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New UW System President seeks feedback from publicSubmitted: 07/01/2020
New UW System President seeks feedback from public
Maya Reese
Maya Reese
Reporter/Digital Content Director
mreese@wjfw.com

MADISON - As Tommy Thompson takes office Wednesday as President of the University of Wisconsin System, his transition team is announcing creation of the "Listening Post" for Wisconsin residents and UW students, faculty, and staff to ask questions and offer ideas.

The Listening Post, and a message from Thompson, is available on the UW System website president's page.

"Tommy Thompson will begin his tenure as UW System's 'Listener-in-Chief,'" said Tom Loftus, the former Wisconsin Assembly Speaker, Ambassador to Norway, and Board of Regents member who co-chairs the transition team. "He will collect ideas, feedback, and questions from the people the UW System serves."

Scott Neitzel, former Department of Administration secretary who is the other transition co-chair, said Thompson has already begun preparing for the job.

"Tommy is ready to lead the UW System," Neitzel said. "He will be collaborative, yet decisive."

Thompson took over from Ray Cross, who will remain with UW System as an advisor for 90 days.

A native of Elroy, Wis., Thompson earned his bachelor's and law degrees from UW-Madison. He was elected to the Wisconsin Assembly in 1966 and became minority leader in 1981. 

He won election as governor in 1986 and won an unprecedented four terms, which makes him the longest-serving governor in Wisconsin history. As governor he remained committed to a strong university system, faculty research, and the Wisconsin Idea. 

He stepped down during his fourth term to become HHS secretary under President George W. Bush, a role where he oversaw an increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health and enhanced local public health preparedness. He chairs the UW System Business Council and helped lead a public-private campaign to fund UW-Madison's BioStar Initiative with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.


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THREE LAKES -

Students and parents have been patiently waiting to hear from local school districts on what classes will look like in the fall.

Last night, the Three Lakes School District flipped the script, they instead took questions from community members to hear their concerns.

Educating is a stressful job, now imagine trying to plan a school year around a global pandemic, and combine that with answering questions from nearly 130 parents in one night. That's a day in Teri Maney's shoes.

"It was truly a listening session...this was laying the groundwork so people have an idea of what we're planning and thinking about at the district," Maney said. 

 Those plans primarily aim to have students back in the classroom full time.

 "That would be our goal to return on site five days a week," she added. 

But with COVID-19 showing no signs of letting up in the U.S. backup plans will be in place for any changes.

"Our next level would be a blended approach," Maney added, "We're keeping our primary focus on elementary students being on site and that might mean for our junior high and high school, a little shift of scheduling."

Three Lakes would then approach any positive cases in the district through guidelines from Oneida and Vilas county health officials.

"We also have a plan for if we would have a positive identification in a grade level, or a teacher, or if there's a teacher. We would not want to shut down the entire district," Maney explained. 

But if things don't go as planned, Three Lakes will be fully prepared for online classes.

"The last level, level four, that would be fully remote instruction."

The school board will vote on Monday night at 6:30 whether or not they will continue with the district's plan. 


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