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UW-Madison information about faculty and staff returning to campus in the fall

March 26, 2021

This message was sent to all employees on March 26, 2021 from Provost Karl Scholz and Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Laurent Heller. 

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Faculty and staff have done an exceptional job working on and off campus to provide instruction, outreach, conduct research, and support our community during the pandemic. Now with March coming to an end, there are only a few weeks left in the academic year and thoughts naturally turn to the summer and fall.

We will continue to be vigilant this summer in our efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID. Virus testing will be widely available, and mask use and physical distancing will continue on campus, following the best available public health guidance.

For the fall semester, we will establish a “new normal,” with many activities returning to campus, including most classes taught in-person, campus venues opening, and most employees who are currently working remotely returning, at least in part, to their onsite work.

We hope that employees who are able will choose to be vaccinated by late spring/early summer. There is compelling evidence that the vaccines are safe and effective. The more employees who are vaccinated, the safer our entire community will be.

As we get closer to fall, we expect most campus employees who are not already on campus to return to campus no later than the first part of August in advance of the Fall semester.  To be more specific, each Dean or Vice Chancellor will approve the plans for their own areas, but in general, campus will have a phased return to the new normal of on-campus work, between August 2nd and 23rd  for those not already working on campus.

Campus will be providing additional guidance in the coming weeks on principles and policy related to remote work.  This guidance will provide a framework for Deans and Vice Chancellors, working with supervisors, to  determine the schedule for their employees to return to onsite work, based on operational needs.   We expect that all managers will continue to exercise flexibility and creativity in working arrangements, where possible, through at least August 1, based on ongoing disruptions in schools, childcare and summer activities.

We believe onsite connections and interactions between members of the campus community are crucial to building and sustaining a thriving campus culture. We also understand that the last year has shown that some jobs can be done through remote work.  Where appropriate, hybrid strategies may be used where employees can perform part of their job responsibilities remotely but also have components of their work performed onsite.  As mentioned, we will provide updated remote work principles and policy that will guide remote-work practices in a post-COVD environment.

Please watch for more information in the coming weeks about our plans for the fall semester and beyond.

If you have questions, contact your HR Representative in your college, school, or division.

Stay well,

Karl Scholz


Laurent Heller

Vice Chancellor for Finance & Administration