MADISON — University of Wisconsin System President Tommy Thompson today announced residential undergraduate students will be tested for COVID-19 at least once per week during the spring 2021 semester. In addition, all non-residential students, faculty and staff will be tested at least once every two weeks.

The requirement will apply to all UW System universities except UW-Madison, which is developing its own testing program. Implementation of the testing plan will be individually managed by the universities.

“Frequent testing is critical to minimizing the spread of COVID-19,” Thompson said in a news release. “We have demonstrated at our universities, where the positivity rate has hovered around 3 percent for weeks, that routine testing is a difference maker. The UW System’s testing program has been pivotal toward ensuring a successful in-person fall semester, and we will do even more this spring given how well it has gone.”

Studies show and experts agree that in addition to the individual behaviors of wearing masks, maintaining social distance, and hand washing, regular testing makes a significant impact in combating the virus.

Under the spring 2021 testing program, faculty and staff who are not working on campus will not need to be tested according to the program requirements.