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Campus Masking Policy
Effective March 12, face masks are no longer required in indoor settings on campus. This decision is supported by public health experts, UW System and PHMDC, which ended Dane County’s masking requirement on March 1.
The university will continue to make masks available to the campus community free of charge.
For answers to common questions and scenarios about masking, view these FAQs.
Instructors are expected to teach course sections, including lectures, discussions and labs, in the modality indicated in the schedule of classes (as reflected in Course Search and Enroll and Faculty Center). Modality decisions and modality changes must be approved at the department and school/college level and are subject to review. Individual instructors may not unilaterally change the modality of any course section.
Please see the campus definitions for the three types of modalities: in-person (P), hybrid (WC), and online (WO). Note that an in-person (P) course may have occasional and rare online meetings. Such occasional and rare meetings should be used only in cases of unavoidable instructor absence and after other possibilities, including colleague coverage, have been explored.
Individual students unable to attend in-person class meetings for COVID-19-related reasons (or for any reason) should contact their instructor to discuss options for access to course materials and activities. Instructors are encouraged to be flexible and supportive of all students in such circumstances. Students who must miss multiple class sessions should talk with their instructor and with their academic advisor about the best course of action.
If multiple students in a course section must miss in-person class meetings for COVID-19-related reasons, every effort should be made to avoid a disruption of in-person instruction. Instructors should work with their department, school and college to explore ways to provide students who cannot attend in-person sessions access to course materials and activities. Any interruption of in-person instruction should be temporary and brief.
Instructor Absences & Coverage of Teaching Duties
Instructors of in-person courses who are unable to teach in-person for COVID-19-related reasons should contact their supervisor or department leadership to discuss and coordinate arrangements that will minimize disruption to their in-person courses. As in analogous, non-COVID-19-related circumstances, colleague coverage is a first option to consider. Any interruption of in-person instruction should be temporary and brief.
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Will I be notified if a student in my class is required to be tested for COVID-19, has failed to test for COVID-19, or tests positive for COVID-19?
No, no testing information about students will be shared with instructors.
Students who are required to test for COVID-19 are receiving frequent messages from campus about this requirement and those who fail to comply are being held accountable.
What should I do if a student in my class tells me that they have tested positive for COVID-19? Should I inform the other students? Should I cancel class?
While we want to give other students information intended to protect themselves and others, it’s important to respect the medical privacy of those who become sick. Informing your class that someone has tested positive may reveal the identity of the student who is sick. Instructors should not do this. If a student wishes to inform the class, they may do so, though they are not required. You should not cancel class.
Instead, please regularly remind your students of the following:
- They should continue to monitor themselves for symptoms daily. This is true regardless of whether someone in the class has tested positive since exposure can happen in many different settings, on and off campus.
- If they develop symptoms of COVID-19, they should isolate themselves immediately and make an appointment to get tested.
- They may hear from a campus contact tracer if they are deemed a close contact of someone who has tested positive. However, while campus has a team conducting robust contact tracing, it will not always be possible to identify all close contacts of someone who has tested positive.
- If they learn they are a close contact of someone who tested positive, whether from a contact tracer or from the individual, they should follow instructions for quarantine and/or testing.
- Risk of exposure in classrooms is low given that more than 90 percent of on-campus students and employees are vaccinated and everyone is required to wear masks. Most people in our community are strongly protected from infection. There is no need to cancel class because a student has tested positive.
Additionally, instructors should be flexible with and supportive of students who cannot attend class in-person due to illness or quarantine but every effort should be made to avoid a disruption of in-person instruction. If you have questions about your individual classroom situation, contact your supervisor or department leadership.
Are instructors required to provide students remote or online access to in-person courses?
In general, instructors are not required to provide remote or online access to courses scheduled for in-person instruction. Students who enroll for courses scheduled for in-person instruction are expected to attend in-person course sessions.
Students with a documented accommodation need related to in-person instruction should contact the McBurney Center. The McBurney Center will work with the student and instructor to explore the possibility of reasonable accommodations.
See general guidance above for how to address instances where individual or multiple students need to miss class.