University of Wisconsin–Madison

Summer 2021 Guidelines for Supervisors

Important Update:  Guidelines have been issued for students, faculty and staff planning to access the UW–Madison campus beginning May 10. These guidelines address summer building access, ongoing health protocols, testing and vaccination, the campus events policy, and the travel policy. Read the message to the campus community about these guidelines.

This web page is currently being updated to reflect any changes to the guidelines for summer 2021.

Many UW–Madison employees who have been working remotely will be returning to their on-site workplaces over the next several months. The safety and well-being of everyone in our campus community—including employees—will continue to be our top priority as we bring more people back to campus. We will follow public health guidance while considering individual circumstances.

Policies, procedures, and expectations related to workplace safety will continue to evolve as new regulations, information, and guidance becomes available. Please continue to monitor this page for additions and updates.


Updates for the campus community can be found at

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Meeting Toolkit and Letter Templates

Meeting toolkits and letter templates are being revised. They will be re-posted here when available.
Updated 4/22/2021

Building protocols

Frequently Asked Questions

Health and Safety

  • What health and safety protocols are employees required to follow for their on-site work?

    Employees who are working on-site are required to follow the workplace safety procedures outlined in the COVID-19 Workplace Safety Policy, in addition to any procedures or expectations from their college, school, or division leadership. Some employees may need to follow additional or more specific workplace safety procedures based on their duties, the work environment, and/or workplace needs.

    In situations where UW−Madison employees are working in facilities owned or controlled by another entity, these policies continue to apply to UW–Madison employees. UW−Madison employees working in facilities controlled by other non-UW entities may be subject to additional workplace expectations. In the event that there is conflict between these policies and the expectations of another employer or facility, the employee should consult with their UW−Madison supervisor or human resources representative immediately.

  • What are expectations of employees under the COVID-19 Workplace Safety Policy? Updated

    Employees should review and become familiar with the COVID-19 Workplace Safety Policy. They are expected to:

    • Stay home or leave the workplace immediately if they have symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19 and notify their supervisor of their absence.
    • Report to the workplace only if directed to do so by their supervisor.
    • Adhere to the most current workplace safety guidance, including wearing a face covering indoors if not fully vaccinated, practicing physical distancing, and engaging in frequent hand washing and sanitizing.
    • Stay up to date regarding changes in workplace safety expectations, guidance, or procedures.

    Updated June 9, 2021

  • What are expectations of supervisors under the COVID-19 Workplace Safety Policy? Updated

    Supervisors should promote understanding of the COVID-19 Workplace Safety Policy and ensure compliance with the policy. They are expected to:

    • Direct an employee to leave the workplace immediately if they show symptoms of a severe cold, flu, or COVID-19.
    • Explain to employees that the guidelines to use sick leave and report time off still apply. If an employee is unwell and unable to work, they should use sick time.
    • If an employee requests leave based on a medical condition, provide any necessary information to the Divisional Disability Representative (DDR). Employee medical information is confidential and should not be shared beyond those who need to know.
    • Contribute to a healthy workplace by encouraging employees to follow health and safety protocols, engage in regular and good personal hygiene practices, and regularly clean and disinfect their workstations.

    Please see the COVID-19 Workplace Safety Policy for more information.

    Updated June 9, 2021

  • What are the consequences if an employee does not follow health and safety protocols?

    Employees who do not follow the COVID-19 Workplace Safety Policy or associated policies, protocols, or procedures may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment, in accordance with the relevant policies and procedures applicable to their employee category.

  • How do I know whether someone should be wearing a mask? New

    It’s understandable to wonder about someone else’s vaccination status but remember, the most important thing you can do to protect yourself against COVID-19 is to become vaccinated yourself. If an unvaccinated person does not wear a mask, they, not you, are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19. UW–Madison strongly encourages all students and employees to choose vaccination, which is available on campus at no cost.

    It is not appropriate to ask whether someone is vaccinated or why they are/are not wearing a mask.

    Recognizing that we may not know others’ vaccination status or health concerns, we ask that all members of our campus community continue to be respectful of others and the protective practices they choose to use.

    Updated June 9, 2021

  • How is the expectation for unvaccinated people to wear masks being enforced? New

    We continue to educate our community about how mask wearing allows the unvaccinated individuals to protect themselves from serious illness.

    Updated June 9, 2021

  • An employee I supervise has disclosed they are not vaccinated and they refuse to wear a mask. What action should I take? New

    Remind the employee of the mask expectation for the unvaccinated, encourage vaccination to protect themselves, and contact your unit’s human resources representative if the employee continues to not comply.

    Updated June 9, 2021

  • What are the testing requirements for employees for Summer 2021? Updated

    If employees are not fully vaccinated and need to access locations where green/building access granted status is required, they must have a negative COVID-19 test on file in their Safer Badgers app within the past 8 days.

    Additional information is available at

    Updated June 9, 2021

  • What are the building access requirements for employees for Summer 2021? Updated

    Beginning in Summer 2021, access to campus buildings and facilities is no longer limited to those with green/building access granted Badger Badges, unless required by those overseeing a specific space, event, or other in-person activity. To maintain a green Badger Badge, employees must either be fully vaccinated or have a negative test on file in their Safer Badgers app within the past 8 days.

    Updated June 9, 2021

  • How is campus COVID-19 testing being conducted this summer? New

    No-cost COVID-19 testing on campus is being conducted via PCR-based nasal swab at several drop-in locations. For more details visit the campus testing page at

    Updated June 9, 2021

Cleaning and Disinfecting of Workplaces

  • Are there special procedures or protocols in place for cleaning and disinfecting workplaces?

    Each unit is responsible for the regular cleaning and disinfection of offices, laboratories, conference rooms, workstations, and other unit-specific spaces. Each unit is also responsible for the removal of trash and recycling from unit-specific spaces.

    Custodians will continue with routine cleaning, as well as additional cleaning of high-touch areas in common areas, including restrooms. Custodians will also continue to remove trash and recycling from common areas, bathrooms, breakrooms, and kitchenettes.

    Additional information will be provided by your building manager, supervisor, or divisional human resources office.

  • Do employees have any personal responsibility for cleaning and disinfecting their workspaces?

    Yes. All faculty, staff, and volunteers are expected to keep their workspaces clean. Employees should use disinfectant spray and/or cleaning wipes on hard surfaces in their work areas as necessary and appropriate. Cleaning supplies will be provided.

    If you have any concerns about cleaning or disinfecting in your work area, please speak with your building manager, supervisor, or divisional human resources office.

  • How will campus vehicles be kept clean and disinfected?

    Units with campus vehicles are responsible for the regular cleaning and disinfection of their own vehicles. Campus buses are cleaned and disinfected by Madison Metro.

Positive COVID-19 Cases, Exposure, or Symptoms

If an Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

  • If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, are they required to report the positive test result to the university? Updated

    University Health Services (UHS) will be the repository for all COVID-19 test results for employees working on campus, at campus facilities, and for all students. Test results for individuals who are tested at an on-campus testing site will automatically be reported to UHS.

    People tested elsewhere — such as Alliant Energy Center, UW Health, an urgent care center or a doctor outside of University Health Services — should report positive test results to UHS via the Safer Badgers app. Additional information is available at

    UHS will follow up on every confirmed positive COVID-19 test report. For additional details, go to

    Updated February 5, 2021

  • If an employee tells me they tested positive for COVID-19, who do I notify and what information should I get from the employee? Updated

    If an employee reports receiving a positive test result, take a few moments to acknowledge the difficult and challenging circumstances the employee may be experiencing. If the employee is in the workplace, tell them that they need to leave immediately.

    If the employee was tested at an off-campus testing site — such as Alliant Energy Center, UW Health, an urgent care center or a doctor outside of University Health Services — direct them to report their positive test results to University Health Services (UHS) via the Safer Badgers app.

    When someone receives a positive test result notification from UHS, it will include a note to contact their DDR if they are a UW Employee or Student Worker and need assistance related to their employment. Employees will now choose to reach out to their DDR if they need assistance related to their medical issues.

    Updated May 27, 2021

  • Will I be notified if an employee in my unit tests positive for COVID-19? Updated

    No. You will not know that an employee in your area tested positive unless they disclose that themselves. As the pandemic progresses and the most vulnerable individuals are protected by vaccination from severe COVID-19 illness, cases will be treated like any other personal health information of employees.

    Evidence shows vaccination limits transmission and there are significant reductions in outbreaks where many individuals are vaccinated. UHS will continue to provide information about vaccination as needed. UHS will also continue to monitor COVID-19 to determine if any additional protocols or mitigation steps are needed.

    When someone receives a positive test result notification from UHS, it will include a note to contact their DDR if they are a UW Employee or Student Worker and need assistance related to their employment.

    Employees will now choose to reach out to their DDR if they need assistance related to their medical issues. UHS still has a small contact tracing team that contacts positive cases and if there are cases that need to quarantine, we will notify them.

    Updated May 27, 2021

  • If an employee in my work unit tests positive for COVID-19, can I notify the co-workers of the employee?

    Through the contact tracing process and in consultation with the DDR, University Health Services (UHS) will notify work unit colleagues (including student employees) if they were in close contact and were potentially exposed. Close contact or exposure will be determined by UHS or Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC). However, work unit colleagues will not be given identifying information that would disclose which employee has tested positive for COVID-19, unless there is a specific need for them to receive this information.

    Do not share this information with work unit colleagues who were not likely to have been exposed as determined by UHS or PHMDC through contact tracing.

  • Is an employee’s health information confidential in the workplace?

    The privacy of medical information is protected by the HIPAA Privacy Rule, the Federal Rights and Education Privacy Act (FERPA), Wisconsin’s state laws about medical records privacy, and the confidentiality requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). All of these rules and regulations allow for the sharing of medical information in this situation, in order to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Information may be shared with specified individuals, including University Health Services, Environmental Health & Safety, DDRs, and supervisors.

    An employee’s medical information will be kept confidential and separate from their personnel file as required under the ADA.

  • Can I ask an employee if they have COVID-19?

    Generally, no, you cannot ask an employee if they have COVID-19. However, some units are required to ask about COVID-19 to comply with safety requirements due to work performed by employees in the unit.

    In some circumstances, a Divisional Disability Representative (DDR), UHS representatives and/or public health agency representatives who are engaged in or supporting contact tracing efforts may ask an employee if they have or have had COVID-19. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your DDR.

  • Will employees be eligible for paid leave if they are unable to work because they test positive for COVID-19?

    The University of Wisconsin–Madison provides a variety of potential leave options to employees when they are unable to work or telework (work remotely) for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The human resources department will help employees determine which leave options they qualify for.

Exposure or Possible Exposure to COVID-19

  • What do I tell employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace?

    If you have been instructed by University Health Services (UHS) or your DDR to notify employees about exposure in the workplace, follow these steps:

    • Inform the employee they may have been exposed to COVID-19.
    • If the employee is in the workplace, direct the employee to leave the workplace and contact their healthcare provider for additional guidance.
    • Encourage the employee to self-quarantine and monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. If they develop symptoms during quarantine, strongly encourage them to isolate themselves and follow guidance from their healthcare provider or PHMDC.

    Additional information about what to do when someone is sick or possibly exposed to COVID-19 is available from Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC).

If an Employee is Experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms or Feeling Sick

COVID-19 Testing

Returning to On-Site Work After Testing Positive for COVID-19 or Being Exposed to COVID-19

Reasonable Accommodation, Workplace Flexibilities, and Leave Options

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