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Caring for the health and well-being of our community

March 14, 2020

To our campus community,

With the rapidly changing environment related to COVID-19, it is reasonable to feel anxious about the escalating number of cases across Wisconsin, nationally, and globally.

Even before UW–Madison had a confirmed case of COVID-19, we were in active preparations to protect the health and wellbeing of our campus community for not only COVID-19, but all communicable diseases, in addition to our day-to-day work of medical and mental health care.

I am also fielding many questions from those greatly concerned about COVID-19, and I hope this email provides you with information that helps you understand your role in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Let me emphasize, if you ever are in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Dane County, Public Health Madison Dane County will contact you directly. Everyone associated with the most recent confirmed case have already been contacted.

Medical providers are prioritizing testing and management for those who are at highest risk of complications.

The most important thing you can do to keep yourself and others well and reduce the risk to those family members who might be at higher risk is to:

  • Stay home if you feel sick
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially before you make food, eat, or feed another person, after you use the bathroom, and after you sneeze. Wash your hands with regular soap for 20 seconds, vigorously scrubbing under water. If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol (example: Purell) may be used; however, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. Dispose of the tissue in a trash receptacle and wash or sanitize your hands.
  • Consider social distancing. Consider standing six feet away from people and not attending personal events.
  • Most important, please allow the health care system to help those at high-risk: those 60+, those who are immunocompromised, and those with an active COVID-19 diagnosis

I always recommend people to have a general stock of medical supplies, like if you were home for the common cold or influenza:

  • Band-Aids
  • Digital thermometer
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Advil) and/or Naproxen (Aleve) for pain or fever
  • Bismuth Subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol)
  • Sports drinks
  • Decongestant (alone or in combination with antihistamine)
  • Cough drops
  • Personal medications
  • Any prescription or over-the-counter drugs you take on a regular or intermittent basis
  • Food supplies, like soup, broth, or crackers

I urge you to obtain information about COVID-19 from reliable, accurate, and trusted health resources, such as Public Health Madison Dane County, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and the university’s regularly updated COVID-19 website.

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.

Finally, I encourage you to consider your mental health. All UW–Madison students, staff, and faculty have access to SilverCloud, a no-cost cognitive behavioral health resource available 24/7. Students can call the UHS Mental Health Crisis Line 24/7 at 608-265-5600 (option 9). Employees can call the Employee Assistance Office at 608-263-2987. Employees also have access to Life Matters, a free and confidential statewide service that provides 24/7 telephone and text support for employees’ personal and work-related concerns.

For additional questions, continue to monitor the campus site and the FAQ’s, which are continuously updated. Students with medical questions can call University Health Services (UHS) at 608-265-5600. Employees with medical questions can call their primary care provider. Remember to call ahead before arriving at any clinic, urgent care, or emergency room if you suspect you have COVID-19. Additional questions can be routed to

Thank you,

Jake Baggott
Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
UHS Executive Director