Novel coronavirus information

COVID-19 FAQ for instructors and academic personnel

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Health and prevention


What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

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.

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What do I do if I feel sick?

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 the “Who should I notify and what should I do if I have confirmed or suspected COVID-19?” section below.
  • If you receive a negative COVID-19 test result but still feel ill or have symptoms, stay home — away from work, class, and all campus activities and locations, except to get time-sensitive health care service — until your symptoms have improved and you have been fever-free (without using fever-reducing medications) for 24 hours.

View our quarantine and isolation flowchart for a detailed visual guide to these requirements.

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

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I want to get tested for COVID-19. Where can I go?

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:

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.

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Who should I notify and what should I do if I have confirmed or suspected COVID-19?

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. View our quarantine and isolation flowchart for a detailed visual guide to these requirements.

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I may have been exposed to COVID-19. What should I do?

Regardless of your vaccination status, if you have had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, contact the COVID-19 Response and Prevention Team in the UW Environmental Health & Safety Department at covidehc@uw.edu or 206-616-3344. They will give you guidance that aligns with your specific circumstances. You can find more information about public health guidance for close contacts on the EH&S Quarantine and Isolation Guidance page.

View our quarantine and isolation flowchart for a detailed visual guide to these requirements.

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Where can I get vaccinated?

All UW students and personnel must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect everyone’s health and safety. UW Medicine offers vaccinations at multiple locations, or you can use the Washington Vaccine Locator to find a vaccine provider.

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How the UW responds


Does the UW require vaccinations?

In order to protect the health of our community, the UW requires all students and personnel to be vaccinated against COVID-19, with certain exemptions allowed. For students, this is similar to our existing tri-campus immunization requirement. Please review the vaccination requirement page for information about how to submit your attestation or declare an exemption. UW Medicine personnel should continue to follow UW Medicine policies and procedures.

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How is the UW testing for coronavirus on campus?

The Husky Coronavirus Testing program conducts testing to detect individual cases in the community to mitigate the potential for outbreaks to occur.

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 receives guidance from the COVID-19 Response and Prevention Teamin the UW Environmental Health & Safety Department regarding care, self-isolation and contact tracing.

Find out more about Husky Coronavirus Testing.

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What are the testing requirements for unvaccinated students?

For the most up-to-date information on the UW's vaccination policy and testing requirements for those with vaccine exemptions, please visit our COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement page.

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

We depend on our community members 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 with the person who tested positive.
      • 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 name of the person who tested positive in those communications.

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

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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.

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How does the UW clean and disinfect?

The UW Environmental Health & Safety Department has a COVID-19 Cleaning and Disinfection Protocol for campus partners that comply with guidelines from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for preventing the spread of coronavirus. The University’s custodial cleaning program follows this protocol to regularly clean shared spaces, such as public and common areas, restrooms, and break rooms, and regular cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces. In some areas, individual users are also be responsible for regularly cleaning and disinfecting equipment/items they share.

When a person diagnosed with COVID-19 is known to have been on campus, the specific locations where the individual spent time while potentially infectious are evaluated for cleaning and disinfection, in accordance with state and federal guidelines.

Additional information regarding cleaning and disinfection on the Seattle campus is available from UW Facilities and Housing & Food Services.

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What resources does the UW offer for combating stigmatization and bias related to the pandemic?

There is no connection between race, ethnicity or nationality and COVID-19.

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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Campus operations


Where are masks required at the UW?

All University units must follow the current UW COVID-19 Face Covering Policy.

The UW requires all individuals to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. A mask or other suitable face covering is required indoors when other people are present and in all public and common areas, such as lobbies, hallways, stairways, restrooms, elevators and shared vehicles.

University personnel verified to be fully vaccinated in accordance with the University’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy may temporarily remove their face coverings when formally presenting to or instructing a group or class in a large space from behind a podium or in a stage-like setting. Physical distance of at least six feet from others is required at all times while the face covering is removed.

UW Medicine clinical personnel should continue to follow UW Medicine policies, and masks are encouraged for everyone when in crowded outdoor settings where distancing isn’t possible.

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What classes are being offered in-person this autumn?

The majority of courses will be offered in-person. Students can refer to their campus' time schedule for details on specific courses.

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What current health and safety measures are being taken for campus events?

Health and safety measures for on-campus events vary depending on the event type, location, organizer and sponsors. If you’re organizing an on-campus event, you are required to follow these steps:

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Where can I find information about building hours on campus?

Due to the ongoing pandemic, most UW campus buildings will remain accessible only to UW students, faculty and staff for autumn quarter. Please check directly with the building or service that you wish to visit to find their opening hours and policies. Please visit this page for details about each campus' building policies.

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When are UW Libraries open?

All UW Libraries are open in a limited capacity as of the start of autumn quarter, and library hours will expand as more student employees are hired. Each library has different hours, so be sure to check the UW Libraries hours page prior to visiting. In addition to hours, there are new services and policies in place, so be sure to read this “Know Before You Go” blog post before your first visit.

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What are the current hours for campus dining facilities?

For the most up-to-date details on campus dining options, please visit the Housing & Food Services service and operations updates page.

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When is the IMA open?

The IMA is now open to current UW students, as well as UW employees, UW retirees, Plus Ones, UWAA Alumni (eligibility is limited) and Affiliates (eligible affiliates only) with IMA quarterly or annual memberships. 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.

For the most up-to-date information on IMA facilities, please visit the IMA COVID-19 Guidelines page on their website.
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When are in-person campus tours being offered?

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

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Faculty and academic personnel FAQs


What should instructors do if a student refuses to wear a mask in class?

All UW students and personnel are required to follow the University’s COVID-19 Face Covering Policy at all times. If a student is not complying with this policy while indoors, including in a classroom, instructors should begin with a polite, verbal request to remind and educate the student about the UW’s face covering policy and to ask them to wear a face covering. The following are campus-specific guidance and resources:

Seattle

  1. If the student does not have a face covering with them, direct them to a Heathy Huskies vending machine where they can purchase a mask. If units wish to purchase face coverings or other personal protective equipment to keep at their reception desks, visit the Creative Communications Storefront.
  2. If a student refuses to comply with the policy, the instructor can politely but firmly ask the student to leave the classroom/building. Under the Student Conduct Code, instructors have the authority to exclude a student from any class session in which that student is being disruptive.
  3. If a student does not comply with a request to leave, the instructor may choose to stop instruction, dismiss the class, and then report the student to the Seattle Student Conduct Office at cssc@uw.edu or 206-685-6194. Instructors should also contact this office in the case of belligerent non-compliance, or if they need assistance managing the situation. Student Conduct Office personnel are trained in de-escalation and trauma-informed mediation.

Bothell

  1. If the student does not have a face covering with them, direct them to the free single-use mask dispensers located next to hand-sanitizing stations in buildings throughout campus.
  2. If a student refuses to comply with the policy, the instructor can politely but firmly ask the student to leave the classroom/building. Under the Student Conduct Code, instructors have the authority to exclude a student from any class session in which that student is being disruptive.
  3. If a student does not comply with a request to leave, the instructor may choose to stop instruction, dismiss the class, and then report the student to the UW Bothell Office of Student Conduct.
  4. In the case of belligerent non-compliance, or if the instructor needs assistance managing the situation, they should contact UW Bothell Campus Safety at 425-352-5359 or uwb-safety@uw.edu. Bothell Campus Safety personnel are unarmed and trained in de-escalation and trauma-informed mediation.

Tacoma

  1. Instructors will be provided masks to offer to students who come to class unmasked.
  2. If a student refuses to comply with the policy, the instructor can politely but firmly ask the student to leave the classroom/building. Under the Student Conduct Code, instructors have the authority to exclude a student from any class session in which that student is being disruptive.
  3. If a student does not comply with a request to leave, the instructor may choose to stop instruction, dismiss the class, and then report the student to the UW Tacoma’s Office of Student Conduct.
  4. In the case of belligerent non-compliance, or if the instructor needs assistance managing the situation, they should contact UW Tacoma Campus Safety & Security at 253-692-4416 or uwtsafe@uw.edu. Tacoma Campus Safety personnel are unarmed and trained in de-escalation and trauma-informed mediation.

In the case of threats of violence, instructors should call 911.

For more information, visit:

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What happens when a UW student with in-person classes tests positive for COVID-19?

If you were in a classroom, lab, office or other University location where a COVID-19-positive person spent at least 10 minutes during their infectious period, even if you were not a close contact of that person, you will be notified of your potential exposure and receive guidance to help prevent spread.

EH&S will notify instructors directly if a student in their in-person class has a suspected or confirmed case, and provide them with a notification to send to all other students who attended the class. The notification includes information about the date of the potential exposure, as well as guidance on how to watch for symptoms and quarantine, if necessary.

Only those who have been in close contact with a COVID-19-positive individual may need to quarantine. And in most cases, fully vaccinated people who are not experiencing symptoms do not need to quarantine following an exposure.

While in quarantine and isolating, students must not attend class. Instructors and students are both encouraged to communicate needs for accommodations and questions or concerns regarding their ability to fulfill the class’ academic requirements.

UW staff will receive a notification about potential exposures in the workplace.

If you are not directly contacted by a contact tracer, that means you were not identified as a close contact.

Learn more about how contact tracing works at the UW.

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Can I ask other people at the UW about their vaccination status?

No. An individual’s vaccination status is private and confidential information. It is not appropriate to ask UW personnel or students about their vaccination status in the classroom or the workplace unless you have an authorized role within the vaccination verification effort. Read more information on the UW COVID-19 Vaccination Policy webpage.

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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 new information about preparing for autumn quarter 2021.

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Where can I find information about childcare resources?

UW Human Resources maintains information about childcare 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, or 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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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 offering automatic extension of the promotion and/or tenure clock for up to 2 years for eligible faculty who request the waiver of the 2019-20, 2020-21, and/or 2021-22 academic years from the mandatory promotion clock.

The details on eligibility criteria and how to seek an extension to the promotion/tenure clock through this clock waiver provision are available on the Office of Academic Personnel website.

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Should I apply for faculty sick leave if a medical professional has instructed me to self-isolate after COVID-19 exposure?

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 reassignment of responsibilities. 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.

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What resources are available for instructors in remote learning environments?

The majority of autumn quarter classes will take place in person. Be sure to visit the UW Center for Teaching and Learning page on preparing for autumn quarter 2021, which 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.

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

According to the Faculty Council on Academic Standards Syllabus Guidelines, "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." 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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Can I begin or restart fieldwork outside of Seattle?

As of June 30, the University has released COVID-19 guidance that allows for the relaxing of many current restrictions for research. The Office of Research has issued guidance for units and PIs on revising Return to Research Plans, which must be approved by the process your unit used earlier in the pandemic.

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What can research groups do to mitigate disruptions due to COVID-19?

For the most up-to-date guidance on research operations, please refer to the Office of Research's COVID-19 page.

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Are there restrictions on travel by UW employees?

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 and follow the CDC's COVID-19 international travel guidance.

Domestic travel

Delay travel until you are fully vaccinated. For more information, and additional guidance, see the CDC domestic travel website.

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Where can I find information about COVID-19 impacts on scholar visas?

For information on scholar visas generally, visit the Office of Academic Personnel website. For specific questions, please contact your host department and ISO directly.

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