University of Wisconsin–Madison

Smart Restart Information for Employees

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.

On the university’s Smart Restart website, you can view the plan for returning to in-person instruction in the fall semester, and learn about health measures being put in place for everyone on campus. Additional updates on the campus response to the coronavirus pandemic can be found at covid19.wisc.edu.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Health and Safety

Cleaning and Disinfecting of Workplaces

Positive COVID-19 Cases, Exposure, or Symptoms

If You Test Positive for COVID-19

  • What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

    If you test positive for COVID-19, you must:

    • Stay away from the workplace until
      • You have been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication),
      • Your respiratory symptoms have improved,
      • Your other symptoms have improved, and
      • It has been at least 10 days since your symptom onset; or
      • If you had no symptoms, you may return 10 days after you were tested
    • Notify your supervisor that you are unable to report to work. If you need to share any specific medical or health information, contact your Divisional Disability Representative.
    • Consult with your supervisor and/or the human resources department in your school, college or division about your leave or remote work options.

    You are also strongly encouraged to consult your healthcare provider for medical advice and guidance about care and isolation information.

    Report COVID-19 positive test results to your Divisional Disability Representative. More information on the reporting of COVID-19 positive test results will be announced soon. Please check back for updates.

  • If I test positive for COVID-19, am I required to report the positive test results to anyone at UW–Madison?

    More information on the reporting process will be announced soon. Please check back for updates.

  • Will my supervisor be notified if I test positive for COVID-19?

    Your supervisor may be notified if you test positive for COVID-19. University Health Services (UHS) will be notified of positive COVID-19 test results. UHS may involve supervisors, Human Resources (HR), and Divisional Disability Representatives (DDRs) in responding appropriately.

  • Will my co-workers be notified if I test positive for COVID-19?

    Your co-workers may be notified that an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 was present in the workplace, but they generally will not receive any identifying information about you or any other employee who tests positive for COVID-19. The amount of information that is shared during the COVID-19 pandemic depends on the circumstances of each case and the direction from public health experts.

  • Can my supervisor ask me if I have COVID-19?

    Generally, no, your supervisor cannot ask you if you 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 you  if you have or have had COVID-19.

  • Is there anyone in the workplace who is permitted to ask me if I have COVID-19?

    Yes. 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 you if you have or have had COVID-19.

  • If I tell my supervisor I have tested positive for COVID-19, what will the supervisor do with that information?

    More information on the reporting of COVID-19 positive test results will be announced soon. Please check back for updates.

  • What additional information will I be asked to provide if I report that I have tested positive for COVID-19?

    More information on the reporting of COVID-19 positive test results will be announced soon. Please check back for updates.

  • Will I be eligible for paid leave if I am unable to work because I 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.

    For Faculty, Academic Staff, Limited Appointees, or University Staff, the leave options an employee may qualify for are based on a number of factors, including the eligibility requirements for each program, their employment category, the pay basis for their appointment, the reason they are unable to work and are requesting leave, prior leave they have used or taken, and staffing needs of the operational unit. Some leave options require approval from the work unit or supervisor.

    The reason for leave may require the available leave programs to be applied in a specific order or may allow for a combination of leave programs to apply at the same time.

    The human resources department in your school, college, or division can help you determine which leave options you qualify for. Please refer to “What are Your Leave Options for Leave Related to COVID-19?” for an overview of leave options for Faculty, Academic Staff, Limited Appointees, and University Staff.

Exposure or Possible Exposure to COVID-19

  • Will I be notified if one of my co-workers tests positive for COVID-19 or if I may have been exposed to COVID-19?

    You will be notified if an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 was present in the workplace, or if you may have been exposed to COVID-19, but generally you will not receive any identifying information about the employee. The amount of information that is shared with you during the COVID-19 pandemic depends on the circumstances of each case and the direction from the public health experts.

  • What are the next steps if the university learns that employees may have been exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace?

    University Health Services (UHS) or Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) will be consulted in these situations. Follow any instructions that are provided by your supervisor, your divisional human resources office, Divisional Disability Representative (DDR), or UHS. You may be asked to leave the workplace and contact your health care provider for additional guidance. You may also be encouraged to self-quarantine for 14 days and monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. If you develop symptoms during quarantine, we strongly encourage you to isolate yourself and seek medical advice and guidance from your healthcare provider or PHMDC.

  • What should I do if I believe I have been exposed to COVID-19?
    • Stay away from the workplace.
    • Notify your supervisor you are not reporting to work because you were exposed to or in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
    • Contact the human resources department in your school, college or division with questions about leave or other options if you need to quarantine.
    • Contact your Divisional Disability Representative (DDR) with any questions about protected medical leave.
    • Consult with your DDR before returning to the workplace.

    More information on the reporting of COVID-19 positive test results will be announced soon. Please check back for updates.

    If you develop symptoms, follow all appropriate procedures, including testing for COVID-19. We also strongly encourage you to seek medical advice and guidance from your personal healthcare provider about care, testing, and quarantine information. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) offers detailed and specific advice.

If You Are Experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms or Feeling Sick

COVID-19 Testing

  • Where can I get tested for COVID-19?

    You can contact your healthcare provider or Public Health Madison & Dane County to learn more about testing. The university will offer free on-site testing for employees in the future. Information about university testing options will be provided when available.

  • Will the university use testing to monitor for the prevalence of COVID-19 on campus?

    Yes. In addition to offering free testing to all faculty and staff, the university will conduct regular testing of volunteer cohorts of individuals across representative campus populations. These cohorts will provide regular samples to assist campus and public health officials monitor for the prevalence of disease. In addition, the university will conduct regular testing of employees working in certain areas, such as residence halls.

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

  • If I test positive for COVID-19, when can I return to on-site work?

    If you test positive for COVID-19, you may return to on-site work when the following conditions have been met:

    • You have been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications),
    • Your respiratory symptoms have improved,
    • Your other symptoms have improved, and
    • It has been at least 10 days since your symptoms began

    If you did not have any COVID-19 symptoms, you may return to on-site work 10 days after you were tested. If during the 10 days you become symptomatic, you must continue to stay away from the workplace for at least 10 more days from the date of the symptom onset and meet all of the following before returning to work:

    • You have been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications),
    • Your respiratory symptoms have improved,
    • Your other symptoms have improved, and
    • It has been at least 10 days since your symptoms began
  • If I have been exposed to COVID-19, when can I return to on-site work?

    If you have been exposed to someone with a positive COVID-19 test, you may return to on-site work when the following conditions have been met:

    • You have self-quarantined for 14 days from your last contact with the person with the positive test result, and
    • You have had no symptoms

    If you develop symptoms during self-quarantine, you may return to on-site work when the following conditions have been met:

    • You have been fever-free for 24 hours (without using any fever-reducing medication),
    • Your respiratory symptoms have improved,
    • Your other symptoms have improved, and
    • It has been at least 10 days since your symptoms began
  • Do I need a clearance letter from my healthcare provider or Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) before I can return to on-site work?

    In most cases, you will not be required to provide a clearance letter to return to on-site work as long as you have followed the advice and guidance of your healthcare provider or public health agency representative and you can share that information with your Divisional Disability Representative (DDR).

Reasonable Accommodation, Workplace Flexibilities, and Leave Options

  • I feel uncertain about returning to on-site work because of COVID-19 related issues. How will my situation be handled?

    Every employee concern will be individually evaluated. Some possible reasons you may be concerned include age, your underlying medical condition, pregnancy or breastfeeding, caring for a child, caring for a family member who is in a CDC high-risk population, or feeling unsafe in the workplace.

    If you have concerns or questions about returning to on-site work, you are encouraged to first discuss these with their supervisor or manager. If the concern is related to a disability or medical condition, or that of a member of your household, you should contact your Divisional Disability Representative (DDR) directly. You may also contact the human resources department at your school, college, or division to discuss questions and concerns.

    Please see the quick reference guide on Accommodations & Workplace Flexibilities: Employee Guidance for more information.

  • My concern about returning to on-site work is medically related or disability related.

    You may qualify for a reasonable accommodation. Every employee concern will be individually evaluated based on duties, the work environment, and workplace needs.

    Your divisional HR contact or supervisor will provide you with contact information for your area’s Divisional Disability Representative (DDR). You may also contact your DDR directly. To find your DDR, visit employeedisabilities.wisc.edu/divisional-disability-representatives-ddr.

    Please see the quick reference guide on Accommodations & Workplace Flexibilities: Employee Guidance for more information.

  • My concern about returning to work is not medically related or disability related; rather, it is due to feeling unsafe in the workplace or another non-medical reason. How will my situation be handled?

    If you have concerns or questions about returning to on-site work that are not medically related or disability related, you are encouraged to first discuss these concerns or questions with your supervisor or manager. You may also contact the human resources department at your school, college, or division to discuss questions and concerns.

    The university will work with you to address your concerns and provide solutions based on your duties, work environment, and workplace needs. Please see the quick reference guide on Accommodations & Workplace Flexibilities: Employee Guidance for more information on this process and workplace flexibilities that may apply in this situation.

  • Does UW–Madison offer specialized support for employees with medical or disability concerns?

    Yes. Employees have access to the Employee Disabilities Resources (EDR) Office. This office serves as the centralized information source for workplace accommodations at UW–Madison.

    The EDR Office partners with Divisional Disability Representatives (DDRs), experienced and trained human resources professionals who specialize in dealing with medically related and disability related issues and medical leave.

    DDRs receive accommodation requests from employees and assist managers, supervisors, and employees in responding to disability matters in a way that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and considers individual situations.

    Only DDRs are authorized to request, receive, and maintain medical information and records on behalf of their divisions. Information shared with your DDR is kept confidential. You are not required to disclose the medical need for an accommodation to your immediate supervisor.

    You can learn more about employee disability resources at employeedisabilities.wisc.edu.

  • What is the difference between a “reasonable accommodation” and a “workplace flexibility”?

    Reasonable accommodation is any change or modification to the hiring process, a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables a qualified individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform the duties of a job, and enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those without disabilities, without causing significant difficulty or disruption in the workplace or posing a health or safety threat. Reasonable accommodation falls under the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and requires a good faith effort on the part of both the employer and the employee. More information on this can be found at employeedisabilities.wisc.edu.

    A workplace flexibility is a modification that may be provided to employees who do not have a medically related or disability related reason for requesting a modification in their duties or work environment. Feeling unsafe in the workplace due to COVID-19, when there is no associated medically related or disability related reason, would be an example. Modifications made for non-medical reasons are not subject to the provisions of the ADA.

    Examples of modifications that may be used as either a reasonable accommodation or a workplace flexibility include telecommuting (allowing the employee to work remotely), moving or altering workspaces, modifying work schedules, reassigning duties, and using leave. In all cases, modifications are considered on an individual, case-by-case basis.

  • Where can I learn more about disability resources for UW–Madison employees?

    The university has a website dedicated to employee disability resources at employeedisabilities.wisc.edu.

    To learn more about UW–Madison’s response to employee concerns about returning to on-site work due to COVID-19, see the quick reference guide on Accommodations & Workplace Flexibilities: Employee Guidance.

  • What are my leave options if I am unable to work or work remotely due to reasons related to 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.

    For Faculty, Academic Staff, Limited Appointees, or University Staff, the leave options an employee may qualify for are based on a number of factors, including the eligibility requirements for each program, their employment category, the pay basis for their appointment, the reason they are unable to work and are requesting leave, prior leave they have used or taken, and staffing needs of the operational unit. Some leave options require approval from the work unit or supervisor.

    The reason for leave may require the available leave programs to be applied in a specific order or may allow for a combination of leave programs to apply at the same time.

    Please refer to “What are Your Leave Options for Leave Related to COVID-19?” for an overview of leave options for Faculty, Academic Staff, Limited Appointees, and University Staff.

  • What are my options if I am unable to work due to reasons related to childcare?

    An employee may be unable to work because they need to provide care to their child(ren), and their school/summer program/daycare center is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19. Or, they may be unable to work because their child(ren) has cold symptoms or other symptoms of illness and are not permitted to attend their school/childcare center until symptom-free for the required period of time.

    The leave options an employee may qualify for in either of these situations are based on a number of factors, including the eligibility requirements for each program, their employment category, the pay basis for their appointment, the reason they are unable to work and are requesting leave, prior leave they have used or taken, and staffing needs of the operational unit. Some leave options require approval from the work unit or supervisor.

    Please refer to “What are Your Leave Options for Leave Related to COVID-19?” for an overview of leave options for Faculty, Academic Staff, Limited Appointees, and University Staff.

Language Assistance

Español  /  Spanish
608-265-0838
solanabel.rodriguez@wisc.edu

中文  /  Chinese
608-890-2628
shuwen.li@wisc.edu

Hmoob  /  Hmong
608-263-2217
jzong.thao@wisc.edu

नेपाली  /  Nepali
608-262-7521
parwat.regmi@wisc.edu

བོད་ཡིག  /  Tibetan
608-890-2545
yangbum.gyal@wisc.edu

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