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March 3, 2021

Updated April 19, 2021: The policy described below remains in effect until May 9, 2021. Additional details on campus events policies after May 10 will be posted at


The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s event attendance and space occupancy limits are reviewed periodically as Public Health Madison Dane County (PHMDC) issues updated public health guidance for gathering and event sizes. Effective March 8, 2021, we are implementing  PHMDC Emergency Order #13 related to university affiliated events on or off campus with one exception: the university is not allowing food or drinks at events. In addition, only those individuals who are participating in our on-campus testing program will be permitted to attend university-sponsored events.

Although PHMDC has now issued a subsequent order further increasing the number of people allowed at in-person events, we will not be adopting these additional changes given our ongoing COVID testing program and our need to continue to mitigate risks to our campus community.  Any future changes in university guidelines will be widely communicated.

The current and previous PHMDC orders may be viewed at PHMDC Current Order.

Rationale/Purpose of the Policy

The following policy for School, College, and Division (hereafter referred to as unit) events are aligned with University of Wisconsin–Madison’s COVID-19 Response, which seeks to mitigate 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. The most current University event policy can be found at COVID-19 Response. Questions may be referred to

** NOTE: All Intercollegiate Athletics events will follow NCAA and Big Ten conference rules and guidelines.


Any individual present at an event hosted by the unit. This includes all students, faculty, and staff. At this time, no visitors/guests will be allowed to attend events.

Any activity (including all meetings, internal or other), regardless of the location on or off university property, coordinated by an event host to bring people together, outside of the formal classroom experience.

Event Host
The sponsoring unit, department, employee, or other connected entity. For purposes of meetings, the event host is the convener.

Event Manager
The UW–Madison employee responsible for managing event (or meeting) reservations and logistics in their school, college, or division’s reservable space.


This policy applies to the sponsored programs, activities, meetings, or gatherings, regardless of their location on or off university property, of all campus schools, colleges, divisions, and their related departments (hereafter referred to as unit).



  1. Vice Chancellors, Academic Deans, and Research Center Directors should designate who in their units may approve events and meetings that follow this campus policy, PHMDC Emergency Order #13 related to events where food and drinks are not provided, and CDC guidelines. This applies to all sponsored programs, activities, meetings, and gatherings, regardless of their location on or off university property.
  2. Events and meetings that are deemed critical to the university’s mission, but that have aspects which fall outside of this campus policy or PHMDC and CDC guidelines (e. g. size, health protocols, etc.) require approval from the sponsoring unit’s Vice Chancellor, Academic Dean, or Research Center Director.
  3. Vice Chancellors, Academic Deans, and Research Center Directors should designate who in their units may approve events and meetings of connected student groups (e. g. student advisory boards) but that are not Registered Student Organizations (RSOs).
  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.

Note that RSOs have a separate policy. Their event exceptions are approved by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. See the Wisconsin Involvement Network for a directory of current RSOs.


  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.


  1. Indoor events are limited to fifty (50) individuals. Outdoor events are limited to one hundred and fifty (150) individuals. See the limits related to events where food or drinks are not offered in the Gatherings section of PHMDC Emergency Order #13.
  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. Units are encouraged to examine hosting events outdoors, when possible, to facilitate physical distancing.


  1. Event hosts are responsible for assessing the health risks of the activity and making appropriate modifications.
  2. Event host(s) will:

a. Follow campus policy and PHMDC Emergency Order #13 related to events where food and drinks are not provided, and CDC guidelines.

b. Provide, and require attendees to use as appropriate, face coverings, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies at each event.

c. Develop, either directly or in accordance with venue guidelines, a plan for the flow of traffic to and from the event space.

d. Register attendees and take attendance through an electronic or manual system, unless the event is an internal meeting for which registration is not required.

i. The event host must collect the following information from all attendees and maintain these records for at least four weeks: name, e-mail, primary phone number, and current address.

ii. The university has not adopted a specific platform but there are several available options for registration and attendance tracking. Contact an events or conference scheduling unit within your school/college/division/department for assistance.

e. Communicate with potential attendees: the event safety measures; expectations of health-related behaviors; and the reporting mechanism for non-compliance by those event hosts or those attending.


  1. Food and drinks are not to be provided at events.


  1. Event hosts are encouraged to check that attendees have a Badger Badge that indicates a green “Building Access Granted” status. Email to request Badger Badge training materials. Those attending events hosted in facilities where Badger Wellness Ambassadors are present (e.g. Memorial Union and Union South) are checked at the entrance to the facility and thus do not need another check at the event itself.
  2. The event host is responsible for monitoring and enforcement of this policy as it pertains to their event or meeting.
  3. Units that manage reservable space are responsible for monitoring and enforcement of this policy. The unit’s event manager may cancel or prevent an event from continuing if the policy is not followed.
  4. Any employee who fails to abide by these guidelines may be directed to leave the event and may be subject to additional follow-up measures by the supervisor or appropriate campus administrator. Non-compliance by a student or RSO should be reported via this this specialized form.


  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. 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 unit event success.
  4. Consult these additional resources when planning or approving an event

A. COVID-19 Response website

B. Campus Public Health Protocols 

C. Cleaning/Disinfection to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 

D. Face Coverings Guidance 

E. Sample Seating/Room Layouts 

F. Virtual Event Platforms


Campus Public Health Protocols


COVID-19 Response website

Cleaning/Disinfection to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

Face Coverings Guidance

Sample Seating/Room Layouts

Virtual Event Platforms


Approval Authority: Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Policy Contact: Chief of Staff to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs — Argyle Wade,

Policy History

Effective Date: 3/08/2021