FAQs

This filterable guide to common questions about COVID-19 testing and safety measures will help you navigate a safe semester on campus. Filter by audience and/or topic, or use the search function.

If you don’t see the answer to your question here, check the Testing page. View a list of Housing-related FAQs. If you still have questions, contact covidresponse@vc.wisc.edu.

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How do I get the Safer Badgers app?

The Apple and Android versions of the app are available at saferbadgers.wisc.edu. A website version will also be available soon.

Last updated 7:58 AM, February 25, 2021

Where can I find quarantine information for students and employees?

If you test positive for COVID-19 you should isolate yourself immediately so you don’t spread the virus that causes it to others. If you have been exposed to COVID-19 due to close contact with someone infected with the virus, you should quarantine yourself immediately. You could become positive for the virus for up to 14 days after exposure. More information >>

Last updated 12:58 PM, February 5, 2021

I live outside Madison and need to be on campus only occasionally or not at all. However, I’m still being notified that I need to test regularly. What should I do?

If you have received a letter suggesting you are out of compliance, know that we are in the “warning” stage; you are not at risk of permanent disciplinary consequences at this point. You will have an opportunity to explain your situation through the COVID-19 Testing Exemption Form.

A reminder that undergraduates who live in central Madison must test regularly, even if they are not coming to campus. This is not a reason to seek an exemption. For details, please see the FAQ “I’m an undergraduate. I live off campus and I don’t come to campus. Why do I have to be tested?”

For those who don’t live in Madison, the most helpful thing you can do is make sure your current local address is up to date in MyUW Student Center.

For any other reasons you feel you should be exempted from testing, please fill out the COVID-19 Testing Exemption Form. This form is intended for students who are seeking an exemption or alternative to the University’s COVID-19 testing requirement for a reason unrelated to an underlying disability or medical reason. Examples of situations that could qualify for an exemption: you enrolled in an in-person or hybrid class but the instructor has switched it to entirely online; you are still enrolled in an in-person or hybrid class but have been given permission from the instructor not to be on campus; your course of instruction requires you to be on campus only on rare occasions.

Last updated 12:11 PM, March 3, 2021

What is the testing process for undergraduates living in residence halls for spring semester?

Once you complete your first test, you will be prompted to test twice weekly (every 72 hours) thereafter.

You will need to continue to test twice weekly (every 72 hours) throughout the semester to remain in compliance with campus requirements.

Last updated 7:54 AM, February 25, 2021

Is there a cost for the test?

No. There is no cost to be tested.

Last updated 5:05 PM, February 4, 2021

Who do I contact for technical support?

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

Last updated 11:56 AM, February 10, 2021

How long does a saliva test take and when will I get the test results?

The testing process should take a few minutes. Results will be available within 24 hours. They will be provided to you on the Safer Badgers app and via the myUHS portal.

Last updated 5:09 PM, February 4, 2021

What is the testing process for undergraduates living off campus for spring semester?

Shaded map showing zip code areas of off campus ug students

For undergraduates who live in Madison zip code areas 53703, 53705, 53706, 53711, 53713, 53715, 53726 and 53792

  • Once you complete your first test, you will be prompted to test twice weekly (every 72 hours) thereafter.
  • You will need to continue to test twice weekly (every 72 hours) throughout the semester to remain in compliance with campus requirements.

For undergraduates living outside these zip codes

  • Beginning Jan. 25 you will need to have tested negative within the previous four days (96 hours) any time you come to campus.  (Keep in mind that it can take up to 24 hours to get a test result.)
  • Once you complete your first test, you need to take additional tests to ensure that you always have a negative test recorded within four days of your upcoming visit.
  • We encourage you to opt into a regular twice weekly testing program, to ensure you’ll always be able to visit campus should the need arise on short notice.
  • Certain student employees will be asked to test more often, given their role on campus. These employees will be notified by their supervisors of their testing expectations.
Last updated 10:34 AM, February 24, 2021

What is the testing process for graduate, professional (including clinical) and special students for spring semester?

Beginning Jan. 25, any time you come to campus, you will need to have tested negative within the previous 8 days (192 hours). Before you come to campus for the first time this spring, it’s important to plan ahead to be sure you have a negative test within this time period.

Last updated 11:49 AM, February 25, 2021

What is the testing process for faculty and staff for spring semester?

Beginning Jan. 25, any time you come to campus, you will need to have tested negative within the previous 8 days (192 hours). Before you come to campus for the first time this spring, it’s important to plan ahead to be sure you have a negative test within this time period.

Last updated 11:51 AM, February 25, 2021

Does the Safer Badgers app protect my medical privacy?

UW–Madison takes care to provide robust controls to safeguard personal privacy.

To protect the privacy of data, the Safer Badgers app uses a student or staff member’s username/password and multi-factor authentication. Further, inside the Safer Badgers app, all data in the app is encrypted.

The privacy of medical information is protected by the HIPAA Privacy Rule, the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Wisconsin’s state laws about medical records privacy, and the confidentiality requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Certain sharing of your medical information is consistent with your consent as outlined in the app’s privacy policy and terms of use, and where specifically allowed by the applicable rules and regulations to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

Last updated 5:09 PM, February 4, 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

Will I test positive for COVID because I've been vaccinated?

No, the test for COVID-19 looks for several signatures of the virus that are not present in the vaccine.

Last updated 10:57 AM, January 23, 2021

Will on-campus testing be available for 2nd/3rd shift employees during their regular work hours?

Yes. Testing is a paid work activity and is intended to be conducted during normal work hours when practical.

Testing begins as early as 6:30 a.m. at some sites and continues until as late as 7:30 p.m.at some sites – view site hours and locations.

If you have questions about how to test during normal work time, please speak with your supervisor.

Last updated 4:05 PM, February 4, 2021

I have been alerted to an exposure through the Safer Badgers app. 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 5:11 PM, February 4, 2021

What is the policy for spring semester regarding facial coverings?

The policy regarding facial coverings is the same for spring semester as it was for fall. Facial coverings are required:

  • In all indoor public spaces except students in their assigned residence hall rooms and employees when alone in a private, unshared office or lab;
  • While riding a campus bus or when two or more people are present in a university vehicle;
  • Outside when not able to physically distance or when traveling in a group of two or more individuals
Last updated 5:29 PM, February 4, 2021

My test came back “invalid,” “inconclusive” or “rejected.” What does that mean?

If you received any of these results, you will need to get another test. Your Badger Badge will not update until you receive a valid test result.

Invalid results typically occur when a sample is submitted but cannot be adequately tested.

If your test was rejected, it may be because your saliva sample was contaminated, discolored, or you provided too much or too little liquid saliva.

Contamination can occur for a number of reasons – most commonly due to eating or drinking, flossing or brushing your teeth, using mouthwash, chewing gum, or smoking within 60 minutes of your test. We encourage you to rinse your mouth thoroughly with water at least 60 minutes before your test and then refrain from any of these activities before your test.

A couple of hours before your saliva test, drink water to ensure you are well-hydrated when you arrive for your test. (Again, do not drink anything in the one hour before your test.)

You will be asked to provide between 1 and 1.5 milliliters of saliva, following the instructions provided to you at the test site.

Last updated 12:19 PM, February 7, 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 9:30 AM, February 15, 2021

I am having a hard time producing enough saliva for my test. Do you have any tips?

In order to run a COVID-19 test on your saliva sample, you will need to contribute about 1 milliliter of drool. It is best to arrive for your test well-hydrated, though remember you should not eat or drink, smoke, brush or floss your teeth, chew gum, or wear lipstick or chapstick in the hour before your test or your test might come back “rejected.”

  • Try building up saliva on your walk or drive to your test, and as you check in. It also helps to think about foods you like to eat while you are submitting your saliva sample. Think about sour foods like lemons.
  • Slide the tip of your tongue along your gums behind your teeth to stimulate your salivary glands and deposit this saliva in the funnel.
  • Avoid swishing saliva in your mouth or pulling saliva from the back of your mouth.

Be careful not to overfill the tube, too. If this happens, it’s best to ask a member of the test site staff to start again with a new tube.

Last updated 5:10 PM, February 4, 2021

Can I apply for an accommodation to be excused from the testing requirement?

Students and employees who have an underlying medical condition or disability that make participating in the campus COVID-19 spring testing challenging may be eligible for an accommodation, including the ability to take a different kind of test. Requests unrelated to a disability or medical contraindication may be considered but exemptions should not be expected.

Student Accommodations

Students with a medical condition or disability needing an accommodation to participate in the campus-wide COVID-19 testing program should request an accommodation through the McBurney Disability Resource Center. Students who have previously engaged with the McBurney Disability Resource Center should contact their Access Consultant to request an accommodation related to the testing program.

It is an expectation that students living on-campus and those living off-campus in Madison will participate in the spring testing program. Requests unrelated to a disability or medical condition will rarely be granted due to public health goals; however, students with non-medical concerns should contact the Dean of Students Office at dean@studentlife.wisc.edu for consideration. While all requests will be considered, adjustments will not be granted based on the inconvenience of participation in twice-weekly testing.

Employee Accommodations

Employees who need an accommodation to participate in the testing requirements due to a disability or underlying medical condition should contact their Divisional Disability Representative (DDR) to request an accommodation.

Requests unrelated to a disability or medical condition will rarely be granted due to public health goals; however, employees with non-medical concerns may submit requests to their divisional human resources representative. While all requests will be considered, no adjustments will be granted based on the inconvenience of participation in the testing program.

Last updated 4:15 PM, February 19, 2021

Can I take a nasal swab test instead of a saliva-based test?

At this time, unless you are a residence hall student or have a medical condition that would interfere with saliva-based testing, you will need to seek on-campus saliva testing.

Last updated 8:47 AM, February 22, 2021

Is my health information being disclosed when I show my Badger Badge?

No. The Badger Badge does not reveal your health status (such as whether you have tested positive for COVID-19). It simply indicates whether you have access to campus buildings.

Having a Badger Badge indicating “building access denied” (with a red X) does not mean you have tested positive for COVID-19. A badge can indicate “building access denied” for several reasons: being a first-time user of the app, failure to record a negative test in the time period required, getting a positive test, being in isolation/quarantine, or self-reporting symptoms.

The red and green colors used to indicate “building access denied” or “building access granted” on the Badger Badge screen are different from the red/yellow/green “status” colors used in other parts of the app. A red status means the user has tested positive for COVID-19. App users do not need to show their status to anyone, only their badge.

Last updated 4:42 PM, February 8, 2021

If a graduate assistant tests positive, will they lose pay?

Graduate assistants (TAs, PAs, and RAs) receive a sick leave allocation depending on the length of their appointment that they may use if they test positive and are unable to telework. Certain graduate assistant appointments also earn paid vacation and would be able to elect to use that leave for these absences. (See Graduate Assistantship Policies and Procedures – Leave Benefits.)

Last updated 11:20 AM, January 29, 2021

Why doesn’t the app show that I took a test?

The Safer Badgers app does not allow us to send you a confirmation that you’ve been tested. Rest assured that this has no effect on your test results. As long as you’ve had your QR code scanned, you will receive your results.

Last updated 4:09 PM, February 4, 2021

Where can I find more details about my test results?

The Safer Badgers app will provide you with basic information about the results of campus testing.

To find more details, log into your MyUHS account and find “UHS Health Record” on the left hand side of the web page, or in the drop-down menu on mobile.

Navigate to “Laboratory results” where you’ll find your test history and a full interpretation of the results.

Or, on the MyUHS homepage, after logging in, scroll down to “View lab results” to find a list of your COVID-19 test results and click on the result to get more information.

Last updated 4:09 PM, February 4, 2021

I need to provide official documentation of my test results and can’t find this in the app. How can I access this?

The Safer Badgers app will provide you with basic information about the results of campus testing.

To find more details about your test, log in to your MyUHS account and find “UHS Health Record” on the left hand side of the web page, or the drop-down menu on mobile. Navigate to “Laboratory results” to find your COVID-19 test with more details, including test date and a full interpretation of the results.

Or, on the MyUHS homepage, after logging in, scroll down to “View lab results” to find a list of your COVID-19 test results and click on the result to get more information.

Last updated 5:12 PM, February 4, 2021

What is UW-Madison's plan for vaccinating students?

Eligibility criteria are established by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services according to guidelines from the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with the Wisconsin State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee. The first phase of eligibility, Phase 1a, includes employees and students working directly with COVID-19 patients and those who are working directly with the virus and with virus samples. Phase 1b vaccination began on January 18, with police and fire personnel. UW–Madison is working with DHS to determine who will be eligible in later stages of vaccination and will contact individuals about eligibility. More information will be added to the UHS vaccination page as it’s available: uhs.wisc.edu/medical/covid19vaccine/. For more details about the state’s vaccination program, including answers to frequently asked questions, visit dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine.htm. The CDC is also providing updated vaccine information on its site: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html.

Last updated 4:03 PM, February 9, 2021

I am in a high-risk category for COVID-19. How can I let the university know so that I am placed into the correct tier for vaccine eligibility?

Eligibility criteria are established by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services according to guidelines from the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with the Wisconsin State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee. The first phase of eligibility, Phase 1a, includes employees and students working directly with COVID-19 patients and those who are working directly with the virus and with virus samples. Phase 1b vaccination began on January 18. UW–Madison is working with DHS to determine who will be eligible in later stages of vaccination and will contact individuals about eligibility. More information will be added to the UHS vaccination page as it’s available: uhs.wisc.edu/medical/covid19vaccine/. For more details about the state’s vaccination program, including answers to frequently asked questions, visit dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine.htm. The CDC is also providing updated vaccine information on its site: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html

Last updated 4:04 PM, February 9, 2021

Why is the university using the saliva test instead of the nasal swab test?

Campus added Shield’s saliva-based COVID-19 testing in order to increase our testing capacity. Our nasal swab capacity is about 12,000 tests per week. Our saliva-based testing adds up to 70,000 tests per week. We will continue to perform nasal swab tests in addition to saliva tests, predominantly for students living in our residence halls. Using both approaches, we are able to test many more people much more frequently. Both tests are highly accurate PCR-based tests, the gold standard for COVID-19 diagnosis.

Last updated 9:29 AM, February 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

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 9:34 AM, February 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 9:22 AM, February 15, 2021

What happens if graduate, professional (including clinical) and special students don’t comply with testing?

We recognize these new measures require additional effort and are working to make compliance as easy as possible.

If the university learns that you have not fulfilled these testing expectations, we will provide reminders; however, in rare cases, additional measures may be needed to ensure compliance.

Our progressive approach first employs administrative consequences — early warnings that will have no lasting impact on a student’s record. Our response builds only if more tests are missed or a student displays a pattern of missing tests. Learn more.

Last updated 4:08 PM, February 4, 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 8:54 AM, February 22, 2021

I believe I am eligible for the vaccine. How can I receive it on campus?

University Health Services is vaccinating eligible members of UW–Madison following criteria established by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. While vaccine supplies remain limited across the state, UHS will only be able to offer appointments as vaccine is available, and some groups may be offered vaccines before others.

At this time, we are unable to provide a specific date that you will be offered vaccine, but UHS will send emails to eligible individuals as soon as possible. Please watch your wisc.edu email and continue to look for updates at https://covidresponse.wisc.edu/.

Find more information about vaccine eligibility, visit: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-about.htm

You may also seek vaccine through a health care or community provider.

Last updated 3:41 PM, February 26, 2021

What if I want to leave Madison or go home for more than 3 days/a week/a month? How do I notify campus to let them know I won’t be in Madison to test, in order to avoid consequences?

Undergraduates who live off-campus and plan on traveling away from Madison for more than 3 days and will be unable to meet their testing requirements must complete this exemption form.

This exemption will temporarily excuse you from any sanctions associated with not being in compliance with the testing policy during this time.

Your Badger Badge will be red and your access to campus buildings will be denied until you have a negative test on file. When you return to Madison, please complete a COVID-19 test as soon as possible.

Last updated 5:37 PM, February 18, 2021

I’m an employee and need to travel. Do I need to quarantine when I return?

UW–Madison employees who have a travel exemption or need to travel are encouraged to monitor for symptoms upon return. If you have a known exposure to COVID-19, you should self-quarantine and test on interval during the quarantine. Also, as part of the Safer Badgers program, you should download the Safer Badgers app and will need to test negative at an on campus testing location within the previous 8 days (192) hours before coming to campus to ensure your Badger Badge will be in the “building access granted” status.

Last updated 5:37 PM, February 18, 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

What should I do if I think I have been exposed to COVID-19 but have not heard from a contact tracer?

If you believe you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19—usually defined as being within 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer with someone infected with the virus—but have not yet heard from a contact tracer, you should plan to limit your interactions with other people. Log on to your MyUHS account and navigate to “Messages” to see if you have a secure message related to this contact. If you do not, contact University Health Services at 608-265-5600 for additional information and further instructions. If you receive an exposure notification through the Safer Badgers app, you will be provided with instructions for next steps.If you develop symptoms, please isolate yourself immediately and seek a COVID-19 test. You may get tested at an on-campus test site, or students can contact UHS and employees may seek testing through their health provider or testing in their community.

Last updated 5:04 PM, February 4, 2021

What do the green/yellow/red wait times mean on the Safer Badgers app?

  • A green symbol (short wait time) means your wait time should be 15 minutes or less.
  • A yellow symbol (medium wait time) means a bit of a wait and your wait time is estimated to take 15 to 30 minutes.
  • A red symbol (long wait time) means you should expect to wait 30 minutes or longer to get tested at that site.
  • A grey symbol indicates the site is not open. This symbol will appear when the site is closed during the day.
  • Wait times will be refreshed frequently by staff at each test site
Posted on 2:03 PM, February 9, 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 9:06 AM, February 22, 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

Why can’t I submit an off-campus negative result in the Safer Badgers app?

Campus can only accept off-campus positive results for the purposes of Safer Badgers badge access because every off-campus test result needs to be verified. Verification is a complex process that requires careful management. Campus has the capacity to manage this process for positive tests, which are limited in number and remain relevant for 90 days, but not for a large volume of negative tests, which would require updating either once or twice a week, depending on the testing requirements to which an individual is subject.

Last updated 8:54 AM, March 1, 2021

How long do I need to quarantine?

If you have been exposed to COVID-19, you should quarantine yourself immediately.

The UHS website explains how long to quarantine based on your specific circumstances:

Posted on 4:46 PM, February 12, 2021

What should I do if I feel sick but need to get tested to stay compliant?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should not go to school or work; only come to campus to get tested. If you have symptoms of a non-COVID illness, you may test on your regular schedule. If you miss your testing window, your badge will become “building access denied” (with a red “x”). Get tested as soon as possible.

Posted on 5:24 PM, February 12, 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: https://www.uhs.wisc.edu/medical/uw-quarantine/

Last updated 11:23 AM, February 16, 2021

What should I do if I develop symptoms of COVID-19 while in quarantine?

If you develop symptoms while in quarantine, seek testing or contact your health care provider. Students can contact UHS by calling 608-265-5600 or schedule an appointment via your MyUHS account.

Last updated 11:23 AM, February 16, 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

Why is UW not following the CDC 14-day quarantine recommendation?

While 14 days is the safest option for minimizing the spread of COVID-19 to others, the CDC updated its guidance in late 2020 to allow for shorter quarantines under some circumstances, including reducing the burden on individuals. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services also allows for a reduced quarantine period.

UW–Madison’s modified approach adds a further risk reduction step relative to CDC’s updated guidance by requiring a test on or after the 10th day of quarantine. The CDC reports that the median post-quarantine transmission risk posed by an individual who tests negative after 10 days of quarantine is 0.3%. Everyone should monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 and should not be on campus if they have symptoms, except to get a COVID-19 test.

Last updated 9:02 AM, March 1, 2021

I've been told to quarantine but my app status has not turned yellow (my Badger Badge has not turned red/building access denied). What should I do?

Some individuals who have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive will not see a change to their badge. (This generally happens in cases where contact tracing is not performed by the university.) You should continue to follow campus quarantine guidance, completing at least 10 days of quarantine, returning to campus with a negative test beginning no sooner than day 11.

Posted on 11:45 AM, February 16, 2021

What should I do if I think I received a false positive COVID-19 test result?

If you test positive for COVID-19 on campus, you should trust this result and isolate yourself immediately to prevent spreading it to others.  Learn more, including who to call if you have health questions.

The chances that you receive a false positive result are extremely low. Both the nasal swab and saliva-based tests at UW–Madison this spring are PCR tests. PCR is the gold standard diagnostic test for COVID-19.

Do not attempt to get another test at a campus testing site. If you arrive at a campus test site with a red status QR code (which is different than your Badger Badge), staff will permit you to retest only if you have clinical documentation from UHS. Without this documentation, which UHS will grant only rarely, you will not be permitted to retest.

If you have concerns about your test result, you should email UHS at uhs@uhs.wisc.edu

Last updated 8:56 AM, March 1, 2021

What does the detection of the B.1.1.7 variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 mean for campus?

Though the B.1.1.7 variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 was recently detected for the first time in Dane County, public health experts have operated under the assumption it was already here since it first appeared in other parts of the state. Evidence suggests the B.1.1.7 variant may be more contagious, but the measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 — limiting in-person gatherings; wearing a two-layer, well-fitting face covering, maintaining 6 feet of distance from others; frequent handwashing; isolating yourself if you have symptoms or test positive; quarantining if you’re a close contact — remain the best ways to keep yourself and our community safe. We continue to reinforce the importance of adhering to these practices.

For more information, visit: https://news.wisc.edu/what-the-detection-of-b-1-1-7-in-dane-county-means-for-campus/

Posted on 3:08 PM, February 19, 2021

I was told to quarantine by the Wisconsin Exposure Notification app. What do I need to do?

If you are using the Wisconsin Exposure Notification app and you are told to quarantine because of a close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you should follow the public health guidance provided to you in the app at the time you are notified of your exposure. Because this notification does not come from campus contact tracers, your Badger Badge will not change to red/building access denied. You should not come to campus during your quarantine period, except to get a COVID-19 test. You can find UW–Madison’s quarantine information for on-campus and off-campus students and employees, here: https://www.uhs.wisc.edu/medical/covid19-isolation-quarantine/

Posted on 5:17 PM, February 22, 2021

Do people showing COVID symptoms follow the same testing protocol/test in the same location as people who aren't showing symptoms?

Campus test sites are open to all students and employees to use to remain in compliance with campus testing requirements. As with all COVID-19 testing in Dane County, testing is also available to students and employees who may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or are identified as having close contact with someone positive for COVID-19.

Anyone experiencing symptoms may also access testing through a health care provider or community test site. Students can call University Health Services at 608-265-5600 or schedule an appointment via your MyUHS account at uhs.wisc.edu. Do not attend work or class while you are experiencing symptoms.

Test sites were evaluated for safety and feasibility by a team including University Health Services; Environment, Health and Safety and Facilities Planning and Management and designed to maintain appropriate physical distancing and low density. Each location is cleaned frequently.

We also encourage individuals to wear their face coverings while pooling saliva, in between drooling into the funnel.

Last updated 4:21 PM, February 23, 2021

Is vaccine required for students for the fall 2021 semester?

Our goal this fall is any student who arrives on campus who has not yet been vaccinated should have an opportunity to receive a vaccine from us, should they choose to.

Last updated 7:59 AM, March 5, 2021

If I’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19, do I still need to be tested?

While we know that the majority of people who receive the COVID-19 vaccine will have some level of protection against SARS CoV-2, the vaccine efficacy rate is not 100%, which can result in some who are vaccinated contracting and transmitting the virus. Currently, the CDC and WI Department of Health Services recommend that those who receive the vaccine continue to test. The CDC is engaging in research to better define transmission within the population of those who have been vaccinated, but those questions may take six months to a year to answer. Until further research and recommendations by the CDC are available, we are requiring vaccinated individuals to be tested as determined by the campus policies for their population.

Last updated 8:52 AM, February 22, 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

Does the Safer Badgers app track my location?

The app does not utilize GPS or geolocation to track your location. During the setup phase of the app, users will self-select if they wish to use the low energy Bluetooth proximity notification feature. Users can turn this feature off at any time. Location services are only used for the low energy Bluetooth proximity notification feature of Safer Badgers, to tell you when you’ve been in proximity to someone who has tested positive. All data is anonymous, meaning as a COVID-19 positive individual, you will not know who is receiving proximity notifications, and as a receiver of a proximity notification you will not know who the notification came from.

Last updated 5:09 PM, February 4, 2021

What are my data security and privacy protections when using the Safer Badgers app?

UW–Madison uses industry best practices in data security to minimize risks to users’ personal data such as data loss, misuse, or unauthorized access, disclosure, or alteration. All user data is protected against unauthorized access or distribution. Users’ personally identifiable information (PII) will never be shared with third parties without user permission. Users can delete all PII and all anonymous data from our servers at any time by removing the Safer Badgers app.

Last updated 5:20 PM, February 4, 2021

Will personal data be stored or shared from the Safer Badgers app?

There are different types of data stored and transmitted from the Safer Badgers app.

  • Personal identifiers, such as NetID, are used to create user accounts on the Safer Badgers App. This personal information is shared with UW–Madison’s Division of Information Technology (DoIT) and stored on users’ phones as well as on account servers.
  • COVID-19 test results where users retrieve those results through the Safer Badgers app are stored on their phones.
  • Anonymous Bluetooth tokens are used as proximity records in the Exposure Notification feature. These tokens are stored on the phone for 14 days and then automatically deleted. When a user has a positive COVID-19 test result (and if they have opted-in to the Exposure Notification feature), 14 days’ worth of their Bluetooth tokens are uploaded to a secure database server and then downloaded by the other phones using the Safer Badgers app. Each app then checks for matches against the token history saved on their phone. The tokens expire and are deleted automatically after 14 days, both from the phones and from the database server. The tokens are not saved anywhere else. Note that these randomly generated tokens are de-identified and are not associated with a particular phone or individual. The Safer Badgers app does not access, track, or use GPS location information for any purpose.
Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

With increased testing and technology, why are there not more in-person classes being offered for spring?

We recognize that some students desire more in-person learning opportunities and we’re working to provide that to the extent possible. Testing is one important tool for controlling the spread of the virus but it’s not the only tool. Physical distancing and limits on gatherings, particularly indoors, remain critically important.

Students will be returning to Madison in January from all over the country, including from many areas where cases are at very concerning levels – much higher than in late August. It is critical that we begin the semester as safely as possible – both to protect the health of campus and the broader community and to avoid another sudden shutdown like we experienced in September.

Course modality decisions continue to be made at the department level based on the learning outcomes of the course and input from instructors. The number of in-person classes varies across schools and colleges. Students have an opportunity during course registration to seek out courses in the modality of their choice.

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

Other than the infected individual, who else will receive notification of a positive COVID-19 test result through the Safer Badgers app, and what data will be shared?

When users of Safer Badgers receive their COVID-19 test results through the mobile app or accompanying website, the results are transmitted from the health care provider in charge of the tests. (On the UW–Madison campus that provider is University Health Services). The notification is encrypted in transit and decrypted on the user’s phone. The test result is also saved in an encrypted form in our secure database in case users need to access their data from a new device or the accompanying website. No other party but the user can decrypt the test result sent in the notification. The Safer Badgers app will not share an individual’s COVID-19 test results information with anyone.

Laboratories that conduct COVID-19 tests are required by law to submit all test results to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, which is managing the response to the epidemic. Summary statistics of testing data are shared with the public on a dashboard. These statistics are used to manage the COVID-19 pandemic on campus and may be used for research in the future.

Last updated 5:13 PM, February 4, 2021

The Safer Badgers app is designed for confidential proximity detection via Bluetooth. Are there plans to add geolocation tracking in future?

No, there are no plans to add geolocation tracking.

Last updated 5:19 PM, February 4, 2021

Will the Safer Badgers app be used for other purposes, such as tracking the location of employees or students or taking attendance in class?

No. The Safer Badgers app and accompanying website will be used only for the following functions:

  • Connecting with UW–Madison University Health Services to receive test results and care recommendations.
  • Self-reporting of symptoms.
  • Opt-in exposure notification.
  • Verification of access to campus buildings through the Badger Badge.
  • Recommended steps for improving and maintaining the user’s health.
  • Simplified up-to-date public health guidelines.

The Safer Badgers app does not report geo-location, so it cannot report or track a user’s whereabouts.

Last updated 4:41 PM, February 8, 2021

Why does the Safer Badgers app ask to enable location services if it is not using them for location tracking?

If you opt-in to use the exposure notification feature of the app, you need to turn on location services in order to activate your device’s Bluetooth low-energy technology. Even if you turn on location services, the app does not access your location or collect or store any location data.

Last updated 4:40 PM, February 4, 2021

Will the Safer Badgers app keep its data for long-term study?

The Safer Badgers app will not retain PII (personally identifiable information) for long-term study. The exposure notification data expires automatically after 14 days and is not saved anywhere. De-identified non-PII information such as the following may be archived and made available for public health or research purposes in the future:

  • Percent positivity
  • Number of tests per day
  • Number of exposure notifications
  • Types of self-reported symptoms
Last updated 8:11 AM, February 4, 2021

Can I opt out of exposure notifications?

Yes

Last updated 5:08 PM, February 4, 2021

Where do I park at the testing sites?

Parking information is available on our testing page.

Last updated 4:16 PM, February 4, 2021

What is the university doing to help graduate, professional (including clinical) and special students follow these requirements?

We recognize this requires some additional effort and are working to make compliance as easy as possible. The app will help you keep track of your compliance. We anticipate having testing available 7 days a week at locations across campus, including availability in the early morning and in the evening. We will continue policies that encourage flexible work arrangements and remote participation options for campus meetings wherever possible.

Last updated 8:09 AM, February 4, 2021

What is the university doing to help faculty and staff follow these requirements?

We recognize this requires some additional effort and are working to make compliance as easy as possible. The app will help you keep track of your compliance. We anticipate having testing available 7 days a week at locations across campus, including in the early morning and in the evening. We will continue policies that encourage flexible work arrangements and remote participation options for campus meetings wherever possible.

Last updated 4:25 PM, January 22, 2021

What is the university doing to help undergraduates in residence halls follow these requirements?

We recognize this requires some additional effort and are working to make compliance as easy as possible. The app will help you keep track of your compliance. We anticipate having testing available 7 days a week at locations across campus, including in the early morning and in the evening.

The app will help you qualify for incentives to thank you for participating in the new testing program and help you avoid any negative consequences triggered by being out of compliance. We will continue policies that encourage flexible work arrangements and remote participation options for campus meetings wherever possible.

Last updated 4:23 PM, January 22, 2021

The new testing is a saliva-based test. If my test is positive, do I need to confirm with a nasal swab test?

No. Both tests are PCR-based and provide accurate diagnostic results.

Last updated 5:13 PM, February 4, 2021

What is the university doing to help undergraduates off campus follow these requirements?

We recognize this requires some additional effort and are working to make compliance as easy as possible. The app will help you keep track of your compliance. We anticipate having testing available 7 days a week at locations across campus, including in the early morning and in the evening.

The app will help you qualify for incentives to thank you for participating in the new testing program and help you avoid any negative consequences triggered by being out of compliance. We will continue policies that encourage flexible work arrangements and remote participation options for campus meetings wherever possible.

Last updated 4:25 PM, January 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

What gives UW the authority to require me to be tested?

State law empowers the university to protect the health and safety of members of the university community. Board of Regent policies hold the chancellor responsible for making the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors an integral part of UW–Madison’s operations. The chancellor is authorized to establish policies and procedures to promote a safe, secure and healthy environment. By virtue of their association with the university, students, employees and visitors must comply with the applicable policies and procedures.

(See Chapter 36 of Wisconsin Statutes and Regent Policy Document 23-2)

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

What do I need to do to maintain my Badger Badge as “building access granted”?

Your badge will continue to indicate “building access granted” (with a green checkmark) as long as you:

  • Have a negative test on file in the timeframe specified for your community population (undergraduate student, graduate/professional student, faculty/staff)
  • Have not had a positive test on file within the last 10 days
  • Are not required to be in isolation or quarantine
  • Have not self-reported symptoms of COVID-19
Last updated 4:31 PM, February 8, 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

Do members of the public need to test before coming to campus?

No, members of the public are not required to test before coming to campus. However, 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 2:35 PM, January 20, 2021

I’m only making a short trip to campus: Do I need to have tested first?

Yes, beginning Jan. 25, anyone working on campus or using campus facilities will be required to test regularly. At a minimum, any time you come to campus for any reason, you will need to have tested negative within the previous eight days. In order to access campus facilities, you must also meet the following criteria:

  • 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 any symptoms for COVID-19

(Note: Undergraduates who live off campus in certain city of Madison zip codes need to test twice weekly regardless of whether they are physically coming to campus. See a map of zip code areas for those who must comply with twice-weekly testing.)

Last updated 8:08 AM, February 25, 2021

Does the Safer Badgers exposure notification feature connect to WI Exposure Notification (the app from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services)?

No, Safer Badgers exposure notification is separate from the WI Exposure Notification app and is restricted to those using the UW–Madison Safer Badgers testing program. If you wish, we encourage you to use both to ensure the broadest coverage.

Both apps are anonymous and protect the privacy of the users. The apps do not track location or location history.

Last updated 9:26 PM, January 15, 2021

The app is giving me different instructions than the ones I received from my medical provider or a contact tracer. Which should I follow?

The Safer Badgers app cannot be tailored to every individual circumstance. You should always follow the instructions provided to you by medical or public health professionals, including UHS staff and contact tracers. If you have additional questions, contact UHS.

Last updated 9:37 PM, January 15, 2021

Will employees be paid for their time spent getting tested? Does this include travel time?

Testing is a work obligation for both hourly and salaried employees. If an employee needs to make a trip to campus to test in order to maintain building access for work purposes, they may do so during their normal work hours. Employees shall be granted a reasonable amount of time during their normal work hours to complete required COVID-19 testing, including reasonable travel time. Hourly employees must test during their normal work hours. Salaried employees may test either during their normal work hours or at other times, but they will not receive any additional compensation (outside of their standard compensation package) for their time spent getting tested, regardless of when they do so. For more information, contact your HR representative.

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

Will graduate student employees be paid for their time spent getting tested? Does this include travel time?

Testing is a work obligation for both hourly and salaried employees. If an employee needs to make a trip to campus to test in order to maintain building access for work purposes, they may do so during their normal work hours. Employees shall be granted a reasonable amount of time during their normal work hours to complete required COVID-19 testing, including reasonable travel time. Hourly employees must test during their normal work hours. Salaried employees may test either during their normal work hours or at other times, but they will not receive any additional compensation (outside of their standard compensation package) for their time spent getting tested, regardless of when they do so For more information, contact your HR representative.

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

If only people who tested negative will be allowed in campus buildings, why do we still need to wear masks?

A negative test tells you only that you are not likely infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 at the time your sample was collected. To reduce the chances that you unknowingly spread the virus, you should continue to wear a face covering, even if you receive a negative test result. Additionally, wearing a face covering helps protect you from exposure to the virus.

Last updated 8:31 AM, January 20, 2021

Is the Badger Pledge still in effect?

Yes, the Badger Pledge, which covers the university’s COVID-19-related health and safety behavior expectations for students, will be in effect for the spring semester.

Last updated 8:29 AM, January 20, 2021

If I am in class or at work and receive a notification that I’ve tested positive for COVID-19, should I leave immediately?

Yes, if you receive a positive test result, you should leave class or work immediately and follow the isolation instructions provided to you by University Health Services. If you are awaiting a test result and believe you may have COVID-19 because you have symptoms or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, such as a roommate, you should quarantine at home until you receive your test results. If you develop symptoms while you are on campus, you should go get tested or contact UHS or your health provider and isolate yourself immediately.

Last updated 4:25 PM, February 4, 2021

What on-campus activities will be available during spring semester?

Most of your classes may be online, but UW–Madison’s campus is still open. You can still get together with friends (at a safe distance, of course), grab a bite to eat, or find a quiet place to study. Discover events through the Wisconsin Union or work out with Rec Well.

Explore events through the Wisconsin Union and student organizations to see what campus has to offer. University Housing will continue to offer virtual events for its residents.

Check out the Campus Operations page of our COVID-19 Response website for resources and facilities that are available to students for spring semester and keep reading The Weekly e-newsletter to stay updated on what’s happening around campus.

Last updated 8:10 AM, February 25, 2021

I live very far from campus and only come to campus once a week for class. Do I need to make a second trip each week just for testing to stay in compliance?

The campus expectation is that undergraduates test every 72 hours if they are coming to campus, regardless of where they live. Exceptions are rare but requests will be reviewed. Please submit an exception request to the Dean of Students Office, dean@studentlife.wisc.edu, providing detail about your circumstance.

Posted on 10:25 AM, January 20, 2021

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

The compliance requirement begins Feb. 10.

Badger Wellness Ambassadors will not necessarily be at every building every day; however, beginning Feb. 10, you are expected to have a Badger Badge indicating “building access granted” (with a green checkmark) to enter any building on the main Madison campus. This will be enforceable by individual buildings.

As always, you should follow all health and safety requirements, such as wearing a face covering and maintaining physical distance from others. Those who’ve tested positive in the last 10 days or have COVID-19 symptoms should not come to campus.

Last updated 7:59 AM, February 8, 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 and when can I be tested?

There will be testing sites across campus to ensure people have access close to where they work, live or have class.

Testing will be available seven days per week, with early morning and late evening hours at some sites.

Learn more about testing sites.

Last updated 4:03 PM, February 4, 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 9:30 AM, February 15, 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. 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 12:13 PM, February 7, 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

Why do I have to provide my race in the app? Why can’t I select more than one category?

This is a federal government requirement that applies to UW–Madison because the university receives federal funding under the CARES Act. The categories are provided by the federal government. We don’t have the capability to allow the selection of more than one category.

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

What is being done to ensure safety at test sites?

Test sites were evaluated for safety and feasibility by a team including University Health Services; Environment, Health and Safety; and Facilities Planning and Management, and designed to maintain appropriate physical distancing and low density. Each location is cleaned frequently. When performed correctly, submitting a saliva sample should not result in creation of aerosols. Sample submission involves drooling into a funnel fitted over a collection tube, so there should be no spitting, forceful throat clearing or other expulsive actions. We also encourage individuals to wear their face coverings while pooling saliva, in between drooling into the funnel. We ask for patience as people adapt to the new approach.

Last updated 4:00 PM, February 23, 2021

Do dual employees of the School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) and UW Health need to participate in campus testing?

Yes, all UW–Madison employees must be in compliance with campus testing requirements in order to access campus buildings. This means they must have a negative test on file within the previous eight days of their visit to campus.

This applies to UW–Madison employees with dual employment at UW Health who also need to access buildings on campus, including to attend meetings, use campus recreation centers, visit the unions, etc. The only exception is for employees who are simply passing straight through Health Sciences Learning Center between the hospital and the parking garage, bike racks or bus stops.

UW Health employees who are not dual appointees do not need to test. If they need to visit campus, they should follow the campus visitor policy.

Dual employees should download the Safer Badgers app to schedule their tests, manage their results, and access their badge to ensure they can gain access to campus buildings. Employees who do not come to UW–Madison buildings will not need to get tested, though they may want to consider being prepared in case they should need to visit campus on short notice.

Last updated 4:04 PM, February 4, 2021

Will students need to use the Safer Badgers app to access residence halls or Housing dining halls?

At this time, the Safer Badgers app will not be used to manage access to residence halls. However, residents who do not stay current with required testing will receive follow-up from Residence Life staff and can face disciplinary action, including removal from Housing. Residents who test positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed will still need to go to isolation or quarantine spaces until they are cleared to return. Most Housing dining markets will be monitored for access through the app.

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

How will participants in the UWSISP (employee surveillance program) be tested? Will their testing in that program suffice?

Participants in UWSISP can continue to test through this program and satisfy campus testing requirements this spring.

To do so, you will need to create a Safer Badgers account through the Safer Badgers app. The Safer Badgers app should reflect your UWSISP status. Please note that any negative test results will not appear in the Safer Badgers app.

In order for you to enter campus buildings, your Badger Badge will need to indicate “building access granted” (with a green checkmark).  The badge does not share any personal health information. Your badge will continue to indicate “building access granted” as long as you test accordingly in this study and meet other requirements, such as not being in quarantine following potential exposure to COVID-19.

If you miss a scheduled  test or unenroll from this study, you will be enrolled in standard campus saliva-based testing program. You would then need to be tested at least every eight days to retain access to campus buildings.

Last updated 8:13 AM, February 25, 2021

Will segregated fees be increased to cover the cost of expanded testing?

No

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

What about isolation/quarantine for students living off-campus?

  • Neither the campus nor Public Health Madison Dane County (PHMDC) has the capacity to provide quarantine/isolation spaces for students who are not living in University Housing.
  • We recommend that these students speak with their roommates to develop, and agree on, how they will handle the situation if a roommate develops symptoms and/or has a positive COVID test. We recommend starting with guidance from PHMDC. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also offers information for people living in close quarters and recommendations for cleaning shared spaces.
  • For graduate students living in University Apartments and who already have a lease, campus can work with residents if they need space.
  • Our off-campus students will have full access to University Health Services, and we will work with them, in cooperation with the local public health department, to conduct contact tracing.
Last updated 4:22 PM, February 4, 2021

What are “contact tracing” and “exposure notification?” Specifically, how is the Safer Badgers app using track-and-trace technology to manage COVID-19 cases?

“Contact tracing” is a public health procedure used to identify people who may have come into contact with an infected person. Public health workers who conduct contact tracing interview known infected individuals, attempt to identify all recent contacts of the infected individual, and then follow up with those contacts by recommending testing, quarantine, treatment or other measures.

UW–Madison University Health Services manages contact tracing for those individuals who test positive for COVID-19 at on-campus testing locations. UHS works closely with the contact tracers at Public Health Madison and Dane County (PHMDC). PHMDC contact tracers can be used to supplement university contact tracing capacity in surge situations.

“Exposure notification” lets people know if they were in the vicinity of someone who was later found to be infected. The Safer Badgers app provides exposure notification for those users who enable this feature. If users enable exposure notification, their phones store Bluetooth-emitted tokens when they are in sufficient proximity to other phones. If users of the app later find out they are infected, 14 days of their Bluetooth tokens are uploaded to a secure database server and then downloaded by other phones. Then those phones look for matches with the tokens they have saved. Phones that find matches notify their users that they might have been exposed. Exposure notifications are generated on each user’s phone, and the notification is displayed only on the user’s phone. Individual exposure notifications are not reported to any other party. Summary statistics about exposure notifications are reported to University Health Services. The Safer Badgers app never tracks geolocation (i.e., GPS, or Global Positioning System).

Last updated 5:19 PM, February 4, 2021

I can’t uncover my face in public. Is there a private place where I can submit my saliva sample?

Privacy testing stations are available only as an accommodation at Union South or Ogg Residence Hall. Employees needing a private testing station due to disability should work with their Divisional Disability Representative, and students should contact the McBurney Disability Resource Center.

Employees needing a religious-based accommodation should contact Workforce Relations, and students should contact the Dean of Students Office.

Last updated 9:29 AM, February 15, 2021

Does the Safer Badgers Bluetooth exposure notification feature interact with the Badger Badge screen – e.g., if I’ve been in proximity to an infected person, will I be denied access?

No, the Safer Badgers Bluetooth exposure notification feature does not interact with the Badger Badge screen or affect building access. The notification functionality in the app will include a single recommendation to get a COVID-19 test ASAP.

Last updated 8:04 AM, February 8, 2021

I primarily work remotely but am required to report to campus to address unexpected issues (for example, IT outages or issues in a research lab). How often do I need to test?

Beginning Feb. 10, to access campus buildings, you will need to have tested negative within the previous 8 days. (Certain employees will be asked to test more often, given their role on campus. If you are affected, you will be notified by your supervisor.)

It is recommended that you test weekly to ensure you can report to campus at short notice.

In order to access campus facilities, you must also meet the following criteria:

  • 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

If you are called to respond to a situation but your Badger Badge is indicating “building access denied” (with a red X),  you should reach out to a supervisor or colleague to identify someone whose badge is “building access granted” (with a green checkmark) who can respond.

Last updated 4:34 PM, February 8, 2021

What happens if I don’t comply with testing?

We recognize these new measures require additional effort and are working to make compliance as easy as possible. The Safer Badgers app will remind students about the need to test; however, in rare cases, additional measures may be needed to ensure compliance. Our progressive approach first employs administrative consequences — early warnings that will have no lasting impact on a student’s record. Our response builds only if more tests are missed or a student displays a pattern of missing tests. Learn more about student conduct and testing compliance.

Posted on 1:39 PM, January 28, 2021

I’ve previously tested positive for COVID-19. Do I need to participate in on-campus testing?

You are exempt from engaging in testing for 90 days after a positive test. After the 90-day period ends, you must follow campus testing procedures.

If you were tested off campus before the spring semester, you must submit proof of a positive PCR test, including the lab result and the result interpretation, via the Safer Badgers app. 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. The test should be a diagnostic, PCR-based test. 

Your Badger Badge will remain as “building access denied” (with a red X) until your result has been reviewed by UHS (off-campus results) or imported into the app (on-campus results).

Last updated 9:32 AM, February 15, 2021

Will there be a drive-through testing location?

At this time, campus is exploring drive-up testing options. Due to the nature of saliva-based testing, we are unable to convert the drive-up testing sites we used in the fall. However, many testing sites will have free parking nearby for those who are being tested.

Last updated 4:11 PM, February 4, 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

Who owns and is the developer of the app?

The app was developed by the University of Illinois and has been used there since August. We are partnering with them and a company called Rokmetro that was created to help implement the app at other higher ed institutions.

Last updated 9:38 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

How do I submit a previous positive test result in the Safer Badgers app?

Prior positive on-campus test results are being imported into the Safer Badgers app and will be viewable by Jan. 25. If you have a prior positive test from off campus, you can upload it via the Safer Badgers app.

Last updated 5:09 PM, February 4, 2021

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