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Employee message: Looking ahead to Thanksgiving and beyond

October 13, 2020

The outstanding efforts of students, faculty and staff to follow public health protocols this semester have resulted in a reduced number of positive COVID-19 cases in the campus community. We are grateful for the diligence and care you have shown to help stem the spread of the virus.

As the Thanksgiving recess approaches, we would like to remind faculty and staff about the need to avoid activities that may contribute to the spread of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that travel increases the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19, and that staying home is the best way to protect yourselves and others.

Beginning on Monday, November 30 (following the Thanksgiving holiday), in-person group instruction, including final exams, will be fully remote. Students who need to complete their coursework this semester in Madison are also being urged not to travel for the holiday. We will continue to allow clinical training, and, with school/college approval, facilitate in-person undergraduate research experiences and undergraduate access to laboratories, studios, practice rooms, and fabrication facilities. We will also keep open some in-person spaces to facilitate learning, such as libraries, computer labs and virtual learning spaces.

The UW–Madison campus will remain open for students who are not able to leave for the holiday break. Additional information provided to students can be found at

For employees who are working on campus and choose to travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, we urge you to strictly limit your interactions with others where possible for 14 days after your return. We strongly recommend receiving a test for COVID-19 before returning to campus duties. Information about on-campus testing options can be found at

Student hourlies may also have the option to continue working; check with your supervisor. Students employed in research labs may continue to work with the permission of the lab’s Principal Investigator or instructor.

We recognize that Thanksgiving has traditionally been a time to spend with family and friends. Currently, infection rates at UW–Madison and in Dane County remain lower than most of Wisconsin, where infection rates are among the highest in the United States. The precautions we recommend are necessary in these times to limit risk to your family, friends and home community, as well as Madison and Dane County.