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Vaccination, Testing, and Masking

Get vaccinated

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. Stay up to date on your vaccines and get boosted when you are eligible to have the most protection from COVID. 

Everyone aged 6 months and older is eligible to be vaccinated, and most are able to get boosted. 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 like KF94s, KF95s, and N95s provide great protection, even if no one else around you is wearing a mask. Make sure your mask fits well

  • CDC has recommendations for when to mask, based on our community's status. We recommend masking wherever there is active transmission of COVID (such as an outbreak at a facility), regardless of the community level.
  • Check signage to see if a mask is required or not before you enter a building. Businesses and workplaces may have their own policies that require masks for employees or staff. Most, if not all, hospitals and clinics require masks in their spaces.

Know Requirements for Travel

Considerations for Parents with Unvaccinated Children

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.

    • 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.
    • If you are pregnant and haven't yet gotten your initial series or booster, 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.
  • 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 like KF94s, KF95s, and N95s provide great protection, even if no one else around you is wearing a mask. See our section on masks for more information.
  • Get tested if you or your kids have symptoms. There are many options for getting tested in Dane County. At-home tests are another great option. You can use an at-home test on babies, but it can be challenging to get a good sample. 

Guidance for Schools, Childcare, & Youth Activities

Interim Operational Guidance for K-12 Schools & Childcare Programs - Spring 2023 (Spanish)
Please note this document replaces all prior school and childcare guidance and fact sheets.

Guidance for Facilities that Serve People Who are Homeless

COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies in Homeless Service Facilities - March 2023

Guidance for Businesses & Workplaces

  • 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 have two or more employees with COVID-19 during a two week time frame, our Site Investigation Team can assist. The Site Team works with businesses, schools, child care centers, and group living facilities. Read more in our Site Investigation fact sheet.
  • 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.
  • Employers can play an important role in supporting COVID-19 vaccination. A few simple communications, policies and programs can encourage COVID-19 vaccination among your workforce and help keep employees—and your community—safe and healthy. Read more in this guide from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

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.

  1. Create and adopt a hygiene policy
  2. Create and adopt a cleaning policy
  3. Create and adopt a process for documenting staff training on policies
  4. Sign up for our sector-specific newsletters