Updated: April 8, 2020 at 3:40 p.m.

What to do if you feel sick | Telework & time off | Classes, academics & research
Events & university operations 
| Travel and study abroad


Stopping COVID-19 will take all of us

We can save lives and stop COVID-19 if each of us does our part, starting with practicing good hygiene and following social distancing directives from state and local governments.

If you are sick, you must stay home. Stay home even if you have mild symptoms of illness. This will help protect the health of other people in your community.

In addition, if you have COVID-19 symptoms such as cough, fever, shortness of breath or respiratory symptoms, or if your health provider confirms or suspects COVID-19, notify UW Environmental Health & Safety. This will enable them to uphold their public health responsibility for follow up with people who may be at risk. UW Medicine employees should contact their Employee Health Services office. Additional details and contact information are in the Q&A below.

The University of Washington is responding to the pandemic in coordination with the UW Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases and state and local health departments. Additionally, UW Environmental Health & Safety maintains a UW count of confirmed COVID-19 cases and provides health and safety guidance to UW employees supporting critical operations. This is an evolving situation, and updates are available from the Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Spring quarter classes being held remotely

Spring quarter began on March 30, with remote instruction that will continue through the end of the quarter. As country-wide social distancing requirements continue to increase and evolve daily, we believe this is the best course of action for reducing uncertainty and anxiety and establishing a reliable, high-quality method of instruction and academic progress for UW students through the spring. Please see the relevant FAQs below, a page with information for students about spring quarter and messages to the UW community for more information.


Frequently asked questions about novel coronavirus

Table of contents


About COVID-19

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing respiratory illness in people and others circulating among animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people. Previous coronavirus outbreaks have included severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Community transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 continues to increase locally, in our region and in the United States. Please follow the guidance later in these FAQs on how to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The Washington State Department of Health has created a Coronavirus call center: 1-800-525-0127. And UW Medicine has created a Coronavirus Information Line where you can hear additional information: 206-520-2285.

How does it spread?

Although we have a lot to learn about this virus, it is currently believed that it spreads like other respiratory viruses- by people with the infection coughing and sneezing. These droplets are inhaled by other people or moved to the eyes, nose or mouth by contaminated hands.

What are the symptoms of this infection?

Symptoms of COVID-19 may include the following:

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

If you have these symptoms, stay home and contact your health-care provider or nurse advice line for medical guidance. Please do not show up at a clinic, urgent care, emergency room or other health facility without contacting them first. Your provider will need to take special measures to protect other people in the clinic. Telemedicine may also be available, enabling you to consult a provider from home.

I feel anxious about coronavirus. What can I do?

We understand that some community members are concerned. If you would like to talk with someone, support is available to students through campus mental health services:

You can help prevent the spread of colds and other viral ailments by doing the following:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.

Additionally, social distancing is vital to slowing the COVID-19 outbreak – don’t gather in groups and maintain 6 feet of distance from other people when you have to be in public.

Where can I get more information about the novel coronavirus?

For current information about this evolving public health situation, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2019 Novel Coronavirus page.

The Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington state, how the virus is spread, or what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.

For local information, visit the following online resources:

UW Medicine has also created a Coronavirus Information Line where you can hear additional information: 206-520-2285.

 

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Health, wellness and prevention

What do I do if I feel sick? (Updated 04/02/20)

If you are sick, you must stay home. Stay home even if you have mild symptoms of illness.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 infection — such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath — follow the steps below, including staying home and avoiding contact with others.

First: Contact your health provider in advance. Please do not show up at a clinic, urgent care or other health facility without contacting it first. Your provider will need to take special measures to protect other people in the clinic. Telemedicine may also be available, enabling you to consult a provider from home.

Second: If you are a faculty member, staff, student or visiting scholar, and your health provider has confirmed or suspects that you have COVID-19, check in with one of the following UW contacts:

  • UW Medicine personnel should contact Employee Health Services (UWMC – Montlake at 206-598-4848, UWMC – Northwest at 206-668-1625, or Harborview Medical Center at 206-744-3081).
  • All other UW Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma students, staff, faculty and other academic personnel should contact the UW Employee Health Center at emphlth@uw.edu or 206-685-1026.

Practice good hygiene.

  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing, and immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean your hands by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.

Monitor your symptoms closely. Take your temperature daily.

Stay home until at least 72 hours after your fever ends, without the use of fever-reducing medications. If you must go out of the house or be around others, wear a mask and avoid close contact. Be especially careful around people who are higher risk for severe illness, including individuals with compromised immune systems, underlying health conditions and/or are age 60 and older.

Take care of yourself. Rest as much as possible. Drink lots of fluids.

What do I do if I have confirmed or suspected COVID-19?

If you are a member of the UW community and your health provider has confirmed or suspects that you have COVID-19, check in with the following UW contacts:

  • UW Medicine personnel should contact Employee Health Services (UWMC – Montlake at 206-598-4848, UWMC – Northwest at 206-668-1625, or Harborview Medical Center at 206-744-3081).
  • All other UW Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma students, staff, faculty and other academic personnel should contact UW Environmental Health & Safety’s (EH&S’s) Employee Health Center at emphlth@uw.edu or 206-685-1026.

Public Health – Seattle & King County advises you to:

  • Restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.
  • Do not go to work, school or public areas.
  • Avoid using public transportation, taxis, or ride-share.
  • Monitor your symptoms and call before visiting your doctor. If you have an appointment, be sure you tell them you have or may have COVID-19.
  • If you have one, wear a face mask around other people, such as sharing a room or vehicle, or around pets and before entering a healthcare provider’s office.
  • If you can’t wear a mask because it’s hard for you to breathe while wearing one, then keep people who live with you out of your room, or have them wear a face mask if they come in your room.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw away in a lined trashcan. Wash hands thoroughly afterwards. Soap and water is best.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items like dishes and glasses, or bedding.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If you can’t wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Rub hands together until dry.
  • Clean all “high touch” surfaces every day, such as counters, tables, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, phones, and keyboards.
  • Use a household cleaning product to clean, following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1. Notify dispatch that you have or may have COVID-19
  • Remain in home isolation for 7 days OR until 72 hours after your fever has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medications (and symptoms get better) whichever is longer.

 

I have been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, what should I do?

Close contact is defined as being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a person with confirmed COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time, or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on) without wearing personal protective equipment.

If you had close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19, but you do not have any symptoms (fever, coughing, shortness of breath):

  1. Stay at home for 14 days after your last contact with the ill person. Do not go to school or work. Avoid public places.
  2. During the 14 days, monitor your health for fever, cough and shortness of breath.
  3. Notify one of the contacts below.
    1. UW Medicine personnel should contact Employee Health Services (UWMC – Montlake at 206-598-4848, UWMC – Northwest at 206-668-1625, or Harborview Medical Center at 206-744-3081).
    2. All other UW Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma students, staff, faculty and other academic personnel should contact UW Environmental Health & Safety’s Employee Health Center at emphlth@uw.edu or 206-685-1026.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 infection — such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath — please follow the precautions listed in the “What do I do if I feel sick?” Q&A, including staying home and avoiding contact with others, and then take the steps listed below.

First: Contact your health provider in advance. Please do not show up at a clinic, urgent care or other health facility without contacting them first. Your provider will need to take special measures to protect other people in the clinic. Telemedicine may also be available, enabling you to consult a provider from home.

Second: If you are a member of the UW community and your health provider has confirmed or suspects that you have COVID-19, check in with the following UW contacts:

  • UW Medicine personnel should contact Employee Health Services (UWMC – Montlake at 206-598-4848, UWMC – Northwest at 206-668-1625, or Harborview Medical Center at 206-744-3081).
  • All other UW Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma students, staff, faculty and other academic personnel should contact UW Environmental Health & Safety’s (EH&S’s) Employee Health Center at emphlth@uw.edu or 206-685-1026.

More information about potential exposure to COVID-19 can be found on Public Health – Seattle & King County’s blog and on the Washington State Department of Health website.

I have COVID-19 symptoms but have not been around anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. What should I do?

According to Public Health – Seattle & King County:

  • The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These can be symptoms of other respiratory illnesses as well as COVID-19.
  • If you are in a high-risk category, and have symptoms of COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider for advice. If you are at risk for serious illness, your healthcare provider may arrange a test for COVID-19.
  • If you do not have a high risk condition and your symptoms are mild, you do not need to be tested for COVID-19. Do not go out when you are sick, practice excellent hygiene, and wear a face mask when you are around other people if you can.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Avoid sharing personal household items. Clean your hands often. Clean all “high-touch” surfaces like doorknobs often.
  • Monitor your symptoms and contact your health care provider if symptoms worsen.
  • Stay home and avoid others for 72 hours after your fever goes down without the use of fever-reducing medication and symptoms get better.

Is Hall Health Center open for student health services?

Hall Health Center remains open. Hall Health provides medical and mental health care to students and established non-student patients.

If you are experiencing cough, fever and/or difficulty breathing and want to be seen for an appointment, please call 206.685.1011 before coming in. Please do not drop in without calling first.

For mental health appointments, contact 206.543.5030 to schedule. Mental health services are primarily available remotely, including for students who are self-isolating. Learn more on the Hall Health website.

I want to get tested for COVID-19. Where can I go? (Updated 04/04/20)

Testing for the COVID-19 virus is typically conducted by taking a nasal swab at a health care provider’s office or a special COVID-19 drive-through testing site.

If you are sick with fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other respiratory symptoms (e.g., sore throat, runny nose) AND one of the following:

  • At higher risk for severe illness (defined below) or
  • Have had contact with a case of COVID-19 or
  • Live in a communal/congregate living situation (such as a residence hall/dorm, sorority or fraternity)

Contact your health provider to discuss whether you should be tested for COVID-19.

While there are no restrictions on who can get tested, not every person who feels ill needs to be tested, particularly if you have a mild illness. If you are experiencing respiratory symptoms, please do NOT go to a health care facility without contacting it first.

If you fall into any of the categories listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , or Public Health-Seattle King County, then you are considered at increased risk of severe outcome from COVID-19 infection.

Anyone who has questions about whether their condition puts them at risk of severe illness from a COVID-19 infection should talk with their health provider. Your health provider can also help you assess your current medications and conditions to help you think about actions that can minimize risk to you and members of your household.

If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection (fever, cough, and shortness of breath or other respiratory symptoms), follow the instructions in the FAQ “What do I do if I feel sick?” and avoid contact with others.

How do I help prevent the spread of viruses, including coronavirus?

You can reduce the risk of spreading coronaviruses by taking the same steps as you would to prevent infection from the flu and the common cold:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for a least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer, with 60-95% alcohol if water is not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and immediately dispose of the used tissue.

Additionally, social distancing is vital to slowing the COVID-19 outbreak – don’t gather in groups and maintain 6 feet of distance from other people when you have to be in public.

What should I do if I am at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19? (Updated 04/03/20)

In general, people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are advised to stay home and away from public places except for essential activities (such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy) per public health guidance.

If you fall into any of the categories listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , or Public Health-Seattle King County, then you are considered at increased risk of severe outcome from COVID-19 infection.

Anyone who has questions about whether their condition puts them at risk of severe illness from a COVID-19 infection should talk with their health provider. Your health care provider can also help you assess your current medications and conditions to help you think about actions that can minimize risk to you and members of your household.

Employees required to work onsite at a UW campus with job duties that may require them to be in close contact with others may talk with their department about options for physical distancing or performing alternate duties. If a temporary reassignment of duties or other workplace adjustment is not available, employees may request an accommodation or leave of absence. University of Washington employees who are required to work onsite at a medical center should follow UW Medicine guidelines.

Caregivers of children with underlying health conditions should consult with a health provider about whether their children should stay home.

If you are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick:

  • Stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible. If you must go out, keep at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others.
  • Stock up on food and supplies.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched services.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.

In addition, review the Washington State Department of Health guidance to help you plan and prepare for what to do during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Does wearing a mask help prevent the spread of COVID-19? (Updated 04/06/20)

Keeping a distance (at least 6 feet) from other people is our best protection against COVID-19; however, wearing a mask can add another layer of protection. Masks can help protect others by containing respiratory droplets when the mask wearer coughs, sneezes or speaks.

Recent studies indicate that a portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. Public health officials believe that mask use by non-healthcare workers can help decrease the spread of COVID-19, even if the individual wearing the mask is not showing symptoms.

It is not clear whether masks worn by non-healthcare workers can prevent an individual from getting infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

Before deciding whether to wear a mask, keep two considerations in mind:

  • Surgical/medical masks should be reserved for healthcare providers who are on the front lines working to protect us all. There are shortages of these masks, and it’s critically important that healthcare workers have the equipment they need to do their jobs.
    • UW Medicine employees can refer to the UW Medicine Mask Policy.
    • Surgical/medical masks may be used by UW employees doing work to support critical operations that requires them to be onsite but who may not be able to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between themselves and others at all times.
  • Non-surgical/medical mask use (e.g., cloth or fabric mask) does not replace the need to follow guidance to stay home and limit our contact with others.
    • Data is limited on the use of masks to prevent COVID-19 transmission in non-health care settings.
    • Wearing a cloth mask does not replace frequent handwashing, avoiding touching the face and staying away from people who are ill. These are the most important steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 illness.
    • For the general public, homemade fabric masks, especially if well-made and snugly fit, may provide some benefit.

What about wearing cloth or homemade masks?

The CDC has recently advised that wearing cloth masks may be a valuable tool for reducing infection rates in public places.

  • Wearing a fabric mask can help prevent the spread of infection to others when the mask is worn by someone who already is infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, even if they don’t have symptoms and don’t know they are infected. The mask will block infectious droplets from spreading when an infected person wearing a mask coughs, sneezes and, to a lesser degree, speaks.
  • It is not known how much protection homemade cloth masks provide to the person wearing the mask, and this may depend on the quality of the mask and how well it fits. For this reason, homemade and fabric masks should not be considered reliable protection but may provide some benefit.
  • Cloth masks are not a replacement for surgical/medical masks; they aren’t regulated by any performance criteria and don’t provide the same level of protection in terms of moisture resistance and particle penetration. For this reason, wearing cloth masks is most appropriate under the following circumstances:
    • The work in question is low-risk for potential exposure to COVID-19 positive individuals and/or other social distancing measures can be implemented successfully.
    • Outside of work, in public settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
  • Cloth masks must be laundered regularly and whenever potentially contaminated in order to prevent exposure for the individual wearing it.

Wearing a mask does not replace the need to follow guidance to stay home and limit our contact with others. It does not replace frequent handwashing, avoiding touching the face and staying away from people who are ill. These are the most important steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 illness.

Please contact the Environmental Health & Safety Department at ehsdept@uw.edu or call (206) 543-7262 with questions about face masks and other personal protective equipment.

Read the complete Guidance on Facemask Use for Preventing the Spread of COVID-19.

Are there steps individuals, families and communities can take to help prepare if there is widespread transmission of COVID-19?

The CDC has a guide for individuals, families and communities on prevention and mitigation of the spread of viruses, including COVID-19. These steps include many of those listed above for personal health, as well as others relevant for broader community efforts.

I have family and friends in an area directly affected by the novel coronavirus. How can I manage my concern for them?

As with any natural or human-inflicted disaster, the novel coronavirus outbreak presents an added layer of stress and worry for members of our UW community who have personal connections to the affected area. This is a critically-important time for all of us to reinforce a community of care on our campus and support one another.

If you would like to talk with someone, support is available to students through campus mental health services:

What can students in residence halls and other communal living situations do to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

The community transmission of COVID-19 is continuing locally, in the region, and in the United States. Do your part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

It’s critical to minimize the number of people who get seriously ill at the same time. If too many people get sick all at once, this will put too much of a burden on our health care system. If that happens, people at highest risk — people over 60, and those with underlying health conditions  may not be able to get the care they need if they get seriously ill.

Students who live in residence halls and communal housing should take these steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

      • Stay calm. Remember that when young adults get sick with COVID-19, they almost always have mild symptoms.
      • Clean your room and bathroom daily. Use a disinfectant to clean high-touch surfaces regularly, such as door handles, light switches, remotes and phones.
      • Practice social distancing. Maintain a 6-foot distance from others. Avoid parties and get-togethers.
      • Wash your hands. Good handwashing hygiene is even more important for people living in close proximity. Use soap and water, scrub for 20 seconds and dry your hands. Repeat often.
      • Don’t touch your face. Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes, unless you have just washed your hands

The University is following guidance from local health departments and has taken the following steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in residence halls:

      • Increased cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces twice each day, with more frequency in the dining facilities.
      • Dining facilities are take-out only, consistent with state and local public health orders.
      • Fitness centers and maker spaces are closed until further notice.
      • All events and programs are cancelled until further notice.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 infection (fever, cough, shortness of breath):

      • Stay home, self-isolate and avoid contact with others, and follow the advice in the FAQ “What do I do if I feel sick?”
      • Call your health care provider for advice. If you don’t have a regular provider, remember you can always call the nurse advice line at Hall Health Center for help.
      • Notify the UW Employee Health Center at (206) 685-1026 or emphlth@uw.edu.

How should I clean and disinfect communal spaces?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces (e.g., door knobs, tables, computer keyboards, handrails, exercise rooms).

Departments should use a disinfectant on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s list of Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus, an alcohol solution with at least 70% alcohol, or a 10% bleach/water solution to disinfect hard, non-porous surfaces. It is also recommended that all departments purchase single use disinfectant wipes for touch points within their work spaces.

Please avoid putting disinfectant gels or liquids on electronics and other equipment, including elevator buttons, unless they have been indicated as safe to use on those devices.

The UW Environmental Health & Safety Department (EH&S) has cleaning and disinfection protocols for campus partners that comply with guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for preventing the spread of coronavirus.

Can you tell us more about any UW community members who are being screened for coronavirus?

To protect their privacy, the UW legally is not able to release personal information about any students or University community members who are being monitored or tested for novel coronavirus, including their location.

When a UW community member is diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, the relevant local health department and the UW initiate appropriate protocols to protect the health of anyone deemed to be at risk. UW Environmental Health & Safety maintains a UW count of confirmed COVID-19 cases by campus.

How does the UW respond when a member of the UW community has confirmed COVID-19? (Updated 04/06/20)

When notified of a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, the University takes the following steps to maintain the health and safety of the campus community:

  1. Obtain details about the person’s symptoms, locations on campus and close contacts.
  2. Conduct a risk assessment to determine an action plan. The plan may include:
    • Provide a recommendation for and/or assistance with self-isolation (as appropriate for students in residence halls).
    • Notify the school, department and/or work unit.
    • Notify individuals or groups who were in close contact (within 6 feet for more than a few minutes) with the ill person within 48 hours prior to the development of symptoms. Close contacts will be provided with public health recommendations that may include staying home and monitoring their health for 14 days. For more information, read the FAQ “How is the UW following up with people who were in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19?”
    • Evaluate the specific locations where the person spent time on campus for enhanced cleaning and disinfection in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Enhanced cleaning and disinfection is conducted in spaces where an ill person spent time 48 hours prior to symptoms developing through seven days after the person last spent time in a University space.

UW is in ongoing coordination with local health departments on COVID-19 response efforts.

Questions about the UW’s response to COVID-19 can be directed to the Environmental Health & Safety Department at ehsdept@uw.edu or (206) 543-7262.

How does the UW follow up with close contacts of a person who tested positive for COVID-19? (Updated 04/06/20)

The University works closely with UW Medicine, local public health departments and UW units to identify UW community members who test positive for COVID-19.

Once the University is aware of a positive test result, we initiate efforts to reduce the risk of transmission, which includes identifying UW community members who had close contact (see definition below) with the person who tested positive and mapping their locations on campus.

Close contact is defined as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with confirmed COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time, or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on) without wearing personal protective equipment.

  • EH&S will notify individuals who had close contact with the ill person up to 48 hours prior to the development of symptoms.
  • Close contacts will be provided with public health recommendations that may include staying home and monitoring their health for 14 days.
  • Close contacts may include roommates, coworkers, instructional faculty, classmates, building occupants, and/or maintenance and custodial workers, as appropriate.

If you were not notified as being in close contact with a person who is confirmed to have COVID-19, you do not need to take any action beyond those recommended for all members of our community to protect themselves against COVID-19, including practicing good hygiene and social distancing, monitoring your health, and staying home if you’re sick.

If you had close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19, but you do not have any symptoms (fever, coughing, shortness of breath):

  1. Stay at home for 14 days after your last contact with the ill person. Do not go to school or work. Avoid public places.
  2. During the 14 days, monitor your health for fever, cough and shortness of breath.
  3. Notify one of the following contacts:
    • UW Medicine personnel should contact Employee Health Services (UWMC – Montlake at 206-598-4848, UWMC – Northwest at 206-668-1625, or Harborview Medical Center at 206-744-3081).
    • All other UW Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma students, staff, faculty and other academic personnel should contact the UW Employee Health Center at emphlth@uw.eduor (206) 685-1026.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 infection — such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath — please take precautions to prevent transmission, including staying home and avoiding contact with others, and then take the steps listed in the FAQ “What do I do if I feel sick?”

More information about potential exposure to COVID-19 can be found on Public Health – Seattle & King County’s blog and on the Washington State Department of Health website.

Questions about the UW’s response to COVID-19 can be directed to the Environmental Health & Safety Department at ehsdept@uw.edu or (206) 543-7262.

Are there resources for combating stigmatization, bias and xenophobia related to the coronavirus?

Many of us are concerned about what the people in our communities may be experiencing, including possible stigmatization or discrimination based on racial bias or appearances. Please help others understand that the risk of coronavirus is not at all connected with race, ethnicity or nationality.

As President Ana Mari Cauce wrote, “Our common humanity calls on us now to offer support, empathy and understanding to those most affected by this virus. … All of us, as individuals and as a community, are responsible for treating each other with kindness and empathy. We are best equipped to deal with any threat to health when we work together.”

Stigma doesn’t fight the illness and will hurt innocent people, but sharing accurate information during a time of heightened concern is one of the best things we can do to keep rumor and misinformation from spreading. Public Health — Seattle & King County has compiled resources for combating stigmatization, bias and xenophobia that can be used to prevent and respond to incidents of discrimination. If you know of incidents of bias related to the novel coronavirus, please use the appropriate bias reporting tool to notify the UW:

 

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University operations

Will the UW cancel classes?

Spring quarter began with remote instruction on March 30, with fully remote instruction continuing through the end of the quarter.

We recognize that moving to remote instruction is a hardship and a challenge for students, faculty and other academic personnel, and staff during an already difficult time. We are grateful to everyone in our community for making this transition possible. The first week of the quarter will be a time to review course and learning objectives and prepare for the quarter to ensure full engagement between instructors and students in a remote learning environment. There will be a grace period for students with no graded work due until the second week of instruction.

The nature of some courses precludes their being offered online due to the experiential nature of the content, or lack of access to required materials. We will be flexible with shifts in schedules and expect to increase course offerings over the summer and fall to ensure access to courses required to meet major requirements. We will also provide, as possible, flexibility in requirements to support those nearing graduation so as not to impede post-graduation plans or opportunities. Students can expect to hear more from their college, school or department about any changes to course offerings.

Please visit the spring quarter FAQ for more information relevant to students.

How is the UW affected by Governor Inslee’s March 23 “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order? (Updated 04/03/20)

The University remains open and critical functions continue. Governor Jay Inslee’s order, subsquently extended to May 4, strengthens mandates already in place to encourage social distancing, a crucial measure for slowing the spread of COVID-19 by flattening the curve of new diagnosed cases. The UW already has many of the most important elements of the order in place and will now transition to restricted operations and operate as allowable under the governor’s order. This includes proceeding with remote instruction during spring quarter as planned. Our first priority is to keep our community health and safe, which means:

      • Staff who are sick must stay home.
      • All employees who can telework or work from home without impacting critical operations must be allowed to do so. Supervisors should be documenting telework plans and agreements.
      • Employees who must come to work to maintain critical operations need to adhere to appropriate social distancing and safety standards.

Because each employee’s circumstances are different, please talk to your supervisor for additional guidance. Your HR representative is also available to discuss concerns.

If this outbreak continues, will the University close? What happens if I live on campus?

In response to Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, the UW is moving from modified operations to restricted operations. Our University campuses never close, and our hospitals, clinics, critical research and limited residential operations continue. Spring quarter began with remote instruction on March 30, with fully remote instruction continuing through the end of the quarter. All preparations for remote learning during spring quarter are authorized to continue, including for faculty and teaching assistants who periodically need to access on campus technologies to prepare lectures and coursework.Online student support services for advising, financial aid, libraries and career services will be available, and staffing adjustments are underway to expand our service capabilities. Our campuses will remain open to serve all those who rely on our services, although with some limited operations.

Please visit the spring quarter FAQ for more information relevant to students.

The University has extensive and thorough emergency procedures and is committed to doing everything it can to ensure the health and safety of our community. Because this is a rapidly changing situation, we need to prepare for a range of possibilities, but since the UW includes health care facilities and other critical operations, it never fully closes. Our residence halls will remain available to students who need to reside on campus. All students who remain on campus will be required to stay in residence halls or apartments with private bathrooms to limit shared hygienic spaces and encourage social distancing.

For those who do live on or near a campus and wish to access campus services, modified operations will be in place. Most UW employees who can work from home are already doing so. With the governor’s new order, all employees who can telework without hampering critical operations must do so; teleworking is no longer strongly encouraged or strongly suggested; it is mandatory for employees who can do so without hampering critical operations. Facilities such as libraries, dining services, and many offices will have very limited operations that minimize in-person interaction and/or will be operated remotely.

In the event that a quarantine involving students becomes necessary, we are preparing for a multi-faceted response that would include providing food service and/or moving students off-campus or to sequestered areas of the residence halls. In the event many cases are diagnosed, those who could safely leave the campus would be encouraged to do so, thereby increasing our capacity to assist others who are unable to travel.

As a reminder, the University is coordinating closely with county public health agencies and the Washington State Department of Health on its response, including contingency planning, and will continue to do so.

I’m hosting an event on campus. Should I cancel it? (Updated 04/03/20)

Effective March 23, 2020, all public and private gatherings are prohibited by order of Governor Jay Inslee. The restriction is in effect until May 4, 2020, and may be extended pending public health guidance. All official UW events should be canceled, postponed or converted to remote participation.

Are UW Libraries open?

At this time, all physical branches of the UW Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma libraries are closed to the public until further notice, pending the guidance of public health officials and the University. While Libraries buildings are closed, Libraries staff are available to provide a range of remote learning services for students and faculty such as 24/7 chat services, interlibrary loan (for electronic articles and materials only), and research consultations offered through Zoom. Faculty and other academic personnel may also consult the Libraries’ top 5 resources for faculty. For full details and updates on all locations and available services visit the UW Libraries coronavirus page and see also: A Message from the Dean: Libraries FAQ and Response 

Can supervisors allow employees to work remotely?

In accordance with Governor Inslee’s March 23 “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, all employees who can perform their work remotely without hampering critical operations must telework. Supervisors should also work with their employees to maintain employment and pay to the greatest extent possible. If you have questions about how to assist employees in need, please reach out to your HR consultant.

UWHR has published Working through COVID-19, an online resource dedicated to housing UWHR communications and resources related to the coronavirus outbreak. You can find new support resources and guidance for setting up temporary remote work arrangements with clarity and confidence.

Are campus visits, tours and information sessions being offered? (Updated 04/03/20)

Campus tours and admission information sessions will not be held March 6 – May 4, however, we invite you to take a virtual self-guided tour and/or register for a virtual information session. The Office of Admissions will keep the admissions visit website up to date with the latest scheduling information. Major impacts to campus operations are also posted on the Admissions website or the UW home page. Visit Seattle also has resources about COVID-19 for anyone interested in the city.

Where can critical operations employees get information to help prepare at home for situations where they may be required to work on campus?

The UW Office of Emergency Management has a wealth of resources to assist you and your family to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a variety of natural and human-caused emergencies and disasters.  The UWEM webpage provide examples of plans, checklists, free training and videos that can assist.

How does the UW clean and disinfect?

The UW Environmental Health & Safety Department (EH&S) has cleaning and disinfection protocols for campus partners that comply with guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for preventing the spread of coronavirus.

The University’s custodial cleaning program follows the cleaning and disinfection protocols to daily clean high touch points such as door handles, banisters, and elevator buttons, public and common area restrooms, and break rooms. In addition, cleaning and custodial staff have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfection activities across campus as an additional preventive measure.

Hand sanitizer dispensers and containers with at least 60% alcohol concentration have been placed throughout each campus in high traffic areas and locations where soap and hot water are not readily available. More dispensers and containers will be added as inventory becomes available.

When a person diagnosed with COVID-19 is known to have been on campus, the specific locations where the person spent time are evaluated for enhanced cleaning and disinfection, in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Additional information is available from UW Facilities and Housing & Food Services on how we are responding to the novel coronavirus.

Are support and reporting options still available if someone experiences sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, or relationship violence?

Yes, SafeCampus, confidential advocates, the Office of the Title IX Coordinator, and the offices that investigate reports of misconduct are all still available by email, phone, or Zoom. For immediate support and consultation, or to be connected with a confidential advocate, contact Safe Campus at 206-685-7233. You can also reach a confidential advocate directly by phone or e-mail.

To make an inquiry or report to an investigation office, there are several ways to make a report.

For consultation or any other concerns related to sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or compliance with Title IX, contact the Office of the Title IX Coordinator.

 

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Staff and student workers

Can supervisors allow employees to work remotely?

Under Governor Inslee’s new “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, teleworking is mandatory for employees who can do so without hampering critical operations. Supervisors should also work with their employees to maintain employment and pay to the greatest extent possible. Helpful guidance can be found on the HR website. If you have questions about how to assist employees in need, please reach out to your HR consultant.

UWHR has published Working through COVID-19, an online resource dedicated to housing UWHR communications and resources related to the coronavirus outbreak. You can find new support resources and guidance for setting up temporary remote work arrangements with clarity and confidence.

What resources exist for employees and supervisors on topics like telework and time off?

UWHR has published Working through COVID-19, an online resource dedicated to housing UWHR communications and resources related to the coronavirus outbreak. You can find new support resources and guidance for setting up temporary remote work arrangements with clarity and confidence.

Where can I find information about child care resources?

UWHR has organized additional child care options. Please note that some are prioritized for UW Medicine and other employees who are critical to the response to COVID-19.

When can I use accrued sick time off?

If you are sick, stay home. Staff and student workers should continue to follow their unit’s procedure for requesting sick time off and can find more information on the following webpages about sick time for regular contract covered, classified, and professional staff and for temporary and student hourly employees.

Additionally, President Cauce has authorized expanded use of sick time off to cover situations that may be unique to the risks posed by COVID-19. For example, if your duties cannot be performed remotely and you have a significant health concern that makes you feel unsafe in the workplace. Sick time off can also be used if you have had direct exposure to COVID-19 and you have been directed to complete a 14-day self-isolation. Your HR consultant is available to offer guidance.

What if my child’s school or regular care provider is closed?

Eligible staff can take a family care emergency absence when regularly scheduled care plans are interrupted due to a school, camp, facility closure and/or the unexpected absence of a care provider. Family care emergencies apply to both child and elder care situations.

Additional child care options are also available, and UWHR maintains a page with details. The University is actively working to add additional resources, which will be prioritized for employees essential for campus and medical center operations and who don’t have other child care options.

What technology can I use to work remotely?

Staff and student workers can prepare for the possibility of disruptions by becoming familiar with the technology tools that make it possible to work even when you can’t get to campus. UW Information Technology offers free tools for videoconferencing, chat, collaboration, online storage, and more. Find out what tools you can use in this helpful tech guide for working remotely.

What steps should units take to prepare for disruptions to business continuity?

Review your organization’s essential and non-essential staff position designations to provide guidance to staff in the event of suspended operations. Essential staff will need to understand if they can telework or if the essential services they provide require them to report to a campus or medical center. Non-essential staff need to understand that they should not report to their work location during suspended operations. Given the fluidity of this situation, we recommend that supervisors also discuss the possibility of telework during suspended operations with non-essential campus staff and student workers. UWHR encourages supervisors to be flexible and creative in considering temporary telework arrangements during this time.

 

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Classes, academics and research for students

Classes and instruction will be offered remotely throughout spring quarter, with no in-person classes. A special page with information relevant for students has been set up to supplement the information below.

When should students consider staying home from class?

Spring quarter began with remote instruction on March 30, with fully remote instruction continuing through the end of the quarter, eliminating the need to physically stay home from class, however illness may cause you to miss a remote class session.

You should take steps you normally would when sick, including focusing on caring for your health, contacting your healthcare provider if you feel you need to, and in the event you miss a class session due to illness, working with your instructor on any necessary arrangements for making up coursework.

In general, if you are sick, stay home.

Please see the What do I do if I feel sick?” question for more information.

Will the UW cancel classes?

Spring quarter began with remote instruction on March 30, with fully remote instruction continuing through the end of the quarter.

We recognize that moving to remote instruction is a hardship and a challenge for students, faculty and other academic personnel, and staff during an already difficult time. We are grateful to everyone in our community for making this transition possible. The first week of the quarter will be a time to review course and learning objectives and prepare for the quarter to ensure full engagement between instructors and students in a remote learning environment. There will be a grace period for students with no graded work due until the second week of instruction.

The nature of some courses precludes their being offered online due to the experiential nature of the content, or lack of access to required materials. We will be flexible with shifts in schedules and expect to increase course offerings over the summer and fall to ensure access to courses required to meet major requirements. We will also provide, as possible, flexibility in requirements to support those nearing graduation so as not to impede post-graduation plans or opportunities. Students can expect to hear more from their college, school or department about any changes to course offerings. Please visit the spring quarter FAQ for more information relevant to students.


What options are there for students who do not have access to technology at home?

Currently enrolled students at the Seattle campus can access the Student Technology Loan Program, which allows students to borrow laptops, tablets and other equipment for free. Visit their site to see real-time equipment inventory and learn more.

Students at UW Bothell may borrow laptops and other technology via the UW Bothell Laptop and Wifi Hotspot Lending Program.

Students at UW Tacoma may borrow laptops and other technology by contacting the UW Tacoma IT Helpdesk.

Does fieldwork outside of the Seattle area need to be postponed?

Any fieldwork that violates University of Washington restrictions, such as on travel or gatherings, or mandates by the governor of Washington state or local health officials, should be canceled. If fieldwork does not violate those mandates, you should be in close contact with your faculty advisor/sponsor as you determine how and whether to proceed. This conversation, with a clear agreement between the parties, should take place regardless of whether the work is funded by a grant/contract or other UW funding procured by the faculty member or the student/postdoc to conduct the work.

Please also carefully review the Office of Research’s guidance on mitigating impacts to research activities.

What happens if I am defending my dissertation?

If you are a doctoral student who will defend your dissertation in winter or spring quarter, the Graduate School has waived the requirement that the Graduate School Representative (GSR) must be physically present during general exams and dissertation defenses. Also, the student no longer needs to be “proctored,” which means that they do not need to be on campus and in a room with a faculty member.

Do public defenses need to be postponed?

For as long as Washington state’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” directive is active, public defenses will need to be converted to a livestream format. Even after the order expires, public defenses should take place only if all the health guidelines are in place and that all  waivers regarding GSR and proctoring are utilized so that neither students nor committee members need be present.

 

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Faculty and other academic personnel

Center for Teaching and Learning: Teaching and grading during the coronavirus outbreak

Will the UW cancel classes?

Spring quarter began with remote instruction on March 30, with fully remote instruction continuing through the end of the quarter.

We recognize that moving to remote instruction is a hardship and a challenge for students, faculty and other academic personnel, and staff during an already difficult time. We are grateful to everyone in our community for making this transition possible. To smooth this transition, we will use the first week of the quarter to review syllabi, discuss learning objectives, and prepare for the quarter as is typical, but also to ensure full engagement between instructors and students.

We recognize that moving to remote instruction is a hardship and a challenge during an already difficult time, and we are grateful to all faculty, staff and other academic personnel for making this transition possible. Your dedication to students is so greatly appreciated. We also realize that some courses simply cannot be offered remotely. Deans, chairs and other leaders are working to provide flexible options for students as they adjust schedules and to ensure their academic progress and paths to graduation continue successfully. Faculty, instructional staff and graduate students received direct guidance from the Office of the Provost in a separate communication.

Please see The Center for Teaching and Learning for updated information about online teaching, privacy and related topics.


How should faculty and other academic personnel prepare for the possibility of class disruptions?

Just as they would during a major weather event or natural disaster, your students face the same stresses during a public health emergency as do many other community members, such as child care challenges and uncertain work schedules. Consider what aspects of your course are most essential so you can plan to refocus on those elements in the event that completing all missed work becomes impossible or unreasonable. The UW Center for Teaching and Learning offers updated information and resources for technology and pedagogical best practices that can help you and your students in the event of any missed class time, including a link to a readiness quiz from UW Information Technology. UW Bothell faculty may also review additional information about instructional continuity from the Office of Digital Learning & Innovation. UW Tacoma faculty can find information on the UW Tacoma Instructional Continuity webpage.

How should faculty and other academic personnel work with student requests to miss class?

Even in instances of remote instruction, please be prepared to accommodate students who are requesting to miss class sessions due to illness, including clearly communicating opportunities and expectations around alternative assignments or makeup work. The UW Center for Teaching and Learning offers updated information and resources for technology and pedagogical best practices that can help you and your students in the event of any missed class time.

Where can I find information about child care resources?

Additional child care options are also available, and UWHR maintains a page with details. The University is actively working to add additional resources, which will be prioritized for employees essential for campus and medical center operations and who don’t have other child care options.

Should faculty and other academic personnel ask students returning to class following an illness to provide documentation or physician’s note?

Even in a situation involving remote instruction, “Instructors are strongly discouraged from requiring medical or legal documentation from a student for any absences. Requiring such documentation places burdens on all parties involved,” according to the Faculty Council on Academic Standards Syllabus Guidelines. Because we are in the middle of the cold and flu season, many students may be absent due to illness. The syllabus guidelines recommend that instructors offer students accommodations, such as makeup exams, alternate assignments, or alternate weighting of missed work. The UW Center for Teaching and Learning offers updated information and resources for technology and pedagogical best practices that can help you and your students in the event of any missed class time.

What planning should research groups and researchers undertake to prepare for potential disruptions?

As for everyone in our communities, the top recommendation is to stay home if you are sick. Additionally, the Office of Research has issued specific guidance for researchers on all three campuses, which we recommend reviewing. Steps to take include:

      • Identify emergency personnel and ensure they know what to do in the event of suspended operations
      • Remind lab personnel of your communication plan or create one if not in place
      • Identify priorities in case of restricted access
      • Ensure remote access to files, data, servers, etc
      • Prioritize experiments
      • Plan for remote proposal submission
      • Check travel restrictions before making travel plans

The Office of Sponsored Programs, Human Subjects Division and UW Institutional Review Board are fully operational; if you need to reach them, you can find more information here.

I am a faculty member who has been instructed by my physician or Employee Health (UW Medicine) to self-isolate due to unprotected and direct COVID-19 exposure. Should I apply for faculty sick leave?

At the University of Washington, faculty do not formally track paid time off for reasons other than sick time off under the Faculty Sick Leave Policy. Faculty sick leave (i.e., paid sick time) covers: a) your own serious health condition as certified by your healthcare provider; b) temporary disability due to pregnancy, childbirth, or recovery therefrom; or c) care for a family member with a serious health condition.

If you have been directed to self-isolate for up to 14 days, you should continue to follow your unit’s procedure for short-term absences. For example, this might involve informing your supervisor (chair/director/campus dean/dean), who can help you arrange for remote work or with reassignment of responsibilities. And for specific suggestions related to research activities, see the updates from the Office of Research.

If your absence occurs during a time in which you are otherwise entitled to receive a salary from the University, you will continue to receive your salary. If your condition changes and you have a serious health concern, you may be entitled to use up to 90 days of faculty sick leave, using the process outlined by Academic HR. Your Academic HR Business Partners are available to offer guidance by contacting: apleaves@uw.edu.

Will COVID-19 impact promotion/tenure-review schedules?

Using President Cauce’s declaration of “extraordinary circumstances” under Executive Order 27, the Office of Academic Personnel is implementing a provision for automatic eligibility to waive the 2019-20 academic year from the mandatory promotion clock. This is similar to the automatic eligibility to have a year waived from the promotion/tenure clock in the case of the birth or adoption of a child.  Automatic eligibility means that the faculty members must request a clock waiver, but upon request it will be automatically approved.

The details for seeking an extension to the promotion/tenure clock through this clock waiver provision are available on the Office of Academic Personnel website.

 

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Research and laboratory operations

The Office of Research has created a page with details on how to mitigate the impacts to research, which includes guidance on research operations during the period of Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.

What planning should research groups and researchers undertake to mitigate the effects of any disruptions due to COVID-19?

The Office of Research has issued specific guidance for researchers on all three campuses, which is updated regularly and includes a checklist for researchers. This checklist includes:

      1. Identify emergency personnel and ensure they know what to do in the event of suspended operations
      2. Remind lab personnel of your communication plan or create one if not in place
      3. Identify priorities in case of restricted access
      4. Ensure remote access to files, data, servers, etc.
      5. Prioritize experiments
      6. Plan for remote proposal submission
      7. Check travel restrictions before making travel plans.

Please refer to the Office of Research’s COVID-19 page for more information. The HHRB and IRB are fully operational; if you need to reach them, you can find more information at the bottom of that page.

Do the same policies regarding classroom instruction apply to lab research?

No, however, under Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, employees who can telework without hampering critical operations must do so. Every researcher who can work remotely must stay home for the duration of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. PIs/faculty sponsors must provide maximum flexibility to their RAs/postdocs in terms of completing lab work. There must be no expectation that personnel come to campus or to their usual workplace to conduct any research activities that can be adapted to telework.

How can laboratories and research spaces prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Under Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, employees who can telework without hampering critical operations must do so. Every researcher who can work remotely must stay home for the next two weeks.

To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, and support labs to help mitigate the impacts to research activities due COVID-19, the Environmental Health and Safety Department (EH&S) is reminding researchers who must work on campus to support critical operations to practice social distancing in laboratories and other research environments. Some in-person research is still allowed, but only if it is possible to maintain appropriate safety standards:

      • Social distancing of at least 6 feet between people
      • Frequent laboratory decontamination procedures
      • Personal safety using appropriate personal protective equipment and frequent hand-washing

Please see the updated guidance from the Office of Research for more details.

If you have any questions please contact EH&S Research & Occupational Safety at labcheck@uw.edu or 206.685.3993.

 

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Travel and study abroad

Are there restrictions on travel by UW employees? (Updated 04/02/20)

International travel

      • All travel outside the U.S. by University of Washington employees and students is restricted until further notice, effective March 20, 2020. Read more about this policy at the UW Office of Global Affairs.
      • No exceptions to this restriction will be made as the UW travel waiver process has also been suspended.
      • This restriction is informed by the global “Level 4: Do Not Travel” health advisory issued by the U.S. Department of State.
      • No UW funds can be used to support any global travel until further notice.
      • Because of insurance exclusions triggered by a Department of State Level 4 travel advisory, UW-sponsored travel insurance and emergency assistance will not be available for any new travel.
      • These restrictions do not apply to personal travel. However, we strongly encourage you to avoid travel and review applicable travel warnings.

Domestic travel

      • All employees are strongly encouraged to cancel or postpone domestic university travel that is not essential to business, academic or research continuity. Supervisors approving travel for employees should use their best judgement.
      • The University’s clinical care, education and research activities are essential to the health of local communities and to the region’s, nation’s and world’s response to COVID-19. To protect and preserve our health sciences workforce’s capability to identify and care for patients, as well as track and analyze the spread of disease, all work-related travel for UW Medicine, School of Dentistry and School of Public Health employees, as well as School of Pharmacy staff working in hospitals and clinics, is restricted through May 1, 2020. Guidance has also been issued to employees in these areas regarding personal travel and limiting visits and meetings. That guidance and more information is available from UW Medicine, the School of Dentistry, the School of Pharmacy (pdf) and the School of Public Health.

I am currently outside the U.S. on official travel for the UW. What should I do?

If you are currently outside the United States, please take these steps:

      • Connect with the embassy of your nationality (U.S. Embassy – American Citizen Services for U.S. citizens abroad). If you haven’t done so already, sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive updates directly from the Embassy (you can sign up for STEP even if you are not a U.S. citizen). The U.S. Embassy website may also provide a list of recommended medical providers or hospitals.
      • Monitor local news and reputable international outlets for updates.
      • Be prepared to “shelter in place.” If you must shelter in place, by acquiring safe food and water supplies to last you several days (ideally two weeks) in case of acute shortages.
      • Travelers should expect very long wait times. Bring your own food and personal hygiene items (toilet paper, wipes, hand sanitizer, etc.) if possible to avoid being left without.
      • If you have a medical condition that prevents you from sheltering in place, send an email to travelemergency@uw.edu. For urgent matters, call the UW Global Emergency Line at 206-632-0153.
      • Download UW emergency contacts directly to your phone. Click this link while on your mobile device: https://www.keynect.us/user/UWGLOBAL
      • Monitor updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Department of State.

Additional information for UW students currently abroad:

      • You are still covered by the UW Student Abroad Insurance for the coverage period purchased.
      • As a reminder, the UW Student Abroad Insurance through CISI does not cover travel cancellations or delays. Only evacuations that are medically necessary are covered by the insurance. Government (U.S. or foreign government) travel restrictions or border closings do not qualify for an insured evacuation.
      • UW Study Abroad students please visit the COVID-19 page for more information and closely monitor your email for updates.

 

Additional information for UW employees currently abroad:

What should I after returning from international travel? (Updated 04/01/20)

Due to the widespread, ongoing transmission of the novel coronavirus worldwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) instructs travelers to stay home for 14 days from the time you returned home from all international travel.

During this 14-day period, take these steps to monitor your health and practice social distancing:

  • Take your temperature with a thermometer two times each day and monitor for fever. Use this temperature logto record your temperature. Also watch for symptoms, such as cough or trouble breathing, and note them on the log.
  • Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school.
  • Do not take public transportation, taxis or ride-shares.
  • Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).

Any UW faculty, staff, student or visiting scholar who is having symptoms of COVID-19 infection (fever, cough, shortness of breath) should stay home and not go to work.

First: Contact your health provider in advance. Please do not show up at a clinic, urgent care or other health facility without contacting it first. Your provider will need to take special measures to protect other people in the clinic. Telemedicine may also be available, enabling you to consult a provider from home.

Second: Check in with one of the following UW contacts for symptom monitoring.

  • UW Medicine personnel should contact Employee Health Services (UWMC – Montlake at 206-598-4848, UWMC – Northwest at 206-668-1625, or Harborview Medical Center at 206-744-3081).
  • All other UW Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma students, staff, faculty and other academic personnel should contact UW Environmental Health & Safety’s (EH&S’s) Employee Health Center at emphlth@uw.edu or 206-685-1026.

 

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Student visas

International Student Services: Coronavirus information for F1 & J1 students

The UW is transitioning to remote learning for spring quarter. Can I return home for classes? Will my F-1 SEVIS record and I-20 remain valid?

On March 18, President Cauce announced spring quarter courses will be held remotely More information and answers to many questions are available at Facts and Information Regarding Spring Quarter 2020.

As an international student, additional factors to consider when making your decision about spring quarter:

      • Technology challenges with online study from home
      • Time differences in case of synchronous classes

The U.S. government confirmed last week that international students can temporarily engage in distance-learning, either from within the U.S. or outside the country, in light of COVID-19. SEVP will provide updated guidance as additional information concerning the scope and length of this situation becomes clearer. More information can be found on the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement document, “COVID-19: Guide for Student and Exchange Visitor Programs Stakeholders (PDF).”

This will allow ISS to keep F-1 and J-1 SEVIS records active for students studying online full-time, either in the U.S. or at home.

The best way to receive updated information is to check the ISS coronavirus information website, which will post updates as soon as more information becomes available.

I am considering returning home for spring quarter and possibly summer quarter as well? What should I do?

Every student’s situation is different and we understand your concern about the current situation. We want to reassure you that the University is taking all necessary precautions to protect students, staff, and the broader UW community.

On March 18, President Cauce announced spring quarter courses will be held remotely More information and answers to many questions are available at Facts and Information Regarding Spring Quarter 2020. We encourage you to review the information about spring quarter classes being offered remotely as you may still decide to take spring quarter off, but you may want to consider taking courses remotely, whether you remain in the U.S. or return home.

It is important to understand the impact taking time off from your studies may have on your immigration status. If you decide to take spring quarter (and possibly summer quarter) off, please review the following information.

Also, consider these factors before making your decision:

      • Are you completing winter quarter or withdrawing from winter quarter?
      • How many quarters do you plan to be away from UW?
      • Are you close to graduation? Do you plan to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

If you still have questions after reviewing the above web pages, sign up for one of our U.S. Government Updates for International Students between March 16-23. Each session can host 300 students so please register in advance. Webinars will be offered on different days and times to accommodate all schedules.

I am nearing the end of my F-1 status and my plan was to return to my home country. I would prefer to stay in the U.S. for now. What are my options?

Every student’s situation is different. UW’s International Student Services (ISS) office encourages you to review the Final Quarter Checklist to understand your options. If you have additional questions or wish to meet with an ISS adviser, complete the ISS Have a Question form so an ISS adviser can reply to your specific questions.

I am currently in my home country but was planning to return to the UW for spring quarter classes. If I am unable to return to the U.S. due to coronavirus restrictions in my country, what should I do?

Every student’s situation is different.

On March 18, President Cauce announced spring quarter courses will be held remotely More information and answers to many questions are available at Facts and Information Regarding Spring Quarter 2020. We encourage you to review the information about spring quarter classes being offered remotely as you may want to consider enrolling in spring quarter remotely from home. The ISS office is receiving a very high volume of emails, however, so it may take 2-4 business days for a reply. Continue to monitor this page for updates and new information.

Options to consider:

      • Continue to monitor the situation until we are closer to spring quarter. The UW is waiting for updates from the U.S. government to see if there will be exceptions or accommodations for students needing to return for studies.
      • Leave of Absence 
      • Vacation Quarter (if eligible)
      • Medical Reduced Course Load (if applicable)
      • Study Abroad credits/Independent Study/online courses

If you have further questions after reviewing the above web pages, complete the ISS Have a Question form and an ISS adviser will reply to you directly about your options. The ISS office is receiving a very high volume of emails, however, so it may take 2-4 business days for a reply. Continue to monitor this page for updates and new information.

 

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Scholar visas

I already have a visa sponsored through UW ISO, but I am unable to travel to the U.S. due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. What can I do?

Contact your host department and ISO. Additionally, we recommend monitoring the news, U.S. travel guidance, and this UW web page for updates.

What should I do if I am on a visa sponsored by ISO and recently arrived or returned to the U.S. from a country subject to a Level 3 Travel Health Notice due to COVID-19?

The University requests that any person who traveled in a country with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice due to COVID-19 take the following steps before arriving on campus:

1) Stay home for 14 days.
2) Monitor your health.
Please see the Travel and Study Abroad section above for more guidance on this. Specifically refer to the question “What should I do if I traveled to a country with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice due to COVID-19…?”

If you are an arriving J-1 exchange visitor, please also contact the following:

1) Your host department.
2) International Scholars Operations (ISO).

While J-1 exchange visitors must attend a J-1 Check-in Session at ISO within 30 days of the start date on the DS-2019 form, those who are unable or are uncomfortable attending in person may contact acadvisa@uw.edu to request a remote check-in.

My J-1 visa sponsored through UW International Scholars Operations (ISO) expires soon, but I can’t book a flight home. What can I do?

Contact your host department and ISO. The host department may be able to request a J-1 visa extension. If you are not eligible for an extension, but want to learn about other options for remaining in the U.S. legally, please consider consulting a private immigration attorney. Resources, including low-cost and pro bono attorney options, are available.

I have a J-1 visa sponsored through UW ISO that will start soon, but I can’t get a visa appointment or a flight to the U.S. What can I do?

Contact your host department and ISO about revising your program dates. We also recommend monitoring the news, airline travel information and this page for updates. Please note that due to the evolving nature of the coronavirus outbreak and associated travel limitations, there is no certainty as to when travel restrictions will be lifted.

I have an H-1B visa sponsored through UW ISO that will start soon, but I can’t get a visa appointment or am unable to travel to the U.S. What can I do?

Contact your host department and ISO.

 

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UW Medicine hospitals and clinics

What is UW Medicine doing about coronavirus?

All of the UW Medicine hospitals have protocols in place to assess the risk for someone presenting to an emergency department or clinic with this infection. People with cold- or flu-like symptoms are being asked to wear a mask and also about travel history in the prior 14 days. People who we feel might have the virus are moved out of public spaces and into rooms where they can be taken care of safely. UW School of Medicine faculty and researchers are working on learning more about the virus, creating new tests, and developing possible treatments and even vaccines.

As a patient, should I be worried about getting infected with novel coronavirus at a UW hospital or clinic?

All hospitals and clinics have protocols and systems in place to keep all patients, visitors and healthcare workers safe and so you should not avoid seeking care out of concerns over the coronavirus. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, please contact the clinic or hospital first so they can advise you.

Are there any restrictions on visitors at UW Medicine facilities?

As of March 10, all routine visiting is suspended until the transmission of COVID-19 is no longer a threat to our patients, staff and community. UW Medicine will allow visitors in crucial times based on the exceptions listed in their guidelines. In all cases a visitor will only be allowed if they do not have symptoms of respiratory infection (fever, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath).

 

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