Building Access

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.

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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What if I miss my in-person class because I’m out of compliance with the COVID-19 testing requirements and my badge is “building access denied”?

This is considered an absence and regular academic policies and practices apply. Your course syllabus explains how absences are addressed. In addition to the possible academic penalties for being absent from class, failure to complete your required COVID-19 testing could also result in action through the student discipline process.

Last updated 9:17 AM, March 15, 2021

What if I miss class because I'm in isolation/quarantine and my badge is “building access denied”?

While students are not required to disclose to their instructors if they test positive for COVID-19, students are encouraged to communicate with their instructors if they need flexibility with assignments or coursework. Supporting students’ academic progress and success continues to be a top priority. Instructors will maintain high academic standards and expectations of all students – both for in-person and remote courses – while communicating additional flexibilities for students who may become ill or quarantined. These expectations and flexibilities will be outlined in course syllabi at the start of the semester.

Last updated 9:17 AM, March 15, 2021

Does my Badger Badge need to indicate "building access granted" in order for me to get tested?

No. You do not need a green Badger Badge screen to enter a building for the purpose of taking a COVID-19 test.

Last updated 1:18 PM, March 9, 2021

Does my Badger Badge need to indicate "building access granted" in order for me to seek medical care at UHS?

No. You do not need a green Badger Badge screen to seek medical care at University Health Services.

Posted on 2:02 PM, February 10, 2021

Does my Badger Badge need to indicate "building access granted" in order for me to enter the vaccination site?

No. While we encourage you to be in compliance with Badger Badge requirements, you will not be turned away from a vaccine appointment if your badge is not indicating “building access granted” (with a green checkmark).

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, are quarantining due to a possible exposure or are having symptoms, you should reschedule your vaccine appointment.

Last updated 9:13 AM, March 15, 2021

When can I return to on-site work after a positive test?

Most people will need to isolate for 10 days, though some will need to isolate longer. Unless you have received different instructions from a medical provider or public health official, you can return to work once you meet the following conditions:

  • It’s been at least 10 days since your positive test; and
  • you’ve been free of fever for 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medication; and
  • your other symptoms are improving

Your Badger Badge will remain red/building access denied for 10 days of isolation and will turn green/building access granted on day 11. You will be excused from campus testing and your badge will remain green for 90 days from the date of the positive test.

Please continue to follow the instructions provided to you by your health provider. You may also find more information in your MyUHS account.

See the University Health Services website for more information about quarantine and isolation.

Last updated 11:59 AM, February 16, 2021

When can I return to on-site work after COVID-19 symptoms but negative test?

Refer to this campus workplace safety policy.

You should not be on campus with symptoms of COVID-19 except to get a COVID-19 test.

If you test negative for COVID-19, you may follow standard illness protocols for returning to work.

Example: The employee may return if they have been fever-free for 24-hours without fever reducing medication; if it has been two days since their last episode of vomiting or diarrhea; if they have been on antibiotic for at least 24 hours if prescribed; or as approved to work by a doctor.

Last updated 11:22 AM, February 16, 2021

When can I return to on-site work after quarantine/exposure?

Most employees will be able to return to work within 11-14 days of exposure.

You may return to work provided:

  • You do not test positive or develop symptoms of COVID-19
  • You have obtained a negative test result on day 10 or later of quarantine and your Badger Badge indicates “building access granted.”

See the University Health Services website for more information about quarantine and isolation.

Posted on 11:22 AM, February 16, 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

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.
Last updated 8:54 AM, February 22, 2021

Will new employees be required to have a Badger Badge indicating "building access granted" on their first day of employment if they are required to be onsite?

No. A new employee will not be required to have their Badger Badge indicating “building access granted” on their first day of employment. Instead, they will be required to get tested as soon as possible within their first day.

If a new employee needs to access campus buildings on their first day, they should be treated as a visitor and escorted by a supervisor or supervisor delegate (e.g., a trainer). If the employee does not need to be onsite on their first day, they have the same testing expectations as a current employee needing to come to campus (they must have a negative test on file within the previous 8 days and meet other public health requirements).

For the purpose of this policy, a “new employee” is someone hired into a position on campus who does not currently have an active appointment in any unit of the university. An employee moving from one unit to another within UW–Madison is not considered a new employee and will be expected to be in compliance with employee building access requirements throughout their transition between units.

Last updated 8:02 AM, February 8, 2021

If I forget my smart device or it is broken or out of battery, how can I access campus buildings?

Badger Wellness Ambassadors will be able to check your Badger Badge online by using your NetID (they will not be able to see any of your personal health information—including test results—or the reason your badge may be indicating “building access denied”).

You will be required to show a photo ID. Please allow more time for this process because it involves additional action beyond just a quick visual check of your badge.

Last updated 9:04 AM, March 1, 2021

An hourly employee takes vacation time of one week or more (e.g., leaves work on a Friday, takes vacation for the next work week, and returns the following Monday). Because the employee will be away from the workplace for a period of more than 8 days, the employee will need to test prior to returning to on-site work on Monday. The employee will have to test during non-working hours (e.g., Sunday) in order to be in compliance before returning to the workplace on Monday. Is the employee in paid status when testing under this limited circumstance?

In this limited circumstance, hourly employees who work on-site receive 2 hours in paid status to test on campus during their non-working hours, subject to the following:

  • The employee must be tested at least 24 hours prior to their return to the workplace to ensure that test results are complete and that the employee’s Badger Badge status is “building access granted.”
  • This paid time must be pre-approved by, and coordinated with, the employee’s supervisor.
  • If an employee tests during non-working hours and does not have pre-approval to do so, the employee will be paid only for the time they are at the testing site (e.g., if the testing process takes 30 minutes, the employee will be paid only for those 30 minutes of work time).

If an employee is not in compliance upon their return to the workplace and is denied building access, they must notify their supervisor that they cannot work in-person because they do not have building access. Their supervisor will help them to determine whether it is possible for them to work remotely or to change their shift to allow additional time to be tested and obtain building access.

If working remotely or changing their shift is not possible, they may request and utilize earned paid leave bank time or leave without pay (if they do not have earned paid leave bank time) until they are able to obtain building access.

Last updated 4:44 PM, February 4, 2021

I am a uniformed first responder or an employee responding to a health, life, and safety emergency such as an unanticipated or unscheduled network outage, burst pipes, or other facilities failures. Will I be able to enter a building during an emergency if my badge is not green?

Yes, you will be allowed access as needed during the emergency.Employees of UW – Madison will be asked to test for COVID-19 at a UW – Madison testing center as soon as the immediate work is complete and before leaving campus.Employees should not return to campus until receiving a negative COVID-19 test result in their Safer Badgers app and the building access granted green checkmark on their Badger Badge screen.

Last updated 8:02 PM, February 8, 2021

Are emeritus faculty/staff expected to comply with the faculty/staff testing requirements?

If you are able to log in to the Safer Badgers app using your UW-Madison NetID and password, then you are eligible for Safer Badgers COVID-19 testing and will be able to use your Badger Badge to access campus facilities. If you can access the app and have a business need to come to campus, you should follow the testing and building access requirements.

If you are not able to log in and have a business purpose for coming to campus, you have two options:

  • Follow the policy for campus visitors – Testing is not required. However, during your visit you must be escorted by the person with whom you have business (or a designee).
  • Request to be added to the list of people eligible to test on campus – The request should go to the director of the unit that awarded the emeritus status. If the director determines the emeritus faculty/staff member has a business need to come to campus regularly, the unit director should send a message to the Provost@provost.wisc.edu account with the unit name and the name and NetID of the individual for whom they are requesting inclusion in the testing program and access to the Safer Badgers app.
Posted on 7:44 AM, February 3, 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 8:57 AM, February 22, 2021

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

Only positive PCR-based 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.

If you have a positive PCR test result off campus, you should submit it via the app and it will be verified by a team of medical professionals at UHS. To be verified, off-campus results should include your name, date of birth, collection date and test
type. A letter from a physician or county public health may also be acceptable. Please allow UHS staff time to verify your results after you upload.

If it has been 10 days or less since your verified positive PCR test, your Badger Badge status will change to “building access denied” until your isolation period ends. If your verified positive test was from more than 10 days prior to the date of submission, your Badger Badge will reflect “building access granted” and remain in that status for a duration of 90 days from the date of your positive test. After 90 days, you will be required to participate in regular on-campus testing.

Last updated 8:57 AM, February 22, 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

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 Badger Badges be checked?

Monitored buildings will have all the non-monitored entries locked with signs indicating the direction to the monitored entry. 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 safe distance.

Last updated 1:09 PM, February 8, 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 8:55 AM, March 1, 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 show my Badger Badge and verify my building access makes me late for class?

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

Last updated 8:10 AM, February 8, 2021

Contractors, and vendors, and others with business on campus (such as U.S. Postal workers, FedEx employees, law enforcement and emergency responders) are not able to participate in the on-campus testing program. How will they gain entry to buildings?

In monitored buildings, those who fall into one of these categories who have clearly identified uniforms will be able to enter without using the Badger Badge. They 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.
Those without uniforms will need to follow our general visitor policy.
Last updated 11:44 AM, February 7, 2021

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

As a general policy, those not affiliated with the university are not allowed in institutional facilities unless scheduled or invited by an employee.

Additionally, we are currently unable to provide access inside campus buildings for prospective or admitted students and are encouraging them to visit campus virtually. As soon as it is safe to do so, we will resume campus tours and will share updates via email and on our website.

Invited visitors with business on campus (e.g., guest lecturers, research collaborators, research participants,private industry partners) must be escorted into the building by an already verified building employee. Visitors must also comply with established public health protocols, including wearing a face covering and physically distancing.

See separate policy pertaining to uniformed contractors, vendors, law enforcement, emergency responders, etc.

Last updated 12:38 PM, March 11, 2021

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

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

Last updated 8:12 AM, February 8, 2021

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

Individuals with a badge indicating “building access denied” (with a red X) 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 8:56 AM, February 22, 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