Fall Instruction Preparations Underway for UW–Madison School of Nursing

University’s Smart Restart Guidelines Will Offer Both Online and In-Person Courses for Fall Semester

By Megan Hinners

UW Madison Smart Restart Fall 2020The University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing is diligently preparing for academic instruction for the fall semester with plans to adhere to Smart Restart guidelines instituted by the University officials. The strategy has been prepared to maximize the health and safety of the School of Nursing, UW–Madison, and the surrounding community.

In keeping with the Smart Restart guidelines, the School of Nursing will be offering a blend of online and in-person instruction. The blend of virtual and on-site courses will allow for students to maintain safe physical distancing guidelines while ensuring that experiential learning can take place within Signe Skott Cooper Hall to provide students with the hands-on experience they need to succeed.

“All School of Nursing non-clinical courses will be offered remotely to ensure that we can maintain low transmission risk and control the number of people in Cooper Hall,” says Dean Linda D. Scott, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FNAP, FAAN. “This includes both required nursing courses as well as nursing electives. Experiential and clinical courses, including labs and simulation classes, will be prioritized for in-person instruction on campus in Cooper Hall as well as in clinical agencies.”

The fall semester is scheduled to begin on September 2, and will continue until the Thanksgiving recess begins on November 26. After the holiday recess, beginning November 30, it is anticipated that all courses will switch to a virtual format for the final nine days of instruction as well as exams.

Interim Associate Dean for  Academic Affairs, Barbara Pinekenstein, DNP, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FAAN, emphasizes that the School is working hard to provide a safe environment for hands-on learning, adding, “For the fall, nursing clinical education will be in-person for labs, simulation, and experiential learning prior to the Thanksgiving break.”

Pinekenstein adds that the Clinical Placement Unit is working hard in collaboration with clinical agencies to secure safe placements for everyone during the upcoming semester, saying, “We are working closely with our clinical partners, and we are committed to quality nursing education while balancing the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff.”

Scott ensures that faculty and staff of the School of Nursing are being meticulous and conscientious in all their planning and decisions. “As we approach August, our priority remains on finalizing the details that will support a safe continuity of teaching, learning, research, and school operations for fall semester and beyond,” Scott adds. “A shared commitment to the safety and wellbeing of our students, ourselves, and each other has been evident in our planning, which matches our dedication to delivering and supporting the highest quality nursing education.”

Smart Restart safety measures include limiting access to Cooper Hall and reducing the number of faculty, staff, and students who will utilize the building on a daily basis. As a campus community everyone will be required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), meaning face coverings will need to be worn in all indoor spaces, including classrooms and outside learning environments.

The School of Nursing has communicated with students on additional measures that will need to be taken for both online and in-person instruction, and will continue to update students through weekly emails. In addition, the School will continue to offer remote academic, career advising, and student services throughout the semester to support students throughout their academic endeavors.

As plans are put into motion, Scott emphasizes that flexibility, patience, and understanding are necessary for all involved in the days, weeks, and months ahead, noting, “It’s important to recognize that we are still in a rapidly evolving situation, with daily updates and changes that require us to be as nimble as possible.”  Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to continue utilizing the resources and information provided by campus officials, including the Smart Restart and Campus Covid-19 websites.

Additional information for Fall 2020 and beyond is included on the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Smart Restart website.