As of Wednesday, March 17, all UW employees and staff who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are no longer required to adhere to UW’s routine testing, according to an email sent to the campus community.
To be considered fully vaccinated, individuals must have received both doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the one dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. They must wait two weeks after their final dose to be deemed fully vaccinated.
Fully vaccinated UW community members’ Badger Badges in the Safer Badgers app will be green by default unless they report a positive COVID-19 test or symptoms. The university maintains that all individuals should continue monitoring themselves for COVID-19 symptoms and get tested if they occur.
Updated CDC guidelines state that fully vaccinated people can now gather without masks or physical distancing, but the university stressed that public health guidelines regarding mask-wearing and social distancing remain in public and on-campus, as the vaccine roll-out continues and more people get vaccinated.
PHMDC issued an Amended Emergency Order 14 on March 18, adjusting facial covering and physical distancing guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals in accordance with the recent CDC update.
As of Thursday, over 7,000 UW community members have received the COVID-19 vaccination per the university’s coronavirus dashboard.
“I was super excited for this,” said UW sophomore Ashley Haggard, who has already been vaccinated. “Testing three days a week is tedious enough but felt even more redundant when I had the vaccine and had a low risk of catching it anyways.”
Individuals that have been vaccinated off-campus must submit verification to the university in order to be exempt from the required COVID-19 testing. UW community members that receive the vaccination through University Health Services will not need to submit information as their badges will automatically turn green upon vaccination and the completion of the two-week waiting period.
Some students, like Haggard, have had issues with the documentation process.
“The documentation [the university] is requiring for proof is incredibly hard to get,” said Haggard, explaining how the “craziness of COVID-19” has resulted in an unorganized vaccination process in many states. “If you were not vaccinated by the university or in Wisconsin, it’s hard to obtain the official records.”
Haggard has not been able to retrieve the proper records to obtain an exemption from university COVID-19 testing.
Starting this week, all non-student employees that work in-person and encounter students can now make vaccine appointments on campus as well.
The university also expects that in the coming weeks UHS will receive more vaccine supplies, but officials still encourage all eligible students and employees to seek out alternative sources for the vaccine if they qualify.
Currently eligible groups for COVID-19 vaccinations in the state of Wisconsin are listed here.