The purpose of the University of Wisconsin–Madison COVID-19 Workplace Safety Policy is to promote the safe and orderly performance of on-site work and to provide direction for implementation of interim workplace policies, procedures, and expectations in response to ongoing exigent circumstances impacting the University of Wisconsin–Madison due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This policy applies to all University of Wisconsin–Madison employees. For purposes of this policy, the term “employee” includes, but is not limited to, Faculty, Academic Staff, University Staff, Limited Appointees, Temporary Employees, Graduate Assistants (Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants, Lecturer Student Assistants and Project/Program Assistants), Post-Degree Trainees (research interns, research associates, postdoctoral fellows, and postdoctoral trainees), student-hourly employees and other campus community members (e.g., emeritus faculty members, volunteers, etc.) working in university- owned or controlled facilities, as well as when working on behalf of the university in non-university facilities.
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.
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.
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.
Five days is a minimum and some people may need to isolate longer. 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:
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 close 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:
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).
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).
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 1.B (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:
They do not need to quarantine if:
They should quarantine for at least 5 days starting with their last contact if:
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.
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:
Effective March 12, 2022, masks may be worn but are no longer required inside university buildings. By federal order, masks continue to be required on public transportation, which includes campus buses. Masks are also required when visiting the University Club COVID-19 test site and other clinical spaces on campus, including University Health Services.Employees should wear a mask for 10 days following a positive COVID-19 test and for 10 days following an exposure to someone with COVID-19. Although masks will no longer be required, employees may choose to continue wearing a well-fitting mask and the university will continue to make high-quality masks available to our community free of charge.
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.
Each campus unit is responsible for the regular cleaning and disinfection of its work areas, tools, and equipment.
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.
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:
Supervisors are expected to:
Supervisors are expected NOT to:
The Office of Human Resources (OHR) Responsibilities:
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