Novel coronavirus information

March 18, 2020

Spring quarter classes at the UW will be held remotely (Message to parents and families)

Dear Parents and Families,

Today we are announcing our path forward for spring quarter 2020. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate difficult, uncertain and rapidly changing times in our country and the world. We are grateful for the trust you have placed in us to prioritize the safety, well-being and educational needs of your students.

Classes and instruction to be offered remotely throughout spring quarter

As we just shared with students today, spring quarter will begin as scheduled 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.

Instructors will use the first week of the quarter to work with students to establish norms for remote instruction and to connect students with resources to support this transition, including online advising. In order to make sure students are well prepared for this new learning environment, there will be a grace period with no written assignments due in the first week. As important, we will be developing online resources for students focusing on wellness in this time of uncertainty and on how to maintain community and prevent isolation as we work together virtually to cope with the challenges of this ongoing public health crisis. Our faculty, staff and student leadership are available to help students with both their continued academic success and in finding new ways to engage in this uncharted chapter of their UW education.

The quarter will end as scheduled, after final exams conclude on June 12, 2020.

We recognize 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 course schedules and expect to increase course offerings over the summer and fall to ensure students have access to classes required to meet major requirements. We will also provide, as much as possible, flexibility in requirements to support those nearing graduation so as not to impede students’ post-graduation plans or opportunities. Your student can expect to hear more from their college, school or department soon about these and other issues. We also understand you and your student likely have many questions. Please review this page with answers to many key questions about spring quarter, which we will be updating frequently. Online student support services for advising, financial aid, libraries, counseling and career services will be available, and staffing adjustments are underway in these areas to expand our service capabilities. There will be no change in financial aid for full-time students enrolled in spring quarter who qualify for and planned to receive it.

It’s important to note that while there are many other practical details to attend to as we transition to a remote environment, your students’ UW education, whether delivered in-person or online, is still an excellent UW education. Our faculty and staff are welcoming this quarter with a spirit of innovation and exploration, drawing on their scholarly and instructional expertise to create an active and engaging learning experience for students. We fully expect that research, vigorous inquiry, meaningful projects, and a variety of programs and offerings will continue – remotely, but with the same creativity and commitment to quality that they do in person.

Housing, dining and campus operations

We expect that most students who returned home prior to spring break will remain there, and we encourage that. Housing and Food Services will be sending additional information directly to all students who currently have housing agreements with the university. We will provide you and your student ample time to retrieve their possessions to ensure a smooth transition process.

Our residence halls remain available to students who need to reside on one of our campuses. All students who remain in on campus housing 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 services, modified operations will be in place. We continue to encourage all employees who can perform their work remotely to telework as per public health guidance. Facilities such as residence dining services and some offices will have limited operations that minimize in-person interaction. Most offices will provide services remotely.

Thank you for your patience, flexibility and the support you are providing for your student through this period. We understand how profoundly disruptive and disappointing this crisis is to students’ academic and university experience, and recognize that you are dealing with disruptions and dilemmas of your own. We appreciate the sacrifice that our students are making on behalf of those who are most susceptible to this virus by engaging in social distancing. We also recognize that the loss of in-person community and remote learning can feel socially isolating, and we are actively encouraging students to reach out and stay connected. Be assured we will do the same.

As we deal with so much uncertainty, there is one thing about which I am certain – even from afar, we are together in spirit and united in our efforts to provide an excellent and valuable educational experience for our students. Together, we will come through this, stronger, wiser and more deeply connected than ever before.


Ana Mari Cauce
Professor of Psychology