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? Updated

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

    • Stay away from the workplace until
      • You have been fever-free for 24 hours
      • Your other symptoms are improving, and
      • It has been at least 10 days since your symptom started; 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.

    If you are tested at an on-campus testing site, your test results will automatically be reported to University Health Services (UHS). If you were tested elsewhere — such as Alliant Energy Center, UW Health, an urgent care center or a doctor outside of University Health Services — you should report positive test results to UHS. For specific instructions, see the next FAQ or go to uhs.wisc.edu/medical/testing/#test-results.

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

    Individuals who test positive do not need to get tested again for three months after a positive test result.

    Updated October 2, 2020

  • Should I report my COVID-19 positive test result to UW–Madison? 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.

    To report your test results using the online form, log in to your MyUHS account and click on Messages, select New Message, and then choose COVID-19 Outside Result Reporting. Those who are unable to access the online form can send a secure email to covidresults@wisc.edu or call (608) 890-0000. UHS will follow up on every confirmed positive COVID-19 test report. For additional details, go to uhs.wisc.edu/medical/testing/#test-results.

    Updated October 2, 2020

  • Why am I expected to share my COVID-19 positive test result with University Health Services?

    UW–Madison is committed to a safe and healthy work environment for all employees.

    Reporting your positive test results promptly to University Health Services (UHS) will help ensure that UW–Madison can take appropriate steps as soon as possible to clean facilities and workspaces, begin contact tracing efforts, and work with you to provide information on remote work and/or leave options.

    All entities conducting COVID-19 testing are required to report positive test results to the public health authority in their county. So, even if you decline to provide consent for UHS to test you and use your information, if you are tested elsewhere UW–Madison may eventually receive a report of your positive test from a public health authority. If you report your positive test result directly to UHS, the university can act quickly to protect others with whom you have come into contact.

    Updated August 21, 2020

  • What will University Health Services do with my COVID-19 positive test result?

    University Health Services (UHS) will notify your Divisional Disability Representative (DDR) of your positive test result. UHS staff and DDRs are trained and trusted to handle confidential medical information appropriately.

    Updated August 21, 2020

  • What will my Divisional Disability Representative do with the information about my COVID-19 positive test result?

    Your DDR will reach out to you to provide resources and let you know that you need to stay away from the workplace. You will receive specific instructions in an email. Your medical information will be kept confidential and separate from your personnel file as required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

    The DDR will notify your direct supervisor that you have tested positive and assist and support the supervisor with issues related to your leave from the workplace and contact tracing efforts (if requested by University Health Services and/or Public Health Madison & Dane County). The DDR will also notify those with responsibility for oversight of your work location—the dean, director, chair, center director, or someone else at your school, college, or division—that a person in a particular work unit or operational area has tested positive, but your name will not be shared unless one of these individuals is also your direct supervisor or there is a clear business need.

    Updated August 21, 2020

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

    Your Divisional Disability Representative will contact your supervisor to share your positive test result and to explain you will be absent from work and for approximately how long. (You should also notify your supervisor that you are unable to report to work.) The DDR will work with your supervisor to discuss the nature of your work and what temporary work adjustments might be available for you, if it is determined that you are eligible to work remotely while at home and if you feel well enough to do so. The DDR will also notify your supervisor that they may be contacted by a contact tracer for further information or instructions.

    Updated August 21, 2020

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

    Work unit colleagues (including student employees) who may have been in close contact or exposed to you, as determined by University Health Services or Public Health Madison & Dane County and in consultation with the Divisional Disability Representative, will be made aware that an individual in their work location has tested positive for COVID-19. However, your work unit colleagues will not receive your identifying information unless there is a specific need for them to receive that information.

    Updated August 21, 2020

  • Isn’t my health information private? Why is it being shared?

    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 your medical information in this situation, in order to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

    Updated August 21, 2020

  • I don’t have a disability. Why is my medical information protected by the ADA?

    Even if your medical condition doesn’t meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) definition of a disability, the ADA applies to all employees—with or without disabilities—and prevents employers from making medical inquiries or requiring medical examinations unless there is a business necessity, such as keeping everyone in the workplace safe. The ADA requires employers to treat any medical information obtained as a confidential medical record.

    Updated August 21, 2020

  • Can I tell my colleagues that I have tested positive for COVID-19?

    You are free to share your medical information with whomever you choose, even though there are legal restrictions on UW–Madison about how and with whom the university shares the information.

    Updated August 21, 2020

  • 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.

  • 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 asked by a contact tracer to self-quarantine for 14 days and monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. If you develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 while you are in quarantine, you will need to go into isolation for at least 10 days.

    Updated August 21, 2020

  • 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.

    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?

    University Health Services (UHS) is offering no-cost COVID-19 testing to students, faculty and staff on campus. You can make an appointment for testing using the MyUHS web portal at myuhs.uhs.wisc.edu/login_dualauthentication.aspx. All UW–Madison students and employees have a MyUHS account. To prepare for your test, log in to your MyUHS account and make sure your Profile details are correct. Go to Forms to review and sign the UHS Information and Consent Form. Then go to Appointments to schedule a COVID-19 test. For details, go to uhs.wisc.edu/medical/#testing.

    You can also contact your healthcare provider or Public Health Madison & Dane County to learn about testing options.

    Updated August 21, 2020

  • 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

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

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608-265-0838
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608-890-2628
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608-263-2217
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608-262-7521
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608-890-2545
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