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. If you still have questions, contact covidresponse@vc.wisc.edu.

In the section below, search and filters are in the first column and questions and answers are in the second column. When a search term is entered into the search input field or a filter is selected, the list of questions in the second column automatically updates to match the search term and/or selected filters.

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How do I get the app?

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

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

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

Last updated 2:53 PM, January 18, 2021

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

Undergraduate students who live in residence halls may return from winter break between January 20–24 and will need to contact UW Housing to set up a move-in time. Residents will be required to test for COVID-19 upon arrival. After arriving, they should restrict their movement to essential activities such as academics and work until they complete two negative on-campus tests by January 31.

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

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

Is there a cost for the test?

No. There is no cost to be tested.

Last updated 9:37 PM, January 15, 2021

Who do I contact for technical support?

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

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

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 9:26 PM, January 15, 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

Students who live in the City of Madison in zip codes 53703, 53705, 53706, 53711, 53713, 53715, 53726 and 53792 should plan to complete two on-campus tests, at least three days apart, between Jan. 14 and Jan. 24. At minimum, you must have one on-campus test before the start of classes Jan. 25.

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 will schedule future tests based on when you next plan to come to campus, ensuring 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 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

What is the testing process for graduate and professional 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.

For some student-facing employees:
You will be notified by your supervisor if you need to be tested more frequently than employees who are not in a student-facing role. If you do need to be tested more frequently, it will be no more frequently than the undergraduate student population.

Last updated 2:18 PM, January 20, 2021

What is the testing process for faculty, staff, and employees 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.

For some student-facing employees:
You will be notified by your supervisor if you need to be tested more frequently than employees who are not in a student-facing role. If you do need to be tested more frequently, it will be no more frequently than the undergraduate student population.

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 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 9:26 PM, January 15, 2021

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

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

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

Last updated 9:26 PM, January 15, 2021

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 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

I made an appointment, but I can no longer make my scheduled time. Can I reschedule?

Yes, you may reschedule through the Safer Badgers app.

Last updated 3:05 PM, January 20, 2021

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

Testing at a variety of sites will be available daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and at some sites beginning at 6 a.m. and ending at 8 p.m.

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

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

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

Last updated 9:26 PM, January 15, 2021

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 9:38 PM, January 15, 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. You 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 scheduled 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 3:14 PM, January 20, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

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 scheduled testing appointment well-hydrated, though remember you should not eat or drink, smoke, brush or floss your teeth or chew gum 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 3:52 PM, January 18, 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. Accommodation 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, including any possible inconvenience caused by the need to travel to and from campus.

Last updated 3:03 PM, January 20, 2021

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

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

Last updated 9:26 PM, January 15, 2021

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 2:37 PM, January 20, 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 that is red (building access denied) does not mean you have tested positive for COVID-19. A badge can be red (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 badge color scheme is different from the “status” colors in the app which can be red/yellow/green and in which red means the user has tested positive for COVID-19. App users do not need to show their status to anyone, only their badge.

Posted on 3:31 PM, January 16, 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).

Posted on 3:08 PM, January 19, 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 1:34 PM, January 20, 2021

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

Union South will offer private space to accommodate individuals who are unable to reveal their face in a public setting. For residence hall students, private space will be available at Ogg or Holt.

Last updated 9:06 PM, January 19, 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 2:30 PM, January 20, 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 2:51 PM, January 20, 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. Per DHS, the initial stages of Phase 1b vaccination can begin 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 9:05 PM, January 19, 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. Per DHS, Phase 1b vaccination can begin 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 9:05 PM, January 19, 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 9:05 PM, January 19, 2021

Who can ask a person to show their Badger Badge?

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

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

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 9:37 PM, January 15, 2021

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

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

Last updated 6:51 PM, January 19, 2021

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 9:26 PM, January 15, 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 9:38 PM, January 15, 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 9:37 PM, January 15, 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 9:37 PM, January 15, 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.
  • Status for entering campus buildings, either access granted or access denied.
  • 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 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

Why does the Safer Badgers 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 9:38 PM, January 15, 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 the following may be archived and made available for the 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 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

Can I opt out of exposure notifications?

Yes

Last updated 9:26 PM, January 15, 2021

Where do I park at the testing sites?

Parking sign with text reading Reserved Parking. COVID-19 Testing. Enforced at all times followed by icon showing car being towed.Signed parking is available in campus parking lots near test sites (see list below). Park in designated stalls. Find the signs – don’t get a parking citation.

  • Pulled a ticket at a garage?  Pick up a validation at test registration to cover parking.
  • Parking in a surface lot? Park in the designated stalls.
  • ADA Parking is available at all locations.  Be sure to display your disabled placard
  • Normal parking rules apply if vehicles are parked outside of designated stalls and may be subject to citation.

Lots

Each lot below links to details and a map showing the location of designated and ADA spots.

  • 21 N. Park
    Lot 29 (Validation available)
  • Camp Randall Sports Center (“the Shell”)
    Lot 18
  • Carson Gulley
    Lot 34
  • Dejope Hall
    Lot 37
  • Grainger Hall
    Lot 7 (Validation available)
  • Health Sciences Learning Center
    Lot 74
  • Helen C. White Hall
    Lot 6 (Validation available)
  • Holt Center
    Lot 35
  • Kohl Center
    Lot 94
  • Mechanical Engineering
    Lot 14
  • Nielsen Tennis Stadium
    Lot 82
  • Ogg Hall
    Lot 48
  • Pyle Center
    Lot 101
  • Union South
    Public parking on Orchard St.; ADA parking in Lot 113 (the circle driveway next to Union South, off of Dayton Street)
Last updated 4:51 PM, January 17, 2021

What is the university doing to help grad and professional 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 appointments in the early morning and in the evening. An appointment system will minimize the time required to test. We will continue policies that encourage flexible work arrangements and remote participation options for campus meetings wherever possible.

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 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 appointments in the early morning and in the evening. An appointment system will minimize the time required to test. We will continue policies that encourage flexible work arrangements and remote participation options for campus meetings wherever possible.

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 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 appointments in the early morning and in the evening. An appointment system will minimize the time required to test.

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 9:38 PM, January 15, 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 9:37 PM, January 15, 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 appointments in the early morning and in the evening. An appointment system will minimize the time required to test.

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 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

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

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

Last updated 2:49 PM, January 20, 2021

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 a green “building access granted” status on the Badger Badge screen?

Your badge will remain in green “building access granted” status 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 9:38 PM, January 15, 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?

(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.)

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
Last updated 9:37 PM, January 15, 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

Can I schedule more than one testing appointment at a time?

You will only be able to make one appointment at a time, a maximum of 7 days in advance. Once you complete one test, you will be able to make another appointment.

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

For students living in the residence halls and testing twice weekly, will they have assigned days of the week to schedule their tests?

For the spring semester, residents will not be assigned to specific testing days, so they should follow the instructions in the Safer Badgers app to remain compliant. Appointments can be scheduled up to one week in advance.
Last updated 9:26 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/at work and receive a notification that I’ve tested positive for COVID-19, should I leave [class/work] 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 make an appointment for the first available test or contact UHS or your health provider and isolate yourself immediately.

Last updated 8:29 AM, January 20, 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 the Wisconsin Welcome events (Jan. 25 to Feb. 15) 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.

Posted on 8:28 AM, January 20, 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?

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

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

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

Last updated 1:55 PM, January 20, 2021

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

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

Last updated 1:22 PM, January 20, 2021

Where 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.

The test sites will be located at Nielsen Tennis Stadium, Mechanical Engineering Building, Grainger Hall, 21 N Park St., Camp Randall Sports Center (the Shell), Carson Gulley Center, Dejope Residence Hall, The Kohl Center, Health Sciences Learning Center, Helen C. White Hall, Pyle Center and Union South.

Housing will also perform additional testing for residents at two existing sites that have served as testing locations this fall — Frederic Ogg Residence Hall and Frank Holt Center.

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

Learn more about testing sites.

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

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

Shaded map showing zip code areas of off campus ug students

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

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

Last updated 9:37 PM, January 15, 2021

Where will building access status be checked?

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

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

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

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

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

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

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

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

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

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

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

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

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

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

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

Last updated 9:26 PM, January 15, 2021

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

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

Last updated 9:37 PM, January 15, 2021

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?

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.

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 early on as people adapt to the new approach.

Anyone experiencing symptoms should seek testing as soon as possible. For those who are experiencing symptoms and feel they need medical evaluation, they should schedule an appointment with a health care provide in addition to testing as soon as possible. For students who are experiencing symptoms and would like to schedule an appointment with UHS, remember to call ahead to let them know you’re experiencing symptoms.

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 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 9:26 PM, January 15, 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. We expect your Safer Badgers app to reflect your UWSISP status by Saturday, Jan. 23. Please note that any negative test results will not appear in the Safer Badgers app.

To gain access to campus buildings, you will need to display your Badger Badge, a color-coded screen that will indicate if you are granted access to buildings without sharing any personal health information. Your Badger Badge will remain in approved status — green — 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.

Posted on 1:30 PM, January 18, 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 9:37 PM, January 15, 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.

The Safer Badgers app does not perform contact tracing functions. It cannot do so because the  app does not know the identities of other users of the app.

“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 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

When do undergraduates living in the residence halls first need to be tested when returning for spring semester?

All residents must complete a COVID-19 test on campus on their arrival day (or the next morning for late-day arrivals). This test can be scheduled in the Safer Badgers app. Residents should primarily schedule their appointments at one of the Housing testing sites (Holt Center or Ogg Hall, open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm, beginning January 20) when possible. Other campus testing sites can be used after hours or on weekends if needed.

Last updated 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

Does the Safer Badgers Bluetooth exposure notification feature interact with the building access 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 is not incorporated into building access status. The notification functionality in the app will include a single recommendation to get a COVID-19 test ASAP. There are no negative consequences as far as building access.

Last updated 8:30 AM, January 20, 2021

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

You are exempted from engaging in testing for 90 days after a positive test. After the 90-day period ends, you must follow the 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. Results will be reviewed by UHS by Jan. 25.

Prior positive on-campus test results are being imported into the Safer Badgers app and will be viewable by Jan. 25.

Your Badger Badge will remain yellow until your result has been reviewed by UHS (off-campus results) or imported into the app (on-campus results).

Last updated 6:52 PM, January 19, 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 9:38 PM, January 15, 2021

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

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

Last updated 9:37 PM, January 15, 2021

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

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