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University of Wisconsin–Madison

PPE procurement message

Public Health Madison & Dane County UW-Madison issued an emergency order last week, requiring masks or face coverings to be worn in any indoor public space. The order, officially in effect today, aligns with the policies and guidelines UW-Madison announced in our Smart Restart plan last month. All employees and students are required to wear either a reusable cloth face covering or a single-use disposable mask in indoor spaces unless working alone and in outdoor spaces where physical distancing is not possible.

To help departments and labs obtain face coverings and other personal protective equipment (PPE) that remain in short supply, UW-Madison has launched a new, centralized process for procurement and distribution of some commonly requested supplies for use as specified in our COVID-19 return to campus guidance. To further assist departments with these efforts, these items will be able to be ordered by specially designated divisional staff through a COVID-19 Smart Restart Catalog and will be funded centrally.

Detailed guidance on how to order items in the COVID-19 Smart Restart online catalog will be provided to staff identified by divisional business offices. Many of these items are difficult to obtain due to the global outbreak of COVID-19 and substituted items may be of lower quality. These catalog items have been vetted by Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) to ensure they meet quality standards.

Items included in the catalog will include cleaning and disinfecting supplies, individual use hand sanitizer, branded and non-branded face coverings, disposable procedure masks, gloves and face shields.

Due to the global shortages and product allocations, use of N95 respirators must be in compliance with guidance issued by EH&S in June 2020 available at this link: This guidance includes a requirement to provide information on this form:

Please note that if a grant funded project requires the use of PPE (including masks, gowns, gloves, etc.), regardless of COVID-19, then these costs should continue to be considered as direct costs to the project and included in the project budget. However, if a lab or research space would not have required these items previously, then the items should be acquired from the preselected items in the online catalog.

All other PPE and supplies not listed in the online catalog may be purchased by using normal methods. Units needing assistance with the online catalog or with normal purchasing can contact Purchasing Services (

In addition to the PPE items for employees listed above, campus is also providing UW-branded safety kits for students this fall, including all residents in University Housing. The kits include two reusable cloth face coverings, hand sanitizer and literature that outlines our public health protocols. Distribution details will be available in the coming weeks.

We thank you for doing your part in keeping our campus as safe and healthy as possible by modeling the public health protocols outlined on our Smart Restart website and educating your teams about the face covering requirement. Obtaining the proper PPE to support activities in your area is an important step in preparing for the fall semester. More comprehensive reopening directions and resources for supervisors will be shared soon.

Many employees have been working on campus for some time without a mask, and it is critical that these expectations are communicated to onsite employees in your units.