The following message was sent by Dean Kate VandenBosch to CALS faculty and staff on March 13, 2020.

Dear colleagues,

I want to thank you for all of the flexibility and resilience you have already shown since Chancellor Blank announced changes to campus operations in response to the COVID-19 virus. It is difficult to change course in the middle of the semester, and I appreciate your willingness to approach this significant challenge with the energy and innovation you bring to all of your work in the college.

As of today, we are fortunate that UHS has not reported a confirmed case of COVID-19 on campus. Several UW–Madison leaders have been providing updates via e-mail and I want to offer some additional information for all of our personnel.


Alternative delivery to face-to-face instruction will begin on March 23 and continue through at least April 10. A decision on when 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.

If instructors need assistance or additional equipment to convert courses for remote or online instruction, please contact Senior Associate Dean Mark Rickenbach.


All events for more than 50 people hosted in our facilities or sponsored by UW-Madison are cancelled beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 13 through at least April 10. This includes seminars, continuing education programs, symposia and functions requiring registrations.

Regular meetings of fewer than 50 people to assure continuity of operations and similar essential functions can continue. This may include staff or lab meetings.

As per the chancellor’s announcement, all group-instruction course meetings must be delivered via distance and are not allowed to meet in-person.


Personal protective equipment (PPE) items (e.g., safety goggles, safety glasses, nitrile gloves, isolation gowns) need to be requested through a separate process by communicating your needs and any critical shortages by e-mailing The UW–Madison coordinating committee will prioritize requests and do their best to meet departments’ needs. If you already completed the PPE/supply assessment form from CALS Safety Coordinator Nick Genovese, you will still need to request PPE supplies via this e-mail address.

All other purchasing continues to follow standard UW–Madison policies. Departmental staff should purchase products for which they have a documented business purpose from suppliers through Shop@UW or using their purchasing card or requisition process.

Human Resources 

All current policies regarding leave and telecommuting remain in effect. Please work with your supervisors and your CALS HR representative on any remote working arrangements. Please note that the Office of Human Resources has clarified that undergraduate student hourly employees can work on campus, in accordance with policies for any UW–Madison employee.

Please continue to monitor the UW–Madison COVID-19 website for the latest information. These measures are being taken to ensure your health and the health of our community, so I want to also remind you that the Employee Assistance Office has services available to assist all of our faculty and staff.

Thank you again for your patience and flexibility during this period of uncertainty. And thank you also for all of the work you are doing to reinforce the importance of scientific discovery, evidence-based decision making and the basic biological discoveries that will allow us to overcome the challenges of this virus.


Kate VandenBosch