(The Center Square) – University of Wisconsin's non-Madison campuses are getting hundreds of thousands of coronavirus tests as students prepare for fall classes.
Additionally, Gov. Evers on Thursday said he is earmarking $8 million for the Madison campus alone to provide testing there.
UW System President Tommy Thompson on Thursday announced the state will fund the program with $24 million from its share of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds. It is anticipated the state will provide 350,000 coronavirus tests for UW students for the new school year, which starts in September.
“Students and families can be confident in this testing program," Thompson said. “Funding from the governor’s office and the federal government will help us provide the kind of testing we need at our universities when students return this fall."
"It is critically important that every campus has the resources it needs to help keep our students safe,” Gov. Evers said. “Having robust testing efforts is one of the most important tools we have to help box in this virus and make sure our students stay healthy and safe.”
Under the plan, the UW System is ready to test 28,000 students who arrive on campus with COVID-19 symptoms. More than 300,000 additional tests will be given to students on an every-other-week basis to start the school year. Thompson says the UW System is holding some tests in reserve, just in case.
UW Madison Chancellor said the money will come in handy as thousands of students return to the state's largest campus.
"We know that one effective way to help keep our students, faculty and staff as safe and healthy as possible is through the establishment of robust program of testing, surveillance and contact tracing," Blanks said. "We know our community will make use of this important service, in addition to taking other key steps like wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distance, along with changes to our buildings and classrooms."
The $32 million for testing is just part of the CARES Act money that the UW System has received this year.
Gov. Evers sent almost $19 million to the system in the spring. And the UW System itself received $95.6 million from the CARES Act back in May.
President Thompson says every dollar is needed. He said the UW System lost over $150 million because of the coronavirus during the spring semester alone.