The University of Wisconsin-Madison is extending its indoor mask requirement until January 15, the university announced Wednesday.
The extension will run through at least the rest of the fall semester into winter break. UW-Madison will review the policy in mid-January based on public health guidance and the prevalence of COVID-19 at that time. Spring classes are set to begin on January 25.
"The extension to mid-January will help reduce health concerns during a time when many members of the campus community are traveling and when COVID-19 cases are rising again in other parts of our state and region. This also provides time for employees and students with children ages 5 to 11 to have their children vaccinated," stated an email sent by Chancellor Rebecca Blank's office.
The university's mask order was previously set to be in effect until November 26. While UW-Madison's mask requirement will continue, Dane County's mask order is set to expire on November 27. The county mask order is not expected to continue after that time.
The Chancellor's office also provided travel guidance for Thanksgiving recess, including getting tested regardless of vaccination status if symptoms of COVID-19 develop or close contact occurs. UW-Madison's testing sites will close at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday and remain closed through the holiday weekend.
UW-Madison announced Thursday that all employees, including student employees, must be vaccinated by Jan. 4 to comply with President Joe Biden's federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
"COVID-19 is substantially more preventable and treatable than ever before and we are taking this into consideration as we plan spring semester policies and procedures related to COVID-19," the announcement further read. "The vaccination requirement for employees, which we announced last week in response to President Biden’s executive order for federal contractors, is one part of this effort, as is continued availability of COVID-19 vaccination and booster shots."
state news writer