WHITEWATER — As coronavirus cases surge throughout the state, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is following many other institutions of higher learning by switching to virtual classes after the Thanksgiving break.

In a message released Friday, the university said there will be no in-person classes after Nov. 20, but residence halls will remain open.

Students who do leave for the holiday break can return to residence halls for the remainder of the semester. Dining services will be limited. Students are not required to leave for the holiday.

While students can return to campus after the holiday, many universities in Wisconsin are telling students not to return for the rest of the semester.

UW-Whitewater will hold a virtual commencement at 1 p.m. on Dec. 19.

The spring semester of classes will resume on Jan. 19.

“The current plan for spring semester is that we will offer on-campus classes and experiences for the full semester,” the university said in a statement. “Spring break has been moved to April 19-23, after which we plan to return to campus for about three weeks to complete classes, final exams and commencement. If conditions require, we may move to remote instruction after April 23. That decision will be made early enough during the spring semester for faculty, staff, students and their families to plan accordingly.”

Three University of Wisconsin System schools — Eau Claire, Stout and River Falls — were the latest campuses to go virtual through the holidays. Students will take final exams remotely and return to campus for the spring semester.

UW-Madison and a number of private schools, including Marquette, St. Norbert and Carroll universities, have made similar plans.

University leaders said they are concerned that students heading home will expose themselves to people they haven’t been around for weeks or months, and then return to campus, potentially bringing the virus with them.

Gov. Tony Evers said during a news conference this week that he expects to introduce a package of pandemic relief legislation next week. He declined to reveal any details of the proposals but did not sound optimistic that Republicans who control the Legislature would sign on.

The UW-Whitewater COVID-19 dashboard may be viewed at https: //www.uww.edu/warhawks-return/dashboard.

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