COVID-19 FAQs

If you don’t see your question answered here, feel free to contact us.

General

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Will University Residence Halls be closing and sending residents home?

No. UW-Madison and University Housing do not believe that asking students to leave the residence halls is warranted at this time. Residence halls will remain open through the end of the semester for any residents who choose to stay on campus for Thanksgiving or through final exams. For residents who choose to travel over Thanksgiving recess, we recommend you return to your permanent home to complete your semester. Residents who choose to leave campus for November Break and return to the residence halls should self-quarantine upon returning until they receive two negative COVID-19 test results.

What is self-quarantine?

Self-quarantine involves limiting your activity outside your home and avoiding contact with others when there has been potential exposure but not a confirmed close contact. When self-quarantining in the residence halls, you should limit your activity outside your room to only essential errands, such as medical appointments (including COVID-19 testing), getting food or groceries, and work (with precautions listed below). Students in self-quarantine must follow all public health guidelines, including use of face coverings, testing, physical distancing, and hand washing.

All residents who travel for November Break and return to campus should self-quarantine until they have two negative COVID-19 tests.

What will the spring semester look like?

UW-Madison announced the decision to continue with a hybrid model of instruction for the spring 2021 semester, with a mix of in-person and virtual courses. University Residence Halls will reopen January 23, with instruction beginning January 25.

COVID-19 testing will be expanded to twice weekly for all residents, to help identify cases more quickly and hopefully avoid any future major spikes or large-scale quarantines. Thanks to adjusted visitor policies, increased testing frequency, enforcement of guidelines, and good cooperation by our students, UW-Madison quickly recovered from a spike in cases early this fall and has maintained low COVID numbers. We plan to continue most of these same policies and protocols into the spring semester for the safety of our residents, and we will evaluate for any needed changes throughout the year.

University Residence Halls will have space available this spring for students who may have chosen to stay home for the fall. Whether you’re planning to take some in-person classes or just want to get an on-campus experience, contact our Assignment Office if you’re interested in living on campus for the spring semester.

Can I continue to live in the University Residence Halls if all of my classes are remote?

Yes, students can still live in the residence halls if all their courses are remote. Residents should continue to schedule appointments in MyUHS according to their COVID-19 surveillance testing schedule.

How are policies enforced?

Staff perform nightly rounds of all resident floors and all resident entrances are monitored by security cameras and a 24-hour electronic locking system. All residents are expected to adhere to policies in the Student Housing Handbook. Violations of COVID-related policies can result in removal of students from their residence hall and revocation of their Housing contract with no refund. ID checking will continue in our higher-population buildings.

What can I do if I see policies being violated?

The UW-Madison Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards has a form to fill out to to report a public health concern. Please be aware that the more specific information is provided, the better we will be able to act on the report.

How are Housing staff supporting residents?

Housing staff are working hard to balance new health guidelines with providing support to residents. The staff can be a great resource, especially during this unique year, including staff in our Hall Desk, Residence Life, and Facilities areas. We continue working to get the word out to residents about virtual events and programs around campus.

I live in a residence hall – how often do I need to get tested?

All residents are required to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing throughout the fall 2020 semester. These weekly tests are required. Tests need to be scheduled in MyUHS for the student’s assigned surveillance testing days.

Testing will move to twice-weekly after November Break and for spring 2021.

Note: If you have been previously exempted from testing by University Health Services (UHS), you are not required to participate in testing until 90 days after your positive test.

Am I still able to go to a scheduled flu shot?

Students are encouraged to get a flu shot this year, as long as you are not currently in isolation or quarantine housing. If you are, please reschedule your flu shot appointment.

How can I receive packages while in quarantine or isolation housing?

When a package is logged for you, you will receive an email notification. After receiving this notification, email our isolation housing team and request your package be brought to your temporary housing.

Where can I go to study outside my room?

Study rooms and lounges in the residence halls are still available with some capacity restrictions.

What health resources are available to students who feel sick or have mental health concerns?

If students are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, symptoms of anxiety or depression or any other medical concerns, please call University Health Services (UHS) at 608-265-5600. UHS is open Monday – Friday from 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM and has a 24/7 nurse advice line and a 24/7 mental health crisis line for concerns that arise after hours and on the weekends. If a student is experiencing a life-threatening emergency, they should dial 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

  • Medical: 608-265-5600 (option 1) – if you have general COVOD-19 questions
  • Mental Health Services: 608-265-5600 (option 2)
  • 24/7 Mental Health Crisis: 608-265-5600 (option 9)
  • COVID Health Line: 608-265-5600 (option 8) – if you are not feeling well and are concerned your symptoms may be COVID-19 related

What happens if I or someone from my residence hall floor tests positive for COVID-19?

Residents who test positive for COVID-19 are notified by University Health Services (UHS). They will then be placed in isolation housing for a minimum of 10 days. Contact tracers or Housing staff will connect with any close contacts (such as a roommate) about being placed in quarantine housing for a minimum of 14 days. Students will be provided information from Housing about what items to take including clothing, medication, academic materials, laptop, and other personal items.

What should I do if my quarantine or isolation extends into a holiday or break period?

Residents going into quarantine or isolation will soon find that their quarantine/isolation period may extend into the November Break or beyond the end of the semester. We strongly encourage these students to complete their quarantine/isolation on campus to avoid traveling and potentially exposing others to COVID-19. Quarantine and isolation housing will be open throughout November Break, final exams, and Winter Break for any residents who need it. We encourage students to seriously consider their behaviors in the coming days/weeks and follow all guidelines to avoid being in quarantine or isolation during break periods.

What is UW-Madison's authority to implement these policies?

UW-Madison has authority under State law to protect the health and safety of those on campus. Policies of the Board of Regents also empower the Chancellor to develop public health polices and require those on campus to comply with those policies.

How safe are the residence halls?

We’ve taken a number of measures to enhance safety with regard to COVID-19 in all residence halls. Here are a few:

  • All residents and on-site Housing staff are tested for COVID-19 weekly
  • Residents who test positive are required to move to isolation or quarantine housing
  • Staff who test positive must self-isolate and are not able to work on campus
  • Staff disinfect high touch point areas in all common spaces and bathrooms at least twice daily with electrostatic sprayers and EPA-registered disinfectants effective against coronavirus
  • Additional hand sanitizer stations, disinfectant wipe stations, and cleaning supplies are available
  • Staff are regularly checking residents’ IDs to enforce visitor policies
  • Behavioral requirements of all residents (outlined in our Student Housing Handbook)
    • Violations can result in revocation of resident’s Housing contract with no refund
    • Violations will also be reported to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards for additional student discipline, which could include emergency suspension from UW-Madison
  • Barriers/shields are installed at all service desks, cashier stations, and on partition walls in dining room areas
  • Occupancy in common spaces is reduced and seating arrangements have been modified to promote physical distancing
  • All staff receive COVID-19 training and education, wear face coverings, practice physical distancing, and monitor for COVID symptoms
  • All Housing Dining facilities are only accessible by residents and Housing staff
  • Additional food delivery and pick-up options are available through the Starship Deliveries or GrubHub applications

I live in the residence halls, but I don’t want to share a room – can I have a single?

If you are interested in changing rooms, you can fill out a room change request form in My UW Housing and indicate your preferences on room type and buildings. If we are able to offer you a room change, we will email you the room change offer. University Housing is not allowing students to move into Sellery or Witte to manage reduced density in these residence halls. We are not sure how long this will be in effect, but we anticipate that it will be for the remainder of Academic Year 2020-2021.

Can I go home on weekends or do I have to stay on campus?

Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that students should not travel home. This is to protect you, your family, and the community. If you can stay where you are, that is the safest course.

Note: if you have already or plan to leave your residence hall for a period of a week or longer, log in to My UW Housing and click the link under “Temporary Vacate Room” so that we can temporarily remove you from communications to residents who are staying. We recommend providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test to University Health Services (UHS) before you return to your residence hall.

How are students of color being supported through this?

The Center for Cultural Enrichment (CCE) in Witte is hosting drop-in hours for residents. In addition, the CCE plans on hosting virtual events for residents that will be shared on social media and resident newsletters.

The Multicultural Learning Community (MLC) in Witte has multiple virtual events and spaces each week that will continue for residents. In addition, MLC House Fellows are accessible virtually for all residents of the MLC.

Dining

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What Dining facilities will be open?

Go to our Dining locations and hours page to see the latest updates on what dining facilities are open.

What if I have special dietary needs or restrictions?

Students with dietary needs should continue to work with our dietitian.

What if I am unable to afford the food options available in residence hall quarantine or isolation?

We are committed to ensuring that residents who experience food insecurity have access to nourishing food. If a resident is unable to afford the food options available in residence hall quarantine or isolation, reach out to us.  We have several options we can direct you to and assistance we can offer, such as à la carte items from Flamingo Run, which includes grab-and-go meal options or other reheatable entrees. Options will vary by residence hall, but our commitment to ensuring students receive the food they need to be successful and not add unneeded stress during this difficult time will remain the same.

If you feel these options will not provide the food security you need, contact Housing Dining’s Director, Peter Testory to discuss your needs. We can provide meals from our food recovery pre-package program to any student in need at no cost. We are committed to serve every student and their needs and will work with any resident that reaches out to us.

Cancellations

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I want to cancel my contract. How can I do so?

As of October 19, we are no longer able to release students from their Housing contract while they are still attending UW-Madison. More details are available on our contract page.

If I decide to cancel my Housing contract, can I move out now?

Yes. Once you accept a cancellation release offer, you have 24 hours to move out all belongings. If you are not prepared to do this, you should wait to accept the offer until you are ready to fully move out.

If I cancel my Housing contract do I get a refund of my Dining Plan?

Yes, unused Housing Dining Plan money will be credited to your student’s account. Any balance due on their student account will be deducted. Remaining funds refunded will take at least two weeks (minimum time) if by check.  If you set up for ACH for your account, you will receive refunds more quickly.  To check on the status of your refund, please reach out to our Cashier’s Office.

Can I cancel my contract for the spring semester?

If a resident’s spring 2021 courses are all online and the student chooses to study at home for the spring semester, they will have the option to cancel the spring portion of their Housing contract. The student will need to verify that all of their classes are online and that they are staying at their permanent home. If they do not meet both criteria, normal contract terms will apply. More details will be made available prior to the spring semester.

If all my classes are online, can I move to off-campus housing?

No, students that move to off-campus housing will still be responsible for their campus housing contract and payments. Students with all-online class schedules for spring 2021 can only be released from their contracts for spring if they will be staying at their permanent home for the semester.

Sellery & Witte Residents

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What is the current status of the quarantine of Sellery and Witte?

University Health Services (UHS) and campus officials cleared us to lift the quarantine on Sellery and Witte Residence Halls as of September 23 at 8:00 AM.

I lived in a residence hall that was put under quarantine and went home – how do I return back to campus and my hall?

You will need to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken after September 15, 2020, before returning. You can still schedule a test via MyUHS at campus testing locations to submit proof of a negative test result. This date was chosen to give you enough time to secure a test with results in enough time to return to the halls.

  • Step 1: submit your recent COVID-19 test results through MyUHS:
    • Select the “Messages” tab
    • Click “New Message”
    • Select the “COVID-19 Outside Result Report” option to complete the form and attach your lab results documentation
  • Step 2: submit a confirmation to University Housing:

While you have chosen to remain away from the halls, it is still expected that you continue to practice good hygiene, which includes frequently washing your hands, wearing a face-covering when in public and indoors, and maintaining at least six feet of distance from people you do not live with.

Will construction continue in Sellery during the quarantine?

Yes, Sellery construction/renovation work resumed on Monday, September 28 and will continue throughout the academic year.