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Monday, December 11, 2023

UW-Madison relaxes COVID-19 policy as vaccine distribution progresses

UW-Madison implemented updated face mask regulations and physical distancing guidelines for events on June 2. Among other changes, individuals who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear face masks on campus.

All outdoor university-affiliated events will no longer have a limit to the number of people attending. UW-Madison asks that individuals who are not vaccinated maintain six feet of physical distance and wear a mask if not possible. Physical distancing and wearing a mask are not required in outdoor settings. 

“Beyond classes, there are many experiences that we all treasure and will experience again soon: a summer evening at the Terrace with friends; a study group meeting at College Library or in a residence hall lounge; watching a concert at the Hamel Music Performance Center; volunteering in the community; attending a student org meeting and a fall Saturday at Camp Randall,” said Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “We will once again run into a friend or classmate on campus and spontaneously grab a coffee or a Babcock ice cream cone.”

Indoor events require six feet of physical distancing regardless of vaccination status. This will limit the maximum size of classes and indoor university buildings. In fall 2021, most of the courses offered in fall 2019 will begin in-person instruction again, Blank said. 

“We want to return to what makes UW-Madison special, and that means safely returning to our classrooms and labs for in-person learning and research,” said Chancellor Blank. 

These decisions have been made based on the evidence of protection that the COVID-19 vaccine offers. Because people who are not fully vaccinated do not have this protection, UW-Madison recommends that they should wear face coverings indoors and maintain physical distancing outdoors,  the press release states. 

Strong vaccination rates on campus and in the broader community make this new policy possible. Dane County currently has the highest vaccination rate (61%) among large counties nationally, according to the CDC.

“UHS now has many convenient appointments available,” said Meredith McGlone, director of News and Media Relations. “We strongly encourage students to get their first dose. If they are remaining in Madison, UHS will guarantee them a second dose; if they are traveling, they can use to locate a second dose at their summer destination.”

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