UW-Madison begins to set up free, on-campus COVID-19 testing regime for fall.

UW officials believe that a partnership between multiple of its labs will provide the capacity to test all on-campus students and staff for free. Photo: Bryce Richter.

The UW-Madison builds the infrastructure to provide free campus-wide COVID-19 testing in the fall. 

According to a news release from the University, multiple on-campus labs with the capabilities and licenses to administer COVID-19 tests are joining forces with the goal of conducting more than 6,000 tests per week by Sept. 2, when classes resume. University officials believe that testing at this capacity will allow UW-Madison to offer tests to all of its students and faculty at no cost.

Campus Testing Lead and Emeritus Professor of Oncology Norman Drinkwater is quoted in the release as describing on-campus testing as a prerequisite to any in-person UW-Madison activities.

“It was clear we had to set up some on-campus capacity in order to meet the demands that would be made by reopening the campus and bringing back students, staff and faculty,” said Drinkwater. 

As part of its Smart Restart plan, UW-Madison also plans to routinely test persons at high-risk of contagion, including students who live in the dorms, and volunteer groups of campus-dwellers to surveil any spread of the virus. 

Campus officials will also have a data-sharing relationship with Public Health Madison and Dane County to better monitor and distribute resources to combat the coronavirus. 

At press time, University officials have not released any information regarding how many of these on-campus testing centers there will be, where they will be located, and what spans of time they will be open. 

While some campus testing will be up-and-running by late August, anyone interested in receiving a COVID-19 diagnostic test now can receive one for free and with no appointment at the mobile testing site at the Alliant Energy Center.