Updated: June 18 2021, at 4:55 p.m.

Frequently asked questions about novel coronavirus

Table of contents

In addition to the FAQ below, information and resources for students and for staff, faculty and other academic personnel are available, and UW Bothell, UW Tacoma and UW Medicine also offer additional resources specific to their communities.


COVID-19 information

How does COVID-19 spread? (updated 06/17/21)

You can spread COVID-19 without having symptoms, which is why getting vaccinated is critically important. In addition, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, continue following the UW’s current mask-wearing requirements when on campus or at any UW facility.  

COVID-19 spreads mainly through respiratory droplets and particles expelled when an infected person breathes, coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings while in close contact with another person.

Additionally, these small droplets and particles linger in the air and infect people who are more than 6 feet away. This is more likely to happen in poorly ventilated indoor spaces, particularly when the infected person is exercising, singing or doing other activity that causes them to breathe heavily.

If you are not vaccinated, diligently follow the three W’s — wearing masks, watching our physical distances and washing our hands — and avoiding crowded indoor spaces.

Learn more: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “How COVID-19 Spreads.” .

What are the symptoms of COVID-19 infection?

COVID-19 symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you have any of these symptoms, stay home and get tested – even if you are vaccinated.

If you test positive, notify the UW COVID-19 Response and Prevention Team at covidehc@uw.edu or 206-616-3344. UW medical center personnel should contact their respective employee health services.

For more information, see “What do I do if I feel sick?

I feel anxious about coronavirus. What can I do?

This is can be a stressful, difficult time for everyone. You don’t have to go through it alone.

 

Students can access support through campus mental health services:

UW employees can access support through CareLink.

Washington residents can also call or text Washington Listens at 1-833-681-0211, M–F from 9 a.m.–9 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Language access services are available, and TTY can be accessed by dialing 7-1-1 or preferred method.

You can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by getting vaccinated and following public health guidelines.

Additionally, you can protect yourself and your community by opting in to receive notifications of potential COVID-19 exposures on your smartphone through the Washington Exposure Notifications – WA Notify app.

Where can I get more information about the novel coronavirus?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides regular updates on COVID-19 pandemic.

For information about COVID-19 in Washington state:

County information:

UW Medicine has updated information on COVID-19 care and services, and COVID-19 info is available by phone at 206-520-2285 or 855-520-2285.

Are there resources for combating stigmatization and bias related to the coronavirus?

There is no connection between race, ethnicity or nationality and the novel coronavirus.

As President Ana Mari Cauce wrote, “Our common humanity calls on us now to offer support, empathy and understanding to those most affected by this virus…All of us, as individuals and as a community, are responsible for treating each other with kindness and empathy. We are best equipped to deal with any threat to health when we work together.”

Stigma doesn’t fight the illness, but it does hurt innocent people. Public Health – Seattle & King County has anti-stigma resources. You can report bias or discrimination in our University community using the appropriate UW bias reporting tool:

 

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Prevention, health and vaccines

What do I do if I feel sick? (updated 06/17/21)

If you are sick with any potential illness, you must stay home, regardless of your vaccination status.

COVID-19’s most common symptoms are fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you’re symptomatic, take the following steps to protect yourself and your loved ones:

Get tested and stay home until you receive your test result.

  • Husky Coronavirus Testing participants: Report your symptoms in the daily survey to receive testing instructions. You will hear from the UW COVID-19 Response and Prevention Team if you test positive.
  • If you are not enrolled in Husky Coronavirus Testing, you can still sign up for testing through the program, or access testing through public testing sites, pharmacies, or potentially your health care provider. To protect the health of other people, do NOT visit a doctor’s office, urgent care clinic or other health facility without notifying them that you may have COVID-19.

If you have confirmed or suspected COVID-19, immediately notify the UW COVID-19 Response and Prevention Team at covidehc@uw.edu or 206.616.3344. UW medical center personnel should contact their respective employee health services.

Follow public health guidelines to help you recover and protect loved ones from getting sick. Stay home, stay masked and stay 6 feet away from other people and pets whenever possible. For more about the steps you’ll need to take, see our FAQ, What do I do if I have confirmed or suspected COVID-19?”

You can also learn more from Public Health – Seattle & King County and the Washington State Department of Health.

I want to get tested for COVID-19. Where can I go? (updated 06/17/21)

The following COVID-19 testing options are provided at no cost to you.

Husky Coronavirus Testing program: We strongly encourage participation among employees and students. If you are not enrolled, you can still sign up now to be tested.

Free testing is also available through local public health departments:
  1. UW medical center personnel should contact their respective employee health services.
Additional testing options
    1. Hall Health Center: COVID-19 testing is available by appointment only. Call 206-685-1011 to schedule.
    2. UW Medicine offers testing for current patients. Visit the patient portal to make an appointment.
    3. Some pharmacies offer COVID-19 testing that is billed to your health insurance.
    4. Your personal health care provider may be able to arrange testing.

Multilingual information about COVID-19 testing options is available from the Washington State Department of Health.

What do I do if I have confirmed or suspected COVID-19? (updated 06/17/21)

Contact the UW COVID-19 Response and Prevention Team at covidehc@uw.edu or 206-616-3344. UW Medicine personnel should contact their respective employee health services.

The UW COVID-19 Response & Prevention Team conducts contact tracing, a critical part of stopping disease spread among UW community members. Follow the instructions of your contact tracer when they call you.

If you have COVID-19, you must take the following steps to protect other people and help you recover:

  • Stay home except for necessary medical care.
  • Rest as much as possible.
  • Physically isolate yourself from other people and pets.
  • Wear a mask if you must be around other people. Ask them to wear a mask near you.
  • Avoid public transit, taxis, carpools and ride-share services.
  • Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.
  • Continue frequent hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
  • Clean high-touch surfaces every day, e.g., counters, doorknobs, mobile devices and keyboards.
  • Don’t share personal items, including dishes, cups, eating utensils, towels and bedding.

If you have trouble breathing, or your fever is above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, call 911 and let them know that you have confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

You must stay home and away from others until all three of these are true:

    1. Your symptoms improve;
    2. You have had at least 24 hours with no fever, without taking fever-reducing medication;
    3. And it’s been at least at least 10 days since your symptoms started (or, if you’ve had no symptoms, since your COVID-19 test date). Stay home for the full 10 days, even if your symptoms are mild or you are fully vaccinated.

EH&S provides guidance on self-isolation and quarantine.

I may have been exposed to COVID-19. What should I do? (Updated 06/17/21)

If you are fully vaccinated: Monitor your health closely. If you develop any symptoms, get tested and quarantine at home until you receive your test results.

If you are not fully vaccinated: Get tested and quarantine (stay home, away from other people). Even if you test negative, you must complete your quarantine in your home.

You generally need to have been in close contact to become infected. That means being within 6 feet of the person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (even if you both wore face coverings), living with or caring for an infected person, or activities like being coughed on, kissing or sharing utensils with someone who has COVID-19.

If you develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, contact the UW COVID-19 Response and Prevention Team at covidehc@uw.edu or 206.616.3344. UW medical center personnel should contact their respective employee health services.

When should I wear a face covering? (updated 06/17/21)

At this time, anyone at a UW campus or facility must continue to wear a mask indoors when other people are present, in common areas, and outside in situations where other people are within 6 feet. See the frequently asked questions about face coverings for more information.

Your job may require additional personal protective equipment (PPE). EH&S has PPE and risk level guidelines to help supervisors and administrators determine your team’s needs.

It’s okay to remove your mask when you’re alone in a private office or when you’re outside away from other people. Wash your hands, touch only the mask’s straps or ties, and wash your mask after every time you wear it.

Additional Resources:

When and where can I receive a vaccine? (updated 06/17/21)

To protect everyone’s health and safety, the UW is requiring all students and employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

UW Medicine is administering vaccines through both appointments and walk-in hours. You can also receive a vaccine from your personal health care provider or at many local pharmacies and vaccination sites.

Is Hall Health Center open for services?

Hall Health Center is open for medical and mental health care to current UW students, as well as medical care to UW faculty, staff and alumni. Call 206-685-1011 to schedule in-person, video and telehealth appointments.

COVID-19 testing at Hall Health Center

Hall Health offers coronavirus-related care to students, staff, alumni and the greater UW community. Call 206-685-1011. Please do not come to Hall Health without calling first.

There are two types of tests available through Hall Health Center:

  • A swab of the nasal cavity, known as a PCR. This test checks to see if you have a current COVID-19 infection. In most cases, Hall Health Center providers order this test for people who have symptoms.
  • Antibody test, a blood draw. This test looks for antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 illness, which your immune system produces in response to infection. It usually takes 1-2 weeks for your body to produce these antibodies after you get sick. The test is not administered until at least two weeks after you have recovered from fever or other symptoms.

Insurance companies are required to cover the cost of COVID-19 related care, including both PCR and antibody tests when you visit a provider who is contracted with your insurance plan.

Learn more about Hall Health Center services.

Medical advice for students

Students can access telehealth nurse advice by calling 206-616-2517.

Pharmacy

The pharmacy at Hall Health Center remains open. You may arrange for curbside pick-up for prescription medication if desired by calling the pharmacy at 206-685-1011.

Lab

You need a lab order from a health care provider prior to coming in for testing. Call Hall Health Center at 206-685-1011 to arrange for an appointment to get a lab order.

Mental health

If you’re a current UW student and need urgent help day or night, call 866-743-7732 to connect with UW’s partner, My SSP.

To schedule an appointment with UW counseling and mental health staff, call 206-543-1240.

What should I do if I am at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19? (updated 06/17/21)

The CDC maintains a list of medical conditions that are considered at increased risk of severe outcome from COVID-19 infection. If you have any of these conditions, you should follow public health guidance.

UW Human Resources has developed COVID-19 accommodation guidance for high-risk employees.

Talk with your health care provider about whether your situation puts you at higher risk for severe illness and, if so, how to minimize risk to you and members of your household.

Are the vaccines safe and effective?

Yes, the vaccines authorized for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are safe and effective for use against COVID-19.

Read more about the vaccines and how to get vaccinated.

I was vaccinated and now I have symptoms. What should I do? (updated 06/17/21)

Even if you are fully vaccinated, do not go to work or attend class if you experience any COVID-19 symptoms. Some people can acquire COVID-19 infection even after being vaccinated, so do not assume any symptoms are vaccine side effects. Additionally, you are not fully protected by the vaccine until at least two weeks post-vaccination.

Get tested and stay home until you receive your test result. If you test positive, notify the UW COVID-19 Response and Prevention Team at covidehc@uw.edu or 206.616.3344. UW medical center personnel should report positive COVID-19 test results to their employee health services. You may want to also consult with your health care provider.

I was vaccinated, then exposed to COVID-19. Should I quarantine? (updated 06/17/21)

Monitor your health closely. If you develop any COVID-19 symptoms, get tested and quarantine at home until you receive your test results. You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine.

Notify covidehc@uw.edu or 206-616-3344. UW medical centers employees should follow UW Medicine guidance regarding post-exposure quarantine for health care workers.

Do I need to follow COVID-19 prevention measures after I am fully vaccinated? (updated 06/17/21)

Regardless of vaccination status, all employees who come to a UW facility or campus must continue following the University’s COVID-19 Prevention Plan and their unit’s COVID-19 prevention plan. This includes wearing a face covering in open offices and common areas, and maintaining six feet of distance from other people.

UW Medicine clinical personnel should follow UW Medicine guidance for fully vaccinated health care workers.

When you are in a private residence or in public (i.e., not at work), after getting vaccinated you can follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.

What does it mean to be fully vaccinated?

It takes up to two weeks to develop antibodies against the COVID-19 virus. You are considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine.

 

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About the UW's response

Does the UW require vaccinations?

In order to protect the health of our community, the UW will require all students and employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by autumn quarter, with certain exemptions allowed. For students, this is similar to our existing tri-campus immunization requirement.

How is the UW testing for coronavirus on campus?

Widespread testing — especially of people who have no symptoms — is one important way to protect our community from COVID-19. That’s why the UW launched the Husky Coronavirus Testing program.

The Husky Coronavirus Testing program conducts testing throughout the pandemic to detect individual cases before they become outbreaks. Anyone who tests positive receives guidance from the UW COVID-19 Response and Prevention Team regarding care, self-isolation and contact tracing.

Find out more about Husky Coronavirus Testing.

What does the UW do when a member of our community has confirmed COVID-19?

We depend on people to report when they have confirmed or suspected COVID-19. We protect your identity and disclose only on a need-to-know basis for situations such as the public-health response and unit management.

Once we receive a positive report, we take the following steps to protect community health and safety:

    1. We document the person’s symptoms, anywhere they recently spent time on campus, and any close contacts with other UW community members.
    2. We conduct a risk assessment that helps us decide on a specific action plan, which may include any or all of the following:
      • Helping the person understand how to take care of themselves and others by staying home and physically apart from other people.
      • Notifying the person’s academic and/or work unit, and providing information about steps we’re taking to prevent the virus’s spread, such as cleaning and disinfection, following CDC guidelines.
      • Notifying people who were in close contact
      • If the person spent time in a work space on campus recently, we notify coworkers and others who have also been in that space and share information about steps we’re taking to prevent the virus’s spread. We do not include the person’s name who tested positive in those communications.

Read more about how the UW responds to cases of COVID-19.

How does the UW follow up with close contacts of a person who tested positive for COVID-19?

When a student or employee notifies the University about their positive test result, the UW COVID-19 Response and Prevention Team works with them to reduce the risk of other people getting sick.

The team asks the person who tested positive to identify the UW locations they visited and the UW-affiliated people they had close contact with up to 48 hours before symptoms began (or 48 hours before the date of their COVID-19 test if they have no symptoms).

If you’re notified that you may have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, the UW COVID-19 Response and Prevention Team will help you understand what you need to do, such as staying home and away from other people, monitoring your health for 14 days and getting a COVID-19 test.

Read more about how the UW responds to cases of COVID-19.

Where can I find information about current research and clinical trials at the UW?

The Institute of Translational Health Sciences maintains a list of current UW COVID-19 clinical research for interested researchers and study participants.

 

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Information for current and prospective students

What are the UW’s plans for autumn quarter?

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.

What will campus housing look like in autumn quarter?

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. Find more information about how we protect your health and safety in our housing and dining facilities on the HFS website.

Does the UW require students to be vaccinated for COVID-19?

In order to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, academic personnel, staff and the broader community, the UW will require all students to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Before the start of autumn quarter, students will need to verify they have been vaccinated unless they are claiming a medical, religious or philosophical exemption. This is similar to our existing tri-campus immunization requirement. If students are unable to verify they are vaccinated because they can’t get vaccinated where they currently live, the University will provide access to vaccinations upon arrival on campus. Early this summer, we will share how students can verify their COVID-19 vaccination or claim an exemption.Wherever they are living, students should get vaccinated as soon as possible. COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the United States, by the World Health Organization or by other nations will meet this requirement.

What options are there for students who do not have access to technology at home?

Currently enrolled students at the Seattle campus can access the Student Technology Loan Program, which allows students to borrow laptops, tablets and other equipment for free. Visit their site to see real-time equipment inventory and learn more.

Students at UW Bothell may borrow laptops and other technology via the UW Bothell Laptop and Wifi Hotspot Lending Program.

Students at UW Tacoma may borrow laptops and other technology by contacting the UW Tacoma IT Helpdesk.

What restrictions are there on fieldwork?

The Office of Research maintains a page with updated information for carrying out fieldwork during the pandemic, including guidelines and considerations for returning to safe in-person activities.

What happens if I am defending my dissertation?

If you are a doctoral student who will defend your dissertation in spring quarter, the Graduate School has waived the requirement that the Graduate School Representative must be physically present during general exams and dissertation defenses. Also, the student no longer needs to be “proctored,” which means that they do not need to be on campus and in a room with a faculty member. The Graduate School continues to update its information for current and prospective students.

Do public defenses need to be postponed?

At this time, public defenses should take place in a livestream format. The Graduate School continues to update its information for current and prospective students.

What can students in residence halls and other communal living situations do to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Students who live in residence halls and communal housing should take these steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Wear a face covering when outside your bedroom and when spending time with people who don’t share a bedroom with you.
  • Clean your room and bathroom daily. Use a disinfectant to clean high-touch surfaces regularly, such as door handles, light switches, remote controls and phones.
  • Practice physical distancing. Maintain a 6-foot distance from other people. Avoid parties and get-togethers. If you do want to meet friends, take steps to minimize risk: limit the number of people, stay outdoors, wear masks, and maintain 6 feet of distance between people.
  • Wash your hands frequently. Good handwashing hygiene is even more important for people living in close proximity. Use soap and water, scrub for 20 seconds and dry your hands.
  • Don’t touch your face. Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes with unwashed hands.
  • If you live off-campus, consider adopting a roommates agreement.

The University is following guidance from local health departments and has taken the following steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in residence halls:

  • Increased cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces twice each day, with more frequency in the dining facilities.
  • Dining facilities are operating consistent with the Washington State Proclamation for Higher Education.
  • Residence halls on all three campuses offer dedicated spaces for isolation and quarantine.

When should students consider missing class?

While remote instruction eliminates the need to physically stay home from class, illness may cause you to miss a remote class session. You should take steps you normally would when sick, including focusing on caring for your health, contacting your health care provider if you feel you need to, and in the event you miss a class session due to illness, working with your instructor on any necessary arrangements for making up coursework.

In general, if you are sick, stay home.

Please see the “What do I do if I feel sick?” question for more information.

Where can prospective Huskies find information about COVID-19 and admissions?

The Office of Admissions maintains updated information and COVID-19 Admissions FAQs for applicants on its website.

Are campus visits, tours and information sessions being offered?

Campus tours and in-person events will resume June 21. Bookmark the Office of Admissions visits page for future updates — and while you’re there, watch an admission information session on demand, or download our guide to take a self-guided tour whenever it’s convenient for you to visit campus.

 

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Information for all UW employees

Will the UW require vaccines for employees including staff, faculty and other academic personnel?

Decisions about vaccine requirements for faculty, academic personnel and staff will be made after further consultation with faculty, academic personnel and staff leadership, and the state. We strongly encourage everyone who is able to get a COVID-19 vaccine to do so. Learn more about the vaccines and where you can get vaccinated.

What guidelines are in place to protect employees who are on site, or who will return to work on site as public health restrictions ease?

The UW’s COVID-19 Prevention Plan for the Workplace helps ensure the health and safety of personnel by reducing the potential for COVID-19 transmission at UW facilities and campuses.At the UW, all on-site work must align with safety measures in the state’s Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery and Campus Reopening Guide, and also follow requirements in the University’s COVID-19 Prevention Plan, as well as the COVID-19 prevention plans of your specific unit.

COVID-19 prevention requirements for on-site work include, but are not limited to:

  • Requiring UW personnel to monitor their health for COVID-19 symptoms and complete daily attestations confirming they don’t have symptoms before coming to work on site, regardless of vaccination status;
  • Requiring students, employees and visitors to wear face coverings and maintain 6 feet of distance from other people at all University locations, including UW Medicine facilities; and
  • Performing enhanced cleaning and disinfection, especially in communal spaces and high-touch areas.

Learn more about these and other measures on the Back-to-the-Workplace Task Force page.

What are the UW’s current policies on wearing face coverings?

In order to help ensure the health and safety of the University of Washington campus community and the public, face coverings are required to be worn on site at the University of Washington, regardless of vaccination status:

  • Indoors when other people are present and in all public and common areas, such as lobbies, hallways, stairways, restrooms, elevators, and in shared vehicles
  • Outdoors when keeping a 6-foot distance from others may not be possible

This requirement is in accordance with Washington state workplace health and safety requirements and with the Washington state public health orders for face coverings. This policy is in effect until otherwise communicated.

Can academic units and supervisors ask employees whether they’ve been fully vaccinated for COVID-19?

No. Supervisors should treat vaccination status like any other personal medical or healthcare issue. If you think your team includes positions where vaccination is an occupational health requirement, please confirm with your departmental leadership, health and safety staff, human resources staff, or your designated employee health center before pursuing the issue.

Regardless of vaccination status, all employees who return to onsite work must follow the UW’s COVID-19 prevention guidelines, which include wearing masks, following physical distancing and completing daily attestations. Please see guidance for UW personnel who are vaccinated for COVID-19 for additional information.

Can academic units and supervisors consider vaccination status as they consider return-to-work options for individual employees?

No. Do not treat vaccinated and unvaccinated employees differently as you develop plans for returning staff to the workplace. Regardless of vaccination status, all employees who return to onsite work must follow the UW’s COVID-19 prevention guidelines, which include wearing masks, following physical distancing and completing daily attestations.

Where can I find current information about remote work policies?

In May, the Board of Deans and Chancellors, President’s Cabinet, and HR partners and administrators received telework guidance for staff covering the timeframe after Sept. 10, 2021, accompanied by new UWHR resources on the return to onsite work and telework.

Academic instructors can also find resources on the Teaching Remotely site, including links to campus-specific resources for UW Bothell and UW Tacoma.

Where can I find information about child care resources?

UW Human Resources maintains information about child care options and resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligible staff can take a family care emergency absence when regularly scheduled care plans are interrupted due to a school, camp, facility closure and/or the unexpected absence of a care provider. Family care emergencies apply to both child and elder care situations.

 

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Information for faculty and other academic personnel

Will COVID-19 impact promotion/tenure-review schedules?

Using President Cauce’s declaration of “extraordinary circumstances” under Executive Order 27, the Office of Academic Personnel is implementing a provision for automatic eligibility to waive the 2019-20 or 2020-21 academic year from the mandatory promotion clock. This is similar to the automatic eligibility to have a year waived from the promotion/tenure clock in the case of the birth or adoption of a child. Automatic eligibility means that the faculty members must request a clock waiver, but upon request it will be automatically approved.

The details for seeking an extension to the promotion/tenure clock through this clock waiver provision are available on the Office of Academic Personnel website.

I am a faculty member who has been instructed by my physician, EH&S or UW Medicine to self-isolate due to unprotected and direct COVID-19 exposure. Should I apply for faculty sick leave?

At the University of Washington, faculty do not formally track paid time off for reasons other than sick time off under the Faculty Sick Leave Policy. Faculty sick leave (i.e., paid sick time) covers: a) your own serious health condition as certified by your health care provider; b) temporary disability due to pregnancy, childbirth, or recovery therefrom; or c) care for a family member with a serious health condition.

If you have been directed to self-isolate for up to 14 days, you should continue to follow your unit’s procedure for short-term absences. For example, this might involve informing your supervisor (chair/director/campus dean/dean), who can help you arrange for remote work or with reassignment of responsibilities. And for specific suggestions related to research activities, see the updates from the Office of Research.

If your absence occurs during a time in which you are otherwise entitled to receive a salary from the University, you will continue to receive your salary. If your condition changes and you have a serious health concern, you may be entitled to use up to 90 days of faculty sick leave, using the process outlined by Academic HR. Your Academic HR Business Partners are available to offer guidance by contacting: apleaves@uw.edu.

What resources are available for instructors in remote learning environments?

The UW Center for Teaching and Learning also offers updated teaching and grading information and resources for remote learning environments. UW Bothell faculty may also review additional information about instructional continuity from the Office of Digital Learning & Innovation. UW Tacoma faculty can find information on the UW Tacoma Instructional Continuity webpage.

Should faculty and other academic personnel ask students who miss remote classes or course work following an illness to provide documentation or physician’s note?

Even in a situation involving remote instruction, “Instructors are strongly discouraged from requiring medical or legal documentation from a student for any absences. Requiring such documentation places burdens on all parties involved,” according to the Faculty Council on Academic Standards Syllabus Guidelines. The syllabus guidelines recommend that instructors offer students accommodations, such as makeup exams, alternate assignments, or alternate weighting of missed work. The UW Center for Teaching and Learning offers updated information and resources for technology and pedagogical best practices that can help you and your students in the event of any missed class time.

 

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Information for staff and student workers

Should supervisors allow employees to work remotely?

All three campuses are currently in Phase 3 of the state’s Healthy Washington plan (pdf). In alignment with state, local and university health plans, telework is supported through Sept. 10, 2021. If an employee can telework and it does not impede operations, they should be allowed to do so.

All in-person work must adhere to all appropriate safety measures and unit COVID-19 Prevention Plans. Supervisors should also work with their employees to maintain employment and pay to the greatest extent possible. Helpful guidance can be found on UWHR’s Working through COVID-19. If you have questions about how to assist employees in need, please reach out to your HR consultant.

In May, the Board of Deans and Chancellors, President’s Cabinet, and HR partners and administrators received telework guidance for staff covering the timeframe after Sept. 10, 2021, accompanied by new UWHR resources on the return to onsite work and telework.

The new telework guidance for staff provides unit leaders the flexibility to work with their teams on how to incorporate more telework into their operations in ways that are consistent with achieving their unit’s missions and business needs.

Taken together, these guidelines will enable us to safely achieve our missions and come together in community with each other, while still providing flexibility and making use of the innovations developed during these challenging times

What resources exist for employees and supervisors on topics like telework and time off?

In May, the Board of Deans and Chancellors, President’s Cabinet, and HR partners and administrators received telework guidance for staff covering the timeframe after Sept. 10, 2021, accompanied by new UWHR resources on the return to onsite work and telework.

The new telework guidance for staff provides unit leaders the flexibility to work with their teams on how to incorporate more telework into their operations in ways that are consistent with achieving their unit’s missions and business needs. As we do this, certain functions should be prioritized for in-person work, including essential and clinical operations, instruction, research, student services, and services provided to the public, as well as the support services that underpin our teaching, research, clinical and service operations.

Taken together, these guidelines will enable us to safely achieve our missions and come together in community with each other, while still providing flexibility and making use of the innovations developed during these challenging times

What technology can I use to work remotely?

Staff and student workers can prepare for the possibility of disruptions by becoming familiar with the technology tools that make it possible to work even when you can’t get to campus. UW Information Technology offers free tools for videoconferencing, chat, collaboration, online storage, and more. Find out what tools you can use in this helpful tech guide for working remotely.

When can I use accrued sick time off?

If you are sick, stay home. Staff and student workers should continue to follow their unit’s procedure for requesting sick time off and can find more information on the following webpages about sick time for regular contract covered, classified, and professional staff and for temporary and student hourly employees.

Additionally, President Cauce has authorized expanded use of sick time off to cover situations that may be unique to the risks posed by COVID-19. For example, if your duties cannot be performed remotely and you have a significant health concern that makes you feel unsafe in the workplace. Sick time off can also be used if you have had direct exposure to COVID-19 and you have been directed to complete a 14-day self-isolation. Your HR consultant is available to offer guidance.

 

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University operations

Environmental Health & Safety has a wealth of resources about the UW’s COVID-19 health, safety and cleaning protocols, including detailed information about face covering requirements on campus, guidelines on Plexiglas for high-traffic areas, and cleaning and disinfection protocols.

What's the status of spring quarter operations?

For spring quarter, most courses will be offered online, similar to winter quarter, while the UW intends to offer more in-person student services and activities as the quarter progresses.

Those courses held in person will once again largely be clinical instruction, certain labs, and arts- and performance-based courses. These will continue to have appropriate safety measures and physical distancing in place.

We remain dedicated to providing you with an excellent education and look forward to the time when progress in stemming the pandemic means we can return to a more fully on-campus experience. Our faculty, teaching assistants and academic support staff are all committed to your success in your classes. And we’re equally committed to providing as many services — and as much of the college experience — as we can remotely, as well as to providing as many in-person activities and services as health guidelines allow.

What are current restrictions on campus events?

Restrictions on events are based on the current phase for each campus under the state’s Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery plan and UW Environmental Health & Safety has created COVID-19 prevention guidelines for UW events.

Events must be organized, sponsored, or hosted by a University unit. You can learn more about the status for the Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma campuses and what events are allowed in each phase on the COVID-19 recovery status page.

Are UW Libraries open?

The UW’s Seattle campus libraries plan to reopen by the start of fall quarter. UW Bothell and UW Tacoma Libraries may have different reopening plans based on individual campus readiness.

Individual Study Space @ Research Commons is available by reservation five days-a-week during spring and summer quarters.

Users with an active UW NetID or UW Libraries Borrower’s Card can request physical materials via the Libraries No Contact Pick-Up Service, with options for pick-up at all three campuses. While Interlibrary loan can facilitate requests for electronic resources only at this time, it plans to expand access to physical materials starting June 21.

UW Libraries offers a wide range of online support for students and faculty such as 24/7 chat services, research and writing consultations, “drop-in” help hours, online workshops and events and more. The Libraries Student FAQ for 2021 and  Faculty Guidance for 2021 provide additional information.

For up-to-date information on re-opening plans and available services visit the UW Libraries COVID-19 Update page.

Is the HUB open for services and studying?

The HUB is open with limited operations as an informal learning space for individual UW community members. Access is limited to UW students, faculty, staff, and non-UW guests with previously scheduled appointments. The HUB is only accessible with a Husky Card during specified hours of operation. There are more than 200 seats available for UW community members to comfortably access WiFi for classes, studying, and work. Learn more about visiting the HUB.

Students can reserve a private conference room for scheduled interviews, mental health services/appointments, or non-departmental testing by completing this form. Reservations are required to use the space and can be submitted two weeks in advance. Students may request one reservation of up to two hours per week.

Most HUB offices remain available remotely. Please contact individual offices for information.

How does the UW clean and disinfect?

The UW Environmental Health & Safety Department (EH&S) has cleaning and disinfection protocols for campus partners that comply with guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for preventing the spread of coronavirus.

The University’s custodial cleaning program follows the cleaning and disinfection protocols to daily clean high touch points such as door handles, banisters, and elevator buttons, public and common area restrooms, and break rooms. In addition, cleaning and custodial staff have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfection activities, including in classrooms, across campus as an additional preventive measure.

Hand sanitizer dispensers and containers with at least 60% alcohol concentration have been placed throughout each campus in high traffic areas and locations where soap and hot water are not readily available. More dispensers and containers will be added as inventory becomes available.

When a person diagnosed with COVID-19 is known to have been on campus, the specific locations where the person spent time are evaluated for enhanced cleaning and disinfection, in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Additional information is available from UW Facilities and Housing & Food Services on how we are responding to the novel coronavirus.

Are support and reporting options still available if someone experiences sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, or relationship violence?

Yes, SafeCampus, confidential advocates, the Office of the Title IX Coordinator, and the offices that investigate reports of misconduct are all still available by email, phone, or Zoom. For immediate support and consultation, or to be connected with a confidential advocate, contact Safe Campus at 206-685-7233. You can also reach a confidential advocate directly by phone or e-mail.

To make an inquiry or report to an investigation office, there are several ways to make a report.

For consultation or any other concerns related to sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or compliance with Title IX, contact the Office of the Title IX Coordinator.

 

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Research and laboratory operations

The Office of Research has updated information on research activities in Phase 3 and on how to mitigate the pandemic’s impacts on research.

What planning should research groups and researchers undertake to mitigate the effects of any disruptions due to COVID-19?

Research will continue as it has been conducted since spring 2020, with all appropriate health and safety protocols for laboratory and field work. The Office of Research has issued specific guidance for researchers on all three campuses, which is updated regularly and includes a checklist for researchers. This checklist includes:

  • Identify emergency personnel and ensure they know what to do in the event of suspended operations
  • Remind lab personnel of your communication plan or create one if not in place
  • Identify priorities in case of restricted access
  • Ensure remote access to files, data, servers, etc.
  • Prioritize experiments
  • Plan for remote proposal submission
  • Check travel restrictions before making travel plans.

Please refer to the Office of Research’s COVID-19 page for more information. The HHRB and IRB are fully operational; if you need to reach them, you can find more information at the bottom of that page.

Do the same policies regarding classroom instruction apply to lab research?

No, however both should follow the appropriate guidelines based on the current Healthy Washington phase and the procedures outlined in your campus, school and/or college’s COVID-19 Prevention Plan. For more information, consult with your PI/faculty sponsor and/or unit leadership. If that does not feel like a safe option, you can also contact Environmental Health & Safety directly or submit an anonymous workplace safety concern online.

How can laboratories and research spaces prevent the spread of COVID-19?

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your labs and other work spaces, please read and implement the following EH&S guidance documents and resources:

Much like the rest of the University, EH&S is operating with fewer staff members on campus and more working remotely. EH&S is collecting waste, reviewing and responding to research applications, and providing ongoing health and safety support for campus. The Institutional Safety Committees, Institutional Biosafety Committee and Radiation Safety Committee are operational and meeting remotely.

University Facilities staff members are implementing enhanced cleaning of high-touch surfaces to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, tables, computer keyboards, handrails and exercise rooms).

EH&S asks research laboratories and facilities to also implement enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces. This includes switches, benchtops, commonly used hand tools and shared PPE:

  • Disinfect hard, non-porous surfaces with an EPA-registered disinfectant, an alcohol solution with at least 70% alcohol or a 10% bleach/water solution.
  • It is also recommended that all departments purchase single-use disinfectant wipes for touch points within their work spaces.
  • Avoid putting disinfectant gels or liquids on electronics and other equipment, including elevator buttons, unless they have been indicated as safe to use on those devices.
  • Additional guidance is available in the EH&S enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols.

If you have any questions about cleaning and disinfecting work spaces or about resources for addressing health and safety issues, please contact EH&S Research & Occupational Safety at labcheck@uw.edu or 206.685.3993.

 

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UW Medicine hospitals and clinics

For more about care and services during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit UW Medicine’s central coronavirus page.

What is UW Medicine doing about coronavirus?

All of the UW Medicine hospitals have protocols in place to assess the risk for someone presenting to an emergency department or clinic with this infection. People with cold- or flu-like symptoms are being asked to wear a mask or face covering and also about travel history in the prior 14 days. People who we feel might have the virus are moved out of public spaces and into rooms where they can be taken care of safely. UW School of Medicine faculty and researchers are working on learning more about the virus, creating new tests, and developing possible treatments and even vaccines.

As a patient, should I be worried about getting infected with novel coronavirus at a UW hospital or clinic?

All hospitals and clinics have protocols and systems in place to keep all patients, visitors and health care workers safe and so you should not avoid seeking care out of concerns over the coronavirus. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, please contact the clinic or hospital first so they can advise you.

 

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Travel and study abroad

Are there restrictions on travel by UW employees? (updated 06/18/21)

International travel

The UW Office of Global Affairs has issued revised rules for official international travel, effective June 15, 2021. “Official travel” applies to any trip that involves the University in any way (e.g., through funding, salary, credits, support, sponsorship), for research, study abroad, conferences, events or meetings.

  • For Department of State Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 destinations: official travel is approved for faculty, other academic personnel, and staff, provided that you register your trip with UW Global Travel Security.
  • For Department of State Level 4 destinations: you must complete a travel waiver request that requires review and official approval, in addition to the required travel registration.
  • Regardless of destination, all official international travel must be registered with UW Global Travel Security (GTS). 

These travel rules do not apply to personal travel. However, we strongly encourage you to review applicable travel warnings.

Domestic travel

  • All employees are strongly encouraged to cancel or postpone domestic university travel that is not essential to business, academic or research continuity. Supervisors approving travel for employees should use their best judgement.

What is the status of study abroad programs for autumn quarter? (updated 06/18/21)

For the most current updates, please visit and consider bookmarking UW Study Abroad’s information on COVID-19 and study abroad programs.

What should I do to stop the spread of COVID-19 before and during my trip?

Because the novel coronavirus is widespread, you can be exposed to COVID-19 during travel. UW guidance follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel advisories and the domestic travel recommendations quick guide.

The UW strongly discourages non-essential travel at this time.

Before travel

If you must travel during the pandemic, follow CDC pre-travel recommendations, including getting fully vaccinated for COVID-19 when eligible and getting tested 1-3 days before your departure. Keep a copy of your test results with you during travel, and check travel restrictions, requirements and recommendations for your destination.

People who are fully vaccinated are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. If you are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine, you do not need to get tested before leaving unless your destination requires it.

During travel

Do not travel if any of the following apply to you. Immediately isolate yourself, and follow public health recommendations.

If none of the above apply, wear a mask in public places, wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer, keep at least 6 feet away from other people during all parts of your trip, avoid contact with sick people, do not spend time with others if you develop symptoms, and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.

Follow all local requirements when you arrive at your destination and provide any required health information to airline or governmental officials.

Follow CDC recommendations and all entry requirements for your destination.

All air passengers (including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people) arriving in the U.S. from other countries are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than three days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past three months before boarding the return flight.

What should I do to stop the spread of COVID-19 after returning home from travel?

You may have been exposed to COVID-19 during your travels. You may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still spread the virus to others. You and your travel companions (including children) may pose a risk to your family, friends, and community after your travel; staying home and getting tested after travel is strongly recommended.

If you are fully vaccinated, you have a lower risk of being infected during domestic travel, but you must still take the following steps to protect others after returning from travel:

  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
  • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements.
  • If you traveled internationally, get a COVID-19 test three to five days after returning from travel.

If you are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine and you are traveling internationally, you do not need to quarantine after arriving in or returning to the U.S.

If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, take the following steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19:

  • Get tested with a viral COVID-19 test three to five days after returning home from travel and stay home and away from other people for a full seven days after returning from travel.
    • Even if you test negative, stay home and away from other people for the full seven days.
    • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
  • If you don’t get tested, stay home and away from other people for 10 days after travel.
  • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
  • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements.

The time from exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 to symptom onset (i.e., incubation period) is up to 14 days. Due to the virus incubation period, it is safest to quarantine for 14 days post-travel, if possible. Shortening the quarantine period to 10 or seven days is also acceptable, but it means there is some risk you may expose others to travel-acquired COVID-19, so you should follow all recommended post-travel precautions.

For more information, visit the Quarantine and Isolation Guidance page on the UW EH&S website.

This guidance is not intended for healthcare settings. UW medical center personnel should follow UW Medicine guidance.

I recently returned from travel and am having symptoms. What should I do?

Any UW faculty, staff, student or visiting scholar who is having any symptoms of COVID-19 infection (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath) are required to stay home and not go to work or class.

Refer to the FAQs “What do I do if I feel sick?  and “I want to get tested for COVID-19. Where can I go?” for additional information.

If you have symptoms, you will need to get tested for COVID-19 and, if you test positive, notify the UW Environmental Health & Safety Department (EH&S) COVID-19 Response and Prevention Team (covidehc@uw.edu or 206.616.3344). UW Medicine personnel should contact their respective employee health services.

 

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Student visas

International Student Services maintains a page with coronavirus information for F1 & J1 students that features answers to many additional questions.

What is the current status of guidance for international students on F-1 visas?

SEVP has communicated temporary changes to F-1 policy and practice through different communications (listed below). ISS continues to use this guidance as we advise students on their F-1 status during COVID-19.

Students can also read COVID-19 Guidance from the government directly on the websites below:

International Student Services will continue to update its information page as details become available.

I am nearing the end of my F-1 status and my plan was to return to my home country. I would prefer to stay in the U.S. for now. What are my options?

Every student’s situation is different. UW’s International Student Services (ISS) office encourages you to review the Final Quarter Checklist to understand your options. If you have additional questions or wish to meet with an ISS adviser, complete the ISS Have a Question form so an ISS adviser can reply to your specific questions.

 

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Scholar visas

I already have a visa sponsored through UW ISO, but I am unable to travel to the U.S. due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. What can I do?

Contact your host department and ISO. Additionally, we recommend monitoring the news, U.S. travel guidance, and this UW web page for updates.

What should I do if I am on a visa sponsored by ISO and recently arrived or returned to the U.S.?

Please see the Travel and Study Abroad section for more guidance. Specifically refer to the question “What should I do after returning from international travel?”

If you are an arriving J-1 exchange visitor, please also contact the following:

      1. Your host department
      2. International Scholars Operations (ISO)

All J-1 exchange visitors must request a remote check-in by contacting acadvisa@uw.edu as soon as possible upon arrival in the U.S. See J-1 Check-in for more information.

My J-1 visa sponsored through UW International Scholars Operations (ISO) expires soon, but I can’t book a flight home. What can I do?

Contact the embassy of your home country for assistance in booking a flight. If you are still unable to return home, contact your host department and ISO. The host department may be able to request a J-1 visa extension. If you are not eligible for an extension, but want to learn about other options for remaining in the U.S. legally, please consider consulting a private immigration attorney.

I have a J-1 visa sponsored through UW ISO that will start soon, but I can’t get a visa appointment or a flight to the U.S. What can I do?

Contact your host department and ISO to discuss revising your program dates or other assistance that may be available. We also recommend monitoring the news, airline travel information and this page for updates. Please note that due to the evolving nature of the coronavirus outbreak and associated travel limitations, there is no certainty as to when travel restrictions will be lifted.

I have an H-1B visa sponsored through UW ISO that will start soon, but I can’t get a visa appointment or am unable to travel to the U.S. What can I do?

Contact your host department and ISO.

I am an international scholar on a UW-sponsored visa. Will I be impacted by President Trump’s April 22nd proclamation suspending the entry into the U.S. of certain foreign nationals on immigrant visas?

This proclamation only affects people who are currently outside the United States and who are trying to enter the U.S. using an immigrant visa. Immigrant visas are in a separate class from the nonimmigrant visas that UW sponsors. Anyone attempting to enter the U.S. using a UW-sponsored nonimmigrant visa, or already in the U.S. on a UW-sponsored visa, should not be affected by this proclamation.

 

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