Recommendations and Guidance
On this page:
- For Individuals & Families
- For Businesses & Workplaces
- For Schools, Childcare, & Youth Activities
- For Community Organizations & Faith-Based Organizations
- For Sports
Vaccination is the most important way to protect yourself and the people you love from COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccines are free, safe, and effective. When you’re fully vaccinated, you can do more things safely!
Currently everyone 12 years old and older is eligible to be vaccinated. Learn more and find vaccination options near you.
Regardless of your vaccination status, stay home if you’re sick. This is true for COVID-19 and other viruses!
- If you’re unvaccinated: get tested if you have symptoms or were exposed to someone with COVID-19.
- If you’re vaccinated: get tested 3-5 days following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after exposure or until a negative test result.
Face covering (masking) requirements regardless of vaccination status
Face Covering Emergency Order #3 went into effect on October 8, 2021 at 12:01 am. See Face Covering Emergency Order #3 and our news release for details. This order will be in effect until November 5, 2021.
- Face coverings are required among people ages two and older when in any enclosed space open to the public where other people, except for members of the person’s own household or living unit, are present.
- Face coverings are also required while driving or riding in any form of public transportation.
- See full order for certain situations where a face covering may be removed.
- The science is clear that wearing a face covering is a simple, proven way to prevent disease spread.
- If you plan to travel internationally, check out our fact sheet for international travel documentation.
- Please see the Wisconsin Department of Health Services' recommendations for travel within Wisconsin, within the United States, and internationally.
Risk & Considerations for Parents with Unvaccinated Children
You are responsible for deciding which activities and behaviors you feel comfortable doing. At this stage in the pandemic, your decision about what you feel comfortable with may be different from another person’s. That’s okay. Whatever choice you make is the right one for you and your family.
The CDC outlines activities on a risk spectrum to help inform your choices. For example, we know it’s safer to spend time with others outside instead of in close indoor spaces. Particularly if you’re unvaccinated and spending time with other unvaccinated people, taking your gathering outside, increasing ventilation inside and wearing a mask, and keeping gatherings small and short in duration can all help reduce your risk. Our blog post explains these strategies in a little more detail.
Check out these updated Halloween Safety Tips, to help you and your family enjoy a spooky and safe Halloween.
Considerations for Parents with Unvaccinated Children
Visit the CDC's website for considerations for parents with unvaccinated children. We have outlined some considerations below. Our blog post includes more information about why we felt comfortable lifting orders and answers to common questions.
- Get vaccinated yourself. The most important thing you can do to protect your kids is ensure you and any eligible people in the house are vaccinated. Encourage the people in your kids’ lives, such as coaches, teachers, and family friends, to also get vaccinated. This helps form a circle of protection around your kids who are not yet able to get vaccinated. Get your kids vaccinated as soon as their age group is eligible.
- Align your behaviors with your comfort with risks. Many businesses are continuing to offer options that became popular in the past year, including curbside pickup, delivery, and online ordering. Continue to make use of these options if you aren’t comfortable bringing your child into an indoor public space. CDC outlines certain activities by risk level. For example, it’s safer for an unvaccinated kid to have a playdate outside than to dine indoors at a busy restaurant. Determine what you’re comfortable with and adjust your behavior accordingly.
- Wear a mask in indoor spaces. Per the Face Covering Emergency Order, people ages two and older must wear a mask when in any enclosed space open to the public where other people, except for members of the person’s own household or living unit, are present.
- Ask organizers about your kid’s activities. If your child participates in youth activities, such as music lessons or after school camps, ask them about their policies. We recommend that these youth activities follow CDC guidance.
- Start preparing now for Halloween. See the CDC's website for recommendations on activities around Halloween.
- Get tested if you or your kids have symptoms. There are tons of options for getting tested in Dane County. We can test babies as young as 12 months old at our Park Street location.
- Mask required sign. Per the Face Covering Emergency Order, all businesses must post a sign in a visible location that notifies the public that face coverings are required upon entering the property.
- Review our Guidance for Businesses & Employers for recommendations you may wish to implement.
- Workplaces considering testing for their employees should follow CDC guidance when determining whether and how to test employees. Workplaces must follow all guidelines related to obtaining a CLIA waiver and reporting of test results.
Below are five steps businesses and workplaces are encouraged to take to prevent the spread of illnesses like COVID-19, flu, and whooping cough, as well as the spread of viruses like norovirus. Included in the sample policies below are resources and links to more information.
- Create and adopt a hygiene policy
- Create and adopt a cleaning policy
- Inspect and maintain facility infrastructure:
- Verify water quality
- Sample water if on well and septic
- Run water if closed for longer than a week
- Service and maintain ventilation system
- Contract monthly pest control
- Seal doors, windows to prevent pest entry
- Verify water quality
- Create and adopt a process for documenting staff training on policies
- Sign up for our sector-specific newsletters
- Dane County Childcare Operating Guidance - Fall 2021
- Guidance for When a Child/Youth or Staff Member Can Return to Child Care or Youth Programming (Exclusion Table) (in Spanish)
- Prepare for When Someone is Sick with COVID-19
- Childcare & Schools with a Person with COVID-19: Who Can Attend? (Spanish Version)
- Dane County School Operating Guidance - Fall 2021
- Action Plan for a Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19 Case in a Dane County School
- Transportation Guidance
- Guidance for When a Child/Youth or Staff Member Can Return to Youth Programming (Exclusion Table)
- CDC’s Youth Programming and Summer Camps Recommendations
- Sports (see below)
- CDC’s Community Organizations & Gathering Recommendations
- Wisconsin Council of Churches Coronavirus Resources
- Jewish Federation of Madison COVID-19 Resources
We recommend teams follow the Sports Action Plan, which outlines what to do if someone on your team has COVID-19.
Below are some additional safety considerations your team may choose to implement to help reduce the spread of illness:
- Avoid carpooling that mixes unvaccinated people from more than one household.
- Clean and disinfect shared equipment.
- Play sports outside if possible.
- If playing inside, ensure ventilation systems or fans operate properly. Increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible, for example by opening windows and doors. Do not open windows and doors if doing so poses a safety or health risk (e.g., risk of falling or triggering asthma symptoms) to players or others using the facility.
- If you are unvaccinated, see the CDC’s guidance for playing sports while unvaccinated.