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Safer at Home order from Governor Evers

March 24, 2020

Updated April 16: Gov. Evers extends Safer at Home order

Updated April 13: UWPD will enforce the “Safer At Home Order” by issuing citations to violators, which may result in monetary fines.

To our students, faculty and staff,

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, at the direction of Governor Tony Evers issued a “Safer at Home” Governor’s Order today to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. The Governor’s Order was issued due to the growing rate of infections across Wisconsin, including in Dane County. “Safer at Home” requires Wisconsin residents to stay at home and engage in social distancing; it also closes non-essential businesses and bans non-essential travel and social gatherings. The Governor’s Order also supersedes any inconsistent local orders. It will go into effect Wednesday, March 25, 2020, at 8:00 a.m. and will remain in effect until 8:00 a.m. on Friday, April 24, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued.

For your safety and the safety of the broader community, it is very important that you follow this order. This message is intended to share information about what the order means for the UW–Madison community, along with essential campus and community activities that are allowed to continue.

UW–Madison continues to maintain essential university operations, including distance learning and essential research, which is specifically permitted under the Governor’s Order. If you are expected to be on campus for these activities, you are allowed to travel.

Here are some important points to remember about how the order affects you and the university:

  • All are asked to stay at home, except when engaged in an essential activity, which includes tasks essential to their health and safety such as seeking medical care, purchasing food and supplies, and working or volunteering at essential businesses or operations. Only essential travel is permitted.
  • Social distancing is the most important preventive measure against infection. This means staying six feet away from those who are not immediate family members, working from home unless you are an essential employee required to be at your place of employment, and not congregating in groups.
  • Avoid social gatherings with people of all ages (including playdates and sleepovers, parties, large family dinners, visitors in your home, non-essential workers in your house).
  • Essential community services such as grocery stores, pharmacies, laundromats and gas stations will remain open. Restaurants will remain closed for dine-in service, but some will continue to provide curb-side takeout and delivery. It is recommended to call the business first before leaving home to ensure it is open.
  • All essential employees who are required to be on campus to perform work functions deemed essential to operations should still come to work.
  • Students who have permission to remain in University Housing can remain, with limited services. Move-out has been halted; for more information visit the Housing website.
  • Alternative delivery of courses will continue through the rest of spring semester and students engaged in academic activity are reminded not to congregate in groups.
  • Going outside to take walks, walking a dog or riding a bike is permitted as long as you practice social distancing. Participating in group activities such as soccer or basketball is prohibited.
  • The order has not postponed Wisconsin’s spring primary election which is still scheduled for April 7. To request an absentee ballot, visit

UW–Madison continues to ask everyone to self-monitor for symptoms. This includes:

  • Actively monitor for fever (100.4 degrees F or above), cough, and shortness of breath.
  • If your symptoms change dramatically, contact your health care provider immediately. Call ahead before going to any clinic, urgent care, or emergency department.
  • Students in Madison can call University Health Services (UHS) at (608) 265-5600 and describe their symptoms. UHS remains open by appointment, with limited in-person clinical services. Telehealth medical and mental health appointments are available, but drop-in appointments are not.
  • If you have been tested for or were in close contact with someone with COVID-19, a public health official will contact you regularly for symptom updates and instructions for next steps.