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COVID-19 policy changes: events, face coverings, outdoor physical distancing

May 27, 2021

June 2 – This message has been updated with additional information about masking in child care and food preparation settings and on Madison Metro buses.

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Effective June 2, campus policies for events, face coverings and outdoor physical distancing are being updated.

Face coverings

Fully vaccinated people will no longer be required to wear face coverings in most indoor spaces on the UW–Madison campus. Unvaccinated people should continue to wear face coverings indoors. The chancellor’s order on masking has been rescinded. Clinical and health care, child care and food preparation settings may continue to require masks regardless of vaccination status. Others may choose to wear masks in certain settings and individual masking choices should not be interpreted as an indicator of vaccinated/non-vaccinated status.

As required by federal law, Madison Metro Transit has announced that face coverings must still be worn by all individuals at bus transfer points, shelters and throughout boarding, riding and leaving the bus.

Masks are not required in campus outdoor settings; however, those who are not vaccinated are encouraged to wear them when physical distancing is not possible.

Any individual who is not vaccinated should wear a face covering when driving or riding with others. Vehicle occupancy when traveling with an individual who is not vaccinated is recommended to be no more than 50 percent of capacity.  Campus travel policy has been updated to reflect this change.

Events

  • Outdoor events: There will be no limit on the size of outdoor university affiliated events on or off campus. Individuals who are not vaccinated should maintain six feet physical distancing and if physical distancing is not possible, wear a face covering.
  • Indoor events: The size of the event will be limited to the maximum allowable to ensure that at least 6 feet of physical distancing can be maintained by all those attending (vaccinated and unvaccinated) who are not members of the same household/living unit. In addition, individuals who are not vaccinated should wear a face covering.

Read the policy for registered student organizations (RSOs)

Read the policy for schools/colleges/divisions

Physical distancing

  • Outdoors: Physical distancing is no longer required outdoors for vaccinated people. Individuals who are not vaccinated should maintain 6 feet physical distancing and if physical distancing is not possible, wear a face covering.
  • Indoors: The indoor physical distancing requirements remains at least 6 feet, regardless of vaccination status. (See the Events policy for guidance on events)

These decisions have been made based on the evidence that vaccination provides robust protection against COVID-19. Because people who are not fully vaccinated do not have this protection, to protect themselves and others, they should continue to wear face coverings indoors (unless working alone in a closed office) and outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

This policy is consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Public Health Madison & Dane County. Strong vaccination rates on campus and in the broader community also make this new policy possible. Dane County currently has the highest vaccination rate among large counties nationally, according to the CDC.

If you were vaccinated by UW Health or another off-campus provider, and haven’t yet uploaded your record, please upload your documentation of vaccination to UHS. The more we understand our community’s vaccination participation, the better decisions we can make about campus operations and health policies.

No-cost vaccination will continue to be available on campus for students, employees and the general public ages 12 and up. Starting today, the campus vaccination clinic will be located at University Health Services on the 6th floor of 333 E. Campus Mall.

COVID-19 vaccines are very safe and highly effective. UW–Madison strongly encourages choosing vaccination to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community.

FAQ

Q – Can I be informed about the vaccination status of the colleagues I work closely with?

No. Employees may not ask colleagues if they have been vaccinated. However, employees may voluntarily share if they’ve been vaccinated.

Q – How do I know whether someone should be wearing a mask?

It’s understandable to wonder about someone else’s vaccination status but remember, the most important thing you can do to protect yourself against COVID-19 is to become vaccinated yourself. If an unvaccinated person does not wear a mask, they, not you, are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19. We strongly encourage all students and employees to choose vaccination, which is available on campus at no cost.

It is not appropriate to ask whether someone is vaccinated or why they are/are not wearing a mask.

Recognizing that we may not know others’ vaccination status or health concerns, we ask that all members of our campus community continue to be respectful of others and the protective practices they choose to use.

Q – Can I continue wearing a mask if I’m fully vaccinated?

Yes.

Q – How is the expectation for unvaccinated people to wear masks being enforced?

We continue to educate our community about how mask wearing allows the unvaccinated individuals to protect themselves from serious illness.

Q – Can my unit/lab/classroom/event this summer require that all participants have a green Badger Badge?

Yes. Staff monitoring access must first complete a training and registration form.

Q – Can my unit/research lab/event require that everyone wear masks regardless of vaccination status?

No, unless it is a clinical or health care setting. However, wearing a mask in these settings can be encouraged. In addition, anyone, regardless of vaccination status, can continue to wear a mask indoors or outdoors.

Q – I’m an instructor – can I encourage or require masks in my classroom?
Instructors can encourage but not require all students to wear masks in their classroom.

Q – A student has disclosed they are not vaccinated and they refuse to wear a mask. What action should be taken?

Remind the student of the mask expectation for the unvaccinated, encourage vaccination to protect themselves, and if the student continues to not comply, contact the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.

Q – An employee I supervise has disclosed they are not vaccinated and they refuse to wear a mask. What action should I take?

Remind the employee of the mask expectation for the unvaccinated, encourage vaccination to protect themselves, and contact your unit’s Human Resources representative if the employee continues to not comply.

Q – Is there still a requirement to maintain physical distancing?
The indoor physical distancing requirements remains at least 6 feet, regardless of vaccination status. Outdoors, individuals who are not vaccinated should maintain 6 feet physical distancing and if physical distancing is not possible, wear a face covering.

Q – Although I am fully vaccinated, I have a health condition (or a member of my household has a health condition) that puts me (them) at greater risk of serious illness if I (they) contract COVID. I’m not comfortable being around unmasked people unless I know they are fully vaccinated. What can I do?

Please be aware that a majority of employees and students have already received at least one shot and many are fully vaccinated. You may continue to wear a mask if you wish. If you have specific concerns related to a health condition that you have, please talk to your Divisional Disability Representative.

Q – What is the current Dane County policy on face coverings?

Effective June 2, Public Health Madison & Dane County will no longer have public health orders in place requiring face coverings. PHMDC continues to recommend that unvaccinated people wear masks indoors.

Q – What is the current Dane County policy on gatherings?

Effective June 2, Public Health Madison & Dane County will no longer have public health orders in place regarding gatherings.