COVID-19 FAQs

General

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Are University Residence Halls open this year?

Yes, UW-Madison is returning to in-person instruction for the fall 2021 semester, and University Housing plans to have all of its residence halls open for the 2021-22 academic year. We will continue following guidance from health experts to maintain a safe, supportive environment and a great on-campus living experience for our residents.

Will UW-Madison be offering in-person courses in Fall 2021?

UW-Madison is returning to in-person instruction for the fall 2021 semester. There are a small number of hybrid and online classes, but most classes will be taught in-person.

What kind of programs will be offered this fall for residents?

In the residence halls, we hope to return to offering some in-person events and activities in the fall, depending on the situation at that time. More information will be shared as it becomes available.

What extra guidelines or policies will be in place?

Planning for the fall semester is still underway, including details on specific health protocols such as face coverings, physical distancing, guest policies, vaccines, and COVID-19 testing. More information will be shared as it becomes available.

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.

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 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.

Will UW-Madison or University Housing require residents to be vaccinated?

Our goal this fall is any student who arrives on campus who has not yet been vaccinated should have an opportunity to receive a vaccine from us, should they choose to.

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.

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

University Housing has a limited number of single rooms in certain residence halls, but the vast majority of our resident rooms are doubles and triples, as well as some quads. Most residents will have a roommate. If you are unsatisfied with your room assignment and are interested in changing rooms, you can fill out a room change request form starting the first week of classes 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.

I signed up to live in the residence halls, but now I’ve changed my mind about living on campus. Can I cancel my Housing contract?

Once the contract has been signed and the advance payment has been made, it becomes a legally binding contract for the entire academic year, and we normally do not release students from the contract unless we are in a position where demand for housing exceeds occupancy. At this time, we are in a unique position in which we are able to allow a release from the contract. However, we do not know how long we will be in this position. If you wish to cancel, submit a cancellation request in the My UW Housing portal as soon as possible. As long as we are still able to offer a release at that time, we would send you an email with a release offer, which you would need to respond to by the given deadline. Cancellation will result in a forfeiture of the $300 advance payment.

Testing

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

All residents* are required to participate in COVID-19 testing every three days/72 hours during the academic year. Some residents will be required to test more frequently if their residence hall experiences positive cases. You can use the Safer Badgers app to check wait times and visit the test site that works best for you. Safer Badgers will also tell you when you need to complete your next test to stay in compliance. Residents should primarily get tested at one of the Housing testing sites (Holt Center or Ogg Residence Hall) if possible.

For the spring semester, residents will not be assigned to specific testing days.

*Note: There are some exceptions for students who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 or are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. See below for details on these exemptions.

If I have already had COVID-19 or received the vaccine, am I still required to get tested?

Beginning Wednesday, March 17, students who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer be required to participate in routine on-campus testing. Fully vaccinated means that you received both doses of a two-dose vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) and your second shot was at least two weeks ago; or you received a one-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson) at least two weeks ago. COVID-19 vaccines are highly safe and effective, though some vaccinated individuals may still be able to catch COVID-19. You should continue to monitor yourself for symptoms – if you develop symptoms, isolate yourself from others and get tested as soon as possible. For more details, visit the March 17 campus news release.

Students who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 are exempted from engaging in testing for 90 days after a positive test. After the 90-day period ends, students must follow campus testing procedures. If a student was tested off campus before the spring semester, they must submit proof of a positive test, including the lab result and the result interpretation via the Safer Badgers app for assessment.

Why are some residence halls having to test more frequently?

One way to help reduce spread of the virus is increased testing, which allows us to help quickly isolate people with COVID-19 from others. While transmission rates are lower than last semester thanks to our efforts, we are taking a conservative, proactive approach to limit viral spread and prevent potential outbreaks. When there are signs of continued local transmission within a residence hall, University Health Services may advise increased testing of those residents to help identify positive cases and prevent further spread. This targeted action is a normal part of our process this semester. These decisions by UHS health experts are based on multiple criteria and not just one metric from test results.

Which testing method will be used for residents?

The Housing testing sites at Ogg Residence Hall and Holt Center will continue to use a nasal swab testing method. All other campus sites will use a saliva testing method.

Please note that testing preparation instructions in the Safer Badgers app are written for the saliva testing method. At these sites, it is important to prepare correctly for the saliva test in order to get a successful result. For the nasal swab testing at Ogg and Holt, it is not necessary to avoid eating, drinking, or smoking before your test.

Where can I go for my tests?

For those living in the residence halls, residents will still test primarily at the Housing locations in Ogg Residence Hall and Holt Center. Other campus testing sites can be used at night or on weekends if needed.

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.

If I need to travel away from campus or go home for a weekend, how do I stay in compliance?

If you plan to leave your residence hall for more than two consecutive days, please let us know by filling out the “Temporary Vacate Room” form in My UW Housing, as you will be unable to meet your testing requirements. This form will temporarily excuse you from any sanctions associated with not being in compliance with the testing policy during your time away. However, your Badger Badge will be red and your access to campus buildings will be denied until you have a negative test on file. When you return to Madison, please complete a COVID-19 test within 24 hours.

Please note that guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that students should limit travel. If you can stay where you are, that is the safest course to protect you, your family, and the community.

Isolation & Quarantine

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What’s the difference between isolation and quarantine?

Isolation housing is for residents who have tested positive for COVID-19. They are placed in a designated isolation space for a minimum of 10 days until cleared by UHS to return to their regular room.

Quarantine housing is for residents who have been contacted about medium or high-risk exposure to COVID-19, such as the roommate of a COVID-positive student. They are placed in a designated quarantine space for a minimum of 14 days until cleared by UHS to return to their regular room.

Will the residence halls provide isolation and quarantine housing in Fall 2021?

Yes, University Housing will provide separate spaces for residence hall students who test positive for COVID-19 or who have had medium or high-risk exposure. Details about these spaces and protocols about isolation/quarantine will be shared as information becomes available.

Resources

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How are Housing staff supporting residents?

Housing staff are working hard to balance health guidelines with providing support and programs to residents. The staff can be a great resource, including staff in our Hall Desk, Residence Life, and Facilities areas.

Where can I go to study outside my room?

Study rooms and lounges in the residence halls will be available, possibly with some capacity restrictions. We anticipate that many other campus study spaces will also be available with reduced capacity. Details will be shared as more information becomes available.

Can we use the kitchens in residence halls?

Kitchens in the residence halls will be open for the 2021-22 academic year. Some additional guidelines may be still be in place this fall, and more details will be shared when information becomes available

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 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

How are students of color being supported through this?

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

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

Dining

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What Dining facilities will be open?

Visit our Dining locations and hours page to see the latest updates and schedules. We anticipate that all of our Dining locations will be open for the 2021-22 academic year.

What if I have special dietary needs or restrictions?

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

Who will be allowed to use Housing’s dining locations?

We anticipate that all of our dining locations will be open to anyone on campus this fall, including students, faculty, staff, and the general public.

Cancellations

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Can I cancel my contract for the spring semester?

Normal contract terms currently apply. More contract details, including terms for cancellation, are available on our contract page.

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.

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

For students who previously cancelled their Housing contract for this spring semester, 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.