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.
Mask requirements regardless of vaccination status
Masks may still be required in some places due to federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. Examples of places were masks are still required include public transportation like buses and airplanes and healthcare settings. See the CDC’s mask page for information on wearing a mask.
Mask recommendations regardless of vaccination status
In light of new CDC recommendations, Public Health Madison & Dane County recommends that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask in indoor public spaces and at indoor private gatherings. Masks are recommended for people aged two and older.
- 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.
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 CDC guidance, we recommend people ages 2 and older wear a mask when in indoor public spaces and at indoor private gatherings.
- 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 following the expiration of the June 2 order. We recommend that these youth activities follow CDC guidance , which at this time recommend groups of youth continue to wear masks.
- 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.
When you’re vaccinated but your kids aren’t
One question we get a lot is if vaccinated people can spread COVID-19 to their unvaccinated kids. We are still learning how well vaccines prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to others, even if you do not have symptoms.
Emerging data show that vaccines help keep people with no symptoms from spreading COVID-19. We know that people who don’t have COVID-19 can’t spread COVID-19.
See our blog post on breakthrough cases to learn more.
Review our Guidance for Businesses & Employers for some voluntary recommendations you may wish to implement.
- Mask required sign. If you opt to require masks given our latest recommendations, we have a sign available.
- Mask recommended sign. If you would like to remind people of the latest recommendations, we have a sign available for that too.
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)
- Prepare for When Someone is Sick with COVID-19
- 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:
- Encourage spectators to wear masks in indoor spaces.
- Encourage unvaccinated players to wear masks when not actively participating in the sport (e.g., while on the bench, in the locker room).
- 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.