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?

UW-Madison and University Housing do not believe that asking students to leave the residence halls is warranted at this time.

I don’t want to leave my residence hall. Can I stay through the semester?

There are currently no plans to close the University Residence Halls. You are welcome to stay with us through the duration of your academic year contract. As we continue to closely monitor test data from the residence halls, students may be asked to change rooms in order to decrease density.

Can I continue to live in the University Residence Halls while instruction is 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.

What is the current visitor policy?

Students may not visit residence halls other than their own. Students in resident areas must be residents of that hall. Visitors from other residence halls or off-campus are not allowed. Each room owner may have up to one visitor from their residence hall in the room. ID checking will continue in our higher-population buildings.

In all cases, students are advised to limit their contact with others they do not share a room with, maintain physical distancing, and wear face coverings when not in their rooms with doors closed. See the full Student Housing Handbook for details.

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?

Testing will shift from bi-weekly to weekly testing for all residents starting the week of September 28. More information will be available soon.

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.

Should I go to my COVID-19 testing appointments?

Yes, all students in the University Residence Halls are still required to schedule weekly appointments in MyUHS and be tested for COVID-19 on their assigned surveillance testing days.

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?

You can get a flu shot 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)
  • 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) for health symptoms only

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 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 – especially Sellery and Witte?

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

  • All residents are tested for COVID-19 weekly and all staff are tested every two weeks
  • 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 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?

Room changes are on hold until further notice. You can still fill out a room change request form in My UW Housing and request to move to a single, but all room changes will not be processed or offered out until further notice.

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.

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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If I decide to permanently move out of my residence hall, when do I need to make this decision?

There is not a specific deadline by which you need to submit a cancellation request. This semester, any resident is able to submit a cancellation request at any time in My UW Housing. If you choose to accept a Housing contract release, you would forfeit your $250 advance payment that was made at the time of signing the contract, but you would only be responsible for the cost of housing for the days you lived there. It would be prorated to the day you move out. The balance of unused dining plan funds would also be returned.

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

  1. To request a cancellation, residents can log in to My UW Housing and select “Request Cancellation”.
  2. Since you will still be attending UW-Madison, choose the “I want to live off-campus” option when given the option to select a reason.
  3. Download the Off-Campus Release Form and enter your reason for wanting to cancel in that form:
    • After the Off-Campus Release Form is uploaded and you’ve submitted your request, Housing staff will send an email to your @wisc.edu account with an offer to be released from your contract
    • Contract release offers must be replied to by the deadline listed in the email
    • Note: you will see information on the Off-Campus Release Form regarding only releasing students when we are in a position where demand exceeds occupancy – this is standard wording during a traditional year. We have been offering leniency this year due to COVID-19.
  4. You will need to move out within 24 hours of accepting the contract release offer
    • Note: if you choose to accept a contract release offer, you will forfeit the $250 advance payment made when you signed the contract, but you would only be responsible for the cost of housing for the days you lived there. It would be prorated to the day you move out. Unused dining plan funds would also be returned. Refunds are credited back to the student’s campus account. There, the credit is applied to any other outstanding charges the student may have before the balance is paid out to the student.

The Housing contract is for the entire academic year, so a canceled contract means canceling the spring housing portion of the contract as well. You should reach out to us in November if you have an interest in a spring-only Housing contract after canceling. We do not have information about spring housing quite yet as that process occurs later in the semester. The application process typically occurs in My UW Housing similar to your contract for the academic year.

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.

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 have 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.

Further details about the quarantine timeline and returning to your residence hall will be shared soon in the daily Sellery/Witte newsletter residents are receiving.

If I am currently in isolation or quarantine, will I be allowed back in Sellery or Witte after my isolation/quarantine period is over?

Yes. Residents of Sellery or Witte who are currently in isolation or quarantine and are cleared to leave would be able to return to their room.

Will construction continue in Sellery during the quarantine?

The construction/renovation in Sellery has been temporarily halted. Construction/renovation work will resume on Monday, September 28.

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.