Smart Restart update regarding CALS employee return to on-site work

This message was sent to all CALS employees by Associate Dean for Human Resources Carol Hillmer on August, 25, 2020.

Dear CALS employee,

Thank you for your continued work efforts during these unprecedented and challenging times, and for your continued commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy workplace. You are a valued member of the CALS community.

As part of the Smart Restart initiative, UW-Madison leaders indicated that employees who were currently and successfully working remotely, and who did not need to be on campus to fulfill their responsibilities this fall, should continue to work remotely. In CALS, we have employees who are currently working on-site, who are telecommuting, whose work status involves a combination of on-site and telecommuting work, and a few who are on position-specific furloughs. With the beginning of the academic year, the work status for the majority of employees in CALS will remain unchanged. When an employee’s work status is changing to on-site as part of the Smart Restart initiative, the employee will be notified regarding the expectation to return to on-site work.

The following information is provided to you, to confirm your current return to on-site work status, and to provide you with campus specific information which may be helpful to you. If you have questions at any time, you should speak with your supervisor, or contact the chair, director, or administrator for your unit, or contact your CALS HR Manager.

Where can you find information regarding the campus Smart Restart?

You will find the overview of the Smart Restart plan at Note in the top red banner, the Information for tab – this drop down list provides specific links to information for Students, Graduate Students, Employees, Departments & Units, Instructors, and Researchers.

If you have questions about the Smart Restart plan or information provided on the website, please contact:

What do you need to be aware of regarding your work status?

1)    Employees whose work status is changing and who need to return to on-site work, will receive a written notification confirming this change no less than 7 days in advance of the change.

  1. If you do not receive a notification that your work status is changing, you will continue working in the manner you are currently.
  2. If you are currently working on-site, you will continue working on-site
  3. If you are currently telecommuting, you will continue to telecommute
  4. If you are currently working partially on-site and partially telecommuting, you will continue working the combined arrangement.
  5. If you are on a position-specific furlough (psf), you will follow instructions outlined when you were place on a psf.

2)    If you are unsure of your work location assignment and status, please reach out to your CALS HR Manager.

3)    As needs change throughout the fall semester, your status may change. If your status needs to change, you will receive written notification and appropriate notice of the change.

4)    Please see additional information below regarding expectations for those who are telecommuting and for those who are working on-site.

If you are telecommuting:

If you have other concerns about your current telecommuting arrangement or your eventual return to on-site work, including the need for an accommodation or consideration for workplace flexibility, please speak with your supervisor immediately. Information about accommodations and workplace flexibility is available at

If you are working on-site:

To keep everyone on campus safe and healthy, you must:

If you cannot access the hyperlinks above or require assistance with reviewing and/or reading these materials, please contact your supervisor or your CALS HR Manager. If you require these materials in another language, please contact Cultural Linguistic Services at 608-265-2257.

COVID-19 Symptom Tracker 

Every day before work, you must answer health questions in the COVID-19 Symptom Tracker.

The Symptom Tracker:

  • Asks questions about common COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Takes about 2 minutes to complete.
  • Is anonymous.
  • Gives you instructions based on your current health.

 Symptom Tracker Instructions

You can work on-site if you:

  • Do not have a fever,
  • Do not have common COVID-19 symptoms, and
  • Have not had known contact with a person who is sick or tested positive for COVID-19.

You cannot go to work if you have:

  • Any common COVID-19 symptoms,
  • Had contact with a person who is sick or tested positive for COVID-19, or
  • Traveled internationally by airplane within the past 14 days.

If the Symptom Tracker says you cannot go to work, you must follow all other instructions:

  • Contact your healthcare provider.
  • Tell your supervisor you cannot come to work.
  • Begin a 14-day self-quarantine.

Public Health Protocol

If you work on UW-Madison’s campus or at any university-owned and affiliated location, you must follow public health protocols, including:

1)    Physical Distancing: Stay 6 feet (1.8 meters) away from other people when possible.

2)    Face Coverings: Wear a reusable cloth face covering or a single-use disposable mask when you are in:

  • Any campus building,
  • University vehicles,
  • Campus buses, and
  • Outdoor spaces when you cannot keep physical distance.

You do not need a face covering if you are alone in a private space (office, lab, mechanical space, etc.).

3)    Continued Self-Monitoring: Check yourself for COVID-19 symptoms every day before you go to work and when you are at work.

4)    Handwashing: Keeping hands clean is especially important to help prevent COVID-19 from spreading. Wash your hands frequently throughout the day. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Always wash your hands before and after eating.

Read and follow the university’s public health protocols at Please check this site regularly for updated information.

There are serious health and safety effects when people do not follow public health protocols. We trust that employees will follow the requirements for working on-site. However, employees who do not follow the requirements will have negative employment consequences.

If you are worried about working on-site because of a medical condition:

  • Contact your CALS HR Manager, who also serves as your divisional disability representative (DDR), and
  • Tell your supervisor that you have contacted your DDR.

More Resources

We know this may be a difficult time for you. For counseling, support, and well-being resources, please contact the Employee Assistance Office (EAO) or LifeMatters.

Additionally, if there is any assistance we can provide to you, do not hesitate to contact your CALS HR Manager.

If you have other concerns about working on-site, including the need for an accommodation or consideration for workplace flexibility, talk with your supervisor immediately. Information about accommodations and workplace flexibilities is available at

Thank you!

CALS Human Resources

Distributed to:  CALS employees – academic staff, university staff, limited staff, temporary employees, student assistants, post-degree trainees, faculty, $0 appointees

The only group not included is:  student hourly employees – we will need to work with departments/centers separately on this.