During this period we are here and available to help you achieve success and navigate your academic experience. We remain committed to providing you the support needed to be safe, healthy, and successful. As the situation continues to evolve, we will keep you updated here, by email, and on social media with resources to take care of yourself and be strong, together! If you are looking for information about immigration or travel, please visit the International Student Services website.
Tips to help you get connected and be successful while learning remotely:
If you have a disability-related accommodation, please be in touch with your instructors to discuss any changes for your course. You can also reach out to your Access Consultant at the McBurney Disability Resource Center if you have questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Our students and families have posed more questions than we’ve had time to address in recent townhall meetings. Here are answers to the top 10 questions you’ve asked about health and safety, as well as advising, instruction, and tuition. If your question is not answered here, we encourage to email us at email@example.com, and we will do our best to find the answers you need.
Health and Safety
This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.
Will COVID-19 testing be mandatory? For students living off-campus, too? Should I get tested before I come to campus? What about self-tests?
- Biweekly testing will be required for students who live in University Housing (residence halls). For students who live off-campus, unlimited, no-cost testing is available. It is not required but it is recommended.
- We encourage students to get tested prior to arriving on campus but are not requiring this.
- UW–Madison is pursuing a testing method that would make collecting samples simple and easy and not involve a deep nasal swab. More details about resident testing, including the timing and exact testing methods, will be shared prior to the fall.
- Self-testing is an option that campus is looking into; however, we will not be requiring this at the start of the fall semester. If self-testing becomes available to students, we will communicate specific guidance to students and provide support.
How will the requirement to wear face coverings be enforced?
- We are developing a robust public relations campaign to reinforce our messages about face coverings, physical distancing, handwashing, and other health requirements.
- The health policies also have been added to our Student Housing Handbook, with information about consequences for violating conduct rules.
- Frequent verbal reinforcement and campus signage will help to remind everyone of these rules.
- Students will also be expected to sign a Badger Pledge indicating that they understand their important role in ensuring that we can control the spread of COVID so that the university can continue to remain open. The pledge includes a commitment to wear a face covering and adhere to public safety rules. Intentional and/or repeated violations may be subject to the student misconduct process.
What should a student do if they develop symptoms? Whom do they notify? What if it’s at night or on a weekend, will testing sites still be open?
- If a student is in Madison and develops symptoms, they should contact University Health Services by phone before coming to the clinic. They should try to self-quarantine, practice good hygiene, sanitize high-touch or commonly used surfaces, and continue to monitor their symptoms until they can be evaluated by a provider for specific guidance.
- If a student contacts UHS outside of normal business hours, they will be connected to the 24/7 nurse advice line.
- Hours for our campus-based testing sites are being finalized and will be shared with students in the coming weeks. The Madison and Dane County public health office is also offering free testing. See information about days and hours of operation.
- We encourage students to use the UW–Madison symptom tracker which will provide further guidance from UHS if they report symptoms.
What is the process if a student in the residence halls tests positive?
- Spaces will be set aside for isolation of residents if a student tests positive for COVID-19 or has come in close contact with someone who has tested positive.
- During isolation, students must stay in their relocated room for 14 days.
- Students may be encouraged to return home for the isolation period if they are able to do so safely.
- Students will be required to contact University Health Services if they test positive. UW–Madison will employ contact tracers trained in conjunction with Public Health Madison & Dane County to help identify those who may have come into contact with anyone testing positive on the UW–Madison campus.
When a student has to be isolated, how are they provided with medical care and food?
- Care for isolated students in University Housing will happen in collaboration with University Health Services. UHS will have a health check-in for students daily (most likely through a virtual visit). Our Residence Life team is working out the details of how this will be supported by onsite staff.
- Dining services run by University Housing will deliver three meals a day to Housing students in isolation spaces. The student will receive an online order form that will allow them to order meals and snacks. The student will be able to note any food allergies or dietary restrictions, and Dining will be able to accommodate any noted need.
- For students who live off campus, contact tracing staff will be in touch with resources and guidance for self-quarantine. We encourage students who live off campus to create and share a plan with their roommates, friends, and family members in the event that they test positive for COVID-19.
What about isolation for students living off-campus?
- Neither the campus nor Public Health Madison Dane County (PHMDC) has the capacity to provide quarantine/isolation spaces for students who are not living in University Housing.
- We recommend that these students speak with their roommates to develop, and agree on, how they will handle the situation if a roommate develops symptoms and/or has a positive COVID test. We recommend starting with guidance from PHMDC. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also offers information for people living in close quarters and recommendations for cleaning shared spaces.
- For graduate students living in University Apartments and who already have a lease, campus can work with residents if they need space.
- Our off-campus students will have full access to University Health Services, and we will work with them, in cooperation with the local public health department, to conduct contact tracing.
How do students get medical care after hours or on a weekend?
- UHS is open during normal business hours, Monday through Friday.
- UHS has a 24/7 nurse advice line and mental health crisis line for concerns that arise after hours. Call 608-265-5600.
- If a student has an urgent health concern in the evening or on a weekend, they can call the nurse advice line or, if they are dealing with an emergency, they should go to a local emergency room. There are three Madison hospitals within a 5-minute drive of the UW–Madison campus. Students are responsible for their own transportation.
How should students handle their classes if they become ill?
- Students should be in regular contact with their professors, as always, and should notify them in the event that they are unable to complete their course work as planned. The instructor will work with the student to provide alternative ways to complete the work.
- At the same time, the university will employ contact tracers and notify any person who might have been in contact with the student so that they can self-quarantine.
If I decide not to live on-campus for the fall semester, can I apply for housing for spring?
- Yes, but we cannot guarantee availability.
- The application for spring housing in the residence halls will be available in MyUWHousing after the start of the fall semester.
How will campus decide whether to pivot and close the campus again?
- Campus will closely monitor the city, county and state health situation, in cooperation with Public Health Madison Dane County. We will continuously evaluate a number of factors, including the ability for us to support our students and employees that might be infected and the capacity of the healthcare system. In addition, the surveillance testing we’re doing, combined with the regular testing of students living in the residence halls. This testing program will provide a very good picture of the prevalence of COVID on campus.
Advising, instruction and tuition
This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.
What percent of classes are online versus in person?
Why is my small class only being offered online?
- First, because of the limitations of our facilities. In many cases, a smaller class is online because we do not have a workable space in which to teach it. Our smaller classrooms typically seat 25; with physical distancing in place, they will seat 8.
- They may also be online because smaller classes are frequently requirements for capstones and for seniors to complete their majors, and knowing that some of these students will need, or want, to have a fully remote schedule, we want to offer the class in the modality that is most accessible for students who need it in order to graduate in December or May.
What safety measures will be in place for in-person classes?
- We will have cleaning supplies for people to use in the classroom and will require all students to wear face coverings. Classroom setups will ensure 6 feet of space between work areas.
- In addition, classes will be moved into classrooms that can accommodate appropriate physical distancing. This will mean that we will run some classes in the evenings and on Saturdays.
How do I change from in-person to remote (or vice versa)?
- Students can find available options using the Course Search and Enrollment app where they find their course schedule. For each class they will be able to see the modality (classroom instruction, online with some in-person, or online only), along with meeting times and class notes.
- If a student is not able to find the courses they need in the modality they want after going through the steps found at wisc.edu/fall2020, they should contact their advisor. Advisors are likely receiving many requests for help right now, so there might be a delay in their response and longer wait times for an appointment.
What campus services will be running? Libraries, unions, computer labs, recreation facilities?
- We are working with the libraries, the unions, labs, and other campus facilities to come up with creative solutions to allowing safe access as well as finding spaces for students to study.
- We are currently preparing for a safe reopening of our recreation/wellness facilities. We expect to have a plan in place soon and will share it widely. In the meantime, visit recwell.wisc.edu for a list of virtual programs, including group fitness classes, intramural sports, at-home workouts, personal training, and well-being resources.
- Our libraries will be open for appointment-based access to collections, study space and computer lab services. In order to improve safety (block off time for cleaning, for example), there will be a reduction in library locations and hours, and increased support through online services. We remain committed to providing library support for learning and research, but in general students should expect limited capacity in the library buildings and should plan to do studying in their residences as much as possible.
- Our intention is to have some of our computer labs open in-person in the fall (safety permitting). We’re working with our partners to confirm where this will be feasible based on their own, localized plans for reopening. In addition to this, we also have plans to continue our laptop checkout program and to open up access to certain InfoLabs desktops through remote desktop connections.
- More details about which libraries and computer labs will be open, and under what terms, will be finalized as the start of the semester draws closer.
What opportunities will there be for practicums/internships for students?
- These opportunities are being determined at the discretion of the deans of each school and college, in consultation with departments. A team of campus experts in field courses – including clinical, education, agricultural, and community based courses – is currently working on guidance and resources for schools and colleges on how to delivery these types of courses. The guidance will include specifics on travel considerations and safety, and will be shared at: https://instructionalcontinuity.wisc.edu/field-courses/.
What happens if a student sits out for 1–2 semesters? Can they re-enroll?
What do I do if there is a course I need to graduate, that is not offered in the modality (online or in-person) that I need?
Students in this situation should contact their advisor directly to discuss options. Students can find their advisor here: https://advising.wisc.edu/find-an-advisor/Posted on
Why is tuition not being lowered when all my classes are remote? Can I switch to in-person classes?
- While many aspects of the fall semester look different than in the past, students at UW–Madison are still receiving a top-tier education with some of the most highly regarded instructors in their fields. Our faculty and instructors are spending the summer working to create courses that are engaging and will meet learning objectives, regardless of the course delivery mode.
- The cost of educating our students has actually increased as a result of COVID-19. We are employing the same outstanding faculty and instructional staff, and working hard to put in place testing and other campus-safety measures while also making large investments in technology.
- Over the summer, our faculty and instructional staff are working with curriculum designers and technology experts to develop engaging remote courses that meet learning objectives.
- For students who prefer in-person courses, use the Course Search and Enrollment app to look for courses that are taught only online, only in-person, or as a hybrid.
- Remember that the value of a UW–Madison degree has not changed. We are proud to be one of the top public universities in the country, and the degrees we confer are a signal of excellence, whether or not the student completed a portion their coursework remotely.
How has remote learning improved from last spring?
- In spring, the quick pivot to remote learning made it difficult to invest the time and resources needed to create ideal learning environments. To meet the challenge of enhancing the quality of instruction, we have made major investments to improve course design and remote learning experiences.
- Our faculty and instructors are spending the summer working on curriculum design and consulting with technology experts to create courses that are engaging and will meet learning objectives, regardless of the course delivery mode. Additional resources and support are being provided to assist faculty and instructors with this work.
- Significant redesign of our course offerings is occurring, with additional investment in high-quality professional development opportunities and technology.
Emergency funds are available for all students
Contact the Office of Student Financial Aid for financial assistance with food, housing, health insurance, academic or mental health support, and more — regardless of citizenship, status, or residency for tuition purposes. There are also many basic needs resources here in Madison and beyond. UW–Madison received federal CARES Act funds to support students.