Spring 2021 Testing

ATTENTION
Prepare for your test in advance: Prior to going in for your test, please make sure you have reviewed the guidance for how to prepare for your test so that your test sample does not get rejected.

During the spring semester, campus will offer testing at 14 sites for students and employees, including two at Ogg and Holt exclusively for residence hall students.

Vaccination update: UW–Madison’s University Health Services is receiving vaccine as it becomes available and administering it to eligible employees and students following state and federal guidelines. In early 2021, vaccine supply will be limited so it may be many months before all members of the campus community are eligible for vaccination. Campus will continue to notify employees and students as they become eligible.

Safer Badgers logo on an iPhone screen

The Safer Badgers app is for the campus community to use to manage and track test results and gain access to campus spaces.

Learn more

How often do I need to get tested?

Specific details vary based on your university affiliation:

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

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 from January 20–24 and will need to contact UW Housing to set up a move-in time. You will be required to test for COVID-19 upon arrival. After arriving, you should restrict your movement to essential activities such as academics and work until you complete two negative on-campus tests by January 31.

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 9:11 AM, January 22, 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

  • Plan to complete two on-campus tests, at least three days apart, between Jan. 14 and Jan. 24.
  • At minimum, you are expected to have one on-campus test before the start of classes Jan. 25, and two negative on-campus tests by Jan. 31.
  • Compliance will begin Feb. 1, when your Badger Badge will need to be in “building access granted” status in order to enter.
  • During the first week of classes, your compliance with this testing requirements will not impact your access to campus buildings.
  • 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.)
  • During the first week of classes, your compliance with this testing requirement will not impact your access to campus buildings.
  • Compliance will begin Feb. 1, when your Badger Badge will need to be in “building access granted” status in order to enter.
  • 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 4:47 PM, January 22, 2021

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

Compliance for the testing requirement begins Feb. 1.

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. However, during the first week of classes, your compliance with this testing requirement will not impact your access to campus buildings. Compliance will begin Feb. 1, when your Badger Badge will need to be in “building access granted” status in order to enter.

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 10:08 AM, January 22, 2021

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

Compliance for the testing requirement begins Feb. 1.

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. However, during the first week of classes, your compliance with this testing requirement will not impact your access to campus buildings.

Compliance begins Feb. 1, when your Badger Badge will need to be in “building access granted” status in order to enter.

Last updated 10:09 AM, January 22, 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

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

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

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

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 10:55 AM, January 23, 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

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

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 as soon as possible thereafter). Check your Safer Badgers app to make testing arrangements. All testing will be drop-in (no appointment needed) beginning Sunday, Jan. 24. You should have received more information about this by email on Friday, Jan. 22. Residents should primarily plan to get tested at one of the Housing testing sites (Holt Center or Ogg Hall, open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm) when possible. Other campus testing sites can be used after hours or on weekends as needed.

Last updated 4:30 PM, January 22, 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. 1, 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
Posted on 4:44 PM, January 23, 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

Campus Testing Sites

During the spring semester, campus will offer testing at 14 sites for students and employees, including two at Ogg and Holt exclusively for residence hall students.

Monday through Friday

  • 21 N. Park 7:30 am–3:30 pm
  • Camp Randall Sports Center (“the Shell”) 8:30 am–4:30 pm
  • Carson Gulley 8:30 am–4:30 pm
  • Dejope Hall 9:30 am–5:30 pm
  • Grainger Hall 6:30 am–2:30 pm
  • Health Sciences Learning Center 8:30 am–4:30 pm
  • Helen C. White Hall 10:30 am–6:30 pm
    Friday hours: 10:30 am–4:30 pm
  • Holt Center 8:30 am–4:30 pm
    Housing students only
  • Kohl Center 8:30 am–4:30 pm
  • Mechanical Engineering 6:30 am–2:30 pm
  • Nielsen Tennis Stadium 6:30 am–7:30 pm
  • Ogg Hall 8:30 am–4:30 pm
    Housing students only
  • Pyle Center 9:30 am–5:30 pm
  • Union South 11:30 am–7:30 pm

Saturday

  • 21 N. Park 8:30 am–4:30 pm
  • Nielsen Tennis Stadium 6:30 am–2:30 pm
  • Pyle Center 7:30 am–3:30 pm
  • Union South 8:30 am–4:30 pm

Sunday

  • Kohl Center 8:30 am–4:30 pm
    Only January 24
  • Nielsen Tennis Stadium 8:30 am–4:30 pm
  • Union South 8:30 am–4:30 pm

Map key

  • Green map marker For Housing students
  • Blue map marker For all students/staff

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.

Building Room Parking
(Lot links to accessible parking info)
Accessible site? Accessible via parking ramp? Testing site on main level?
21 N. Park1106Lot 29 (Validation available)YesYesYes
Camp Randall Sports Center (“the Shell”)110Lot 18NoNoYes
Carson Gulley205Lot 34YesNoNo
Dejope Hall1165Lot 37YesNoYes
Grainger Hall1266Lot 7 (Validation available)YesYesYes
Health Sciences Learning Center1220Lot 74YesNoYes
Helen C. White Hall1250Lot 6 (Validation available)YesYesYes
Holt Center
For Residence Hall residents only
L115Lot 35YesNoYes
Kohl CenterGate C — Main ConcourseLot 94NoNoYes
Mechanical Engineering1184Lot 14YesNoYes
Nielsen Tennis Stadium136Lot 82YesNoYes
Ogg Hall
For Residence Hall residents only
1315Lot 48YesNoYes
Pyle Center106Lot 101YesNoYes
Union South260BLot 80; ADA parking in Lot 113 (Validation available)YesNoYes

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

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 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.

Last updated 4:51 PM, January 17, 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, with early morning and late evening hours at some sites.

Learn more about testing sites.

Last updated 4:17 PM, January 22, 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

What to expect at your test

Before your test: Though it is a saliva-based test, you will not be “spitting” into a tube. Think of it more like dribbling or drooling. What the lab needs in order to successfully run your test is the liquid portion of your saliva. Your saliva must be clear and not discolored, free of food and mucus, and cannot contain residues such as those from brushing your teeth or smoking.

To ensure your saliva sample is not rejected, in the hour before your test:

  • Do not drink (including water)
  • Do not eat
  • Do not brush or floss your teeth, or use mouthwash
  • Do not chew gum or smoke

You may also want to rinse your mouth with water to remove any discoloration (such as from coffee) or small pieces of food. Be sure to do this at least one hour before your test.

The test requires between 1 and 1.5 milliliters of the liquid part of your saliva (no bubbles). Be careful not to submit too much saliva or your test may come back rejected.

Tips for producing enough drool:

  • Hydrate earlier in the day by drinking plenty of water up until one hour before your test.
  • Pool your drool underneath your tongue as you walk or drive to your test site.
  • Think about foods you really like to eat. Think about sour foods like lemons.
  • Slide the tip of your tongue along your gums behind your teeth to stimulate your salivary glands.

At your test

  1. You will be greeted at your test site and asked to show your app so the test site staff member can verify you are in the right location. They will ask you whether you have had anything to eat or drink; brushed your teeth, used floss or mouthwash; chewed gum or smoked in the previous hour.
  2. You will be asked to sanitize your hands.
  3. Another member of the test site staff will provide you with a sample tube and a small funnel and guide you to an individual saliva collection area.
  4. You should keep your face covering on until you are ready to begin adding your saliva to the tube. Pool your drool while you prepare. You will likely need to drool into the tube several times as you produce enough saliva. You can replace your face covering in between.
  5. You will be instructed to unscrew the cap on the sample tube and secure the funnel to the top of the tube.
  6. With the funnel near your mouth, drool into the tube. Try to produce as much liquid as you can. Any bubbles in your saliva will collect in the funnel. Do not push the bubbles down.
  7. You will want to produce at least 1 milliliter of drool, but no more than 1.5 milliliters. The tube is marked. If you submit too much drool, let a member of the test site staff know. You may need to provide a new saliva sample.
  8. Once you have provided enough liquid dribble, you will be directed to a check-out location. You will be asked to hold up your tube so a member of the test site staff can make sure your saliva sample is not discolored and does not contain pieces of food or other contaminants. Otherwise, your test may come back invalid.
  9. You will be asked to take a clean pen to write your birthdate on the side of the tube. It is a small tube so you will need to write carefully.
  10. Once the test site staff member approves your sample, they will scan your Safer Badgers QR code. They will also scan the bar code on the tube containing your saliva sample.
  11. You will then be instructed to place your tube in a bag and hand it to the test site staff member to place in the lab delivery bin. You will be asked to sanitize your hands again before leaving the test site.
  12. Within 24 hours your test results should be available in the Safer Badgers app or through your MyUHS account.

Getting your test results and what to do if you test positive

Test results are expected to be available within 24 hours, often sooner, and will appear under the “Your COVID-19 Event History” section in the Safer Badgers app. To see your results, click on the “More info” dropdown that corresponds to your most recent test event. You will also receive a push notification on your phone alerting you that you have a new message on the Safer Badgers app.

Students living in residence halls who receive a positive test are required to isolate for 10 days in designated on-campus spaces. Faculty, staff and students who live off-campus or choose to isolate in an off-campus location should also isolate for 10 days.

If you test positive for COVID-19, the app will note that you are in isolation and your access to campus buildings will be denied for that period. If you are not experiencing any symptoms within the last 24 hours of your isolation, you will be able to once again access campus buildings and will be exempt from testing for 90 days from the date of the positive test.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Employees

You must isolate yourself as best as possible from others, including those you live with, to protect the health of others while you recover.

Do not go to work. If you are at work when you receive your positive COVID-19 test result, go home or seek a safe and isolated place to stay. If you are home or in a safe and isolated place, stay there. Do not go into the workplace or attend other activities in person.

Tell your supervisor or Divisional Disability Representative that you will not be able to work on site. They will help you explore remote work options if you feel well enough to work, or they will inform you of your leave options if you are too sick to work. See more leave options at hr.wisc.edu/covid19/emergency-leave.

For more information on protocols for employees who test positive, visit hr.wisc.edu/covid19/.

Positive test reporting protocol for employees (pdf)

Students living in University Housing

You must isolate yourself as best as possible from others, including those you live with, to protect the health of others while you recover.

UHS will notify University Housing of your positive COVID-19 test result. You will work with Isolation/Quarantine Housing, who will provide you with a safe and comfortable isolation space and help support you while you recover. You may call the number in your test result message to connect with a staff member. Some students may also choose to return home for the duration of their isolation.

You will need to be in isolation for at least 10 days, and until you are fever-free for at least 24 hours and your symptoms are improving. UHS will work with you to determine when your isolation period ends.

Notify your instructors that you will be unable to attend in-person classes for at least 10 days while you are in isolation. Your instructor will work with you to provide alternative ways to complete your work.

If you work, notify your supervisors that you will be unable to work on site for at least 10 days while you are in isolation.

Mental Health Services will be reaching out to each student during this period of time to support you. If you need more urgent assistance for mental health concerns, please call the UHS 24-hour Mental Health Crisis Line at 608-265-5600 (option 9). If you would like to schedule a routine phone screening to make an appointment at UHS Mental Health Services, call 608-265-5600 (option 2) or log on to MyUHS to make an appointment online.

More information can be found on COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation page for UW Housing at covid19.housing.wisc.edu. 

Positive test reporting protocol for students (pdf)

Students living off campus

You must isolate yourself as best as possible from others, including those you live with, to protect the health of others while you recover. Find more information on how to isolate on Public Health Madison and Dane County’s website. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide recommendations for quarantining and isolating when you live with other people.

Do not attend classes, work, or other activities in person. You may leave isolation 10 days after your symptoms started if you have been fever-free for at least 24 hours and your symptoms are improving. If you never develop symptoms, you can leave isolation 10 days after your positive test. UHS will work with you to determine when your isolation period ends.

Notify your instructors that you will be unable to attend in-person classes for at least 10 days while you are in isolation. Your instructor will work with you to provide alternative ways to complete your work.

If you work, notify your supervisors that you will be unable to work on site for at least 10 days while you are in isolation.

Positive test reporting protocol for students (pdf)