UW System ramping up required COVID-19 testing in spring of 2021

CDC study finds COVID-19 antibody tests underestimate infection numbers
Posted at 2:36 PM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-11 15:36:07-05

MADISON — The University of Wisconsin System is accelerating COVID-19 testing among students, faculty and staff starting next year.

The testing requirement is effective at every UW university except UW-Madison, which has its own testing program.

All residential undergraduates will be tested for the coronavirus at least once per week during the spring 2021 semester. All non-residential students, faculty and staff who work on campus will be tested at least once every two weeks.

Each university will be tasked with testing, System President Tommy Thompson explained in a statement Friday.

“Frequent testing is critical to minimizing the spread of COVID-19,” Thompson said. “We have demonstrated at our universities, where the positivity rate has hovered around 3 percent for weeks, that routine testing is a difference maker. The UW System’s testing program has been pivotal toward ensuring a successful inperson fall semester, and we will do even more this spring given how well it has gone.”

Citing studies and experts' conclusions, the former Wisconsin governor says regular testing makes a "significant impact" on lowering COVID-19 spread. That hand-in-hand with social distancing, regular handwashing and the wearing of masks.

“Frequent testing has helped us create a culture of responsibility on our campuses,” Thompson said. “I am very proud of how our students have responded to the challenges facing them this fall.”

Faculty and staff not working on campus will not be required to test for the coronavirus. The UW System will announce details at a later date.

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