UW News

June 18, 2020

University of Washington issues COVID-19 face covering policy

UW News

The University of Washington has issued a face covering policy for all university personnel, students, staff, contractors and visitors who are on campus amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As a reminder, only employees designated as critical can be working in-person and only at the direction of their supervisor.

The policy is in accordance with federal and state workplace safety requirements and Public Health – Seattle & King County’s face covering directive. While keeping a physical distance of at least 6 feet from other people, practicing good hygiene such as handwashing and staying home when ill are the best known protections against COVID-19, wearing a face covering over the nose and mouth can help protect others.

To help ensure the health and safety of the campus community and the public, face coverings are required to be worn onsite at all three UW campuses when:

  • Indoors when other people are present; this includes common areas, such as hallways, stairways, restrooms and elevators
  • Outdoors when keeping a 6-foot distance from others may not be possible

Additionally, UW Medicine employees and visitors to UW medical centers are required to wear face coverings and personal protective equipment (PPE) in accordance with UW Medicine policy.

Children ages 2 to 4, with the assistance and close supervision of an adult, are strongly recommended to wear face coverings when it’s likely that a distance of at least 6 feet cannot be maintained from non-household members and those at high risk for more serious illness. All children ages 5 and older should wear a face covering unless medically directed to do otherwise.

Children under age 2 should not wear face coverings due to the risk of suffocation.

Face coverings are not required around campus when:

  • Working or spending time alone in a personal workspace, office, or other area on campus
  • Working or spending time outdoors (e.g., walking, exercising) and at least a 6-foot distance can be maintained
  • Operating a single-occupancy vehicle
  • Teleworking (i.e., not reporting onsite to a university work location)
  • Inside a private on-campus residential unit
  • Eating or drinking; a 6-foot physical distance between people is required when eating and drinking and during breaks

Medical- or health-related accommodations that are requested will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. However, any accommodation will not allow someone to remain in an area without a mask where it is required.

See more:

Husky face masks available for purchase

The university has outlined various compliance and enforcement actions for this policy for all employees, students, visitors and members of the public coming to campus. The full policy can be seen here.

More information on the UW’s response to COVID-19 is here.

(Note: This post was updated Aug. 17 to reflect new information on health- and medical-related accommodations.)