UW-Madison kicks off testing system with new protocols, students voice wait time concerns

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 11:36 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -The spring semester at UW-Madison is kicking off with new COVID-19 testing protocols.

Last week, students and faculty could make appointments for covid testing on the Badger App. On Saturday, the university changed it to drop-in only. Some students said the change makes it harder to get tested.

“I don’t think it’s that bad. I think the appointments made it easier to manage,” Madison Tessler, UW-Madison sophomore said. “I think it’s going to be hard to avoid lines.”

Getting in the groove of spring semester came with a few hiccups.

“It’s a lot especially since classes started today. It’s very overwhelming,” Anna Beyer, UW-Madison sophomore said.

Undergraduate students are required to get covid tests twice a week on a drop-in basis.

“It’s like Disneyland. You check the app, it shows a color and if it’s green you’re good to go and it’s a short wait time,” Brian Pfeffer, UW-Madison sophomore said.

Students can see the wait time status of 14 testing locations on the Badger app.

Pfeffer and Beyer wanted to get testing out the way on the first day.

“We went to the Kohl Center and we try to get tested and we waited in line in the cold for 45 minutes,” Pfeffer said.

They said they didn’t make it inside before the site closed and they went to Nieslen Tennis Stadium to try another testing site.

The duo said they didn’t realize the testing team was on a dinner break until reading the fine print on the Badger app.

“Now we’re here and waiting for an hour to try and get tested,” Pfeffer said.

The new system was tested in a soft launch for a few weeks before students came back to campus.

“We became convinced that we would probably be able to reduce wait times and delays and move people through the test types faster if we went to the drop in system,” Meredith McGlone, UW-Madison spokesperson said.

University officials said the goal is to be flexible and make adjustments, if needed.

“It’s a new test. It’s a new app. It’s some new restrictions for campus buildings and we recognize that people need a little bit of time to get acclimated,” McGlone said.

University officials said they want to give students more time to get used to the Badger app. Students won’t be required to prove they are covid negative before entering buildings until Feb. 1.

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