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A safe return to our campuses

Governor Inslee’s Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery plan sets out a phased recovery from COVID-19 restrictions, and the state has also issued guidelines for higher education institutions.

Continuing into spring quarter and through the recovery from the pandemic, in any instances where UW faculty and staff are teaching, conducting research or providing critical services in person, we are committed to ensuring that you can do so with the appropriate protective measures and in sanitized spaces.

Employees who can telework without impacting critical operations should be allowed to do so through Sept. 10, 2021, and we remain committed to supporting all faculty and staff with maximum empathy and flexibility. If you have questions about your specific work circumstances, we encourage you to speak with your chair or supervisor about your unit’s local COVID-19 Prevention Plan.

We also recognize that many faculty and staff have caregiving responsibilities, and President Cauce and Provost Richards commissioned a task force that has provided recommendations on additional measures we can take to support caregivers in our UW community.

Guidance and resources for UW units and employees

On March 19, 2021, chancellors, deans, vice presidents and other direct reports to President Cauce and Provost Richards received Back-to-the-Workplace Guidance covering the period from the start of Phase 3 on March 22, 2021 through Sept. 10, 2021. This guidance works in concert with each unit’s COVID-19 Prevention Plan and Safe Start Checklist, which is submitted to the Executive Office for review and approval.

On May 13, 2021, those leaders received Back-to-the-Workplace Guidance for Staff for the period beginning Sept. 11, 2021. This guidance is supplemented by UWHR’s Return to onsite work page, which includes on-site work and telework resources for managers and employees.

Additionally, on March 31, 2021, the Back-to-School Task Force issued guidance regarding in-person instruction-related activities and student services for the spring and summer, running from the start of spring quarter on March 29, 2021 through Sept. 10, 2021. The UW is developing guidance for a safe return to in-person instruction in autumn 2021.

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.


Trainings & presentations

Personal protective equipment

Signage, posters and graphics

Task force members

  • Denise Bender, Environmental Health & Safety
  • Cheryl A. Cameron, Academic Personnel
  • Lou Cariello, UW Facilities
  • Steven Charvat, UW Emergency Management
  • Mary Gresch, University Advancement
  • Katia Harb, Environmental Health & Safety
  • Mindy Kornberg, UWHR
  • Joe Lawless, UW Tacoma
  • Mary E. Lidstrom, Office of Research
  • Brian McCartan, UW Finance
  • Jack Martin, University Marketing & Communications
  • Aaron Powell, UW-IT
  • Gowri Shankar, UW Bothell
  • Margaret Shepherd, Office of the President

The work of the task force is informed by public health experts, including the UW’s Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases, Environmental Health & Safety and UW Medicine infectious disease specialists.