WISCONSIN (SPECTRUM NEWS) -- The UW System has officially released its recommendations for all 13 of its institutions, when it comes to re-opening for the fall 2020-21 semester.

“I think just the continued understanding that there are more steps we’re going to take, primarily long-term, in terms of changing behaviors to protect ourselves and other people,” says Vice President of Administration Robert Cramer.

This school year will look much different than years past, as it is beginning during a global pandemic.  Recommendations for all UW schools include limiting class sizes to less than 50 students.  Any class with more than that should be taught virtually. 

Limiting the number of people utilizing the dining halls at one time is another suggestion.

“Social distancing continues to be seen as an important way to reduce the risk of exposing others,” Cramer says.

Each individual school will implement its own plan.  UW-Green Bay and UW-Eau Claire are among the school that have already notified the public about their plans.  

A topic that requires further scrutiny, Cramer says, is the recommendation for 5% of the campus housing at each UW school to be reserved for quarantine, or isolation purposes.  For schools already struggling with a housing shortage, this may not be feasible.

“That’s part of the importance of having the campuses and chancellors make final decisions because they have a much better understanding of their local circumstance and situation,” Cramer says.

Cramer further adds that some campuses have decided two students per dorm room is safe, when previous conversations questioned that.

Recommending, or requiring face masks is another guideline released by UW System administration.  Those who are at-risk of contracting COVID-19, or who have the capacity to still work from home should continue to do so, the administration released.  

Certain campuses will end in-person instruction around Thanksgiving and having students finish the remainder of the semester virtually.  That’s another recommendation from UW System administration, as the CDC predicts this will be the timeframe for potentially another COVID-19 spike.

The UW System is looking at a loss of more than $200 million by the end of the summer due to COVID-19.  The majority of that is from housing and dining refunds.

“President Cross has reached out to elected officials in the state to talk about some options, including essentially a line of credit which is what many other public universities have available to them and all private colleges and universities have,” Cramer says.

To read the full list of recommendations from UW System, click here.​