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UW-Madison School, College and Division Covid-19 Policy for Summer 2021 Events and Meetings

May 11, 2021

Effective, May 10, 2021:

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 May 10, 2021, we are linking our policy related to the size of university affiliated events on or off campus to the most current PHMDC Emergency Order.

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 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 in the UW–Madison Policy Library. 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, staff, and visitors/guests.


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.

Sponsored Event

A sponsored event is one where a University department provides an approved Invitation or Financial Sponsorship letter, indicating that the event meets the mission of their department.

Third Party Event

Any event not affiliated with or sponsored by the University.


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). Third party events are not permissible under this policy and require an exception.


     I.         APPROVAL

1.         Units within schools, colleges, and divisions may host meetings and events as long as they follow this campus policy, the PHMDC Current Order,  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. This includes all third party and sponsored events.

3.         Vice Chancellors, Academic Deans, and Research Center Directors should designate who in their units may approve exceptions for 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

5.         Run/walk events should not be held and will not be approved.

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.

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.

 III.         EVENT SIZE

1.         Indoor events are limited to the maximums reflected in the PHMDC Current Order. As of May 10, 2021, the maximum is three hundred fifty (350) individuals when food or drink is offered and five hundred (500) when food or drink is not offered. Numbers must be limited to ensure individuals who are not members of the same household or living unit maintain six (6) feet physical distancing at all times. Face coverings are required, except when eating or drinking.

2.         Outdoor events must be limited to ensure individuals who are not members of the same household or living unit maintain six (6) feet physical distancing at all times. Units are encouraged to examine hosting events outdoors, when possible, to facilitate physical distancing. Face coverings are not required as long as physical distancing can be maintained.


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, the PHMDC Current Order, 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.

3.         Event hosts have the option of limiting attendance to those with a Badger Badge that indicates a green “Building Access Granted” status. At least one week’s notice must be given before any event can require a green Badger Badge for access and a Badger Badge Form must be completed. Visitors and guests, who are unable to use the Safer Badgers app, will not have access to these events.


1.         Food and drinks are allowed at events in accordance with the Campus Catering Policy.

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


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 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 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.

Related UW–Madison Policies

Campus Public Health Protocols

Related UW–Madison Documents

COVID-19 Response website

Cleaning/Disinfection to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

Face Coverings Guidance

Sample Seating/Room Layouts

Virtual Event Platforms