Novel coronavirus information

COVID-19 FAQ for staff and student workers

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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 “How can I best care for myself and protect others 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? (Updated 1/18/22)

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

UW Medicine medical facility personnel should contact their respective employee health services.

Additional testing options

  1. UW Medicine offers testing at sites around the region. Visit the COVID-19 testing page to make an appointment.
  2. Hall Health Center: COVID-19 testing is available by appointment only. Call 206-685-1011 to schedule.
  3. You can order free at-home COVID-19 tests by mail from COVIDtests.gov, the US government's free test supply program. Students in on-campus residential communities can find their building addresses on the Housing & Food Services website.
  4. Several pharmacies offer COVID-19 testing that is billed to your health insurance.
  5. 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 if I have confirmed or suspected COVID-19? (Updated 1/11/22)

Notify the  COVID-19 Response and Prevention Team in the UW Environmental Health & Safety Department (EH&S), regardless of your vaccination status, when you test positive for COVID-19 or a healthcare provider suspects you have COVID-19, even if you are not experiencing any symptoms. Follow the instructions provided to you, as well as the UW quarantine and isolation flowchart.

UW Medicine medical facility personnel should notify their respective employee health center.

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How can I best care for myself and protect others if I have confirmed or suspected COVID-19? (Updated 1/11/22)

If you have confirmed or suspected COVID-19, stay home and self-isolate, regardless of your vaccination status and whether or not you have symptoms.

Read the guidance on self-isolation, including getting tested and when you can resume normal activities.

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? (Updated 1/11/22)

Stay home if you have close contact with an individual who has COVID-19 if you are not current on your COVID-19 vaccination and booster, or if you are experiencing symptoms regardless of vaccination status. Do not go to work or class, and follow the instructions on the UW quarantine and isolation flowchart.

If you are sick or experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and follow the guidance in the frequently asked question "What do I do if I feel sick?"

Read the quarantine and isolation guidance for close contacts, including when to get tested and when you can resume normal activities.

UW Medicine medical facility personnel should contact their respective employee health center.

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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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Am I eligible for a vaccine booster shot?

COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are available for anyone in the United States age 12 and over who received the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. People age 18 and over can receive another dose of the vaccine they received previously, or a booster shot of a different vaccine. People age 12-17 can only receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as a booster. 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 more information. 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, disinfect and ventilate facilities?

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.

In preparation for greater numbers of students and personnel returning to in-person learning and work in autumn 2021, UW Facilities and EH&S conducted significant testing and upgrades of ventilation systems in classrooms and other campus buildings. The University has also purchased over two thousand air purifiers to install as needed in classrooms on the Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma campuses.

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. EH&S has published details on ventilation standards, and clinical and laboratory spaces operate under the ventilation standards specific to the needs of those environments. UW Facilities has produced an overview of the measures undertaken to improve ventilation in campus buildings.

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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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What would cause the UW to change the course of its COVID-19 response?

In March 2020, the UW was the first university in the country to move to remote courses. In autumn 2021, we were one of the last to return to largely in-person instruction. Those decisions, along with the many others made along the way, were guided by some of the world’s top health experts and made with health and well-being as our priorities.

No single metric can accurately capture a complex public health situation. We will continue to engage in science- and evidence-based decision making, relying on the expertise of our UW, local and state experts to guide us. Several scenarios are considered when evaluating a return to largely remote instruction and/or operations, including a major uptick in on-campus transmissions or positivity rates; greatly diminished capacity in our area hospitals; major disruptions in our K-12 schools or transportation systems; or the imposition of state or local restrictions, such as distancing requirements or “stay at home” orders.

The Omicron variant is causing significant stress on our health-care system and increased cases and positivity rates in our University community, and the additional flexibility for instructors to teach online or both in person and online through Jan. 28 is a response to these disruptions

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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 winter?

Following a period of increased flexibility for instructors to offer courses online through Jan. 28, the majority of courses this winter are expected to be offered in-person. Students can refer to Canvas or other communications from instructors regarding January plans, and to their campus time schedule for details on the format overall.

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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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What medical and disability accommodations are available for students and personnel now that we have returned to campus?

We recognize that some students and personnel have documented medical conditions that place them at higher risk for complications from COVID-19. Requests for accommodations related to COVID-19 will be handled in the same manner as for other medical conditions. Students should request accommodations from Disability Resources for Students at the Bothell, Seattle, or Tacoma campuses. Faculty, academic personnel and staff should request accommodations through the Disability Services Office.

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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 winter 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?

UW Libraries have expanded library hours for winter quarter. 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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Staff and Student Worker FAQs


Where can I eat during onsite work?

For the most up-to-date guidance regarding eating spaces on campus, please review the Environmental Health & Safety department's Eating and Drinking Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention.

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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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How can I review my vaccine verification status in Workday?

  1. Log into Workday from the link at the top of the ISC website.
  2. In Workday, select the Cloud icon in the upper right corner, then select the "View Profile" button.
  3. On the left side of the screen, select "Job."
  4. Under the COVID-19 Vaccinate Validation Form heading, review the "Vaccination Validated?" field:
    • If "Yes" appears: Your department has verified your vaccination status.
    • If "No" appears: Your vaccination has not yet been verified in Workday; please reach out to your manager for guidance

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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, 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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What technology can I use to work remotely?

Staff and student workers can prepare for hybrid work schedules by becoming familiar with the technology tools that make it possible to work from home. 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.

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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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Are there restrictions on travel by UW employees? (Updated 1/11/22)

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). 
  • Do not travel internationally unless you are fully vaccinated.
  • Review and follow applicable travel warnings and CDC 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.

UW Medicine and School of Dentistry personnel

Uuntil further notice, UW Medicine and School of Dentistry employees should refrain from work-related travel, including for conferences and meetings related to professional membership societies and associations as well as for clinical activities outside of approved sites of practice and training. Employees are also encouraged to carefully reconsider non-essential personal travel, as we strive to keep our workforce healthy and maintain our ability to provide high-quality care and service.

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