King and Pierce counties are currently in Phase 2 of the state’s Safe Start plan.
The UW’s Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma campuses are also in Phase 2. Learn more.

Planning for a safe return to in-person learning

Governor Inslee has set out a four-phase process for lifting restrictions that were put in place to stem the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as guidelines for higher education institutions. In alignment with those efforts and similar efforts at the local level, President Cauce commissioned a task force to develop plans for how we can safely return to in-person learning on our campuses.

The UW is planning to be back this fall for in-person instruction and expects to provide specific details in mid-June to early July. The task force and UW leadership are working on many scenarios, and each week will provide more public health information to inform our decisions. At this time, it is anticipated that autumn quarter will include both in-person and remote elements. For example, some larger classes could be held online with smaller sections held in-person as long as everyone in the room practices social distancing.

This task force is currently reviewing and updating University protocols to protect student, faculty and staff health in campus spaces including residences, classrooms, labs and libraries. Their work is informed by public health experts, including the UW’s Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases, Environmental Health & Safety and UW Medicine infectious disease specialists.

Updates

Guidance and resources for UW units and employees

On May 29, 2020, chancellors, deans, vice presidents and other direct reports to President Cauce and Provost Richards received the COVID-19 Prevention Plan and Safe Start Checklist to use as the basis for developing unit-specific plans. These unit plans are submitted to the Executive Office for review and approval.

The UW’s prevention plan and an accompanying presentation available for use by unit leaders are available below for reference, as well as a link to signage, posters and graphics for units to use.

UW Environmental Health & Safety also maintains a collection of COVID-19 health and safety resources for UW leaders and employees, including details on cleaning and disinfecting procedures, food service and personal protective equipment.

Additionally, the state of Washington has issued a Campus Reopening Guide (PDF) for higher education institutions.

University of Washington COVID-19 Safe Start phases

The move from one phase to another will happen gradually, be based on public health guidance and contingent on units completing their COVID-19 Prevention Plans. Learn more about how each move to a new phase will take place.

Units may have guidelines that are stricter than the University-level guidelines – please consult your supervisor or unit leadership with specific questions.

Surge

Onsite work: Critical personnel only. COVID-19 Prevention Plan safety measures required.

Telework: Required for non-critical personnel.

High-risk populations: High-risk population accommodations required.

In-person social events and gatherings: Not permitted.

Travel: Essential travel only.

Instruction: Offered remotely.

Student life:

  • Services offered remotely.
  • Dining services offer take-out only.
  • Student residents de-densified with appropriate physical distancing and public health procedures (roommates are considered household members).

Phase 1

Onsite work:

  • Defined by your unit’s COVID-19 Prevention Plan.
  • Critical personnel only with limited exceptions.
  • COVID-19 Prevention Plan safety measures required.

Telework: Required for non-critical personnel.

High-risk populations: High-risk population accommodations required.

In-person social events and gatherings: Not permitted.

Travel: Essential travel and limited non-essential travel to engage in Phase 1 activities is permitted.

Instruction: Offered remotely. Essential clinical instruction with safety protocols may be offered in-person with prior approval.

Student life:

  • Services offered remotely.
  • Dining services match restaurant guidelines.
  • Student residents de-densified with appropriate physical distancing and public health procedures (roommates are considered household members).

Phase 2 - Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma campuses

Onsite work:

  • Defined by your unit’s COVID-19 Prevention Plan.
  • Non-critical personnel may return to worksites if work can be performed safely and is absolutely necessary to maintain unit operations.
  • COVID-19 Prevention Plan safety measures required.

Telework: Required if employee cannot return to work safely. Strongly encouraged for all non-critical personnel.

High-risk populations: High-risk population accommodations required.

In-person social events and gatherings: If necessary and with no more than 5 people. Hold remote when possible.

Travel: Essential travel and limited non-essential travel to engage in Phase 1-2 activities is permitted.

Instruction:

  • Offered remotely.
  • Clinical instruction with safety protocols may be offered in-person.
  • Lab and practicum courses with physical distancing and safety protocols may be offered in-person.

Student life:

  • Services offered remotely.
  • Dining services match restaurant guidelines.
  • Student residents de-densified with appropriate physical distancing and public health procedures (roommates are considered household members).

Phase 3

Onsite work:

  • Defined by your unit’s COVID-19 Prevention Plan.
  • Non-critical personnel may return to worksites if work can be performed safely and necessary to maintain unit operations or employee prefers to report to work.
  • COVID-19 Prevention Plan safety measures required.

Telework: Required if employee cannot return to work safely. Strongly encouraged for all non-critical personnel.

High-risk populations: High-risk population accommodations required.

In-person social events and gatherings: If necessary and with no more than 50 people. Hold remote when possible.

Travel: Non-essential travel permitted.

Instruction:

  • In-person instruction is expanded to prioritized courses with enrollments up to 50.
  • Courses over 50 offered remotely.
  • Courses will be required to adhere to an instructional plan to promote safety.
  • In-person courses have remote/asynchronous options (where possible) to accommodate students that are not able to attend in-person.

Student life:

  • Combination of remote and in-person services with appropriate physical distancing and public health procedures.
  • Student residents allowed with appropriate physical distancing and public health procedures (roommates are considered household members).

Phase 4

Onsite work:

  • Defined by your unit’s COVID-19 Prevention Plan.
  • Non-critical personnel may return to worksites if work can be performed safely.
  • COVID-19 Prevention Plan safety measures required.

Telework: Telework flexibility encouraged and allowable.

High-risk populations: High-risk population accommodations required.

In-person social events and gatherings: If necessary – more than 50 people are permitted. Hold remote when possible.

Travel: Non-essential travel permitted.

Instruction:

  • Potential increases in number of in-person courses with enrollments of up to 50 depending on available space and cleaning capacity.
  • Courses will be required to adhere to an instructional plan to promote safety.
  • In-person courses have remote/asynchronous options (where possible) to accommodate students that are not able to attend in-person.
  • Physical distancing requires that courses with enrollments over 50 continue be offered remotely.

Student life: All services open for general population with appropriate physical distancing and public health procedures.

Task force members

  • Suzanne Allen, School of Medicine
  • Mary Gresch, University Advancement
  • Joseph Janes, Faculty Senate
  • Sharon Jones, UW Bothell
  • Elizabeth Lowry, Office of the Provost
  • Jill Purdy, UW Tacoma
  • Phil Reid, Academic and Student Affairs
  • Mark Richards, Office of the Provost
  • Ed Taylor, Undergraduate Academic Affairs
  • Joy Williamson-Lott, Graduate School