All unvaccinated UW-Madison students and employees will need to be tested weekly for COVID-19, the university announced Wednesday.
The policy expands UW-Madison’s position on testing heading into another academic year disrupted by the pandemic — and particularly the highly contagious delta variant.
Previously, the university stipulated only unvaccinated students living in campus housing would need to undergo weekly screenings this fall semester, but the new policy now includes all unvaccinated students, regardless of whether they live on or off campus, and unvaccinated employees.
“As the university has done throughout the pandemic, we’re adapting our approach as needed to respond to changes in COVID-19 activity,” the university said in a statement. “The continuing high rate of infection due to the delta variant makes this expanded testing requirement necessary.”
Those who are vaccinated but haven’t provided proof also need to be tested weekly. The testing requirement takes effect Aug. 30.
Eighty-nine percent of employees are fully vaccinated, according to university spokesperson Meredith McGlone, and UW-Madison expects about 80% or more of students will be inoculated.
The statement said anyone who is required to test but doesn’t “will be held accountable.” McGlone didn’t elaborate on potential consequences other than that details would be shared with noncompliant students and employees.
The testing mandate follows UW-Madison’s decision on Aug. 5 to reinstate an indoor mask mandate for campus, regardless of vaccination status.
Both masking and testing mandates — intended to slow the spread of the delta variant — could put UW-Madison at odds with a measure a Republican-controlled legislative committee approved earlier this month that says UW campuses need to submit their COVID-19 policies to the committee for approval. Committee co-chair Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, opposes colleges mandating masks, vaccines or testing.
The testing mandate follows UW-Madison's decision on Aug. 5 to reinstate an indoor mask mandate for campus, regardless of vaccination status.