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UW-Madison to ramp up COVID-19 testing among students next spring

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Posted at 4:47 PM, Oct 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 17:47:39-04

MADISON — UW–Madison is preparing to expand COVID-19 testing for all students on campus, set to begin at the start of the spring semester.

Currently, students who live in residence halls are tested for the coronavirus once a week. Other students and staff are tested only if they make an appointment at a campus testing site, or if they participate in surveillance testing.

Under the expansion, though, all students who live on campus, attend classes or use campuses facilities will be tested twice a week, a UW spokesperson explained in a note to the university community Wednesday. Regular testing will be required for employees working on campus as well, according to the university.

“I am pleased that we will be able to expand our testing in January,” said Chancellor Rebecca Blank in a statement. “This will help us identify any students or staff who are ill much more quickly.”

University officials believe that quick detection of coronavirus cases through testing - combined with isolation and quarantine efforts, contact tracing and adherence to safety guidelines like wearing masks - are "critical" to keeping COVID-19 cases down in the university community.

The UW-Madison will be releasing details when COVID-19 testing plans are finalized.

Hybrid learning

Also on Wednesday, university officials announced plans to continue with hybrid learning through the spring semester. Courses with 50 or more students will remain virtual.

“I continue to feel strongly that face-to-face instruction, with stringent safety protocols, provides an invaluable learning opportunity for students and instructors who choose that option,” Provost Karl Scholz said in the statement.

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