Novel coronavirus information

November 18, 2021

Preventing COVID-19 during travel and gatherings

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

Dear UW Community,

Even with widespread vaccination levels in our community, travel can create pathways for COVID-19 to spread by bringing you into regions with lower vaccination rates and into contact with people who have not yet been vaccinated. By continuing to take steps that protect each other’s health during the holiday travel season, we can help keep each other healthy as we gather with friends and family. Before you travel or gather with loved ones, please take a few minutes to review the following COVID-19 prevention resources.

Before you travel

  • Get tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of travel and schedule the test with enough time to get your results before departing. There are many no-cost testing options in our area, and rapid tests are available at many pharmacies.
  • Follow current CDC COVID-19 travel guidance and take steps to protect yourself and others, like continuing to wear a mask indoors, washing your hands and watching your distance in crowded places.
  • Get the flu vaccine to reduce your risk of catching both diseases at once, and to protect other people from an illness that usually claim tens of thousands of lives each winter.

During Thanksgiving and winter break

Wherever you are, follow the CDC’s holiday guidance which includes:

  • Continuing to wear a mask in public indoor settings, regardless of your vaccination status
  • Avoiding crowded, poorly ventilated spaces
  • Gathering outdoors whenever possible
  • Staying home if you feel sick or have COVID-19 symptoms
  • Getting tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
  • Getting tested before gatherings, and again 5-7 days after events

If you test positive or are exposed, follow the University’s COVID-19 public health requirements and guidance.

After traveling for breaks

Thanks to you, our campus communities are doing their part to protect each other with high mask-wearing and vaccination rates. On behalf of the University, I wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy holiday season.


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