Wisconsin Emergency Assistance Volunteer Registry: Guidance for SMPH learners and employees

Originally posted on 4/14/2020; Updated on 5/1/2020: In response to the state’s recent launch of the Wisconsin Emergency Assistance Volunteer Registry (WEAVR), a web-based online registration system for Wisconsin’s health professional volunteers willing to serve in an emergency, the School of Medicine and Public Health offered the following guidance on April 14, 2020. Additional guidance released on May 1, 2020 by the Office of the Chancellor is below.

From the School of Medicine and Public Health:

  • More information about WEAVR is available online. This registry is coordinated administratively by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Public Health Emergency Preparedness Section (PHEP).
  • This registry and any associated volunteer activities are outside of the operational control of SMPH. There is no guarantee to learners that activities outside of their program curricula, including this extracurricular volunteer activity, will be feasible for learners given curriculum requirements and the potential time commitment of these volunteer activities, or that participation in this extracurricular volunteer activity will count toward any community service or service learning requirements of a specific educational program.
  • Learners should follow guidance from their degree program leaders/administrators about whether or not engaging in volunteer activities through the WEAVR registry may be counted as required community service or service learning activities for their specific degree program.
    • Leadership of each health science program (Genetic Counseling, MD, Master of Public Health, Physician Assistant, Physical Therapy) will assess and determine the applicability of WEAVR volunteer opportunities for their program.
    • Different SMPH degree programs may have varying abilities to accommodate learner participation in this as well as other extracurricular volunteer opportunities, depending on the demands and timeline of each program, as well as the ability of learners to effectively meet education program goals while participating in outside activities.
  • SMPH employees who are interested in engaging in volunteer activities through WEAVR should coordinate with their department chairs/leaders and administration beforehand, to ensure that volunteering would not interrupt continuity of school and health system operations.
    • All faculty and staff who wish to participate should prioritize departmental or unit activities and – prior to volunteering – consult with their department chair, division chief, and/or unit/program leader/supervisor about department/division/unit/program responsibilities and expectations.
  • Please prioritize safety. When contemplating volunteer opportunities, learners and employees should assess whether appropriate PPE is available to support the activity and should consistently engage in safe practices with regard to social distancing.
    • To minimize exposure risk, all members of the SMPH community who elect to sign up for the registry and volunteer should ensure that their volunteer assignments include appropriate training, oversight, and personal protective equipment for any tasks that involve working with COVID-19 patients or high-risk populations.
    • Volunteers who are not directly assigned to work with patients of high-risk populations should follow CDC and Department of Health Services recommendations for social distancing, hand-washing, and masking.
    • No members of the SMPH community should serve as hands-on volunteers if they have any symptoms.
    • Volunteers who develop any symptoms will need to self-isolate according to campus guidelines and UW Health guidelines (if dually-employed by SMPH and UW Health/UW Medical Foundation), and contact their health care provider prior to returning to onsite work or learning activities at SMPH, while abiding by current leave policies.

From the Office of the Chancellor:

TO:   Leadership at:

–    UW School of Pharmacy

–    UW School of Nursing

–    UW School of Medicine & Public Health

–    UW School of Veterinary Medicine

–    UW RARC

FROM:      Office of the Chancellor/UW-Madison EOC

DATE:        May 1, 2020

SUBJECT: State of Wisconsin seeks health care volunteers

The state continues to seek volunteers to help support Wisconsin’s healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals interested in volunteering have been asked to register their willingness by signing up through the Wisconsin Emergency Assistance Volunteer Registry (WEAVR).

WEAVR is open to active and retired health care professionals and also welcomes behavioral health and animal health professionals. Based on the information collected from each registrant, public health officials identify those willing and qualified to fill specific volunteer needs.

UW–Madison employees are welcome to volunteer for and participate in WEAVR but most must do so on their personal, non-work time. If employees wish to discuss taking a leave of absence or extended time off from their regular UW-Madison jobs to do so, they should first discuss their plans with their supervisor and unit HR department. They may not remain in paid UW-Madison status for WEAVR volunteering purposes. Note that UW-Madison is not required to approve employee time-off requests for purposes of participating in WEAVR activities.

In limited cases, employees may be reassigned to do state work via applicable interchange agreements. These employees will be allowed to remain in paid status instead of taking leave time to volunteer, but each situation must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Employees should contact their supervisors or HR departments if they have questions.

Some employees may be contacted by a state agency or state representative asking for their participation through WEAVR despite not having registered for the program. Before committing to any time off from their regular employment to fulfill these requests, employees should first discuss with their supervisor and unit HR department.

Those contacted to volunteer will be given information on where to report and about what is required of them. They will also be offered the option to accept or decline the opportunity and will be provided any necessary training. According to Governor Tony Evers, volunteers may be assigned to locations across Wisconsin and will also be required to complete a background check.