Novel coronavirus information

September 2, 2021

Autumn quarter health and safety measures (Message to UW students)

This message is being sent to current and incoming students across the University of Washington.

Dear Students,

We’re excited to welcome you to — or back to — our campuses this month. It just hasn’t been the same without you. We greatly miss your energy, excitement and joy. We’re already seeing more people on and around our campuses in advance of the in-person classes and activities that add so much to the vibrancy of our community.

Like us, we expect you’re busy preparing, with both anticipation and anxiety, for the start of the academic year. In the weeks and months leading up to the start of this school year, we’ve been preparing for your safe arrival or return.

As part of our preparations, we’ve posted a summary of the health and safety measures that will be in place for autumn quarter. You can read about these measures at, which is your best source for details on topics like vaccinations, testing, masks and other important health information. The Back-to-School Checklist you received last month is also a great guide to getting ready to come to campus. And because the pandemic has impacted all of us in different ways, kindness and compassion — toward others and yourselves — will also be key to a healthy autumn.

In addition to encouraging you to read the summary of the health and safety measures, we want to share two important vaccination-related updates with you.

Verification of vaccination status

First, all students are required to attest to their vaccination status prior to the start of autumn quarter on Sept. 29, and student employees also need to attest via Workday. If you are one of the more than half of students who have completed the attestation — and who report being vaccinated at a rate well above 90% — thank you!

In addition to this attestation, the University will verify your vaccination status through Washington state’s vaccination database and/or by requesting additional documentation from you. Students who request medical or religious exemptions will also be required to provide additional information before an exemption is approved. Any student who submits false or inaccurate information on their attestations or during the verification process will be subject to disciplinary procedures that can include dismissal from the University.

Right now, we are finalizing these verification processes. You can expect to be contacted if you need to provide additional information — either to prove your vaccination status or to document a medical or religious exemption. Philosophical exemptions are no longer allowed, so you will be contacted about next steps if you applied for a philosophical exemption earlier this summer.

Additionally, many restaurants and venues in our region now require proof of vaccination — which can often be a photo of the documentation on your phone — or a negative coronavirus test result for entry. Some UW events will also follow this practice, so make sure to keep copies of your vaccination card or documentation with you.

Testing requirement for unvaccinated students

The second key change is that the UW will require students who receive a medical or religious exemption to get tested for COVID-19 weekly and submit their results to the University. This policy will be in effect until further notice.

These weekly tests can be taken through Husky Coronavirus Testing or from other providers that use FDA-authorized tests. We’ll share details soon with students who receive a medical or religious exemption about how to submit their test results.

And even if you are vaccinated, get tested after you move into your on- or off-campus residence. You can do that for free through Husky Coronavirus Testing, which is open to any UW student.

Caring for our community

As has been the case since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and well-being of each of you and our community as a whole is our priority. We have a range of other health and safety measures in place for autumn quarter, from requiring indoor masking, to continuing our robust contact tracing processes, to enhancing ventilation in our buildings and classrooms. You can read more about those at

We should also all remember to extend grace and kindness to each other. We’re understanding more every day about the mental toll of isolation, which is a serious health risk of this pandemic that is too often unacknowledged. All of us have experienced loss, stress and strain, and these impacts have been more significant for some than for others. You will often not know the level of stress or anxiety that your classmates may be experiencing, making grace and kindness all the more important.

Because we know how caring and compassionate our community is, we’re confident you’ll take advantage of opportunities to keep yourself and those around you well, both physically and mentally. Our individual actions, health and well-being are inextricably connected to the health and well-being of our entire community. A collective commitment to following health guidance and to building and sustaining a diverse and equitable community will go a long way toward making this academic year a success.

With best wishes to all,

Ana Mari Cauce
Professor of Psychology

Mark A. Richards
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Earth and Space Sciences