The University of Wisconsin-Madison notified students of COVID-19 testing recommendations in an email addressed by the Office of the Chancellor Thursday afternoon. The recommendation to test before returning to campus for the spring semester applies to all students, regardless of vaccination status, with the exception of those who received positive PCR test results within the last 90 days, according to the email.
The university asks that students test before travelling to Dane County, as well as once they arrive in Dane County. The testing expectation follows a surge of COVID-19 cases — particularly the omicron variant — across the nation.
“Second, although the omicron variant of COVID-19 is so far causing less severe illness, especially for people who are vaccinated and boosted, it is highly contagious,” the email says.
The university recommends “at-home antigen testing” as an alternative, “more readily available” option than PCR testing.
Students who live in residence halls will receive “a follow-up message” from University Housing on January 14 with “specific instructions” on testing before returning to campus. Students who live off campus are advised to take antigen tests before returning to Dane County.
“In addition to testing before you return to Madison, take another antigen test within 24 hours of your return,” the email reads.
Students who live on campus will receive antigen tests in their respective residence halls, and students who live off campus “will have access to a free at-home antigen test at no cost with a valid Wiscard,” according to the university. The tests may be acquired at Memorial Union or Union South on select dates.
The university asks that students with positive tests or COVID-19 symptoms “do not come to campus.” While the university does not require its students to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, the Office of the Chancellor encourages students to receive their booster shots by booking appointments through MyUHS.