GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has announced it will extend furloughs through December 2020 as well as plans to reopen its campuses on July 1 in preparation for the fall semester.

In a Thursday announcement, Chancellor Michael Alexander stated the extended furlough plans come as the University continues to manage the financial impacts brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. He explains that the plan requires faculty and staff to take unpaid leave, resulting in about $826,830 in savings from June-December 2020.

Alexander said that University leaders were “deliberately slow in announcing additional furloughs in the hopes that our path through the crisis would become clearer. Unfortunately, it has become apparent that we must take some preventative measures to be able to better ensure the long-term health of our institution,” he said. “These are painful decisions, particularly because of the immense work that everyone on this campus has done to put us on solid financial footing before COVID-19.”

In May, University officials say $250,000 was conserved through furlough efforts focused on employees unable to perform work remotely. The June-December plan widens the scope of furloughs to additional staff and includes faculty when they are back on contract in August.

The University says the new plan reflects 4,645 days of furlough, impacts 697 employees on the University’s four campuses and delivers approximately $826,830 in cost savings.

Alexander noted the furloughs are tiered to protect the University’s lowest-paid employees as much as possible from additional financial harm. 

“I know I am asking you all to sacrifice due to no fault of your own,” Alexander told faculty and staff. “However, the potential consequences of not being able to navigate successfully through the current crisis are immense, not just to UW-Green Bay, but to our capacity to support a more equitable and sustainable future for our students and our region. I say this knowing that we have the people to get us to the other side of this. We will do so united, and with determination, empathy, and the fierce belief that our mission and vision matters to our students and to the future of our region and state.”

In addition to the furlough extensions, Alexander shared plans to reopen campuses in Green Bay, Marinette, Manitowoc, and Sheboygan.

“As a result of our work leading up to the virus, furloughs in May and June, promising signs on the enrollment front, and the work of our task force groups, we intend to reopen our campuses on July 1 to continue preparing for the fall semester,” he said. “We will still encourage telecommuting where possible and will have protocols in place for those employees working on site, but will lift general restrictions on faculty and staff being on campus.” 

The Cofrin Memorial Arboretum is also expected to be open for public use on July 1.

UWGB announced furloughs – as well as the indefinite suspension of both of its tennis teams – in late April. UW-Oshkosh announced furloughs in April as well – they are set to end at the end of August.