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Employee update: Building access enforcement starts Wednesday Feb. 10

February 3, 2021

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This message covers

  • Building access restrictions beginning Feb. 10
  • Update on drop-in testing
  • Latest vaccine news
  • FAQs on building access

In this second week of the spring semester, we continue to be grateful for the campus community’s commitment to expanded COVID-19 testing requirements. About 51,000 people have now signed into the new Safer Badgers app, and we are averaging just over 4,800 tests per day at our campus sites. Test results are coming back faster and fewer samples are being rejected.

The employees at our testing sites and behind the scenes are working diligently to make the process as safe and easy as possible. We appreciate your patience and understanding as you interact with them. It’s a big job helping to keep campus safe during a pandemic; meet a few of these workers.

Enforcement of building access restrictions will begin Wednesday, Feb. 10. As of that date, your Badger Badge must be green (access granted) to enter a campus facility. You should get tested now to be ready for Feb. 10. This is the first phase of our compliance approach and is possible given our improved turnaround times, decreased rejection rates, and two-week soft launch.

Building access

  • To enter a building on the main campus starting Wednesday you will need to be in compliance with campus testing policy. It’s important to plan ahead to ensure building access Wednesday – remember to allow at least 24 hours for your test to come back. (Occasionally it will take longer, which is why you should always test at least two days before your green badge is due to expire.)
  • Trained employees will be at the entrances to many buildings and will ask you to show the Badger Badge screen on your Safer Badgers app. The Badger Badge screen has two display options: a green checkmark (access granted) or a red “X” (access denied). No personal health information is revealed. Your screen will need to show a green checkmark (access granted) to enter.
  • Your badge will remain green as long as you: have a negative test on file in the past eight days; have not had a positive test on file within the last 10 days; are not required to be in isolation or quarantine; and have not self-reported symptoms of COVID-19.
  • The trained employees, called Badger Wellness Ambassadors, are there to assist you with questions that might arise. Answers to many questions about building access can be found on this FAQs page. A few of the most common questions are answered at the end of this message.

Drop-in testing

As announced Jan. 22, campus has switched to a drop-in system for COVID-19 testing.

  • You no longer need an appointment at any of the saliva-based testing sites on campus. (At this time, nasal swab testing sites are open only to residence hall students and individuals with medical accommodations.)
  • You will see color-coded estimated wait times on your Safer Badgers app for each site. We encourage you to visit the testing site with the shortest available wait.


The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has announced the next set of people eligible for COVID-19 vaccination beginning March 1.

  • UW–Madison is working to identify and notify members of the campus community of their eligibility and provide next steps for vaccination.
  • Watch your email address over the next several weeks for updates from University Health Services.

How to get help

  • If you have a question not addressed by the FAQs, you can email or call the UW–Madison COVID-19 Assistance Line at (608) 262-7777. The line is staffed Mondays through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Please continue to check the COVID-19 Response website for updates.

Building Access FAQs

Why was the effective date changed from Monday, Feb. 8, to Wednesday, Feb. 10?
We made this adjustment anticipating a surge in testing demand leading up to the enforcement of building restrictions. We want you to be able to leverage the additional test sites and hours that are available on weekdays as compared to the weekend. If on Monday your badge has a red “X” (building access denied) because you do not have a negative test recorded, you should get tested as soon as possible so that you are in compliance by Wednesday.

If my badge has a red “X” (building access denied) on Wednesday because I don’t have a negative test recorded and I am scheduled for work, what should I do?

Do not attempt to enter a campus building. Inform your supervisor. If it has been less than 48 hours since your last test, your result is likely still pending and your badge will update when it is received. If it has been more than 48 hours since your last test, seek another test as soon as possible.

If I forget my smart device or it is broken or out of battery, how can I access campus buildings?

Badger Wellness Ambassadors will be able to check the status of your Badger Badge by using your NetID. (They will not be able to see your personal health information, including test results, or the reason your badge status may be “building access denied.”) You will be required to show a photo ID. Please allow more time for this process because it involves additional action beyond just a quick visual check of your badge.

Do the testing and building access requirements apply to UW facilities other than those on the main Madison campus?

Units that are located off campus and in the Madison area may choose to implement the campus testing requirements and limit access to their facilities based on compliance with these requirements. Check with the unit for any access requirements.

I primarily work remotely but am required to report to campus to address unexpected issues (for example, IT outages or issues in a research lab). How often do I need to test?

Beginning Feb. 10, to access campus buildings, you will need to have tested negative within the previous 8 days. It is recommended that you test weekly to ensure you can report to campus on short notice. If you are called to respond to a situation but do not have a green checkmark (access granted) on your Badger Badge screen, you should reach out to a supervisor or colleague to identify someone who can respond.