Skip to main content
University of Wisconsin–Madison

COVID-19 Positive or Direct Exposure Protocol and Testing

All faculty, staff and students must stay away from the workplace if they have tested positive for COVID-19, are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or have been exposed to COVID-19 (identified contact).

Individuals may not return to work until the criteria established by federal and state agencies to quarantine are met.


As part of UW–Madison’s Smart Restart plan to resume modified in-person operations by fall, campus is working on a number of efforts to protect the health and safety of students, faculty and staff. All of these efforts are informed by COVID-19 case trends both locally and nationally and we continue to monitor the situation as we move forward.

Along with changes to ensure appropriate physical distancing, reduced density in campus spaces, availability of personal protective equipment and other safety measures, including a mask requirement and changes to cleaning protocols, UW–Madison is at work establishing campus-wide COVID-19 testing.

We expect to have on-campus testing fully operational by the start of the fall semester on September 2, with limited testing planned to begin in August.

Students may pursue testing through University Health Services. Public Health Madison and Dane County is offering free COVID-19 testing at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison at least through August 31, 2020. Individuals may also contact their health provider.

More details regarding testing on campus will soon be available,

Contract Tracing:

Contract tracing will be handled by the Public Health Madison Dane County (PHMDC) with help from the University Health Services (UHS). In the event that there is a known COVID-19 exposure, we recommend sending an email to all employees of your center to self-monitor and seek testing, but we cannot inform them that there has been a possible exposure.

Cleaning and Disinfecting:

When a person diagnosed with COVID-19 is known to have been on campus, the specific locations where the person spent time will be evaluated by University Health Services (UHS) in partnership with local staff to determine what cleaning and disinfection is required in accordance with CDC guidance. UHS and Environment Health and Safety (EHS) will coordinate to close spaces as needed in advance of required cleaning. Facilities Planning and Management will outsource this service to Servpro. Considerations for hiring Servpro to disinfect the lab/building would be based on the type of contact the positive employee had in the building and how much time has passed from exposure. We will discuss the need for cleaning if a COVID-19 positive employee is known.