Recommendations and Guidance
On this page:
- Vaccination, Testing, and Masking
- Considerations for Parents with Unvaccinated Children
- Outbreak Reporting for Dane County Facilities
- Guidance for Schools, Childcare, and Youth Activities
- Guidance for Facilities that Serve People Who are Homeless
- Guidance for Businesses & Workplaces
Vaccination is the most important way to protect yourself and the people you love from COVID-19. Everyone aged 6 months and older is eligible to be vaccinated. Learn more and find vaccination options near you.
Get tested if you're sick or were exposed
- Regardless of your vaccination status, stay home if you’re sick. This is true for COVID-19 and other viruses! Get tested for COVID if you have COVID symptoms or were exposed.
- If you were exposed to COVID or test positive, learn more about your next steps.
Consider making a COVID Plan
The CDC has an action plan template you can share with your family, friends, and doctor. This is especially helpful if you're at high risk of getting very sick from COVID.
Wear a mask if you are more comfortable doing so
- Well-fitting, high-quality masks and respirators can provide great protection, even if no one else around you is wearing a mask. Make sure you choose a mask that offers the best protection while also fitting comfortably.
- The CDC recommends when a county is at medium COVID-19 hospital admission levels, those at high risk of getting very sick wear a high-quality mask or respirator when indoors in public. When we are at high COVID-19 hospital admission levels, CDC recommends everyone wear a high-quality mask or respirator when indoors in public. Check out the CDC's COVID Data Tracker to see what our COVID-19 hospital admission level is now. Our Respiratory Illness Data Dashboard can also help you make your decision about wearing a mask out in public.
- Know the travel requirements for entry into the US.
- Check for any travel advisories for your destination.
- Review CDC's Traveler Health page for COVID-19.
All kids six months of age and older are eligible for a safe and effective COVID vaccine (we have blog posts with tips from parents and advice from kids about why they wanted to be vaccinated). Our littlest babies under six months old cannot be vaccinated. To help protect your unvaccinated kids, consider these tips:
- 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.
- If you are pregnant, being vaccinated while pregnant offers some protection to your new baby. As a pregnant person, you are also more at risk for severe illness. A vaccination while pregnant helps protect you too! Our blog post from January 2022 offers a testimonial from one of our staffers who was vaccinated while pregnant.
- 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 when they turn 6 months old.
- 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.
- Consider wearing a mask in indoor spaces. Well-fitting, high-quality masks and respirators can provide great protection, even if no one else around you is wearing a mask. Make sure you choose a mask that offers the best protection while also fitting comfortably.
- Get tested if you or your kids have symptoms. At-home tests are authorized for ages 2 years and older. Parents of children under 2 years, contact your child's pediatrician for COVID-19 testing options.
Dane County facilities experiencing increased COVID-19 transmission at their site or within specific groups (e.g., classroom, pod, work group, athletic team, etc.) can use the following link to report a COVID-19 outbreak to Public Health and/or request assistance from our COVID-19 Disease Control Team:
- We only need to be notified of an outbreak event once. An outbreak event is considered to be over after 28 days have passed with no new cases.
- If you need additional assistance from us after reporting an outbreak, you may submit another form using the link above, or you can contact us at (608) 266-4821 or by email.
- We recommend schools and childcare sites follow the recommendations of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the CDC.
- Frequently Asked Questions in School & Childcare Settings (August 2023): Please note this document replaces all prior school and childcare guidance and fact sheets from Public Health Madison & Dane County.
- Review our Guidance for Businesses & Employers for strategies you may wish to implement.
- We have signs you are welcome to use if you require masks or recommend masks for your staff or customers.
- Should you experience an elevated number of COVID-19 cases at your facility, or if you have general guidance questions, our team can assist. Email or call us at (608) 266-4821 and let the staff member assisting you know you have a COVID question. They will connect you with our COVID team.
Below are four 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.