As we prepare to welcome residents back to campus for the fall semester, all of us at University Housing and across UW-Madison continue to work closely with campus, local, and state health officials to help keep our community safe. Today’s COVID-19 environment is markedly different from the one we faced two years ago. Unlike then, most people now are vaccinated, and many are boosted. Students have a variety of tools to help protect themselves and others in the Badger community.
With move-in approaching rapidly, here are a few items to note as residents plan for the Fall 2022 academic semester:
- Students who test positive for COVID are not required to leave their room to isolate; they may isolate in place. However, a limited number of temporary spaces will be available. COVID-positive students have the option to use those spaces, stay off-campus, or remain in their room.
- Students living in on-campus housing who are sick or have an exposure are encouraged to adhere to self-care practices recommended for other upper respiratory viruses. These include personal hygiene, masking when in spaces where others are present, and resting to allow their bodies to recover. Students who have concerns about staying in their room with a COVID-positive roommate should contact their House Fellow or Residence Life Coordinator to discuss options.
- Planning is essential. Due to our limited number of temporary spaces, we encourage students and families to discuss their plans in the event of a positive COVID test or exposure. We recommend an open discussion with roommates regarding each other’s plans before or upon arrival to campus.
- Face coverings are beneficial but not required. While the last two years have taught us the benefits of masks, there are currently no requirements to be masked on campus. Masks continue to be a good tool for protecting ourselves and others, and the CDC advises that everyone wear masks for 10 days after a positive test or after exposure.
- On-campus testing and at-home antigen test kits are available at no charge for all students, faculty and staff. UW-Madison will continue to have nasal swab PCR testing as well as one at-home antigen test per week for Fall 2022. Details about testing (location, hours) are posted on the COVID Response website.
- PCR Testing: to schedule an appointment for a PCR test, students should visit myUHS and find a time that works for them. To help us be good stewards of our resources, students are encouraged to first use an at-home antigen test and only seek PCR testing if needed. A guide on what to do based on your test result can be found on the COVID Response website.
- At-Home Antigen Tests: one at-home antigen test per week is available to all students. No appointments are required to pick up an at-home antigen test. All students need is their Wiscard.
- At move-in, all residence hall students will be provided with one antigen test in your “welcome bag” to get you off to a good start. This test is there so you have one on-hand when it is needed.
- While there is no requirement to test upon move-in, we encourage students to consider doing so before heading to campus. If you test positive, you need to isolate where you are for at least 5 days AND until you have been at least 24 hours without fever. If you choose to test again on day 5 and you test positive again, continue isolating until day 10 or wear a mask for the next 5 days when you are around other people.
- COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters are highly recommended as an integral part of personal health protection from COVID-19 related illness. Pfizer vaccines and boosters continue to be available on-campus at no cost. To schedule an appointment, visit myUHS. Students who have been vaccinated elsewhere, should remember to upload their vaccine information as soon as possible at myUHS.
- In-person and tele-health appointments with University Health Services medical providers are available for students through myUHS.
As you know, the COVID pandemic has required each one of us to adapt and change our lives, often in undesired ways. Our campus success these past two years has been a result of the continued partnership with our students who observe guidelines, follow recommended health practices, and practice responsible behavior. UW-Madison will continue to evaluate recommendations from health officials and monitor local transmission rates and other indicators, remaining prepared to modify our plans as the situation dictates.
Thank you for your continued support and flexibility as we proceed together toward another exciting semester at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.