FAQs

Last updated 11:45 AM, March 24, 2020

General

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Is the university closed?

To lessen the risk to our community as much as possible, UW–Madison has suspended face-to-face instruction for the Summer Term and camp activities, moving entirely to remote instruction.

Additionally, campus buildings are locked but remain available to essential personnel only.

Last updated 12:44 PM, June 15, 2020

What is the plan for SOAR (summer orientation)?

For the safety of the campus and community, Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) will be offered online this summer. New undergraduate students will enroll in classes, meet peers and an academic advisor, and get connected to campus resources through an online experience. There will also be an online component for parents, family members, and supporters of incoming Badgers to learn more about campus resources and support networks to help their student succeed.

Please visit the SOAR website for the most updated information and FAQs.

Last updated 4:09 PM, April 9, 2020

How is the university responding to the Safer at Home order?

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, at the direction of Governor Tony Evers has issued a “Safer at Home” Governor’s Order to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. “Safer at Home” requires Wisconsin residents to stay at home and engage in physical distancing; it also closes non-essential businesses and bans non-essential travel and social gatherings. The original order went into effect Wednesday, March 25, 2020. On Thursday, April 16, 2020, Gov. Evers extended the order to remain in effect until 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 26, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued.

UW–Madison continues to maintain essential university operations, including remote instruction and essential research, which is specifically permitted under the Governor’s Order. If you are expected to be on campus for these activities, you are allowed to travel.

Law enforcement is able to enforce the order. UWPD will enforce the “Safer At Home Order” by issuing citations to violators, which may result in monetary fines.

The university’s primary focus is in keeping our community safe.

Last updated 3:54 PM, June 16, 2020

What is UW–Madison doing to protect the community?

The health and wellbeing of our community is at the forefront of our decision making. We are following the guidance of Public Health Madison & Dane County, Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and UW Health to protect the health and wellbeing of the campus community. We have sent out regular updates and communications to campus urging people to practice sound respiratory hygiene, stay home when ill, and seek medical care as needed. We will continue to make informed decisions based on the latest science and what is best for everyone in our communities.

Last updated 11:32 AM, March 22, 2020

I'm concerned about COVID-19 and my health risks. What should I do?

If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19: You should remain in self-isolation and follow the advice of your health care provider and local public health officials. Read the CDC guidance on self-isolation.

If you have been tested for COVID-19 but don’t yet have results back: You should remain in self-quarantine. Follow the instructions of your health care provider and local public health officials.

If you have traveled to places with community spread of COVID-19 or live in a place with community spread, such as Dane County: You should follow guidance to self-quarantine and the directions provided by local public health officials.

If you are currently under orders to self-quarantine: Please continue to follow self-quarantine instructions under the guidance of your health care provider and local health officials.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 — 100.4 F or higher fever, cough, and shortness of breath: Stay home. Call University Health Services 608-265-5600 or your personal medical provider immediately. Before going to a clinic, urgent care, or to an emergency room, call ahead and tell them your symptoms and recent travel history.

If you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19: You should discontinue contact with anyone who is sick. You should monitor yourself for symptoms, including fever (100.4 F and above), cough, and shortness of breath.

  • For students in University Housing, if you or someone you know needs help finding an appropriate space to limit contact with someone who is sick, please contact the House Fellow on Duty number, which is unique for different halls and posted throughout each building. For all other students, please consider relocating, asking roommates to relocate, or taking appropriate measures to minimize your contact with others.
  • Any person who is sick should stay in a specific room and away from other people in their home. They should follow CDC home care guidance, which includes cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces at least daily in household common areas including laptops, TV remote controls, tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, and sinks.
  • Other people in the home should avoid spaces where sick people spend time.

If you are sick but do not have symptoms of COVID-19 (100.4 F or higher fever, cough, and shortness of breath): Stay home. Call University Health Services 608-265-5600 or another medical provider immediately. Before going to a clinic, urgent care, or to an emergency room, call ahead and tell them your symptoms and recent travel history.

Last updated 3:42 PM, March 23, 2020

How can I support students in need?

You may make a gift to the Emergency Student Support Fund through the University of Wisconsin Foundation here.

Last updated 3:14 PM, June 15, 2020

Where and how should I fill out the census?

Despite the disruption of campus life due to COVID-19, UW-Madison is still working to help students meet their obligation to be counted in the 2020 Census.

Every ten years, the Census Bureau collects a count of all U.S. residents and information about them based on where they live. It is important that everyone is counted at the address where they reside for the majority of the year, because this helps determine the allocation of millions of federal and state dollars to our community.

For complete information and instructions, please visit: Updates on the 2020 census for UW students

To participate online, visit https://2020census.gov/. The U.S. Census Bureau has also put together this video to help you fill out your census form.

Last updated 12:28 PM, April 15, 2020

Are visitors allowed on campus?

Due to the governor’s Safer at Home Order, in effect until May 26, people should avoid visiting campus as much as possible to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Campus is currently open to essential personnel only. Campus buildings are locked to consolidate essential services, maintain security, and support physical distancing for essential staff still working on campus.

Please check the campus operational overview for cancelations and changes. All in-person tours through the Office of Admissions and Recruitment are canceled through June 30, though prospective and admitted students can take a virtual tour of campus and participate in other virtual events. Visits through UW Campus and Visitor Relations, including customized visits and field trips, are canceled through August 31.

Last updated 11:24 AM, May 12, 2020

Classes, coursework and advising

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Are laptops available if I need one?

Yes. Students, faculty, and staff may need laptops to use remotely during the COVID-19 university response. The InfoLabs and the DoIT Help Desk are partnering to provide laptops during this event. More information can be found here: Laptop Checkout During COVID-19 University Response.

Last updated 10:15 AM, March 24, 2020

Where can I get help with advising and career services?

Advisors, career services staff, and students have access to resources that enable them to connect remotely. Students can use Starfish or contact their advising office to set up a remote appointment. Students are also welcome to email advisors or career services staff with questions. More information for advising and career services staff is available at Advising and Career Services Continuity. More information for students is available at Advising and Career Services During COVID-19. Questions can be sent to info@advising.wisc.edu.

For students, advisors and employers with questions about impacts on internship programs, the UW–Madison’s Center for Research on College-Workforce Transitions has published a report titled, What to do about internships in light of the COVID-19 pandemic? A short guide to online internships for colleges, students and employers.

Last updated 11:32 AM, March 31, 2020

What are the plans for Summer Term?

The university is expanding online offerings this summer to include more than 300 courses while in-person Summer Term courses are suspended due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Summer courses help students stay on track to graduation. Summer Term already had a robust online offering and has added more online courses than ever before so students can continue their academic progress.

For updates on Summer Term, visit https://summer.wisc.edu/. For visiting students (non-UW-Madison students) there’s additional information here: https://summer.wisc.edu/other-college-students/.

We have a chatbot on the website that’s available to answer questions 24/7 and a “live chat” feature so students can connect with a real person during business hours.

We also have scholarships available, https://summer.wisc.edu/scholarships-and-aid/.

Last updated 3:19 PM, June 15, 2020

What do all of these changes mean for international students?

Current federal guidance allows F-1 and J-1 students with a valid I-20 or DS-2019 to maintain valid immigration status during UW–Madison’s terms of remote instruction. This federal guidance applies only to campus-wide remote instruction decisions related to COVID-19. If face-to-face instruction resumes for fall 2020, regular minimum enrollment requirements will need to be met, including limitations to online enrollment. You should closely monitor international travel advisories to assess the risks of travel restrictions that may impact your ability to return to the U.S. to pursue your full-time enrollment and maintenance of F-1 or J-1 student status.

New students and re-entry students cannot enter the U.S. to enroll in only online classes. The current federal guidance does not apply to students with an “initial status” I-20 or DS-2019.

International Student Services continues to monitor the situation. Please visit the ISS website for the latest updates.

Last updated 3:58 PM, June 16, 2020

How do I access academic journals and other campus subscriptions remotely?

To gain access, go through the libraries website: https://www.library.wisc.edu.

Click the dropdown that says “Search the Catalog” on the top left to change the selection to either “Articles” or “Databases.”

The Article search option is a general search across a broad range of topics.

The Database search option will allow you to search for specific disciplinary databases. If you are new to the Libraries’ list of over 1,300 databases, see the quick links for some of the most common options:

  • Browse by Subject/Type
  • Introductory Databases
  • Top 10 Databases

Here area few online tips and tricks: https://www.library.wisc.edu/help/research-tips-tricks/

How to search if you know the journal you want: https://www.library.wisc.edu/help/research-tips-tricks/finding-a-specific-journal/

How to search if you have a specific article in mind: https://www.library.wisc.edu/help/research-tips-tricks/finding-a-specific-article/

If you need any assistance, the Libraries are available to provide assistance via email, chat or text:  https://www.library.wisc.edu/help/

Last updated 1:14 PM, April 22, 2020

Health

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I am concerned about COVID-19 and my health risks. What should I do?

If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19: You should remain in self-isolation and follow the advice of your health care provider and local public health officials. Read the CDC guidance on self-isolation.

If you have been tested for COVID-19 but don’t yet have results back: You should remain in self-quarantine. Follow the instructions of your health care provider and local public health officials.

If you have traveled to places with community spread of COVID-19 or live in a place with community spread, such as Dane County: You should follow guidance to self-quarantine and the directions provided by local public health officials.

If you are currently under orders to self-quarantine: Please continue to follow self-quarantine instructions under the guidance of your health care provider and local health officials.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fever; chills, repeated shaking with chills; muscle pain; headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell): Stay home. Call University Health Services 608-265-5600 or your personal medical provider immediately. Before going to a clinic, urgent care, or to an emergency room, call ahead and tell them your symptoms and recent travel history.

If you live with or have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19: You should discontinue contact with anyone who is sick. Stay home and monitor yourself for symptoms, including fever (100.4 F and above), cough, and shortness of breath.

  • For students in University Housing, if you or someone you know needs help finding an appropriate space to limit contact with someone who is sick, please contact the House Fellow on Duty number, which is unique for different halls and posted throughout each building. For all other students, please consider relocating, asking roommates to relocate, or taking appropriate measures to minimize your contact with others.
  • Any person who is sick should stay in a specific room and away from other people in their home as much as possible. Household members should avoid contact with the sick member of the household and wash their hands frequently. Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Follow CDC home care guidance, which includes cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces at least daily in household common areas including laptops, TV remote controls, tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, and sinks.
  • Other people in the home should avoid spaces where sick people spend time.

If you are sick but do not have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fever; chills, repeated shaking with chills; muscle pain; headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell): Stay home. Call University Health Services 608-265-5600 or another medical provider immediately. Before going to a clinic, urgent care, or to an emergency room, call ahead and tell them your symptoms and recent travel history.

Last updated 10:18 PM, June 23, 2020

How can I protect myself and others?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Stay home as much as possible, especially when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Additionally, UW–Madison is strongly advising against all non-essential travel. Dane County is experiencing community spread of COVID-19, which means there is no known source of the disease, such as recent contact with an infected person or travel from an area with a high number of cases.

Last updated 4:00 PM, June 16, 2020

How can I practice physical distancing?

Physical distancing is a way to reduce exposure, slow the spread, and minimize transmission of contagious diseases. Maintain at least six feet distance between yourself and another person. Stay home as much as possible, especially if you are sick or if someone in your household is sick. Avoid shaking hands and close physical contact with anyone displaying symptoms. Do not gather in groups, especially those of 10 or more people.

Last updated 11:16 AM, May 12, 2020

What if I feel sick and can't afford health care?

All UW–Madison students who are enrolled for credit during a fall, spring, or summer semester and pay segregated fees are eligible to use all UHS services during that academic term. There is no additional charge for most UHS services including: medical and mental health counseling appointments, radiology, laboratory tests, victim advocacy, and flu shots.

There are charges for some UHS services including most immunizations (except free flu shots), physical therapy appointments, orthopedic equipment such as splints and braces, and third-party physicals, and certain lab work and tests connected with those physicals. UHS will bill students if payment is not made at time of service.

University Health Services is available to UW–Madison students during summer 2020. Limited in-person and telehealth appointments are available, and you can continue to communicate with your providers through MyUHS secure messaging.

If you have a health concern during the summer, you can contact UHS. After speaking with a provider on the phone, they may recommend you consider the Summer Health Fee ($109) that provides health care services May 17 through August 31. If you need help paying for the student health fee, UHS can assist you. Ask your provider for details.

COVID-19 testing is available for UW–Madison students who remain in Madison and are suspected of having COVID-19 after being evaluated by a provider evaluation. Contact UHS to speak with a provider.

Short term loans may be sought by students when an unexpected life event or circumstance takes place that causes financial hardship.

The Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) provides comprehensive health coverage for UW–Madison students and scholars. In addition to primary care services at UHS, SHIP will cover all member costs for COVID-19 testing at in-network facilities, including emergency room, urgent care, and office visits. SHIP will cover treatment based on the specific plan benefits.

SHIP is also waiving early refill limits on 30-day prescriptions for maintenance medications for at any in-network pharmacy. For questions about prescriptions please call 1-866-818-6911.

SHIP members (primary members and spouse/partners) who cannot access UHS for primary and preventive care during the suspension of face-to-face instruction, should refer to our Find In-Network Providers page to locate an alternative SHIP provider that is in-network.

Last updated 4:03 PM, June 16, 2020

What resources are available to help student wellbeing?

We recognize this may be a challenging time for many, especially those who have been displaced from their residences, travel and study abroad programs, their employment and their communities.

Many UHS medical, counseling, and wellness services are still available to students by phone and accessible online. Visit uhs.wisc.edu/remotehealth for a full list of remote clinical services, identity-specific resources, and opportunities for engagement and connection.

If you are experiencing anxiety related to events surrounding COVID-19, SilverCloud is an online, self-guided, interactive mental health resource that provides UW–Madison students with accessible treatment options 24 hours a day.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention also has information about Taking Care of Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty.

Last updated 4:22 PM, June 16, 2020

Travel

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Can I travel on a university-related trip?

Due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19, all university sponsored travel and in-person campus events remain cancelled through August 17, 2020. The extension is to help limit the spread of the disease and keep students, faculty, staff and the public safe.

All campus-related international and domestic travel plans scheduled through August 17 should be cancelled immediately. In limited cases, academic deans or vice chancellors may approve travel during this period. Employees seeking an exception to the updated travel order will need to download and complete the Essential Travel Exemption Form. Following division leadership approval, these forms should be submitted to Dan Langer at dan.langer@wisc.edu.

All travel that has not received an approved exception should be cancelled.  For a list of flights that have not yet been cancelled, please contact Rusty Haines, UW Travel Manager, at rusty.haines@wisc.edu.

People who travel regularly as part of their jobs, such as Extension employees, should check with their deans or other unit directors for further guidance.

Last updated 10:06 AM, June 24, 2020

Should I travel for a personal trip?

We strongly advise you to reconsider non-essential personal travel.

The CDC offers the following things to consider before travel:

  • Is COVID-19 spreading in the area where you’re going?
    If COVID-19 is spreading at your destination, but not where you live, you may be more likely to get infected if you travel there than if you stay home. If you have questions about your destination, you should check your destination’s local health department website for more information.
  • Will you or your travel companion(s) be in close contact with others during your trip?
    Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like coronavirus may increase in crowded settings, particularly closed-in settings with little air circulation. This may include settings such as conferences, public events (like concerts and sporting events), religious gatherings, public spaces (like movie theaters and shopping malls), and public transportation (like buses, metro, trains).
  • Are you or your travel companion(s) more likely to get severe illness if you get COVID-19?
    People at higher risk for severe disease are older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions (such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes). CDC recommends that travelers at higher risk for COVID-19 complications avoid all cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
  • Do you have a plan for taking time off from work or school, in case you are told to stay home for 14 days for self-monitoring or if you get sick with COVID-19?
    If you have close contact with someone with COVID-19 during travel, you may be asked to stay home to self-monitor and avoid contact with others for up to 14 days after travel. If you become sick with COVID-19, you may be unable to go to work or school until you’re considered noninfectious. You will be asked to avoid contact with others (including being in public places) during this period of infectiousness.
  • Do you live with someone who is older or has a serious, chronic medical condition?
    If you get sick with COVID-19 upon your return from travel, your household contacts may be at risk of infection. Household contacts who are older adults or persons of any age with severe chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Is COVID-19 spreading where I live when I return from travel?
    Consider the risk of passing COVID-19 to others during travel, particularly if you will be in close contact with people who are older adults or have severe chronic health conditions. These people are at higher risk of getting very sick. If your symptoms are mild or you don’t have a fever, you may not realize you are infectious.

If you do decide to travel, be sure to take steps to help prevent getting and spreading COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases during travel. For the most up-to-date COVID-19 travel information, visit CDC COVID-19 Travel page.

Last updated 1:47 PM, March 22, 2020

What is university-related travel?

University-related travel refers to any travel by UW–Madison faculty, staff, and students that supports or advances the goals, objectives, and mission of the university and is conducted for a business purpose. It also refers to travel by non-employees arranged for a university business purpose using university funds or resources, unless specifically exempt according to university policy. A link to university travel policy can be found here.

Posted on 6:44 PM, March 21, 2020