Dear Faculty and Staff,
Today, UW System President Tommy Thompson announced a $32 million COVID-19 testing regimen for the Fall 2020 semester across UW System campuses, including a portion to UW-Milwaukee. (UW-Madison is excepted due to their own testing program.) Details are below.
We are thankful for the additional resources to assist with expanding our testing capabilities. Details are being worked through now for how we will incorporate this testing program with our current partnership with the City of Milwaukee Health Department to provide on-campus testing at no cost to students. With the additional funding from UW System, our College of Nursing and other partners are working on plans for surveillance testing of student residents.
This testing is in addition to our comprehensive Fall 2020 reopening plan. You can find additional information about our fall plan in the FAQs on our reopening website.
Mark A. Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
UW System testing program includes more than 350,000 tests
The University of Wisconsin System will employ a robust COVID-19 testing regimen during the fall 2020 semester, thanks to an allocation of approximately $32 million from the office of Gov. Tony Evers. The funding, originally delivered from the federal CARES Act, includes nearly $18 million for testing more than 350,000 students and $6 million for personal protective equipment associated with testing.
“Funding from the governor’s office and the federal government will help us provide the kind of testing we need at our universities when students return this fall,” said UW System President Tommy Thompson. “Students and families can be confident in this testing program.”
The testing program is another step being taken by the UW System to mitigate risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. The UW System Board of Regents has previously required that students, faculty and staff wear face masks in classrooms, residence halls and other buildings.
The funding announced today enables the UW System to implement strong testing measures.
Excluding UW-Madison, it will allow for:
- Testing of up to 34,000 students who show COVID-19 symptoms, similar to tests now being administered in medical and community settings. Approximately 28,000 tests will be distributed to universities and about 6,000 will be held in reserve by the UW System for future allocation.
- An additional 317,000 tests for students living in residence halls, given every two weeks with a rapid turnaround of results, and for close contacts of symptomatic students.
- Optional flu testing.
- Up to 52 staff located at the universities to assist with testing.
UW-Madison has already announced a testing plan, with $8 million allocated by the governor’s office. The plan announced today applies to the other 12 UW System universities.
Under the plan, testing would be conducted by university student health services offices and local health partners. Those local partners continue to be identified.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said this week that universities can welcome students back on campus so long as sufficient safety protocols and testing are in place.
“We have been following the guidance offered by my friend Dr. Fauci and other experts and believe we are on track for on-campus instruction,” Thompson said. “Our mask-wearing requirement will help prevent the spread of the virus while our testing program will help identify cases and help contain them.”
Thompson said universities are also working closely with their local public health departments to monitor trends in their communities and to discuss contact tracing. And he said the UW System continues to develop a case dashboard for public reporting of cases within the System.