UW-Eau Claire graduates Amy Trayers, left, of Hastings, Minn., and Melissa Maxwell of Burnsville, Minn., were photographed at the front entrance to the university by Dave Trayers as they threw their graduation caps in the air on Friday. UW-Eau Claire is considering different options to reopen campus for the fall 2020 semester. View more photos at

Chippewa Valley Technical College plans to reopen as scheduled for summer courses and will resume this fall with a combination of in-person and online classes.

Summer education begins June 8 and the fall semester starts Aug. 24.

“Courses will continue to deliver quality education and competencies to meet industry standards and accreditation guidelines,” CVTC President Bruce Barker said in a Friday news release. “...We’re not just online. We’re providing the hands-on component in a creative way when we can’t be together.”

Julie Furst-Bowe, CVTC vice president of instruction, said a variety of options will be offered, depending on the program.

“Delivery and engagement will include online, MyChoice (hybrid) and other remote-technology options,” Furst-Bowe said in the news release. “Face-to-face instruction and labs will be delivered as possible. This includes a variety of program areas, particularly those with specific lab and hands-on requirements such as health care, manufacturing, emergency services, transportation and cosmetology.”

CVTC had limited in-person education in the second half of this spring semester while taking health and capacity precautions against COVID-19. Most classes were moved completely online, and in-person instruction mainly occurred in “labs in critical programs.”

“These were conducted under strict conditions limiting the number of people allowed in the labs at a time, with everyone maintaining social distancing and wearing masks,” Mark Gunderman, CVTC communications specialist, wrote in an email. “The programs were limited to those related to the critical industries in the state shut-down order, like health care, certain manufacturing and public safety.”

Those hands-on labs will continue in summer and fall, and many programs will continue hosting classes in the same manner before COVID-19. All of the college’s general education and liberal arts courses will be available online in fall.

“CVTC will have more online instruction than would normally be the case for a fall or spring semester, but there would also be more in-person instruction (particularly lab times) than what took place in the latter part of the just-concluded spring semester,” Gunderman wrote.

The decision was made after CVTC officials consulted with the college’s board of trustees, the Wisconsin Technical College System and local and state health guidelines.

UW-Eau Claire, UW-Stout weighing options

According to President Ray Cross, the UW System will make a decision by mid-July about reopening in-person for the fall semester. Universities in the UW System will then put precautions in place based on their campus.

“The assumption is that there will be a System-wide decision whether students will be back on campuses this fall,” Doug Mell, UW-Stout director of communications, wrote in an email. ”Individual campuses will decide how that decision is implemented for health and safety considerations because of the differences among those campuses.”

Mell said UW-Stout is “planning for a ‘modified normal’ fall semester, meaning that students, faculty and staff will be on campus.”

Many health and safety precautions will be in place, and Mell said changes will include uses of technology and limiting the number of people in a classroom and lab.

“The main challenge is doing everything we can to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff,” Mell wrote.

According to Mell, over the past couple months, a UW-Stout emergency management team and recovery planning team have both met frequently to make decisions and determine how to have a phased return this summer and fall.

“The recovery planning team, along with many subcommittees across campus, is working on the various components of operations, including, but not limited to, residence halls, dining, academic and administrative buildings, academic planning and delivery, athletics and health and safety,” Mell wrote.

At his Thursday briefing for students, faculty and staff, UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt noted that the university Risk Management and Safety office is working with local health officials to develop guidelines to address ways to return faculty and staff safely to the campus. Campus admissions tours at UW-Eau Claire will resume June 1 with physical distancing and safety practices for 10 or fewer people.