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University of Wisconsin-Madison Registered Student Organization COVID-19 Policy  for 2020-2021 Academic Year Events and Meetings

August 14, 2020

Updated November 19, 2020

The following policy for Registered Student Organization (RSO) events is aligned with University of Wisconsin–Madison’s COVID-19 Response Plan which seeks to mitigates risks to our campus community while allowing for necessary activities. This policy may be modified as new information becomes available from national, state and local public health agencies. Local units may establish more restrictive policy as deemed appropriate. Questions about these guidelines may be referred to

01.  Applicability

  1. This policy applies to the sponsored programs, activities, meetings, or gatherings, regardless of their location on or off university property, of all Registered Student Organizations (hereafter referred to as RSOs)

02.  Definitions

  1. Attendee – Any individual present at an event hosted by the RSO. This includes all students, faculty, staff, and visitors/guests.
  2. Event – Any activity (including all meetings, internal or other), regardless of the location on or off university property, coordinated by an RSO to bring people together.
  3. Event Host – The sponsoring RSO, or other connected entity. For purposes of meetings, the event host is the convener.
  4. Event Manager – UW–Madison employee responsible for managing event (or meeting) reservations and logistics in their school, college, or division’s reservable space, and their non-university affiliated counterparts.

03.  Approval

  1. Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) may host events so long as they follow this campus policy, the Public Health Madison Dane County Current Order (PHMDC), and CDC. This applies to all sponsored programs, activities, meetings, and gatherings, regardless of their location on or off university property.
  2. RSO events and meetings that are deemed critical to the university’s mission, but that have aspects which fall outside of PHMDC guidelines (e. g. size, health protocols, etc.) require approval from Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (or designee).
  3. Student groups that are not RSOs but who are connected to a school, college, or division (e.g. student advisory board) must have any event exceptions approved by their respective Vice Chancellor, Academic Dean, or Research Center Director.
  4. Vice Chancellors, Academic Deans, and Research Center Directors may establish their own more restrictive policy for their units and the spaces that they manage.

04.  Virtual Events

  1. Whenever possible, it is recommended that on-line/virtual event formats are utilized to minimize traffic and density on and around campus.
  2. It is highly recommended that, where technology permits, all events are designed to allow for attendees to participate virtually if they choose not to or are unable to participate in person.

05.  Event Size

  1. See occupancy limits in the Mass Gatherings section of the PHMDC’s Current Order.
  2. Attendance will be limited to the venue’s capacity which should be adjusted for 6 feet of physical distancing per attendee. As a standard operating assumption, 113 sq. ft. should be allocated per attendee to maintain physical distancing. RSOs are encouraged to examine hosting event outdoors hosting, when possible, to facilitate physical distancing.

06.  Health Protocols at Events

  1. Event hosts are responsible for assessing the health risks of the activity and making appropriate modifications.
  2. Event host(s) will:
    1. Follow campus policy, the PHMDC Current Order, and CDC guidelines.
    2. Provide, and require attendees to use as appropriate, face coverings, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies at each event. Some university support may be available. More information will be sent to RSOs and listed in the Student Organization Resource and Policy Guide once determined.
    3. Develop, either directly or in accordance with venue guidelines, a plan for the flow of traffic to and from the event space.
    4. Register attendees and take attendance through an electronic or manual system.
      1. The event host must collect the name, e-mail, primary phone number, and current address of all attendees and send it to the Wisconsin Involvement Network (preferred), or, in case contact tracing is necessary.
      2. The university encourages RSOs to use (WIN), which is free and provides enhanced ease of use for students to collect registration information.
    5. Communicate with potential attendees: the event safety measures; expectations of health related behaviors; the reporting mechanism for non-compliance by the event host or those attending.

07.  Food and Refreshments at Events

  1. All food and beverage provided at events must be either commercially prepackaged/individually packaged or served by university catering staff. See campus catering policy.
  2. If food is provided by a restaurant or catering company not affiliated with the university, food must be provided in single serve packaging.

08.  Monitoring, Enforcement, Accountability

  1. The event host is responsible for monitoring and enforcement of this policy as it pertains to their event or meeting.
  2. RSOs may have their event canceled or prevented from continuing if this policy is not followed. The University is not responsible for related financial expenditures or consequences.
  3. Any student or RSO that fails to abide by these guidelines may be asked or directed to leave the event and may be subject to disciplinary action.
  4. Non-compliance by individuals or groups should be reported via this specialized form.
  5. RSOs will be held accountable through the Student Organization Code of Conduct and the Committee on Student Organizations.
  6. Individual students will be held accountable through UWS Chapter 17 and the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards.

09.  Additional Best Practices and Resources for Event Planning During Covid-19

  1. Adjust in-person event timeframes to allow additional pre-function time for safe queuing practices, crowd management, attendee check-ins, and safety announcements.
  2. When contemplating or planning service learning and community service events, consider the type of activity participants will engage in and the potential health impact on those attending.
  3. Regardless of the event delivery format, e. g. formal, informal, on-line, in-person, etc., consider how the RSO will actively promote safe practices and healthy, engaging community environments.
  4. Instructional/academic use of campus event space is a priority. Event space will likely be in high demand; therefore, planning ahead will be paramount to RSO event success.
  5. Run/walk events should not be held and will not be approved.
  6. Consult these additional resources when planning or approving an event:
    1. COVID-19 Response website
    2. Campus Public Health Protocols
    3. Cleaning/Disinfection to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
    4. Face Coverings Guidance
    5. RSO event planning
    6. Sample Seating/Room Layouts
    7. Virtual Event Platforms
  7. Consider using a health protocols checklist (Appendix A) in planning.

Appendix A

University of Wisconsin–Madison Events Safety Checklist

Name of Event:
Organization(s) Hosting Event:
Purpose of Event:
Point of Contact:
Point of Contact’s Email:
Point of Contact’s Phone Number:
Date(s) of Scheduled Event:
Time(s) of Scheduled Event:
Location of Scheduled Event:
Number of Anticipated Attendees:


As the event host, I:

…have reviewed and understand the Covid-19 Policy for Fall 2020 Events ❏   Yes ❏   No
…have a plan to provide, either directly or in accordance with venue guidelines, face coverings, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies at each event. ❏   Yes ❏   No
…will require attendees to use the sanitizing and cleaning materials before sitting or engaging in the event. ❏   Yes ❏   No
…have/will develop a plan for the flow of traffic to and from the event space. ❏   Yes ❏   No
…will pre-register all event attendees and include information about my safety plan to attendees (see below). ❏   Yes ❏   No
…will take attendance at the event; attendance information collection will include each attendee’s name, email, primary phone number, current address and this information will be held for four weeks. ❏   Yes ❏   No
…have a plan to sanitize any equipment used during the event (see below). ❏   Yes ❏   No
Safety plan information to be shared with attendees:
Sanitation plan for any equipment used during the event: