UW-Whitewater is planning for students, faculty and staff to return to its campuses in Whitewater and Rock County for the fall semester, the chancellor announced Friday afternoon.

In returning to campus from online learning that was prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Chancellor Dwight Watson said the university will follow guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local health departments, and the UW System.

“Our first priority has always been, and remains, providing for the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff,” Watson wrote in a letter.

He said details on what the campuses will look like are not yet known, and officials are seeking advice on safety, lowering classroom density and self-protection.

Still, the university plans to have students return to dorms and classrooms “in modified and flexible ways.”

“We are confident we will be able to provide learning and living experiences that are as safe as they can be, given the challenges of the world in which we operate,” he wrote.

Watson said the emergency operations command team is developing initial plans, but no details were in his announcement. Instead, he said those will come as they are available.

Watson said officials will hold a web-based town hall event at 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 9. The university is asking interested attendees to email questions to Nicole Caine at cainen@uww.edu by 5 p.m. Thursday, June 4.

“We will not have all of the answers, but we will do our best,” Watson wrote, adding that they are expecting more town halls in the future.

He said those who are working remotely should continue doing so for now. The same goes for those asked to work on campus.

Watson wrote that COVID-19 will affect “nearly every aspect” of university operations.

“Regardless of those changes, we remain an institution committed to its values and to its mission to serve our students,” he wrote. “That commitment has not changed—nor will it change.”