Building Access

Beginning January 25, in order to maximize our safety efforts across campus, Badger Wellness Ambassadors will ask to see your Badger Badge. However, during the first week of classes, you will not be required to have a green badge to enter. That requirement will begin Feb. 1. The soft launch is intended to help people get used to having their devices with them and showing the badge.

How it works

All students, faculty and staff participating in on-campus activities start with their building access status (i.e., Badger Badge status) in the Safer Badger app set to Building Access Denied. In order to change your status to Building Access Granted, you must meet all of the criteria outlined on this webpage.

Note: When the app is initially downloaded, a “no facility access” message will appear. It does not take effect nor will it affect your building access until January 25th.

Verify your status for building access

Access Granted

All students, faculty and staff will need to verify their building access status before being allowed to enter campus buildings. The Safer Badgers app is the easiest and most reliable way to do this. To gain access to campus buildings you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • You have a negative COVID-19 test on file in the timeframe specified for your community population (e.g., undergraduate student, graduate and professional student, faculty/ staff member)
  • You have not had a positive test on file within the last 10 days
  • You are not required to be in isolation or quarantine
  • You have not self-reported symptoms of COVID-19

Badger Badge

One screen of the Safer Badgers app, called the Badger Badge, will serve as a virtual access pass for entry into campus buildings. The Badger Badge screen will not show private health information. It will simply state whether building access is granted.

screen shot of the safer badger app on the screen that shows building access has been granted with a green checkmark

Buildings with in-person classes

University employees called Badger Wellness Ambassadors will be stationed inside building entrances where in-person classes are being held, monitoring those who wish to enter. In those buildings, all other doors and entrances will be locked.

At the monitored entrance, any individual who wishes to enter must show their Badger Badge screen with a status of Building Access Granted in the Safer Badger app. There is no security guard or law enforcement component to the Badger Wellness Ambassador program.

Students should plan to arrive early to class, allowing enough time for this screening. Individuals should also wear a face covering and practice social distancing while waiting in line, in order to ensure a smooth process.

Building access for other facilities

Other university facilities may also check building access status. Students and employees should be prepared to show their Badger Badge at any facility upon request. Students will receive more information about building access as it relates to residence halls, dining halls and other student services. Units in non-instructional buildings should clearly communicate to their employees about the building access protocols they will use.

Frequently asked questions about building access

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How do I get the app?

The iOS and Android versions of the app are now available for free.  The iOS version is available through the Apple app store and the Android version is available through Google Play .

The web version of these apps will not be available at the start of the semester.

If you are experiencing issues, please contact the DoIT Helpdesk. If you cannot or do not want to load the Safer Badgers app to your phone, DoIT has an iPhone lending program.

Last updated 2:53 PM, January 18, 2021

Who do I contact for technical support?

Please contact the UW–Madison COVID-19 Assistance Line at 608-262-7777.

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

Do the testing and building access requirements apply to UW facilities other than those on the main Madison campus?

No, these requirements only apply to the main Madison campus, However, any UW–Madison employee or student who visits campus, regardless of the reason for their visit, must be in compliance. This includes employees who do not work on the main Madison campus but visit it. (The one exception is couriers who are dropping off samples at the State Lab of Hygiene.)

In addition, units that are located off campus and in the Madison area may choose to implement the campus testing requirements and limit access to their facilities based on compliance with these requirements.

Last updated 9:26 PM, January 15, 2021

I have been alerted to an exposure. What should I do?

If you have been notified of an exposure through the Safer Badgers app, the app will give you instructions on how to proceed. You will be instructed to get a UW–Madison COVID-19 test. Your Badger Badge and building access will not change. If you have additional questions, you may contact the UW–Madison COVID-19 Assistance Line at 608-262-7777.

Last updated 9:26 PM, January 15, 2021

Will the Safer Badgers app help me keep track of when I need to be tested?

For undergraduate students, on and off campus: Yes, the Safer Badgers app will contain language outlining when you need to be tested and when you need to have a negative test result on file. (Please allow 24 hours to receive a test result.)

Undergraduates outside certain city of Madison zip codes (see below) only need to test if they are physically coming to campus.

For graduate and professional students (including clinical); faculty/staff: Yes, the app will contain language outlining when you need to have a negative test result on file. (Please allow 24 hours to receive a test result.)

Shaded map showing zip code areas 53703, 53705, 53706, 53711, 53713, 53715, 53726 and 53792

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

Who can ask a person to show their Badger Badge?

Those who are authorized to check another person’s badge include:

  • Badger Wellness Ambassadors (BWAs), who are UW-Madison employees, will be stationed at entrances of high activity level buildings that do not normally control access. They will be wearing yellow/green vests to identify their role. These buildings were determined using a variety of data sets to estimate in-person density and traffic patterns. BWAs may be stationed at facilities continually or on an intermittent basis.
  • Authorized staff who have responsibility for monitoring entrances in facilities like University Libraries, University Housing Dining Centers, Recreation and Wellbeing facilities, and office settings.
  • An individual hired or designated to monitor access to a facility, or a unit within a facility, at the expense of the school, college, division, or research center. These individuals are to be clearly identified as having this assigned responsibility.
  • University employees with an authorized business responsibility including instructors in relation to students they are teaching in person, supervisors in relation to their direct employees, and lab managers in relation to personnel in research settings. Although not required, a best practice to create an atmosphere of trust is for the person asking to see a badge to proactively show theirs.
Posted on 9:04 PM, January 19, 2021

I am an undergraduate and will not be back in Madison until immediately before (or 1/2/3 days after) classes start. When should I be tested? Will I be able to attend in-person class/enter buildings immediately?

You should plan to arrive in Madison in time to complete one on-campus test before the start of classes on Jan. 25. If you are unable to do this, you should schedule a test as soon as possible after your arrival. If you are unable to attend in-person class because you have not yet tested and your Badger Badge is “building access denied,” you should contact your instructor and work out reasonable accommodations for any expected coursework.

Last updated 9:26 PM, January 15, 2021

I don’t have a smartphone. How will I be able to be compliant and have access into buildings?

A campus loan program will provide limited-use smartphones to those who need them.

Last updated 6:51 PM, January 19, 2021

If I get tested off campus, can I use my results on campus?

Only positive COVID-19 test results from off campus will be accepted for tracking within the Safer Badgers app. Negative off-campus tests will not be accepted.

Last updated 2:49 PM, January 20, 2021

Is Wiscard building access tied to the Badger Badge?

No. The Badger Badge indicates whether someone is up-to-date with campus testing requirements and meets the other criteria necessary to access campus buildings. The Badger Badge does not “shut off” Wiscard access if someone is out of compliance.

Last updated 9:37 PM, January 15, 2021

When will we need to begin using our Badger Badge to access campus buildings?

Beginning Feb. 1, you are expected to have a Badger Badge in “building access granted” status to access any building on the main Madison campus.

We are still asking people to be tested and in compliance starting Jan. 25.

Badger Wellness Ambassadors will be on campus to help remind individuals of the upcoming building requirements.

Last updated 1:55 PM, January 20, 2021

If I live in University Housing, such as Eagle Heights, but am not a current student or employee (for example, a former student or the spouse/child of a student/employee), am I required to participate in on-campus testing? Can I access campus buildings?

No, you do not need to test. You are considered a visitor for purposes of access to campus buildings. Visitors who have business on campus (e.g., guest lecturers, research collaborators, research participants, private industry partners) will need to be escorted into any building or facility by the person with whom the visitor has business (or their designee). The person hosting the visitor is responsible for ensuring the visitor follows all campus health protocols, including wearing a face covering and physically distancing.

Last updated 1:22 PM, January 20, 2021

Where will building access status be checked?

Monitored buildings will have clear signage at the proper entry. All unmonitored entries will be locked. Monitored entries will be staffed by Badger Wellness Ambassadors wearing high-visibility vests; they will be prominently located inside the monitored entries. 

People seeking building access may display their Badger Badge at a distance using the Safer Badger smartphone app, the Safer Badger website via a tablet or laptop, or a printout of Today’s Badger Badge on paper.

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

What if there is no one checking access at the door of my building?

People will be free to enter unmonitored entrances using the honor system.

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

What happens if someone causes a disruption at a building entrance?

Badger Wellness Ambassadors will attempt to implement their de-escalation training and, if needed, seek assistance.

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

What if waiting in line to verify my building access status makes me late for class?

Students seeking building access to attend classes are responsible for giving themselves enough time to verify their building access status. The monitoring program is not considered an acceptable excuse for lateness.

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

Contractors and vendors are not able to participate in the on-campus testing program. How will they gain entry to buildings?

In monitored buildings, visitors (neither employees nor students) with clearly identified uniforms who have business on campus—such as US Postal Service employees, FedEx employees, vendors and contractors, as well as law enforcement and emergency responders—will be able to enter without using the Badger Badge. These uniformed visitors can be given access permissions for the building via an alternate entry point if the facility manager or unit head, or other person designated by the unit head, ensures they are wearing a face covering and properly physically distancing.

Invited visitors without uniforms who have business on campus must be escorted into the building by an already verified building occupant. The person hosting the visitor is responsible for ensuring the visitor follows all campus health protocols, including wearing a face covering and physically distancing.

Last updated 9:26 PM, January 15, 2021

If my building has key card access, can I use my key card to verify my building access status?

No. Only the Safer Badgers app or website can provide verification for building access, using the Badger Badge.

Last updated 9:37 PM, January 15, 2021

I’m an undergraduate student, I live off campus and I don’t come to campus. Why do I have to be tested?

Shaded map showing zip code areas of off campus ug students

The twice weekly testing requirement applies to undergraduate students who live in the City of Madison in zip codes 53703, 53705, 53706, 53711, 53713, 53715, 53726 and 53792 (as shown in the above map).

Regardless of whether our undergraduate students have schedules that include in-person instruction, they still interact with each other as a community. Through our contact tracing process in the fall, we found no evidence of classroom transmission, but congregate living, social gatherings and shared meals contributed to spread among our off-campus student population. Beyond this, we know that many students who contracted COVID-19 were asymptomatic. We believe the best way to ensure the health of our full campus community is to have a comprehensive testing program that can quickly identify all members of campus who contract COVID-19 so they can isolate themselves and limit virus spread. We recognize that this will take a contribution of time and effort among our students to comply with the testing protocols, but we hope students will participate in an effort to avoid disruptions to academic and campus operations that were necessary this fall. We also hope to reduce community transmission to support the health of Madison and our broader student population.

Last updated 9:37 PM, January 15, 2021

If someone is turned away by a monitor at the door, what are they directed to do next?

Individuals with a badge status of “Building Access Denied” will be provided with instructions within the Safer Badgers app on how to proceed. If they have additional questions, they can call the UW–Madison COVID-19 Assistance Line at 608-262-7777.

Last updated 9:37 PM, January 15, 2021

Will the number of building entrances be limited to ensure enforcement?

Yes. Buildings monitored by Badger Wellness Ambassadors will have limited open entrances. Signs will direct individuals to the nearest open entrance.

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021