Novel coronavirus information

March 18, 2020

Moving spring quarter to remote learning (Message to faculty and staff)

This message was sent to staff, faculty and other academic personnel across the University of Washington.

Dear Faculty and Staff,

In this challenging time, I continue to be grateful for your extraordinary professionalism, dedication and sacrifice for the good of our students, patients and the broader public we serve. I write today to outline our path forward for spring quarter and what it will mean for all of us as we continue the vital work of our University.

Classes and instruction to be offered remotely throughout spring quarter

Shortly, we will notify all students that spring quarter will begin with remote instruction on March 30, with fully remote instruction continuing through the end of spring quarter. There will be no in-person classes this spring.

We want everyone to get familiar with and engaged in a remote learning environment and we will use the first week of the quarter for that purpose. University and faculty leadership have been developing plans to provide support for all faculty and staff as we transition coursework and serve students in new and innovative ways through this transition.

We recognize that moving to remote instruction is a hardship and a challenge during an already difficult time and we are grateful to all of you for making this transition possible. Your dedication to students is so greatly appreciated. We also realize that some courses simply cannot be offered online. Deans, chairs and other leaders are working to provide flexible options for students by adjusting schedules to ensure academic progress and paths to graduation continue successfully. Faculty, instructional staff and graduate students can expect guidance from the Office of the Provost in a separate communication today, as well as additional information from unit leadership in the coming days.

Policies and procedures to maximize employee safety

Throughout spring quarter, our three campuses will continue with modified operations in order to provide critical academic, research and clinical work. How we work will be informed by a combination of state and local mandates, as well as public health guidance. Currently, this includes:

  • All employees who can perform their work remotely without hampering critical operations should telework as much as feasible. 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.
  • Faculty and staff who are performing in-person work should, to the maximum extent possible, implement appropriate social distancing protocols.
  • Facilities such as dining services in residence halls and many offices will have limited operations that minimize in-person interaction and/or will be operated remotely. For security, most UW buildings will move to card key access only by Friday morning, similar to weekends or holidays, so that employees who need access to buildings can do so in as safe a manner as possible.

We also recognize that with K-12 schools closed, many employees are facing childcare needs. The University is activating additional childcare resources, which will be prioritized for employees whose services are most essential in dealing with this pandemic, such as first responders, health care professionals and custodial staff. Information about increased child care options will be posted here as it becomes available.

We know that you will have many remaining questions and uncertainty; across the University, we are working swiftly to answer those questions as we comply with the evolving guidance from public health and government officials. We encourage everyone to visit our central coronavirus website for vital, up-to-date information on campus communications and frequently asked questions.

Thank you for your patience, flexibility and dedication to our teaching, research and service mission. We understand how profoundly disruptive and unnerving this experience is and appreciate your commitment to supporting the safety of those most vulnerable to this virus.

We also recognize that the loss of in-person community can feel socially isolating and we encourage you to reach out, stay connected and be assured we will do all that we can to support you. When we look back on this time and the hardships it posed, what I will remember most is the strength, courage and resolve of this incredible Husky community. Together, we will come through this, stronger, wiser and more deeply connected than ever before.


Ana Mari Cauce
Professor of Psychology