More from Dean Golden: Guidelines for in-person events at SMPH

An update from Tuesday, April 13:

The approval and exemption form for in-person events mentioned below is now available. To request pre-approval of an in-person event in accordance with the UW–Madison Event Policy, fill out the Official Function Pre-Approval Form for In-Person Events with COVID-19 Supplement form, which is available on this page. If no university funds will be used for the proposed event, leave the UW Fund Account and WMAA Fund Account sections blank. Submit the form using DocuSign by following these instructions.

The below message from Dean Golden was shared with school leadership on Monday, March 29. 

Dear colleagues,

The university’s guidelines for the upcoming phase of COVID-19 related transitions have sparked questions from many in our SMPH community regarding our school’s implementation of the evolving campus guidelines for in-person events. To follow-up my message on March 10 regarding how our school will approach events and meetings this spring, I would like to emphasize the following points:

  • In regard to the recent campus announcement that individual schools and colleges may approve in-person events and may grant exemptions from campus event policy restrictions on a case by case basis: our approval and exemption form is under development and will be released soon. For now, approvals and exemptions will be rare, and will be considered only when necessary for the fulfillment of an important clinical, research, or educational goal that cannot be adequately achieved through virtual programming. 
  • In-person SMPH degree program graduate recognition events will not be approved. The official commencement ceremonies at Camp Randall on May 8 are the only in-person events permitted for spring semester graduation.
  • Guidelines for UW Health program graduations are the province of UW Health. University staff who are connected to UW Health programs must follow university guidelines, and must not be pressured to participate in UW Health events that would fall outside of university or SMPH guidelines.
  • If an in-person event is approved, those who are present at the event must be there of their own free will. Department chairs, center directors, department/center administrators, and others in leadership roles may not require or exert pressure on any SMPH employee or learner to attend or support any in-person event. Employees can be expected to do remote work related to in-person events.
  • If a university employee believes they are being pressured to attend an event, they should report the situation to SMPH Employee Relations at
  • Before arranging an in-person event, department chairs and center directors are responsible for knowing and abiding by the university’s current events policy. Policies may change frequently and without much notice, so please stay apprised via the university’s COVID-19 Response website.
  • If event planners and others need to make a decision by a certain date in order to plan a future event, they should refer to and abide by the university’s events policy in effect on the day the decision needs to be made. Please support those who are making such decisions under stressful and evolving conditions.


Robert N. Golden, MD
Robert Turell Professor in Medical Leadership
Dean, School of Medicine and Public Health
Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs