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University of Wisconsin-Madison School, College, and Division COVID-19 Policy for 2020-2021 Academic Year Events and Meetings

August 14, 2020

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 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. The most current University event policy can be found at the COVID-19 Response website. Questions may be referred to

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

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 campus schools, colleges, divisions, and their related departments (hereafter referred to as unit).
  2. Included are any events hosted on university grounds by non-university related entities that the unit has reserved space for or is sponsoring.

02.  Definitions

  1. Attendee – Any individual present at an event hosted by the unit. 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 event host to bring people together, outside of the formal classroom experience.
  3. Event Host – The sponsoring unit, department, employee, or other connected entity. For purposes of meetings, the event host is the convener.
  4. Event Manager – The 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. Vice Chancellors, Academic Deans, and Research Center Directors should designate who in their units may approve events and meetings that follow this campus policy, the Public Health Madison Dane County Current Order (PHMDC), 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 PHMDC 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).

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. 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. Units are encouraged to examine hosting event outdoors hosting, when possible, to facilitate physical distancing.

06.  Health and Safety 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.
    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, unless the event is an internal meeting for which registration is not required.
      1. 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.
      2. 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.
    5. 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.

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.

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. 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.
  3. Any employee or visitor 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 report reported via this specialized form.

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. 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:
    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. Sample Seating/Room Layouts
    6. Virtual Event Platforms