weeks. Students will be tested again two weeks later. Your participation in COVID-19 testing is a condition for being on campus this fall. You will not receive access to your residence without evidence that you have taken the test. This procedure will be the same for all employees who plan to be on campus. Randomized testing of our on-campus population will occur weekly for the rest of the term.  

    All on-campus COVID-19 tests will be conducted by our community health partner, Bellin Health, at no cost to students. More information on testing procedures is available on the Planning for Fall 2020 FAQ

    Students will only be able to attend in-person classes or co-curricular activities, work on-campus jobs, or gather in indoor common spaces after they receive their negative COVID-19 test result. (We expect results to arrive from Bellin within 3-5 days of a COVID-19 test.) Students  should reach out to their individual faculty members, supervisor, or others to make the appropriate arrangements if they believe the waiting period will prevent them from participating. 

    Students who receive a positive COVID-19 test result will be temporarily relocated to one of our isolation spaces on campus and will not be able to attend any in-person activities for 10 days or until they are virus free. More information regarding isolation procedures is available on the Planning for Fall 2020 FAQ

    Ensuring Community Health & Safety

    Ensuring the health and safety of the Lawrence community and beyond only works when we all do our part, together. We ask every student planning to live on campus or in the Fox Cities area this fall to closely review the Lawrence Campus Community Pledge (LCCP), which outlines our personal and communal responsibilities to keep ourselves and others well. If you are unwilling to comply with this pledge, we look forward to welcoming you to campus at a time when you will comply or when conditions no longer merit these measures.  

    Students are required to complete a Moodle Course that outlines health and safety protocols and procedures, along with other important information, prior to returning to campus. The course also provides information on how students can affirm their commitment to the LCCP. Like the Honor Code and Social Code, the LCCP can only be successful in an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence. All of us living and working on campus this fall are responsible for understanding and honoring the pledge, and we will all be held accountable for our actions as we work together to ensure the safety of the Lawrence community and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

     Please make every effort to complete the Moodle course and affirm the pledge as soon as possible.

    Living on Campus

    New and revised housing assignments will be posted to students’ Voyager accounts on August 24. If you have any questions regarding your housing assignment in advance of this date, please reach out to Residential Education at

    Over the last few weeks, we have received several questions regarding pods, particularly regarding lofts and group houses, and how to maintain the health and safety protocols within residences. Here’s some information that may help answer a number of these questions: 

    • A “pod” is a group of individuals who share a living space and are therefore, of necessity, in frequent daily association without masking and physical separation according to our social distancing, isolation, and quarantine guidelines. Residence hall rooms of 2 or more shall be deemed as a “pod.” 
    • Masks and physical distancing protocols do NOT need to be followed when individuals are in their individual room. 
    • If you live in a loft or a group house, you will need to practice physical distancing, meaning residents in common areas will be required to wear a mask and should maintain 6-ft distance, as everyone is expected to do in all other public areas of campus. 
    • If these guidelines are not maintained and if an individual in a loft or house tests positive for COVID-19, all members of the loft or house will need to quarantine for health and safety purposes.  
    • More information is available in the Planning for Fall 2020 FAQ

    We are still sorting through a few final details regarding our fall meal plan with Bon Appétit, but we can let you know the following: all students will be on a full 19 meal plan with added “meal equivalencies” to Kaplan’s Café. Meal swipes may be used in the Café in addition to the Andrew Commons. We will relocate the Corner Store items to the Café and also allow for a meal swipe to be used for some menu items. To ensure the health and safety of our community as we return to campus, we will start the academic year with to-go meals only and phase in limited seating options when conditions permit. We are also limiting the use of common kitchen areas. Final details on the plan will be available by the end of this week. Options will be updated on the Dining webpage.

    While we plan to provide a robust and engaging campus environment, changes to life on campus will be necessary in order to keep our community safe and healthy. Accountability, dialogue, and reflection on community will increase. Residence halls and other spaces will be limited to those with key-card access, unless specific permission is granted. More virtual meetings with faculty, staff, clubs and organizations, and friends may be necessary, and activities will be re-imagined to comply with all university health and safety guidelines.  

    Staying Connected

    Even with health and safety protocols like the ones listed above in place, the Office of Student Life is committed to ensuring that Lawrentians near and far remain connected this fall. We are making arrangements for the fullest participation of students who will be away from campus. Where possible, we will record events for watching later. We are also planning virtual events that allow for student participation no matter their location. We do recognize that students outside U.S. time zones may be limited in their participation, and we will work with student organizations and event planners to accommodate those who are in other time zones. 

    All of us here on campus have greatly appreciated your patience as we continue to work through the many details for fall, as well as the questions you’ve sent our way. Please continue to visit the Planning for Fall 2020 website regularly, especially the FAQ, for the most up-to-date information. Please also be on the lookout for a message from Provost Catherine Kodat on Thursday, August 13, providing more information on class schedules and the advising and registration processes. Later that day, you will receive a link to survey asking you to share your final plans for fall. Again, the deadline to submit your plans to us will be August 17.  

    I know that the past six months have brought with them much uncertainty and, for many of us, personal loss. We have all struggled to make sense of this new world and to keep ourselves, our families, and our community safe. Even during such uncertainty, I remain hopeful that we will come together as Lawrentians, both virtually and in-person, to make the most of this new academic year. The Office of Student Life is here to help you as we make this transition to fall, so please reach out to us.  

    Be well and stay well, 
    Christopher Card 
    Vice President for Student Life 

  • Fall 2020 Update from the LPPT | July 31

    Thank you for  your patience and  help  as we’ve worked to prepare for Fall Term. Last week, we sent a survey to all incoming and returning students, asking them to share with us initial plans for living and learning this fall. To date, we have heard from more than  1,100  new and returning  Lawrentians, who shared their intentions with us via  last week’s  survey. Here’s what they told us: 

    • About 80  percent  of new  Lawrentians  are planning to live and learn on campus, with about 12  percent  choosing distance mode . Eight percen t were not yet sure of their plans.  
    • More than 60  percent of returning  Lawrentians  are planning to live and learn on campus, with about 22  percent  choosing distance mode. Another 18  percent  were still weighing their options.  

    The survey generated hundreds of comments and questions, which we are still  sorting through  and responding to as quickly as we can. Many of the questions we received focused on timing (e.g. When will move-in dates be shared? When will I know which classes will be offered in person? What will my living arrangements be?). 

    Today,  we  are  happy to share dates we have set for these important next steps toward Fall 2020, as well as when to expect more information to be shared with the community.  

    Courses, Advising, and Registration 

    Our faculty have been hard at work this summer adapting and revising courses in preparation for a Fall Term that provides an engaging academic experience while maintaining health and safety for themselves and the greater community.  

    Based upon their work, here are the important dates you need to know regarding the academic program: 

    • August 13: Class schedule posted on the university Registrar’s page, indicating which classes are in-person, hybrid, and distance mode.  
    • August 18-30: Academic advising for all  new  Lawrentians; course registration for  returning  Lawrentians.  
    • August  31-September  6: Course registration for  new  Lawrentians.  
    • September 14: First day of classes for all  Lawrentians.  

    Watch for a message from Provost Catherine Kodat on or before August 13, which will provide more detailed information on the academic program. Students will also have an opportunity to schedule  a  Zoom meeting with their academic advisor to help them prepare for registration.  

    Confirming Your Fall 2020 Decision

    On August 13, students will receive an email asking them to confirm their living and learning plans for the Fall Term. We ask for their response by August 17

    If students indicate they are living and learning off campus (either here in the Fox Valley or in distance mode), this form will help us make the proper revisions to billing statements and financial aid. Students should expect a revised statement to appear in their Voyager account by August 25

    If students are living and learning on campus, this form will ensure their housing for the fall and enable us to send them the Lawrence Campus Community Pledge , allowing them to officially confirm that they will honor the pledge. Students commuting to campus will also be expected to confirm they will honor the pledge. 

    If students indicate they are deferring enrollment or taking a leave of absence, the appropriate university office will follow up to discuss next steps with them. 

    Move-In, Housing, and Health Information 

    The Office of Student Life is finalizing housing assignments, move-in dates, and plans for Welcome Week. If students are returning to campus, here are important dates to keep in mind as they prepare for fall: 

    • August 24: New and revised housing assignments posted on Voyager 
    • September 2-3: International Lawrentians arrive on campus 
    • September  8: New  Lawrentians  arrive on campus, Welcome Week begins 
    • September 10-12: Returning Lawrentians arrive on campus 

    To protect the health and safety of our students and staff during move-in, students will be assigned an individual date and time frame to arrive on campus. One additional person may accompany students into their residence to help with move in.  

    All students will be tested upon their arrival, and again two weeks later. Continued testing of our on-campus population will occur weekly for the rest of the term. All on-campus COVID-19 tests will be conducted by our community health partner, Bellin Health, at no cost to students, faculty, or staff. 

    If students need to stay on campus through the winter break, we will make every effort to accommodate their need. 

    Student Life will share more information regarding move-in, housing, and Welcome Week in early August, including important health and safety information that will help students prepare for travel to campus. 

    Please continue to watch your email for additional important messages in coming weeks providing further guidance to help us prepare for living, learning, and working at Lawrence this fall. In the meantime, please consult the  Planning for Fall 2020 webpage  for more information and FAQ . If you have any questions, please send us an email, and we will respond as early next week as possible.

    Be well. Stay well.  

    The Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team

  • Fall 2020 Plans | President Burstein | July 14, 2020

    Dear Lawrentians, 

    After two months of thoughtful collaboration across campus, we announce today that the university will offer all Lawrentians the opportunity to live and learn on campus this fall. We will also provide a distance learning option for the fall term for those who decide not to return to campus, whether it is because of health concerns; an inability to observe all the essential safety protocols described in this letter and accompanying information; limits on traveling; or any other challenges.  

    To reach this decision, the Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team (LPPT) researched ways to approach our learning, living, and working environments for the coming academic year. The team consulted with health experts, both within Wisconsin and around the country, and with various faculty, students, staff, and trustees through the shared governance process. Our goal was to ensure that every Lawrentian will have the opportunity to learn, teach, and work as fully and safely as possible. The President’s Cabinet, informed by the LPPT’s recommendations, made this decision grounded in three guiding priorities: protecting the health and safety of our community; sustaining our academic mission; and supporting faculty, staff, and students. When we paired these priorities with our core Lawrentian values of community, equity, and student empowerment, the path forward for fall was clear.  

    This fall term will not look like any other in Lawrence history. But we can assure you that this academic year will adhere to the best public health guidance available to us, offer a robust academic program and co-curricular experience, and gather us together once again as a community—in new ways. 

    What You Need to Know about Fall 2020 

    Following are highlights about fall term 2020 to help you make your decisions. More details and an extensive FAQ can be found on the Planning for Fall 2020 website. I encourage every member of the Lawrence community to review the site and explore the FAQ.  

    • Student Choice: Students will choose whether they will come to campus. We will offer a mix of in-person and online courses to ensure continuity of experience throughout the term. We will also offer remote learning opportunities for those who will not be on campus due to personal circumstances, challenges preventing them from traveling to campus, or a decision not to adhere to our safety protocols. Students living on campus should expect an experience that includes online instruction. Technology and student support services will be available to students both on- and off-campus to help with access to resources and the learning experience. 
    • Academic Calendar: Classes for this academic year will begin on September 14, and exams will end before November 25 and the Thanksgiving holiday. December Term will not be held this year. 
    • Living on Campus: Our regular housing practice of assigning students to the capacity indicated by the type of room (for example, two students to a double room or four students to a four-person suite) will continue. Students can apply for a single room if they prefer that choice. Final housing assignments and move-in details will be available in early August.  
    • Working on Campus: Faculty will choose whether they will continue to teach and work remotely. Staff will continue to work remotely unless their duties or other needs require them to work on campus or unless they would prefer to return to campus. Students will be offered both in person and telecommuting work opportunities. 
    • Testing: Students will be tested for COVID-19 when they arrive. Faculty and staff will be tested as they return to campus. Students, faculty, and staff will take part in frequent testing and daily symptom monitoring throughout the term.  
    • Health Partners:  The University has contracted with Bellin Health to be our healthcare partner as we adapt as a community to living with COVID-19. They will provide on-campus testing for all community members. We are also fortunate to have long-term existing relationships with Ascension and ThedaCare health systems in the Fox Valley, who will continue to supply essential local support. For contact tracing we have developed a partnership with the Appleton Health Department to ensure the process will be thorough and quick. 
    • Safety Protocols: We ask all students to take preventative steps for 14 days before coming to campus to ensure a safe and healthy arrival on campus (e.g., practice physical distancing, self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, consider taking a COVID-19 test). All members of the community will be required to wear masks in classrooms and other indoor public spaces as well as outdoor spaces where physical distancing is not possible. We will promote physical distancing and reduce contact through adjustments to classroom occupancy; new plexiglass and signage to highly trafficked areas; dining services modifications; and density control in housing assignments. We are currently upgrading our building ventilation systems to minimize recirculation of contaminants. Faculty, students, and staff will also be expected to receive an influenza vaccine, which will be made available by the university.  
    • International Students: We are working to ensure that students with F1 visas will remain in compliance with federal guidelines if they choose to join us on campus.  
    • Protecting Ourselves & Others: Protecting the health and safety of our campus community will require participation by all members of our community. We ask everyone who joins us on campus to sign the Lawrence Campus Community Pledge, which commits each of us to follow our public health and safety protocols. Violation of these protocols will lead to disciplinary action. 

    Ongoing Work 

    Preparing for the fall has been, and will continue to be, a community effort. While we have made many decisions, we are still sorting through more details as we approach the start of the academic year. Please visit the Planning for Fall 2020 website for the most up-to-date information. I would like to thank everyone engaged in this process and offer my ongoing gratitude to our entire community for your patience and efforts to successfully launch an academic year in this challenging environment.  

    We will continue to adjust our protocols to follow guidance from local and state health departments as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure community health and safety. When a policy change is needed, the LPPT will discuss options with the proper shared governance committee. In addition, we have developed contingency plans in case of a virus surge on campus. 

    Additional Information 

    I know that this email includes a great deal of information. To help you fully understand our plans and answer questions you may have, we are hosting two Q & A sessions—one for faculty and staff and one for students and families—later this week: 

    We will also host other Q & A sessions for Conservatory students, international students, and student athletes and their families. We will send further details about these sessions soon to all students in these communities. All sessions will be recorded and made available for future viewing. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please visit the Planning for Fall 2020 website or email You can also call the university directly at 920-832-6576 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central time on Wednesday, July 15 and Thursday, July 16, and between 8 a.m. and noon on Friday, July 17. Staff will be available to answer your questions or direct you to the right office. 

    Next week, we will contact all incoming and returning students, to ask you to share with us your plans for fall term, along with other important questions. Your thoughtful and prompt response will help us make plans for on-campus accommodations and other necessary coordination. 

    Moving Forward, Together 

    I have appreciated hearing from many of you through email, phone calls, and virtual town halls over the last few months. Your questions and concerns have helped tremendously as we completed our plans. I understand that the announcement of this framework of both on-campus and distance learning options is only part of the complex assortment of questions and considerations we all confront now. I hope the information offered here will help as you consider the personal circumstances that will shape your decision about how to engage this fall with the Lawrence living, learning, and working experience. 

    I am mindful that preparing a safe environment for every Lawrentian also extends to our efforts to dismantle systemic racism, whether it is here at Lawrence or beyond. I am eager to continue this work, which will ensure a healthy, rich, and supportive learning environment for all. I know that together, we as Lawrentians will meet these challenges with ingenuity, creativity, and compassion. 

    My Cabinet colleagues and I are committed to doing everything within our power to keep the Lawrence experience strong, supportive, and safe. I look forward to seeing you on campus this fall or connect with you through technology. As always, be well and make choices that keep others well. 



    Mark Burstein 

    President, Lawrence University 

    Sampson House, 711 E. Boldt Way | Appleton, WI 54911-5699| Office 920.832.6525 

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