Novel coronavirus information

November 17, 2020

New state health restrictions and travel recommendations

This message was sent to students, staff, faculty and other academic personnel at the University of Washington’s Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma campuses on behalf of the UW Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases.

Dear UW Community,

Due to the exponential increase in COVID-19 infections in Washington and around the United States, Governor Inslee has implemented new restrictions, including prohibiting most indoor social gatherings. His order allows higher education institutions, including the University of Washington, to continue to follow their current educational practices. While the order does not require changes to our current operations, we should all take extra precautions to avoid in-person activities or meetings that are not absolutely critical.

The Governor has also issued a travel advisory encouraging Washingtonians to stay home and avoid non-essential travel to other states and countries. The advisory outlines what is considered essential travel. The advisory strongly recommends all individuals who engage in non-essential travel to take additional precautions when arriving back to the state, including staying in your residence and away from other people for 14 days, even if you test negative for COVID-19 after returning to Washington.

The University strongly discourages all non-essential travel, including holiday travel. If you are traveling out of Washington, the University strongly recommends you follow state guidance and plan your trip to allow for staying in your residence and away from other people for 14 days after your return. Please plan ahead for your individual circumstances and take extra precautions to travel safely, if you do choose to travel. Following state guidelines will help you and your loved ones stay safe as well as helping to protect our UW Medicine staff and essential workers who are working on the front lines of the pandemic.

These new restrictions and recommendations further amplify the guidance provided to the UW community on Nov. 9. Everyone should be practicing the 3 W’s: Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Watch your distance. And as difficult as it is, we should avoid holiday meals and social gatherings with people outside of our households — there will be time for celebrations later, after we defeat the coronavirus.

The results of recent COVID-19 vaccine trials show there is light on the horizon, but we must first get through a very concerning winter surge. Thank you for doing what it takes to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy.


Geoffrey S. Gottlieb, M.D., Ph.D.
Chair, University Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases (ACCD)
Medical Director, Environmental Health & Safety Department
Professor, School of Medicine, Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Center for Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases