Dear Badger Families,
We are writing today to share an update on public health in Madison and Dane County, including new restrictions designed to keep our community safe. We have also included advice to share with your students, especially those living in Madison, in an attempt to counter the spread of COVID-19.
We continue to plan to welcome our students back to campus on September 2, and we are working closely with Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) and with city and county officials to ensure a coordinated, consistent approach to public health.
From June 13 through June 26, 614 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Dane County. Half of those who tested positive are ages 18-25 and many reported attending gatherings with friends or going out to bars.
In response, PHMDC is limiting indoor gatherings to no more than 10 individuals, outdoor gatherings to 25, and is limiting indoor service and dining at bars.
We know our students spend time in the City of Madison, which includes many areas under the jurisdiction of the PHMDC Forward Dane order. We support the amendments to the order to help preserve public health.
Thank you for sharing this guidance with your students:
- Stay 6 feet from others. This is important because people spread COVID-19 through respiratory droplets, which are released into the air when people cough, sneeze, talk, and breathe. Staying 6 feet from others keeps you away from those droplets and lowers your risk of being exposed.
- Wear a mask over your mouth and nose as much as possible. Masks are especially useful when you are not able to stay 6 feet from others. Your mask doesn’t have to be fancy—a cloth one will do. The more people that wear masks, the lower the risk of spreading COVID-19 at a gathering.
- Use other risk reduction methods. Stay outside, avoid sharing food, drinks, and dishes, and keep groups small and contained.
- Think about how you can have fun with your friends and family while also lowering your risk. An indoor, crowded event like a house party is high-risk. Consider activities that you can easily do while staying 6 feet apart and wearing a mask, such as hiking in a county or state park, watching a movie outdoors, kicking a soccer ball around, having a bonfire, or having a socially distanced picnic.
Our plans for fall include a robust marketing campaign about the health precautions that campus will be taking, as well as how students can reduce their risk more generally. When students return to campus in the fall they will be asked to sign a pledge to commit to wearing a face covering while on campus and in classrooms.
We are working to reopen the campus safely and are looking forward to having students back with us this fall, but we cannot do this work alone. Please join us in sharing information with your students to promote their health and safety. You can read our latest communication to students here.
We will continue to keep you updated and you can find the latest at www.smartrestart.wisc.edu.
Thank you for your partnership,
The UW—Madison Parent and Family Program