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Close contact and isolation information for students and employees

The most up-to-date information about UW-Madison’s COVID-19 response can be found at covidresponse.wisc.edu.

Campus isolation & close contact FAQs CDC isolation guidance

Guidance for current UW housing residents

Isolation (You Tested Positive for COVID-19)

If you test positive for COVID-19, you should isolate yourself immediately. Stay home. Do not go to work, class, or any other campus or public areas. Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home as much as possible. Residence hall students will be provided isolation space.

Isolate at home and do not leave isolation until: 

  • It has been at least 5 days since the first day you had symptoms (day 0 is the day your symptoms start), or since you tested positive if you do not have symptoms (day 0 is the day of your test), AND  
  • You have been at least 24 hours without a fever (without fever-reducing medicine), AND 
  • Your other symptoms are resolving.  

Five days is a minimum and some people may need to isolate longer.

If you had moderate illness (shortness of break or difficulty breathing), isolate through day 10.

If you had severe illness or have a weakened immune system, talk to your health care provider about when to end isolation.

Everyone should wear a mask through day 10 any time you’re around other people. You may remove your mask sooner than day 10 if you are fever-free, your symptoms have improved, and two sequential antigen tests taken 48 hours apart, after your first positive test, are negative.

Additional questions after testing positive for COVID-19? Review what to do if you are sick or possibly exposed.

You should also: 

  • Notify your close contacts and work with contact tracers. 
  • Take leave or seek flexibility for work; contact your instructors for flexibility with classes and assignments. 
  • If you test positive on a rapid antigen test but do not have symptoms, try to receive a follow-up PCR test within 48 hours to confirm the result.  
  • Monitor your symptoms and call before visiting your doctor. If you have an appointment, be sure you tell them you have or may have COVID-19. 
  • Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) to help you feel better. 
  • Avoid using public transportation, taxis, or ride-share. 
  • Call 911 if you experience a medical emergency, such as difficulty breathing. 

You are a Close Contact of Someone Who Tested Positive for COVID-19

Regardless of your vaccination status, following an exposure (close contact) you should:  

  • Wear a mask around others for 10 days starting with your last contact (the day of your most recent close contact is day 0), AND  
  • Get tested (rapid antigen test or PCR) at least 5 full days after your last contact and at any point if you develop symptoms. 

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19

You should get tested and isolate immediately regardless of your vaccination status or whether you previously tested positive. If you have symptoms and your test result is negative on an antigen test, you should seek a PCR test and consult a health care provider before returning to work or class.  

Booster doses

Everyone who is eligible for a booster dose is recommended to get one as soon as possible. If you received a booster shot off-campus, let UHS know by sharing your records through the MyUHS website or app.

Off-Campus Students & Employees

  • For employees and student employees, if you have questions or needs related to your work assignment, contact your Division Disability Representative (DDR) for assistance.
  • Some individuals may receive instructions from UHS or a private health care provider that differ from the information here. You should follow the instructions provided to you by a health care provider. Contact UHS at 608-265-5600 if you need help.