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A campus health update as fall finishes and we look ahead to spring

December 8, 2022

Jan. 17 Update: This information has been updated. Find the Jan. 17 health update here.​​

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As the end of the fall semester nears, all students, staff and faculty are encouraged to take steps to support their health. This time of year, several respiratory viruses circulate and taking steps like frequent hand washing, staying home when sick and wearing a mask are all effective ways for people to limit the chances of illness.

UW–Madison continues to consult with campus, local and state public health experts and looking ahead to the spring semester, there are updates to the campus approach to COVID-19. Here is what to expect:


  • No-cost antigen testing for COVID-19 will remain available to all students and employees at 333 East Campus Mall. Antigen test availability will pause after Dec. 23 and resume on Jan. 3, 2023.
  • The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is also sponsoring a program that allows households to place an order every month for one free test kit that contains five rapid antigen tests.
  • PCR testing for COVID-19 will remain available through the end of the fall semester. Starting on Dec. 26, PCR testing for employees should be sought through a health care provider or an off-campus testing site. UW–Madison students who are symptomatic and need to see a provider can make an appointment at University Health Services. With the change to PCR testing, the COVID-19 dashboard will also be phased out. These changes are consistent with those of Public Health Madison and Dane County (PHMDC) and other peer institutions of higher education nationally.


  • Vaccination is a highly effective way to prevent illness or limit the effects of illness.
  • All students and employees are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19, and to seek their annual flu vaccine.
  • Beginning Monday, Dec. 12, students and employees can receive a bivalent Pfizer COVID-19 booster by logging into MyUHS and making an appointment at the UHS clinic at 333 E. Campus Mall. These are offered at no cost.
  • UHS has one more flu vaccine clinic scheduled this fall, with appointments available on Dec. 8. Students and employees can also sign up to get a COVID-19 booster at the same time.
  • PHMDC maintains a list of locations offering both flu vaccine and COVID-19 boosters.
  • Students and employees who receive COVID-19 vaccination off campus are encouraged to upload their information to MyUHS.


  • Wearing a high-quality face mask is a simple and effective way to help prevent upper respiratory viral infections, including COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
  • While supplies remain available, the university will continue to offer no-cost masks to students and employees at the campus antigen test pick-up site.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend a minimum of five days of isolation for anyone with COVID-19, followed by five additional days of masking around other people and when in public. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is encouraged to notify their close contacts. The CDC offers additional guidance for what to do following an exposure.

The university will continue to consult public health experts and seek guidance throughout the fall and early winter and will provide additional updates as the spring semester approaches.