Important campus decisions made regarding COVID-19

March 11, 2020

With the best interest of our students, employees and community at heart, UW-River Falls has made several important decisions to mitigate risks associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The WHO has now declared this a world health pandemic, and there is an increasing number of cases being identified locally, including in Pierce County. We have carefully considered input and feedback from across campus and have consulted with administrative and shared governance leaders. We know that there will still be questions for which we do not have answers, but we are putting resources in place to ensure we respond to inquiries in a timely manner. Please know that I also acknowledge this to be a trying and difficult time, emotionally and psychologically for many and we will do our best to support you. Following are the decisions made as of today. These decisions will be in effect until at least April 10. Any decision to extend this timeline will be made and communicated at least one week prior.

  • We are suspending classes (there will be no instruction) from March 16-20. There will be some limited exceptions, such as for internships, practicums and student teaching placement.
  • Classes will be in session through March 15, but please use your best judgement regarding attendance. UWRF class attendance policies are currently suspended.
  • Starting March 30 (following our scheduled Spring Break), all UWRF instructors will need to move course content to alternate methods of instruction, including but not limited to online modes. Faculty and instructional staff will communicate with you directly about their plans to transition to alternative delivery of instruction. We will uphold maximum academic freedom and be as flexible as possible in addressing any unique situations on a case-by-case basis. We will also address any student concerns regarding access to appropriate technology or broadband.
  • The university will remain open and will continue daily operations, with the noted exceptions around travel and events below.
  • Students leaving campus are encouraged to go home to their permanent residence and stay home if possible and to take with them their essential belongings, academic materials, laptops and medications. We are particularly concerned about the safety of students in our residence halls, living very closely together. A follow-up communication will be sent by Residence Life to all affected residents.
  • We recognize that some students may need to stay in their residence halls. Having the residence halls  emptier will make it easier for those remaining students to maintain safer social distance. Those who do stay should be prepared for a reduced campus experience with limited opportunities for interaction and reduced campus services.
  • Aligned with our interest in keeping our campus and community a place of low risk for spread of COVID-19, all campus events expecting a gathering of more than 50 people are to be cancelled.
  • All university-sponsored travel is cancelled through April 10, with limited exceptions.
  • Athletics events will be managed following current NCAA/WIAC guidance which includes spectator-free events.
  • We strongly advise everyone to reconsider non-essential personal travel, including travel over Spring Break. Documented cases of COVID-19 are growing rapidly both domestically and internationally. You may face a higher risk of infection, significant delays returning, and/or the requirement to self-isolate upon your return.
  • The Office of International Education is in constant contact with all UWRF employees and students currently abroad and is assured that they maintain presence in low risk areas.
  • Now more than ever, everyone should follow best guidance regarding hygiene, handwashing, etc. Those who are ill should remain at home and avoid contact with others to the extent possible. If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms, please contact your health care provider and phone ahead.

COVID-19 has resulted in concerning and unsettling times. We believe these decisions reflect our most prudent course of action and we will do our best to ensure a smooth transition. We promise to continue maintaining frequent communication. A dedicated UWRF website at contains as much of the latest guidance as we are able to provide.

We know that there will be many questions from students about the impact of these decisions. If you have any concerns related to COVID-19 or these decisions, please email where our Emergency Operations Center staff will be able to respond.

Working together, I know we will get through this unprecedented incident. Stay healthy, Falcons, and know that we care about your academic success as well as your health.


Dean Van Galen

Contact Us

University Communications
and Marketing
120 North Hall
Phone: 715-425-3771
Fax: 715-425-4486