Novel coronavirus information

March 8, 2022

Update on spring quarter classes and changes to UW mask policies (Message to UW students)

This message was sent to students across the University of Washington.

Dear UW students,

We hope that the winter quarter is going well for you, and we appreciate the flexibility you’ve shown as the University has responded to the Omicron wave. As Dr. Geoff Gottlieb wrote to you in February, that wave peaked in early January, and we are now well positioned for a successful end to the quarter. As we near the end of winter quarter, we want to let you know that spring quarter classes and experiences will again be held largely in person and to also update you on changes in UW mask policies.

Changes to UW mask policies

Following changes to state and local health policies, masks will become optional inside most University facilities starting March 28, the first day of spring quarter. Masks will continue to be required in clinical and other health-care settings and on public transportation, including UW shuttles. The UW Face Covering Policy will be updated to outline these specific settings. Please note that mask and testing policies for unvaccinated students and personnel are still under review and will be communicated prior to March 28.

Because many people will be returning to campus from travel over spring break and mobility will be increasing in general, we strongly recommend wearing masks indoors during the first two weeks of spring quarter. Please monitor yourself daily for symptoms and stay home if you are sick. It’s also strongly recommended to get tested after travel.

While optional, we continue to welcome and encourage mask wearing during spring quarter. Masks remain an important tool against respiratory illnesses of all kinds and offer greater protection that can help all in our community feel safe. When you mask up, choose a well-fitted, high-quality mask — such as a KF94, KN95, N95 or surgical mask — which when worn correctly protects you as well as those around you. You can pick up free masks at a variety of locations on each UW campus. People need to or choose to wear masks for a wide range of reasons, and we should not make assumptions. It is critical that we respect their needs and choices and that we extend each other grace.

The relaxing of the indoor mask requirement is possible thanks to high vaccination rates in the UW and broader communities, as well as the dramatic decline in the number of hospitalizations and infections. It’s also part of changes to our health measures in alignment with the new CDC framework for public health guidance based on community risk. Of course, COVID-19 is not over and we must all continue to be vigilant against new outbreaks or variants, including by getting boosted and remaining up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations, staying home when sick, and getting tested if you have symptoms or have been exposed. If public health conditions worsen once more, we will reinstate an indoor mask requirement and/or other measures until the health situation improves again. A summary of UW coronavirus mitigation measures is available at

Spring quarter classes

As we mentioned, spring quarter classes, experiences and services will be offered largely in person. Since the coronavirus continues to circulate, we must plan for unexpected disruptions to individual classes as instructors need to stay home and/or if there are significant numbers of students in a class who are ill at the same time. As during winter quarter, we request that instructors be flexible about student absences due to illness or other coronavirus-related disruptions, including the need to quarantine or because of closures to caregiving supports that may affect students who are caregivers. And while instructors will work to find typical and appropriate ways for you to make up missed coursework, please remember that they are not required to provide a remote option for classes that are being taught in person.

Throughout the pandemic, you have demonstrated your commitment not just to your own health and well-being but to the health of all those around you. On behalf of your instructors, University staff and the broader community, thank you. We all deeply appreciate the care you’ve shown and have tremendous respect for all that you have done to continue your academic careers during an unprecedented time.

Best wishes to you as you prepare for finals and a well-earned spring break — being sure to take appropriate safety precautions if you’re traveling — and thank you for protecting our pack.


Ana Mari Cauce
Professor of Psychology

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