COVID and Campus
Posted on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020 at 6:21 pm
UW-Madison is an important part of our community. In this era of COVID, we recognize that decisions made on campus will affect the rest of our community. Everyone, including college campuses and other venues which bring large groups of people together, must take the necessary steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if we are to keep the pandemic under control.
Even though Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) has limited authority over state agencies like the UW, see the details here, public health has worked with the University to support its Smart Restart plan. It is my hope that students and faculty continue to follow these guidelines to keep all of us safe.
By local and state order, it is imperative that students, whether in a classroom, in a dorm, or in a business, continue to wear masks and face coverings and practice physically distancing. Students should hold online or virtual events to the fullest extent possible to minimize density on campus.
Because of a spike in cases associated with bars opening in June, PHMDC has ordered all bars closed to indoor patrons, including the bars around UW campus. UW fraternities and sororities are taking steps prohibiting any social gatherings and events that include alcohol and have pledged to follow our public health guidelines. Violations of these guidelines will be sanctioned by both UW-Madison and the City of Madison. Off campus parties are also prohibited by our public health orders.
As students move in, active testing, contact tracing, quarantine assistance, and transparency are part of the UW’s plan. The UW expects to perform thousands of tests per week, including testing students on their first day on campus. This is sure to result in an increased number of positives, but the hope is that the UW will be identifying cases before there is a chance to spread. The UW is also monitoring using innovative campus wastewater sampling.
Last week, the UW released a dashboard to provide information to the public about the results of COVID testing among students, staff and faculty. It can be accessed here.
The entire City of Madison looks forward to the day when we can once again gather on the Terrace and enjoy games at Camp Randall or in the Field House. But until there is a vaccine, more effective treatment, or a cure for all of us, everyone—especially young people who may get sick but have few symptoms—must do their part to keep our most vulnerable residents and our entire community safe.