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March 12, 2020

Message from Ian Robertson on COVID-19

Written By: Webmanager

Updated March 17, 2020

Dear College of Engineering Community:

I’m writing to follow up on messages you have received from UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank and others with updates to the campus response to COVID-19.

One point I want to emphasize is that we at the campus and college level are striving to do what we can to mitigate the spread of the virus and to minimize the risk to your health and to the health of everyone in our community. To help, we are asking you to limit face-to-face contact. If you need to meet, please practice social distancing. Your health and well-being is our top priority, and we appreciate your flexibility and understanding as we adjust the ways in which our campus traditionally operates.

This is a dynamic situation, and it is possible that we may take additional measures to ensure the health and safety of the college and campus community. Please visit for updates. The site not only includes regular general updates, but information about campus operations, remote teaching, health, event guidance and a robust FAQ section. Additionally, campus has launched and information is being added hourly to help support instructors in moving their course content to alternate delivery. Campus also is offering daily webinars, accessible through that site, on topics related to remote teaching.

For engineering-specific updates, please regularly check your email for messages from the college, your dean, department chair, supervisor, advisor, or others.

I want to underscore that, wherever you are, if you are feeling ill, please stay home and/or seek the appropriate medical attention. Additionally, continue to practice good hygiene; frequently wash your hands (for at least 20 seconds), use hand sanitizer, sneeze/cough into your elbow, and follow other guidance from UHS. Also, practice social distancing; see these tips from Public Health Madison & Dane County.

Additionally, you should have received a message from University Health Services Director Jake Baggott March 14 highlighting many important points related to your role in preventing the spread of COVID-19. From that message, I want to underscore two points in particular: First, the disease is not specific to an ethnicity or race, and if you experience harassment or discrimination, please report it. Students are encouraged to file a bias incident report. Employees may file a complaint with the Office of Compliance.

And second, in this time of uncertainty, we have asked you to remain flexible and to pivot on what seems like a moment’s notice. This is a time of exceptionally high stress, and I encourage you to care not only for your physical health, but for your mental health as well. All UW-Madison students, staff, and faculty have access to SilverCloud, a no-cost cognitive behavioral health resource available 24/7. Students can call the UHS Mental Health Crisis Line 24/7 at 608-265-5600 (option 2). Employees can call the Employee Assistance Office at 608-263-2987. Employees also have access to Life Matters, a free and confidential statewide service that provides 24/7 telephone and text support for employees’ personal and work-related concerns.

We appreciate your willingness to help wherever possible and to be flexible. We are a community, and at no time has it been more important to work together and support each other.

Ian Robertson, Grainger Dean of the College of Engineering