This is undoubtedly a difficult time for many of you as we face significant upheaval in our way of life as students, instructors, employees and for some, also as parents and partners. We could never have anticipated facing this global pandemic, nor what this crisis would mean for our academic progress, our research, and our connections to campus and one another.
Please reference this site for answers to your questions, access to resources, and regular updates as we navigate this time together.
As Dean Bill Karpus shared in an earlier message, we encourage you to take care of your physical and mental health in these challenging times. We encourage you to reach out to one another from a safe distance, to be in regular touch with your lab mates and colleagues, and to consult frequently with your supervisors, mentors, and PIs as needed for information and more. Your college/school/center/unit deans and directors may also be resources to you, should you need them.
For research-related information, please visit the research section of this site. For information about course enrollment, including for international students, please consult the Graduate School website. Below are a number of relevant FAQs with the most up-to-date information available, which will be continuously updated as needed. You may also refer to the other FAQs on the university COVID-19 site if you are looking for answers to questions you do not see here.
Tips to help you get connected and be successful while learning remotely:
If you have a disability-related accommodation, please be in touch with your instructors to discuss any changes for your course. You can also reach out to your Access Consultant at the McBurney Disability Resource Center if you have questions.
Housing & Dining
University Housing will continue to share updates on operations with residents and their families. Please check the site for information about physical distancing guidelines, the University Apartments Community Center, Eagle’s Wing Child Care Center and more.
Graduate students living in University Apartments who have concerns about their ability to pay are encouraged to contact University Apartments to discuss their individual situations: firstname.lastname@example.org. COVID-19-related updates for University Apartment residents are posted online and emailed directly to residents.
For graduate students who do not live in University Apartments, community resources may be available to help them navigate individual situations with their landlords. The Tenant Resource Center is one such organization for Dane County residents.
Limited dining services are still available on campus for residents. Dining options are available at select University Housing locations and for pick-up at Memorial Union and Union South, beginning March 24.
UW Campus’ Metro Bus routes 80 and 84 will continue on the recess schedule, while most Madison Metro routes will shift to abbreviated schedules starting Monday, March 23. Route 81 and 82 do not run during recess service.
Saturday bus schedules will be in effect all seven days of the week for routes 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 26, 30, 31, 32, 36, 40, 50, 51, 59, 63, 67, 68, 78.
In addition, Metro will operate routes 55, 75, 23, 72, 44, 48 and 49 Monday through Friday only.
Metro’s paratransit service will remain unchanged. Paratransit riders who are at high risk of severe illness are strongly encouraged to protect themselves and stay home if possible.
Metro will also be selectively increasing the number of buses on routes with high ridership in order to meet the demand while still maintaining a maximum capacity of 15 riders per bus.
Check the Madison Metro website for updated details.
Most surface lots and parking garage/ramps are open and do not require a permit. Learn more at Transportation Services’ website.
Health & Wellness
University Health Services has modified its medical services to reflect operational changes across campus.
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.
You can also call UHS Mental Health Services at 608-265-5600.
The UW–Madison Department of Psychiatry has gathered a collection of resources to support the mental health and emotional well-being of our community during this difficult time. The UW Psychiatry COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Guide offers expert tips, coping strategies, and a variety of supporting tools.
SilverCloud is a self-guided, interactive mental health resource especially helpful for UW–Madison students experiencing anxiety related to COVID-19 events.
A variety of resources continue to provide services, either virtually or by phone:
Financial and Basic Needs
The Office of Student Financial Aid has a team of people ready to help connect you to financial and other resources. Though COVID-related emergency funding was only available through the end of the spring term, students may have other options and should reach out for help (email email@example.com or call (608) 262-3060 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday). Additional resources are listed on the FAQ page.
The Open Seat food pantry will distribute boxes using an online request form. Boxes can be picked up at Union South beginning March 24.
The Center offers helpful tools and guidance for your well-being.
COVID-19 is not specific to an ethnicity or race—disease does not discriminate. Racist behaviors or stereotyping are not tolerated at UW–Madison. If you experience harassment or discrimination, students are encouraged to file a bias incident report. Employees may file a complaint with the Office of Compliance.
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Are graduate assistants (TAs, PAs, and RAs) eligible for COVID-19 employee leave policy?
Employees who are affected by COVID-19 may qualify for paid leave under the federal program called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) until December 31, 2020.
UW−Madison COVID-19 leave is no longer available. See the revised COVID-19 Pandemic Leave Policy for more information.Last updated 12:10 PM, June 1, 2020
How do I access software that I usually use in a library or computer lab?
Can a PI require a graduate student or postdoctoral researcher to take part in laboratory-based research?
In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, per the Chancellor’s announcement, as well as by order of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, only research and campus operations deemed essential are permitted to continue at this time. A PI may not pressure or compel graduate students or postdoctoral researchers engaged in research to take part in laboratory-based activities during the pandemic. This is prohibited whether graduate students or postdocs are in roles deemed essential* or non-essential, regardless of visa status, and even when a request for authorization for continuation of limited research activities has been approved by the Dean’s office.
Consistent with campus guidelines, students, staff and trainees who are not engaged in an essential laboratory research activity or essential research function authorized by the Dean’s office cannot be physically present in the laboratory. They should work remotely on other aspects of a research project such as writing, planning experimental protocols, or data analysis.
If a graduate student or postdoctoral researcher’s role is considered essential*, a decision about whether to work on campus should be voluntary and informed by a discussion between the student/postdoc and supervisor, outlining activities to be done, possible concerns about health risk, and a plan to mitigate or eliminate these risks, including the student/postdoc responsibilities for risk reduction. This must be approved by their dean or center director.
*This flexibility for essential roles only applies to graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.Last updated 9:35 AM, March 27, 2020
What should a graduate assistant or postdoctoral researcher do if they feel pressured to work on-site?
Graduate students or postdoctoral researchers who feel pressured to work on-site may report such incidents using program/department or school/college reporting structures first. If these mechanisms do not exist or do not result in resolution, or the student is uncomfortable with those structures, graduate students should contact the Graduate School at firstname.lastname@example.org and postdoctoral researchers should contact the Office of Postdoctoral Studies at email@example.com.Last updated 3:52 PM, March 26, 2020
Will there be a time limit extension for doctoral candidates whose work has been disrupted by the pandemic?
Current Graduate School policy on time limits states that a candidate for a doctoral degree who fails to take the final oral examination and deposit the dissertation within 5 years after passing the preliminary examination may be required to take another preliminary examination and to be admitted to candidacy a second time.
To offer flexibility amidst the major disruption that COVID-19 may have on doctoral candidates’ research and scholarship progress during Spring 2020 and Summer 2020, the Graduate School will extend the 5-year time limit by 8 months for all doctoral degree candidates who are (or will be) in dissertator status in Spring 2020 or Summer 2020.Last updated 12:12 PM, June 1, 2020
How do I submit paper enrollment change forms to the Graduate School?
Because Bascom Hall is closed, the Graduate School cannot accept hardcopy forms. If you need to submit paper enrollment change forms (course change requests, withdrawals, etc.), please scan the form or take a photo of it on a mobile device and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Graduate School services, including academic services and funding or travel grant processing, are still available by email (preferred) and phone at 608-262-4322. (Graduate programs have received instructions about alternatives to paper warrant processing.)Last updated 12:07 PM, April 20, 2020
How do I request a refund from UW-Madison?
We remain committed to delivering instruction, achieving learning outcomes and supporting students in finishing the semester successfully. Therefore, our campus policy is to not refund any portion of tuition and/or fees for the Spring 2020 academic semester, where requests are based on the required change in instructional modality.
We recognize, however, that there may be some extraordinary circumstances where an exception to the campus policy might be warranted. We will examine all such requests after the completion of the spring semester.
If you believe that you have such exceptional circumstances warranting further consideration, please work with your dean’s office and provide:
- student name
- student ID
- a detailed reason for your appeal.
If you have concerns about completing a course or managing the current situation, you should contact your instructor, advisor, or your dean’s office about how to proceed. You should note, however, that the dean’s office is not empowered to grant refunds at this time and will be forwarding requests to a central campus appeals process.
For students on approved UW Study Abroad programs, please work with International Academic Programs.
We will continue to post general updates at UW-Madison COVID-19 site.
Thank you again for your communication and your understanding as we navigate this unprecedented situation.Last updated 9:26 AM, April 22, 2020
Is professional development still being offered?
While all spring semester face-to-face professional development programming has been cancelled or postponed, several online resources are available, listed below. Graduate students can search the DiscoverPD database for additional online opportunities.
ImaginePhD is a career exploration and Individual Development Plan tool for the humanities and social sciences. myIDP is a web-based career-planning tool for PhD students in the sciences. Aurora has over 70 hours of on-demand videos to explore career options and learn strategies for career success.
The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) offers faculty development opportunities aimed at advancing evidence-based teaching practices for diverse learners. The National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity is a professional development, training, and mentoring community for faculty members, postdocs, and graduate students.Last updated 12:09 PM, April 20, 2020
Will UW–Madison offer graduate admission deferment in the fall?
The Graduate School is prepared to offer flexibility for requests from admitted students to defer their fall 2020 admission to the spring, summer, or fall 2021 semesters without fees or re-application. The Graduate School will not, however, defer admission of any student without a program’s recommendation to do so.Posted on 6:19 PM, April 3, 2020
What resources are available for graduate students with children?
The Office of Child Care and Family Resources offers the Child Care Tuition Assistance Program for income-eligible UW–Madison students and other resource guides for students with children.
Other support related to parenting during COVID-19 may be available. Read more on the Graduate School’s webpage for graduate students with children.Posted on 12:47 PM, June 1, 2020
I am an incoming graduate student. Where can I find more information about my application/transcripts/immigration documents?
I feel stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, etc. Where can I go for help?
University Health Services is committed to supporting students and many medical, counseling, and wellness services are available by phone and accessible online. Find out more on the UHS Remote Health and Connection webpage. Crisis Services are available 24/7 at 608-265-5600 (option 9).
Graduate students can also call, email, or video chat with Elaine Goetz-Berman, the Graduate and Professional Student Assistance Specialist in the Dean of Students Office, email@example.com.
More mental health resources are available to you. Here are a few examples:
The Department of Psychiatry has compiled a curated collection of resources from a variety of sources to support the mental health and emotional wellbeing of our community during this difficult time.
SilverCloud is an online, self-guided resource designed to help students manage day-to-day stresses and improve resilience.
Healthy Minds Innovations recently launched a well-being app, called the Healthy Minds Program, that is now freely available to individuals in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health) has published an extensive COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
- 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- National Suicide Prevention website with chat option
- Supporting your emotional well-being during the covid-19 outbreak.
Crisis Text Line is helpful for panic attacks and other emotionally intense moments. Text HOME to 741741; a bot will provide you with their terms of service and put you on a waitlist to text with a real person. Wait times may be long due to current anxiety/panic about COVID-19.
SAMHSA Disaster Distress Hotline: Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. Dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories.Last updated 12:38 PM, June 1, 2020
I feel isolated from my peers and colleagues. What can I do?
Some programs have been hosting happy hours, virtual get-togethers, trivia nights, virtual karaoke, and social hours designed to help with isolation but also allow graduate students to have fun. University Recreation and Wellbeing also offers free virtual group fitness.
It can also help to schedule daily or weekly check-ins with your cohort, lab group, advisor group, etc. You may want to designate a quarantine buddy for check-ins is group check-ins don’t work for your situation.
The CDC also recommends connecting with others as a way to take care of your emotional health during a disaster. Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships, and build a strong support system.Posted on 3:10 PM, April 8, 2020
Where can I park?
Park and Rides
Park and ride lots are open per normal schedule—no overnight or weekend parking. There is no shuttle service as of March 19. As per relaxed campus parking rules (see below), park and ride permit holders may park on campus in certain lots.
At this time, no parking permit or payment is required to park in most* surface lots and gated lots (ramps and garages). All timed “meter” (through vendor ParkMobile) stalls do not require payment. Flex permit holders do not need to start a paid parking session.
*Exceptions (updated 3/20/19): There are certain controlled parking areas: high security areas, areas vital to researchers, and some UWHC lots. A lot-specific permit is required to park in these areas.
- Controlled as of 3/23/20: Lot 11 (Bascom Hall), Lot 23 (Van Hise Garage), Lot 38 (Microbial Sciences Garage), and Lot 95 (HSLC Garage), Lot 13, Lot 22, Lot 51, Lot 54, Lot 56, Lot 74, Lot 81 and Lot 82. If you do not have a lot specific permit for one of these surface lots but need access for your work, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Requesting access for parking in [insert Lot #]”.
- Controlled as of 5/11/20: At the request of UW Hospital administration, Lot 75 is restricted to UW Hospital and AFCH patients, visitors and Lot 75 permit holders.
For safety reasons, vehicles must be properly parked inside the lines for marked stalls and cannot park in restricted areas (ex. access aisle, fire lane, blocking someone in, etc.) or reserved stalls. Reserved stalls are specially signed and include department reserved, service/vendor and UW Disabled stalls. A state DOT Disabled permit or plate is required for use of UW Disabled stalls.
Note: campus buildings are locked and parking facilities attached to those buildings may be impacted. This list will be updated as information is available:
- Lot 80 is open, but Union South is closed. Foot traffic can use the open stairwell to access the Dayton Street patio area. Accessible parking is available in the circular drive off Dayton Street, between Union South and Computer Sciences.
What are transportation options for graduate assistants that are essential employees needed on-site?
At this time, UW Transportation Services does not require a parking permit or payment to park in most surface lots and gated lots (ramps and garages). All meter/ParkMobile stalls do not require payment. Flex permit holders do not need to start a paid parking session.
Please be aware that if you plan to take the bus, Madison Metro Transit has announced service changes and reduced operations for most of their routes. Read full details on the Metro COVID-19 service update webpage.Posted on 12:14 PM, March 23, 2020
What if I am a student experiencing financial hardship or having difficulty meeting basic needs due to COVID-19?
We understand that some students will experience financial hardship associated with the impact of COVID-19 as it relates to family, travel and academics. The following resources are available:
- Office of Student Financial Aid:
The Office of Student Financial Aid has a team of people ready to help connect you to financial and other resources. Though COVID-related emergency funding was only available through the end of the spring term, students may have other options and should reach out for help.
- Deferred Tuition Payment: Students may be eligible for a deferred tuition payment date and late-fee waiver. Students should contact the Bursar’s Office for extending their tuition payment date: email@example.com.
- Basic Needs: The Office of Student Financial Aid has compiled a list of basic needs resources in the Madison area. If you need resources in a different area, the United Way 211 will provide information based on your zip code. You can also call 211 and will be given information for the nearest emergency food provider.
- The Open Seat food pantry: Beginning Tuesday, March 24, 2020 between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m., students can pick up prepackaged food boxes at Union South near the hotel entrance off of Dayton Street. These boxes are intended to assist those who need to supplement their food budget.
- Boxes are packed and distributed by Second Harvest Foodbank. They come in a 10-lb size for an individual, or a 25-lb size for a household of four. The first round of boxes will be available on March 24 at 12 p.m. After March 24, students should request a box using this link: https://forms.gle/68aLFddgX1ECCTQEA
- We ask that you submit your order by Thursday for a pick-up the following Tuesday. Pick-ups will be every Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at Union South.
- For questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Also for Graduate Students: Although the university is committed to continuity of pay for graduate assistants, other factors related to COVID-19 may have an impact on finances. The Dean of Students Crisis Loan ($500-$1,000), International Students Services Loans (up to $5,000), Deferred Tuition Payment, and other emergency funds may be available. Read more in the Financial Matters FAQ. The Division of Extension has compiled a list of financial resources to support some common financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Graduate students living in University Apartments who have concerns about their ability to pay are encouraged to contact University Apartments to discuss their individual situations: email@example.com. COVID-19-related updates for University Apartment residents are posted online and emailed directly to residents. For graduate students who do not live in University Apartments, community resources may be available to help them navigate individual situations with their landlords. The Tenant Resource Center is one such organization for Dane County residents.
Last updated 12:41 PM, June 1, 2020
What resources are available for TAs?
A campus instructional continuity website continues to be updated with general guidance, suggested strategies and tools, webinars and where to reach out for support. For questions related to instruction, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
UW–Madison Libraries are also offering instructional continuity library resources.Last updated 12:45 PM, June 1, 2020
Where can I find resources and tools to learn or work remotely?
The DoIT Help Desk is also available to support faculty, staff, and students who need additional assistance.
DoIT has shared tips for how to manage slower internet speed and low bandwidth while working and learning remotely. Students should contact their instructors as soon as possible if their internet connectivity or lack of access to certain equipment or software (such as laptops, digital learning tools, or printers) is restricting their access to course materials and class participation. Instructors are also encouraged to use asynchronous instruction and learning activities wherever possible to reduce the need for high-speed, robust connectivity
If students, faculty or staff need to check out a laptop to assist with remote learning, teaching, or working, please see this guide.
Many carriers are currently offering low-cost wired broadband internet service options. Contact your local internet provider to see if they are offering free or reduced rates. DoIT does not recommend relying on mobile hotspots as they do not provide enough data to sustain continued full-time work or learning from home.Last updated 12:45 PM, June 1, 2020
Can I continue my research?
All research that can be accomplished remotely should proceed and be done remotely until further notification. All on-site research activities must be approved by a dean or director. Graduate students should work with their PI or supervisor on a plan for continuing their research activities. See the Campus Research Activities Update for more information.Posted on 12:16 PM, March 23, 2020
Can I still travel to a conference or travel to conduct research?
All university-sponsored travel is canceled through the end of the spring semester, including university-sponsored conference attendance and research travel. Graduate students awarded travel funding through the Student Research Grants Competition received information about flexibility in use of those funds.Posted on 12:19 PM, March 23, 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 studentsLast updated 12:28 PM, April 15, 2020
Can I still get a pre-check for my doctoral dissertation?
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 online instruction. This federal guidance applies only to campus-wide online 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.
How can I volunteer or help in Dane County?
The best way to help your community during the pandemic is by maintaining physical distancing and following Safer at Home guidelines to reduce the impact of COVID-19. For volunteering resources and other ways to safely help in Dane County, please visit the Morgridge Center for Public Service, which works to bridge campus and community through service and learning.
The staff at Morgridge has broken out some of the larger topics:Last updated 11:17 AM, May 12, 2020
What should I do if I am defending a thesis, taking a qualifying exam, or participating in some other milestone necessary for academic progress?
Dissertation and thesis defenses, preliminary exams, qualifying exams, and similar milestone activities are essential events, directly related to the academic mission of the university, and will continue. However, these should take place virtually, with limited exceptions. Accommodations should be made for graduate students or required committee members who are unable to participate due to illness or quarantine.
Students defending a dissertation or thesis can gather thesis committee members’ signatures electronically for their degree warrant.Last updated 3:14 PM, March 24, 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
In a blog post, Chancellor Blank looks ahead to how the university will be operating this fall to ensure students receive a full educational program while maintaining the safety of the campus community.12:13 pm, May 18, 2020
Public Health Madison Dane County has issued a local public health order that maintains Safer at Home guidelines in Madison and Dane County until May 26. The action comes in response to a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision on Wednesday that invalidated the state’s Safer at Home Order.9:13 pm, May 13, 2020
According to UW-Madison’s Office of Legal Affairs, the restrictions in the executive order are limited to new applications made outside the U.S. for the next 60 days for “immigrant visas,” (those individuals seeking permanent residence in the U.S).8:56 am, April 24, 2020
A collection of ways to volunteer during the pandemic, from donating to local food pantries to assisting frontline responders.6:35 pm, April 21, 2020
Gov. Tony Evers today directed Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to extend the Safer at Home order from April 24, 2020 to 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 26, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued. The order implements some new measures to ensure safety and support the progress we've made in containing COVID-19, but also allows certain activities to start up again.2:03 pm, April 16, 2020
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 …2:43 pm, April 13, 2020
The Cybersecurity Operations Center at UW–Madison is aware of an active phishing campaign targeting Webex users. Please be vigilant if you receive emails stating your Webex software is out of date. Cisco will NOT contact users via email that their Webex software requires an update.9:59 am, April 12, 2020
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