Updates related to COVID-19

Read all UW-Madison updates and news at the COVID-19 website.

Campus events are cancelled as of 5 p.m. on Friday, March 13 through at least April 10.

It is important that all CALS employees are familiar with the Continuity of Operations Plans (COOP) for your department or work unit. You should collaborate with your co-workers in your unit to review your local plan, including your unit’s list of essential employees.


Alternative delivery to face-to-face instruction will begin on March 23 (immediately following spring break) and continue through at least April 10. A decision on when and whether in-person instruction will resume will be shared in early April. The Office of the Provost created a UW-Madison website for general guidance, suggested strategies and tools, and where to reach out for additional support:  To support instructional efforts, Provost Scholtz is organizing colleagues (with campus-sponsored resources) who can help you. If you need assistance in developing your alternative delivery course plans, please reach out to this team at:

The College of Letters & Science created tips for using technology to teach at UW-Madison during a disruptive event, including how to lecture, collaborate, hold discussions, and manage material in Canvas.


Employees who are concerned about the possibility of having their own communicable disease should work with their health care professional.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services recommends that travelers returning from countries with a CDC level 2 or level 3 travel health notice follow instructions for people with medium risk of exposure to COVID-19. This includes limited self-quarantine for people traveling from countries with a level 3 notice. All returning travelers should monitor themselves for symptoms of the illness, such as fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. People should keep in mind that this may be re-evaluated as new guidance becomes available.

Please contact your supervisor for more information about remote work and leave options; campus policies for these remain in effect. Requests to work remotely due to identified medical needs should be initiated by emailing your supervisor and department/center administrator.

Employees must work with their supervisors to make requests regarding non-standard modifications at work. Employees are encouraged to stay home when sick, following existing notification procedures and other policies which remain in effect. For example, employees who are not approved, or are not able, to work remotely will be required to use applicable leave time.

Managers will consider requests to work remotely by employees who have concerns in accordance with the campus guidance cited above. Managers should reference the “Guidance on large student gatherings” information available on UHS COVID-19 website when planning larger meetings or gatherings. Managers will work with CALS Human Resources as concerns arise.

Co-workers who have concerns about colleagues returning from travel should continue to practice their own good respiratory and hand hygiene.

Please do not ask colleagues questions related to their health or confidential medical information. Although it may not be your intent, conduct that is perceived to harass, discriminate, or retaliate against employees based on their national origin, recent travel history, or for any other reason is not allowed.

The university reports that the risk to the general public remains low. Faculty, instructors, and staff should encourage all members of the campus community to practice good respiratory and hand hygiene to limit the spread of communicable diseases. Additional information is available on the UHS COVID-19 website.


A number of employees have contacted CALS Business Services with questions about travel expenses and related policies. These decisions are under the purview of UW System. We expect guidance from UW System to be released in the coming days. What we know so far:

Cancellations and fees tied to travel changes beyond a traveler’s control are considered reimbursable. Please work with conference organizers, hotels, and Fox World Travel/Concur for refunds or credits for future business-related travel. Please document all discussions and actions taken for audit purposes. If a purchasing card was used, please include notes on logs regarding how that charge will be treated in the future.

What is not reimbursable:

  • If a conference is cancelled and a traveler decides to continue to travel for personal reasons, meals, airfare, and lodging costs are non-reimbursable. If a purchasing card was used, the traveler will need to reimburse the university.
  • If a conference is cancelled and a traveler decides to use credit vouchers for personal use, the costs are non-reimbursable. If a purchasing card was used, the traveler will need to reimburse the university.
  • Travel insurance offered by hotels, car rental agencies, and airlines to avoid fees is NOT reimbursable.

Please visit the following links for continued updates:
UW TravelWIse/Fox World Travel
Research and Sponsored Programs


A few key reminders regarding remote connectivity:


The UW-Madison COVID-19 website will be updated with the latest UW-Madison news. Future editions of eCALS will also contain updated information related to college activities.

Preventive Measures in the Workplace

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. There are simple everyday actions everyone can take to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 which encourages the performance of routine environmental cleaning:
    • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
    • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
    • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.

Resources for Employees

UW-Madison COVID-19 website
University Health Services (UHS) COVID-19 website
UW-Madison Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP) information on coronavirus
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Public Health Madison Dane County
UW–Madison International Safety and Security
International Faculty and Staff Services
Employee Assistance Office
Workforce Relations
WiscVPN – Connecting with the GlobalProtect (PaloAlto) Client
Recommended antivirus software for personal devices