This policy is subject to modification as new regulations, information and guidance become available. The university relies on guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), and Public Health Madison & Dane County to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The university works closely with the aforementioned agencies, as well as relevant campus units, including (but not limited to) the Office of Human Resources (OHR), Environment Health and Safety, University Health Services, the campus Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator, Employee Disability Resource Office, the Office of Risk Management, the Office of Legal Affairs, and others to revise, update, and rescind these policies and procedures as public health guidance evolves.
All faculty, staff, and campus community members are expected to do their part to support a safe and healthy campus environment. Faculty, staff, and other campus community members must periodically review the information provided by the university to remain aware of up-to-date university information on continued preparedness, action, and response to COVID-19. Policies provided by the university rely on recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), and Madison and Dane County Public Health. As information changes and is updated by these governmental agencies, there may be changes to this policy, policy support resources, and policy tools.
Faculty, staff, and other campus community members who come to the on-site workplace and have a reason to utilize university facilities, or engage with our students, faculty, staff, and/or volunteers, will be provided with information necessary to stay up-to-date with the university’s COVID-19 information and resources, understand what the university is doing to help keep the campus healthy and the safety precautions that are in place for COVID-19 prevention, and be knowledgeable about what they can do to directly contribute to a safe and healthy campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.
UW–Madison employees working in facilities controlled by other non-UW entities may be subject to additional workplace expectations. In the event that there is conflict between these policies and the expectations of another employer or facility, the employee should consult with their UW–Madison supervisor or human resources representative immediately.
Reasonable accommodations will be made for employees with a medical condition and/or disabilities and/or a sincerely held religious belief in accordance with applicable laws and university policies. The process to submit a request for an accommodation for the vaccine requirement is outlined in Section II.1.
Employees may also contact their Divisional Disability Representative (DDR) to discuss a potential request for an accommodation related to a medical condition and/or disability. If an employee with a medical condition or disability makes a request for an accommodation to reduce their risk of exposure to COVID-19 and/or due to another COVID-19 related issue (e.g. limitations related to wearing a face covering, limitations related to the use of cleaning supplies in their workspace, etc.), the DDR will make an individualized assessment to identify if a reasonable accommodation can be made.
Campus Testing and Contact Tracing for Faculty, Staff, and Other Employees Reporting to the On-Site Workplace
Effective testing and contact tracing are needed to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by identifying positive cases for isolation and treatment and close contacts for quarantine.
- COVID-19 Testing for UW–Madison Employees: Beginning on August 30, 2021, an employee who works on campus and who is not fully vaccinated or has not shared proof of COVID-19 vaccination with UHS is required to test weekly on campus. For purposes of this section, “employee” means an individual: (1) who has an appointment as Faculty, Academic Staff, University Staff, Limited Appointee, Temporary Employee or Post- Degree Trainee (research intern, research associate, postdoctoral fellow, or postdoctoral trainee); and (2) who either: (a) works on campus and has a business address in a zip code that includes or is proximate to the 936 acres of grounds along the Lake Mendota shoreline in Madison; or (b) works at the Agricultural Drive Facility or the Walton Common Facility for the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene. Graduate Assistants are not “employees” for purposes of this requirement; graduate assistants are treated as students for purposes of the student testing requirement as delineated in the Chancellor’s January 7, 2022, Order regarding Student COVID-19 Testing.
- COVID 19 Testing for UW-Madison Employees Who Receive an Accommodation for the Vaccination Requirement: An employee who works on campus and who has requested and received an accommodation from the vaccination requirement as delineated in Section II.1 (below) is required to test weekly on campus. For purposes of this section, “employee” means an individual: (1) who has a greater than zero-dollar appointment as Faculty, Emeritus, Academic Staff, University Staff, Limited Appointee, Temporary Employee, Graduate Assistant (Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant, Lecturer Student Assistant or Project/Program Assistant), Post-Degree Trainee (research intern, research associate, postdoctoral fellow, or postdoctoral trainee), or student-hourly employee; and (2) who either: (a) works on campus and has a business address in a zip code that includes or is proximate to the 936 acres of grounds along the Lake Mendota shoreline in Madison; or (b) works at the Agricultural Drive Facility or the Walton Commons Facility for the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene. An employee may be exempt from this testing requirement if they have an approved remote work agreement under the Remote Work Policy that indicates they work 100% remotely.
- Positive COVID-19 Test Results: Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, whether or not they are fully vaccinated, must follow the guidance of a medical provider or contact tracer. Employees with COVID-19 are generally instructed to stay home and keep isolated from others until:
- It has been at least 5 days since the first day they had symptoms (day 0 is the day their symptoms start) or since they tested positive if they do not have symptoms (day 0 is the day of their test); and
- They have been at least 24 hours without a fever (without fever-reducing medication); and
- Their other symptoms are resolving.
If they do not meet the criteria after 5 days, they should continue to isolate until they are fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication and their other symptoms have improved. They should isolate longer if they are instructed to do so by a medical provider or contact tracer.
If they meet the criteria to leave isolation after 5 days, and a medical provider or contract tracer did not instruct to isolate for longer, they must continue to wear a well-fitted mask around other for 5 additional days and:
- If they are unable to wear a mask around others, they should isolate for a full 10 days;
- They should avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk of severe disease until after 10 days;
- They should avoid travel until a full 10 days after their first day of symptoms or their positive test; and
- They should not go places where they are unable to wear a mask, such as restaurants and gyms, until 10 days has passed since their symptoms started or they tested positive.
They may also choose to test before leaving isolation if they meet the criteria for ending after 5 days. If they’re able, they can use an antigen test toward the end of their 5-day isolation. If they test positive, they should continue to isolate until day 10. They should not use a PCR test as a PCR test may detect dead viral particles for up to 90 days following a positive test.
In addition, anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should tell their lose contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person has any symptoms or test positive.
The employee should also:
- Notify their supervisor through the standard procedures of their work unit that they are unable to report to work. If employees need to share any specific medical or health information, employees should contact their DDR.
- Consult with their local human resources department about their leave or remote work options. In the event protected medical leave and/or a workplace accommodation may be necessary, faculty and staff will be referred to their Divisional Disability Representative (DDR); and
- The employee is strongly encouraged to consult their regular healthcare provider for medical advice and guidance about care and isolation information.
- Contact Tracing: All COVID-19 positive cases discovered through UHS testing or reported to UHS are reported to public health officials. UHS is working to support officials at Public Health Madison & Dane County to conduct case interviews and contact tracing. An employee who has been directed by a public health official to isolate should stay away from the workplace for the duration of the isolation period and follow the advice and guidance of their healthcare provider.
An employee may not always hear from a contact tracer so they should err on the side of caution. If an employee is told by someone they are a close contact, they should follow Section 2.B. (below).
Personal Responsibility When Sick or Feeling Sick and for Public Health:
Faculty and staff and other community members may be required to stay away from the on-site workplace if they have tested positive for COVID-19, are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or have been exposed to COVID-19 (e.g., close contact with an infected person, see definition).
Positive Covid-19 Test Results
Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, whether or not they are fully vaccinated, must follow the guidance of a medical provider or contact tracer and follow Section I.1.C (above).
There are several ways an employee may learn they are a close contact, depending on where and when the contact took place. If they are a close contact on campus, they are likely to hear from a contact tracer via secure message on their MyUHS app or through the MyUHS web portal. The employee may not always hear from a contact tracer so they should err on the side of caution: If an employee has someone tell them they are a close contact, the employee should believe them.
If an employee is told by someone they are a close contact, they should:
- Wear a mask around others for 10 days starting with their last contact (the day of their most recent close contact is day 0) and
- Get tested (rapid antigen test or PCR) 5 days after their last contact if possible, and at any point if they develop symptoms.
They do not need to quarantine if:
- They are fully vaccinated and boosted;
- They received one dose of Johnson & Johnson or two doses of Pfizer or Moderna and are not yet eligible for a booster; or
- They tested positive for COVID-19 within the previous 90 days.
They should quarantine for at least 5 days starting with their last contact if:
- They have not received a booster but they are eligible; or
- They are not fully vaccinated.
In addition, if the employee needs to be absent from work or requires other temporary accommodations (such as remote work) because they need to quarantine or isolate they should notify their supervisor according to regular departmental protocol. The employee should contact their local HR department with questions about leave options they may be eligible for and their DDR with any questions about protected medical leave.
Employees are strongly encouraged to consult with their personal healthcare provider for medical advice and guidance around care, testing, and quarantine information.
Individuals who are sick and/or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19:
- Should not report to campus if they are feeling ill. Notify supervisor through the standard procedures of their work unit that they are unable to report to work. If employees need to share any specific medical or health information, employees should contact their DDR. Consult with their local human resources department about their leave or remote work options. In the event protected medical leave and/or a workplace accommodation may be necessary, faculty and staff will be referred to their Divisional Disability Representative (DDR); and
- If the employee is experiencing COVID related symptoms (see below), whether fully vaccinated or unvaccinated, stay home and isolate immediately except to get tested to prevent spreading the virus to others if they are positive.
- The symptoms of COVID-19 include: Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea. For some, these symptoms are mild, but they should not be overlooked, particularly if you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
- If the employee tests negative, they should contact their health care provider (employees) or University Health Services (students) so they can assess the employee’s symptoms prior to their return to campus. The employee may need additional follow-up care.
Health and Safety Protocols
- For purposes of this section, “employee” means an individual who has a greater than zero-dollar appointment as Faculty, Emeritus, Academic Staff, University Staff, Limited Appointee, Temporary Employee, Graduate Assistant (Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant, Lecturer Student Assistant or Project/Program Assistant), Post-Degree Trainee (research intern, research associate, postdoctoral fellow, or postdoctoral trainee), or student-hourly employee.
- All employees must have received the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccination series or have received a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine by January 4, 2022, in order to be fully vaccinated no later than January 18, 2022, subject only to legally required disability, medical, and religious accommodations.
- Employees requesting a disability, medical, or religious accommodation must submit an accommodation request to the Office of Human Resources no later than December 13, 2021 or by the date on which they accept an offer of employment at UW−Madison, whichever comes later. Employees who receive an accommodation may be subject to the testing requirement in Section I.1.
- Newly hired employees must be fully vaccinated prior to January 18, 2022 or their first day of employment, whichever comes later, subject only to legally required disability, medical, and religious accommodations.
- Employees must provide proof of vaccination to University Health Services (UHS) to demonstrate compliance with this vaccination requirement.
- Employees fully vaccinated on campus, by UHS, do not need to take additional action. Their vaccination record will automatically be documented with UHS.
- Employees fully vaccinated off campus, including by a UW Health clinic or by a UW Health provider, will need to upload their vaccination record directly to MyUHS after they received either the single dose of a one-dose vaccine or both doses of a two-dose vaccine.
Effective August 9, 2021, instructional and other spaces returned to full capacity, without physical distancing. The university will continue to adjust its physical distancing requirements to maintain alignment with guidance from the CDC.
Frequent handwashing and sanitizing are simple but effective ways to reduce the risk of viral transmission. Employees can learn more about the importance of handwashing on the CDC website. Work units are encouraged to do the following:
- Review all work areas to confirm that sufficient handwashing facilities and/or sanitizing products are available.
- Provide sanitizing products as needed, especially in high-traffic, high-touch areas (e.g., outside elevators and stairwells, in work areas with no sinks, etc.).
- Establish internal controls as needed to ensure supplies remain adequate. Cleaning supplies should be procured by the base unit/lab/school/college from ShopUW+ using established practices.
- Encourage the frequent use of handwashing facilities and sanitizing products in the unit.
Effective August 5, 2021, all individuals, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, must wear an acceptable face covering that is properly fitted to cover the wearer's nose and mouth at all times when present in UW-Madison indoor public spaces, including while riding a campus bus or when two or more people are present in a university vehicle, with the following exceptions:
- When actively eating or drinking.
- When in one’s assigned residential hall room without guests.
- When alone in a private, unshared office or lab.
- When engaged in water-based activities or wet conditions that would result in the mask getting wet.
- Children under the age of 2 years.
- When accommodation is granted by express written permission of the University as determined on an individualized basis, considering reasonable accommodations due to a documented medical condition.
- Approval by the Provost of an academic or administrative unit’s request for an exception for arts performances.
- As permitted by an athletic facility or by varsity athletic conference or association policies, procedures, or rules.
Indoor public space does not include outdoor space connected to or incorporated within a building or other structure including by way of example but not limited to parking ramps, courtyards, patios, and stadiums. This requirement is in effect until March 1, 2022, unless extended, terminated or otherwise modified. Additional information is available in the Chancellor's Order dated January 7, 2022, requiring face coverings.
Other Personal Protective Equipment
The requirements for the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to mitigate identified job-specific hazards will not change. Campus units that regularly use PPE in their job duties are experienced in these areas and must continue to ensure that employees are using the correct PPE for their jobs in addition to PPE used to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Reusable cloth face coverings and single-use disposable face coverings differ from personal protective equipment such as N-95 respirators and surgical masks.
The university will continue to provide PPE to employees who may face potential exposure to COVID-19 or other hazardous substances related to their specific job duties and/or work. These types of PPE will be reserved for this purpose and they will not be used in lieu of face coverings. You can find more information on PPE on the FP&M Environment, Health & Safety website.
Cleaning and Disinfection
Each campus unit is responsible for the regular cleaning and disinfection of its work areas, tools, and equipment.
- Common Areas. Custodians will continue with routine cleaning. Custodians will also continue to remove trash and recycling from common areas, bathrooms, breakrooms, and kitchenettes.
- Each unit is responsible for the cleaning and disinfection of offices, laboratories, conference rooms, workstations, and other unit-specific space. Custodians will remove trash and recycling from office spaces and labs. All faculty, staff, and volunteers are expected to keep their workspaces clean. Employees should ask their supervisor or divisional human resources office for more information or if they have concerns about cleaning or disinfecting in their work area.
- Units with campus vehicles are responsible for the regular cleaning and disinfection of their own vehicles. Campus buses are cleaned and disinfected by Madison Metro. Additional guidance regarding the cleaning and disinfection of campus vehicles can be found here.
Units are encouraged to establish internal controls as needed to ensure supplies remain adequate. If faculty, staff, and/or volunteers have allergies or chemical sensitivities to cleaning supplies and/or the use of cleaning supplies in their work area, they should consult their Divisional Disability Representative (DDR).
COVID-19 is not specific to an ethnicity or race – disease does not discriminate. All members of the UW-Madison community deserve to feel welcome, valued and safe. We do not tolerate harassment and discrimination, and racist behaviors and stereotyping are inconsistent with the values of UW-Madison. The Office of Compliance and Dean of Students Office provide resources and reporting options for students, faculty and staff.
Consequences for Non-Compliance
University faculty and staff who violate this policy and/or associated policies, protocols, or procedures will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment, in accordance with the relevant policies and procedures applicable to their employee category.
All faculty, staff, and campus community members to whom this policy applies are responsible for becoming familiar with and following this policy.
Employees are expected to:
- Stay home or leave the workplace immediately if they have symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19, and follow unit procedures for notifying the employee’s supervisor of the absence.
- Adhere to the most current workplace safety guidance.
- Stay up-to-date regarding changes in workplace safety expectations, guidance, or procedures.
- Follow the vaccine requirement in Section II.1. and, if applicable, the testing requirement in Section I.1.
Supervisors are expected to:
- Direct the employee to leave the workplace immediately if they are exhibiting observable symptoms and/or behaviors in alignment with a severe cold, flu, or COVID-19.
- Explain to employees that the guidelines to request to utilize sick leave and report time off still apply. If an employee is unwell and unable to work, they should use sick time.
- Provide any information in connection with an employee request for leave based upon a medical condition to the DDR. Remember that employee medical information is confidential and should not be shared beyond need to know, for example, the DDR.
- University supervisors are responsible for promoting the understanding of this policy and for taking appropriate steps to help ensure compliance with it.
- Encourage a healthy workplace by encouraging employees to adhere to this policy.
Supervisors are expected NOT to:
- Encourage or participate in interoffice conversations that include negative comments about employees that blame them for the spreading of COVID-19, assume someone has COVID-19, mock those who have COVID-19 and/or to the extent a supervisor is aware of an employee’s personal health status and/or medical condition, share that information beyond those who need to know such as the DDR.
- Ask employees to disclose their personal health status or medical conditions, other than asking for a simple confirmation that an employee is ill when they report they will not be at work.
- Discuss, question, or list concerns regarding an employee’s symptoms or perceived medical condition publicly, in open spaces, and/or with others beyond those who need to know, for example, the DDR.
- Threaten an employee’s employment status based upon illness, disability, recent travel, or their exposure to somebody who is returning from travel.
- Remind employees that all travel for business-related reasons and campus events are subject to current campus travel and events policies.
- Plan and implement strategies to regularly monitor and respond to the employee experience, both before and after the return to the on-site workplace.
- Enforce the requirements of this policy and associated procedures and support employees and supervisors in the same.
The Office of Human Resources (OHR) Responsibilities:
- OHR will support college, school and division HR Reps and DDRs with timely information and updates regarding campus response to COVID-19.