University Apartments FAQs

Quarantine and Isolation

This chart below reflects the total number of undergraduate students staying in isolation and quarantine units in Eagle Heights during the fall 2021 semester. Data is updated weekly on Thursdays.

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How many apartments will be used for quarantine and isolation in Eagle Heights?

30 apartments were selected in the 700’s, 800’s, and 900’s of Eagle Heights for quarantine and isolation. All of the selected apartments were chosen in consultation with UW-Madison University Health Services (UHS). All the spaces have their own exterior entrances with no shared hallway spaces.

Can you confirm if any of the units in my University Apartments building will be designated as quarantine and isolation spaces?

You will not be personally notified. The amount of apartments being used for quarantine and isolation purposes is a small set of 30 open apartments in the 700’s, 800’s, and 900’s of Eagle Heights.

Why were apartments in Eagle Heights selected? Why were other spaces on campus not considered?

Other spaces on campus were considered and are being used, including Lowell Center and private hotels. Once the need for additional quarantine and isolation spaces was recommended by health officials, a campus directive was made to find additional spaces. We identified vacant spaces in the Eagle Heights community with separate exterior entrances that could work for this need. The separate entrances help to ensure that quarantine and isolation students don’t interact with Eagle Heights residents.

What safety precautions will be in place to keep families safe in Eagle Heights? I am concerned about exposure.

UW-Madison’s University Health Services (UHS) have been consulted throughout in the development of the following guidelines and requirements:

  • All of the spaces selected have their own exterior entrances, with no shared hallway spaces.
  • Students in isolation & quarantine spaces will not have access to laundry areas or common spaces in the community.
  • Students are given a snack pack to get them started in isolation. After that, they are expected to order their own meals.
  • Students will be transported safely to the apartments by Housing staff and not use public transportation until they are cleared to leave by UHS.

Why are the apartments that were identified for this use spread out? Why are they not grouped/placed in their own area?

At the time UW-Madison determined additional quarantine and isolation spaces were needed, we had very few options that met the criteria for vacant apartments with private entrances and no shared interior hallways. We do not have any entirely empty buildings to use for this purpose.

How are quarantine and isolation spaces being paid for? Will the cost mean an increase in my rent?

No, use of these apartments will be paid for by the residence hall budget so it will not impact any money from University Apartments residents.

Is there a risk of COVID-19 entering my apartment from an adjacent isolation/quarantine unit through the ventilation system?

The ventilation system was recently inspected at Eagle Heights by UW-Madison’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety. This assessment found that all ventilation goes directly outside and does not vent to other units. Exhaust from bathrooms discharge at the rooftop through central ventilation ducts, and kitchen exhausts discharge at the exterior walls. All air-conditioned units are exposed to vent to exterior walls. COVID-19 is spread through close contact and/or extended presence in poorly ventilated spaces. We are not aware of any cases where COVID-19 infection has been related to ventilation systems. The benefit of the use of Eagle Heights is the open entrance design minimizes the residents being in a common entry that is not ventilated. In Eagle Heights, access paths are all outdoors. There would be no expectation for air to be shared among units. Discharge of air at the side of the building or rooftop is not a significant source of exposure. Read the full report from EHS.

I can smell my neighbor's cooking, so can you explain why those particles travel but COVID-19 doesn't. It doesn't make sense to me.

The primary way the COVID-19 spreads is through close contact with people who are infected. Being in close proximity (within six feet) with someone who has COVID-19 exposes you to the respiratory droplets emitted when the person coughs, sneezes or speaks. Eagle Heights ventilation system was recently inspected by Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) and found all ventilation from apartments vent directly outside and not to other units. If you are smelling cooking odors from other units, this likely means they are cooking without the hood vent fan on as turning the fan on would draw the smell up and out the ventilation on the roof. EHS’ inspection has reaffirmed that units are safe from ventilation spread risks.

How many students are actually in isolation housing in UA?

Thanks to high vaccination rates on campus and low numbers of COVID cases, the most people we have had in isolation at Eagle Heights at any one time so far this fall semester has been 24 students. The use of hotels is prioritized when they are available. Due to Madison events and local conferences, hotel availability during the month of October is limited.

What should I do if I believe a student in I/Q housing is violating their expectations?

Call the Resident Manager On-Call phone at (608) 444-9308. This number is monitored 24 hours/day, every day of the year. The Resident manager will notify the hall monitors, who will address issues in the evenings. During office hours, someone from the UA staff team will address the behavior.