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UW-Madison moves classes online as coronavirus cases rise

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The University of Wisconsin-Madison is moving all classes online and quarantining students in two of its largest dorms as it deals with rising cases of COVID-19.

Colleges across the country have been grappling with outbreaks in recent weeks after choosing to return to in-person instruction, but system President Tommy Thompson insisted on opening campuses this fall despite the warning signs.

According to UW-Madison data, 1,044 students and 26 employees have tested positive for the virus since Aug. 6. The city-county public health department said there are at least 46 separate outbreaks currently tied to UW-Madison.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank ordered the 2,230 residents living in Sellery Hall and Witte Hall to quarantine for 14 days, starting at 10 p.m. Wednesday, the State Journal reported.

“I share the disappointment and frustration of students and employees who had hoped we might enjoy these first few weeks of the academic year together,” Blank said. “Before we started this semester, we knew that no plan would be risk-free in the current environment.”

Blank ordered an end to in-person classes through at least Sept. 25.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi demanded Wednesday that the university immediately send all undergraduates living on campus home in an attempt to contain the coronavirus.

UW-Madison said it doesn’t believe such a step is warranted at this time, system spokesman Mark Pitsch said.

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