Novel coronavirus information

Autumn quarter 2021

Last updated: June 3, 2021, 4:31 p.m.

Welcome, Huskies! We’re eager to see you on campus this autumn as we return to in-person instruction and activities. We’ll update this page with the latest information as we plan for autumn quarter.


Academics

We look forward to safely returning for in-person instruction and activities this autumn.

As a public research university, we’re fortunate to have experts in medicine and public health who’ve been studying the pandemic from its beginning. We understand much more about the virus now than when it emerged, and Washington state’s vaccination levels are trending in a very positive direction.

Since the UW is on a quarter system, we have even more time to prepare classrooms and campus facilities for the start of autumn quarter on Sept. 29. Our experts know how to ready the UW’s living, learning and working spaces so you can come to campus for in-person classes and activities. As vaccination rates and vaccine availability climb in our region, we will continue making decisions that reflect the most current public health guidance.

Remote Advising & Orientation

Whether you’re a freshman or a transfer student, advising and orientation sessions will help you build community, register for courses and connect to campus resources before your arrival. If you need a computer or WiFi hotspot, we have those available to ship to your home so that you are prepared to engage. You’ll be able to connect with your Orientation Leader throughout the summer before you meet them in-person during Dawg Daze in the autumn.

Families of new students can participate in Family Orientation, which includes self-guided videos and online discussion groups that will allow you to learn and ask questions about the Husky experience.

Learn more about advising and orientation for undergraduates.

Incoming graduate and professional students can check the Graduate School for updates and for University 501 (U501) a self-guided, online orientation to help you prepare for graduate school.

Early Fall Start

Because planning for the Early Fall Start program began at an earlier stage in the pandemic, it will be offered remotely. Jump-start your college career from wherever you live before coming to campus for the start of autumn quarter. Learn more about Early Fall Start.

Second Year Students

We look forward to welcoming you back to campus. Watch the Student Academic Services page for information about special programming to support your transition this autumn.

Campus tours

Campus tours and in-person events will resume June 21.


Classrooms and learning spaces

As more students and community members become fully vaccinated, we’re confident that Washington state will revise higher education guidelines related to distancing, such as the ones adopted in K-12 schools based on Centers for Disease Control guidance. We’ll continue following state and local public health guidelines on masks and other health and safety measures.

Study sessions, RSOs and other co-curricular activities will have safe ways to meet in-person this autumn.

UW Libraries reopened individual study spaces at the Seattle Research Commons this spring and will open more spaces and in-person services by the start of autumn quarter:

  • Health Sciences Library will open Monday, September 13.
  • Odegaard Undergraduate Library plans to reopen on Monday, September 20, in conjunction with orientation and Dawg Daze events. 
  • All other UW Seattle Libraries, including Special Collections plan to open by the start of fall quarter.
  • UW Bothell and Tacoma libraries are developing plans for their campuses.

Housing and dining

Housing and dining

We will return campus housing to full occupancy in the fall, as long as public health guidelines permit. Housing & Food Services (HFS) will provide updates as the overall public health picture becomes clearer in summer, when more people have been vaccinated.

Historically, all students who apply during the priority application period (May 4-11 for new freshmen) have been assigned housing, and we expect the same for this academic year. Once you apply, you will receive more updates from HFS. You can also find more information about how we protect your health and safety in our housing and dining facilities on the HFS website.

We have well-honed plans in place to follow all preventive health guidelines and support students who may have a COVID diagnosis while living on campus. Students who test positive are asked to temporarily move to a designated place where they can recover safely away from people who may be at risk of being sick. During this time, we’ll help with food and mail delivery, laundry service and engagement activities to keep students stay connected. Our Environmental Health & Safety COVID-19 response team will work with you to understand whether other people may have been exposed, so we can get them tested and protect their health as well. You can learn more about how the University responds to positive cases on our COVID-19 FAQ page.


Student Life and activities

Recreation, Husky Union Building and other student spaces

The IMA is open for Seattle campus students, and opened several recreation spaces this spring including the climbing center, IMA pool, golf range and Waterfront Activities Center. Our recreation facilities follow state COVID-19 guidelines to protect your health and safety, and our goal is to return as near as possible to regular operations in the autumn. The UW is also planning for ways to make all of our fitness classes, intramurals and other activities available in hybrid models so you can stay active no matter how the pandemic evolves.

The HUB is currently open with limited operations as an informal learning space for individual UW students, faculty and staff. There are more than 200 seats available for UW community members to comfortably access WiFi for classes, studying and work. Reservations are not required for UW students, faculty and staff to visit the HUB. Learn more about visiting the HUB.

Our hope is that our hundreds of clubs and student organizations will be able to offer some level of in-person activities, depending of course on state and local public health guidance.

Husky Athletics

UW Athletics is planning for Husky football to have a full stadium in the 2021 season, and is also making plans for the return of fans to fall and winter sports. Visit GoHuskies.com/TheReturn for the latest updates on football tickets, including information this May about Dawg Pack student season tickets.


COVID-19 vaccines, testing and prevention

International students: We recommend bookmarking International Student Services coronavirus information for F1 and J1 students for information on visas, travel and COVID-19 protocols. ISS will update this page as new information becomes available. Continue to monitor your local embassy or consulate’s website, airline guidance and CDC travel notices.

Vaccines

The University will require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and expects everyone else in the UW community who can get vaccinated to do so. When UW requires vaccines, there are exemptions for medical and non-medical reasons. Please note that students required to participate in the Health Sciences Immunization Program are eligible for medical waivers only.

We expect all students and employees to get vaccinated. And we hope most students will be fully vaccinated (two weeks after receiving the second or only shot) before arriving on campus for autumn quarter. While we don’t know what public health restrictions will be in place in late September, we can confidently tell you that being fully vaccinated is already a way to avoid needing to quarantine before or after you come to campus. But if you haven’t been able to get a vaccine where you live, we will have vaccinations available when you arrive. 

Testing

Did you know that the UW has a campus-run testing program that’s free for students, staff and faculty? Husky Coronavirus Testing has been running since autumn quarter 2020 and will continue to provide free, fast testing for current UW students, faculty and staff throughout the summer and during the 2021-22 academic year.

You’ll be able to get tested as part of our return-to-campus testing. You can also use Husky Coronavirus Testing if you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, or if you have COVID-like symptoms. And we have experience with what we call “surge” or “rapid-response” testing to stop or mitigate potential outbreaks.

Since Husky Coronavirus Testing started, the UW’s COVID-19 levels have been lower than in the broader region. We’ve conducted nearly 80,000 tests, with less than 1% coming back positive for COVID-19.

Prevention

Masks are required on campus in all indoor spaces, and anywhere outdoors where people can’t be a safe distance apart. We expect to continue those requirements in the autumn, and we’re glad to report that the vast majority of our students, staff and faculty wear their masks 100% of the time.

The UW is fortunate to have outstanding Facilities teams who keep our classrooms and buildings safe all day, every day.If you’d like a deep dive into our cleaning and safety protocols, UW Environmental Health & Safety has a wealth of information on its COVID-19 resources page including its building readiness guidelines.