News for Employees
Smart Restart Website Serves Entire Campus Community
UW–Madison will welcome students back to campus as scheduled for the start of fall classes on September 2. A new website, smartrestart.wisc.edu, has been launched to share information about the plan for fall 2020 and beyond with students, parents, faculty, staff, visitors to campus and others. On this site, you will find an overview of the comprehensive plan for resuming campus activities. You can also learn about health and safety measures being put in place for everyone on campus. Additional details will be added to the website as they become available, including information specific to employees, divisions, and units. Employees are encouraged to review the content of this website and check back often for updates.
Free COVID-19 Testing Will Support Campus Reopening
UW–Madison will offer free COVID-19 testing to all students, faculty and staff by the beginning of the fall semester. The goal is to identify infections, isolate and care for those who are sick, and limit the spread of the disease as campus moves forward with a modified re-opening plan. (This plan can be viewed at smartrestart.wisc.edu.) Two UW labs, the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the State Laboratory of Hygiene, will work together to provide the no-cost testing. Some testing will become available in early August. Additional details will be provided to employees and others as they become available.
Planning for Campus Parking and Transportation
Parking offers for those who submitted a 2020–21 parking application before June 26 are being emailed July 20–24. Those who wish to accept and purchase their offers must do so by August 4. The next opportunity to apply is from July 20 to August 4. Employee bus passes, multi-day passes, emerti passes, and motorcycle, moped, afternoon and night permits go on sale August 1. Additional deadlines can be found on the Transportation Services website.
In light of changing circumstances, including an increase in telecommuting, Transportation Services has expanded its flexible parking options. The Flex Parking program, which is on a “pay-as-you-go” basis, has been expanded to offer more permits, and a new multi-day parking pass is available. Transportation Services has created a Smart Restart Hub that provides current information on parking, bus services, campus shuttles, biking, walking, and other forms of transportation. Visit transportation.wisc.edu to learn more.
Help Make UW–Madison a Drug-Free Workplace
All faculty and staff are encouraged to contribute to a drug-free workplace. You can do this by learning the facts about substance abuse, encouraging others to avoid substance abuse, and knowing where you or others can go for help with a drug or alcohol problem. The laws and expectations regarding substance abuse apply to all members of the UW–Madison campus community. You can review this information and find resources for drug and alcohol abuse prevention at go.wisc.edu/j15c7c.
Protect Yourself from COVID-19 Contact Tracing Scams
Contact tracing is the process of identifying who has been exposed to people who have tested positive for a disease. Contact tracing is now being used in the fight against COVID-19. UW employees should be aware that scammers are posing as contact tracers in order to commit identity theft. You may receive a scam text message asking you for personal information, such as your social security number, bank account, or credit card number. A legitimate contact tracer will never ask you for money or personal information. Do not click on any links sent to you by someone claiming to be a contract tracer. Scams related to COVID-19 testing are also increasing. The Federal Trade Commission offers more information in English and Spanish at consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/05/covid-19-contact-tracing-text-message-scams.
Resources to Answer the Call to Action
The Division of Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement (DDEEA) at UW–Madison hosted a virtual event, “Committed to Change: A Call to Action,” on July 8, 2020, with more than 1,800 people attending. Speakers from business, education, government, health care, and the nonprofit sector participated in the conversation about racial inequity. A video recording of the event is available at go.wisc.edu/calltoaction. Those who wish to learn more can refer to DDEEA’s resource page.
Well Wisconsin Adds New Options for Earning Incentive
The Well Wisconsin program, administered by StayWell, enables employees and their spouses who are enrolled in the State Group Health Insurance Program to earn a $150 incentive for completing certain activities designed to maintain or improve health. All required activities must be completed by October 9, 2020, in order to earn the incentive. Many on-site biometric screenings have been cancelled due to the pandemic. In response, new ways to meet the requirements have been added, including a preventative dental exam (for those enrolled in State Group Health with Uniform Dental) and a phone call with a health coach. In addition, at-home screening test kits can be requested from StayWell through September 25, 2020. Log in or set up an account on the StayWell website at wellwisconsin-staywell.com to get started, or contact StayWell toll-free at 1-800-821-6591.
Gradual Reopening Includes Select Campus Facilities
Some UW–Madison facilities are reopening on a limited basis, with new safety requirements such as masking and physical distancing in place. Facilities that are now open in a limited capacity, by reservation/appointment, include Allen Centennial Garden and Memorial Library. The Chazen Museum of Art will reopen to the public with limited hours on July 14. In addition, all child care facilities on campus are now open, including Eagle’s Wing, UW Child Development Lab, Waisman Early Childhood Program, and Little Chicks Learning Academy. Per campus guidelines, all visitors, students and employees at all campus locations must wear masks or face coverings and practice physical distancing of 6 feet.
The reopening of these facilities is part of a plan known as “Smart Restart,” aimed at fully reopening campus for a hybrid of face-to-face and remote instruction beginning on Sept. 2. The gradual reopening process is being coordinated by campus leaders and public health experts. All UW employees should wait for instructions from their dean, director or supervisor before reporting back to campus. Information about the Smart Restart plan is available online at smartrestart.wisc.edu.
Flexibility Added to FSA and Dependent Child Care Accounts
UW–Madison employees who are currently enrolled in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Dependent Day Care Account now have the flexibility to make a mid-year change to either of these accounts without a qualifying life event (such as marriage or birth of a child). From July 1, 2020, until August 31, 2020, employees have a one-time opportunity to increase or decrease their annual contribution to an existing FSA or Dependent Day Care Account. Employees who wish to make a mid-year change must complete an Election Request Form. In addition, the amount employees may carry over for healthcare FSA has increased by $50 effective January 1, 2021. Employees may now carry over up to $550 from the 2020 plan year to the 2021 plan year. These changes were made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Support for Working Remotely
Instructors can take advantage of a variety of professional development opportunities to enhance their remote teaching this summer. These include a weeklong essentials bootcamp, TeachOnline@UW, self-guided materials, and support for recording lectures.