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UW-Madison’s fall reopening: A story of success, failure or simply survival?

When COVID-19 cases skyrocketed in early September, Chancellor Rebecca Blank knew she had to try something. So on Sept. 9, the fifth day of classes, when the university reported 404 infections of the nearly 5,300 it would accumulate by the end of the semester, she announced a two-week lockdown for two large dorms and a campus-wide pause on face-to-face instruction. “A lot of people thought that we would never recover from that,” she said in an interview on Friday, the final day of the semester. “More than one person has come up to me and said, ‘I thought we’d never get back to in-person classes. I thought you’d have to send everyone home.’ And, you know, we did recover from that.”