Office of the Provost

Facts and information regarding spring quarter 2020

With the conclusion of spring quarter, the FAQ below are being kept for archival purposes. Please see the autumn quarter FAQ for information about autumn quarter 2020.

 

Updated: June 8, 2020 at 8:55 a.m.

The move to remote instruction for spring quarter 2020 is a way to protect the health of our community while mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 public health crisis on students’ academic progress. We recognize that this action will spur many questions for students. We will be providing answers to the most frequently asked questions here, but you should consult with your college, school, department, academic advisor or the unit that provides the course or service in question for information specific to your situation.

Meanwhile, the Center for Teaching and Learning has developed resources for instructors who are teaching courses remotely.

Thank you for your perseverance and goodwill as we navigate difficult, uncertain, and rapidly changing times in our country and the world.

Table of contents


Classes and academics

What can I expect for the spring quarter?

Spring quarter began as scheduled on March 30, with remote instruction that will continue through the end of the quarter. As nationwide social distancing requirements continue to increase and evolve daily, we believe this is the best course of action for reducing uncertainty and anxiety and establishing a reliable, high-quality method of instruction and academic progress for UW students through the spring.

At the outset of the quarter, you and your instructors will work together to establish class norms for teaching and learning remotely. They will offer a grace period with no graded work due in the first week. You can expect the instructor of each of your courses to be in touch with you no later than what would have been the day/time (PDT) of the first in-person class meeting. For the duration of the quarter, you can expect some real-time teaching and learning to take place during the day/time assigned to your class and some to happen in a more asynchronous format.

We will be developing online resources focusing on wellness and on how to maintain community and prevent isolation as we work together virtually to cope with the challenges of this ongoing public health crisis. Our faculty, staff and student leadership are here to help you, both with your continued academic success and with new ways to engage in this uncharted chapter of your UW education.

The quarter will end as scheduled, after final exams conclude on June 12, 2020.

One of my spring quarter classes has been canceled. Why? What do I do?

A small percentage of courses have been canceled and removed from students’ schedules upon determining that consistency of learning goals could not be maintained in a conversion to remote delivery. Students may be notified of such a change in a variety of ways: An auto-generated email from the Office of the University Registrar, an email from a department chair, faculty member or adviser, or another method. If you find yourself in this situation and need to add a new course, continue to use MyPlan, MyUW and other tools you ordinarily utilize to identify suitable replacements.

Academic advisers are also available to consult with you remotely. If you are nearing graduation or preparing for another milestone such as application to a major, declaration of a minor, or preparing to pursue graduate/professional study, and the removal of a particular course from your schedule presents a special challenge, advisers are knowledgeable about greater levels and kinds of flexibility being afforded to students at this critical time.

Bothell advising | Seattle advising | Tacoma advising

Why did the UW move to remote classes instead of starting in-person classes late?

Given uncertainty with regard to the longevity of the COVID-19 pandemic, the time at which in-person classes could start is unknown. Making the decision to go to remote instruction now ensures we have the full span of the quarter for teaching and learning.

Will grading be converted to CR/NC for many classes as it was for winter 2020?

The conversion of many courses to CR/NC grading in winter 2020 was driven by emergent circumstances. Instructors for spring 2020 have the opportunity to conceptualize and deliver their courses in full. Depending on the nature of the course content and the impacts of online delivery, some faculty may opt to use CR/NC, while others will remain with numeric grades. We expect the majority of classes will use numeric grades. If you are uncertain how a certain class will be graded this spring quarter, please contact the instructor of record. Your UW transcript will be annotated to note the possible impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on grading.

My class is being graded numerically. Can I change my grade to S/NS to get credit and no numeric grade? (Updated 06/03/20)

S grades for spring quarter 2020 will count toward degree and graduation requirements, as spring 2020 has been designated as an extraordinary circumstances quarter. There will be no limit on the number of credits for spring 2020 that may have S/NS grading.

Beginning June 17, undergraduate students may change a numeric grade to S/NS, or change an S/NS grade to numeric during any quarter designated as an extraordinary circumstances quarter.

Students may change their grade mode for spring 2020 courses at any time until they graduate – even if that is a year or more away. Spring 2020 graduating seniors have until July 8 (when spring degree posting closes) to request the change.

To request a change of S/NS to numeric, or numeric grade to S/NS, use the late grading option change form, which students will receive via email on June 17.

No supporting materials will be required. You do not need to notify your instructors or email your campus registrar team now. Simply wait for the June 17 email with the new late grading option change form link.

If I decide to change my grading mode to S/NS, how will this impact my requirements to graduate? (Updated 06/03/20)

Starting June 17, and until they graduate, undergraduate students may change a numeric grade to S/NS or vice versa during any quarter designated an extraordinary circumstances quarter.

S grades will count toward degree requirements. Previously, S only counted for elective courses and students could only take 25 credits as S/NS. As an example, with the limit on S/NS grades lifted for spring, all credits taken in spring 2020 could be converted to S and still count toward a major or degree.

One or more of my spring courses includes a lab, internship, service or other form of learning that I cannot imagine happening in an online format. What is the status of these classes?

Unless you have seen that your class has been canceled, or you have received a communication from an instructor or program/department representative about the class indicating that major changes are underway, you can assume that the substance of your class remains intact.

I know at least one of my spring courses is designated as a service-learning class. What can I expect now?

Many spring quarter classes that would typically offer a service-learning component have already been modified to engage community perspective and issues without service-learning placements. A small number of classes will continue to offer a service-learning component; this service work will occur online via remote engagement with organizations.

Schools and departments are working diligently to modify and/or waive program requirements so that students may continue to make academic progress toward admission to a major and/or graduation. If you are enrolled in a major with a service-learning and/or internship requirement, expect to hear directly from your department. You may also reach out to the departmental adviser at any time. No one is required to attend in-person service engagements while UW classes are delivered remotely — in fact, students are strongly advised to follow “stay at home” orders and practice physical distancing at the recommendation of public health experts.

Community engagement programs at the UW are making every effort to support community-based organizations and schools through remote projects where possible. Essential work is happening in-person at community-based organizations right now; if you are interested in potential opportunities to serve in the coming weeks, email serve@uw.edu.

Since instruction is remote, can I still go to my internship site if they are open and want interns?

Only internships that can be engaged remotely are advisable at this time. Many schools and departments on campus have determined that any internship work for academic credit must be completed remotely while UW courses are delivered via online instruction.

Please check with your departmental adviser and or the UW Career and Internship Center if you have questions about internships for spring. It is important to note that guidance for summer internships is developing; it is best to stay in conversation with advisers as you make plans for summer.

What will happen to major-/graduation-critical classes that cannot be offered online?

We will be flexible with shifts in schedules and expect to increase course offerings over the summer and fall to ensure access to courses required to meet major requirements. We will also provide, as possible, flexibility in requirements to support those nearing graduation so as not to impede your post-graduation plans or opportunities. Contact your academic adviser for more guidance.

Bothell advising | Seattle advising | Tacoma advising

Are UW Libraries services available?

At this time, all physical branches of the UW Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma libraries remain closed to the public until further notice, pending the guidance of public health officials and the University. For full details and updates on all locations and available services visit the UW Libraries coronavirus page and see also this message on  Planning for Summer and Fall Quarter. While Libraries buildings are closed, Libraries staff are available to provide a range of remote learning services for students and faculty such as 24/7 chat services, interlibrary loan (for electronic articles and materials only), and research consultations offered through Zoom. For the most current information, visit the UW Libraries coronavirus page and Faculty & Student Remote Services FAQ.

Can faculty use Zoom video conferencing and ask me to attend?

Faculty have been asked to be creative in this unprecedented time to try to preserve a productive classroom environment. Zoom is an online video communications tool that is being used by many faculty for this purpose, and is compliant with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. If you are concerned about others viewing your personal surroundings in the background during a session, you may consider using a blank wall as your background when using Zoom, or explore Zoom’s options for virtual backgrounds.

How can I obtain my transcript?

Official transcripts can be requested and delivered online through the Office of the Registrar’s electronic transcripts service. At this time, paper transcript processing is not available. If you have a question or concern, please contact the Office of the Registrar at registra@uw.edu.

What is the status of summer quarter classes?

Classes that begin on the first day of summer quarter, i.e., those offered for A- and full-terms, will be offered remotely and will not be held in-person. No decision has been made about B term, which begins on July 23, 2020. As we plan for B term and the start of fall quarter in September, we are adjusting course offerings to backfill courses with clinical, lab, studio and practicum requirements that cannot be fulfilled remotely. Summer registration begins April 13.

Why isn’t the UW holding in-person commencement exercises for the graduating class this year?

In order to continue protecting the health of students, families and the broader community during this unprecedented situation, we plan to honor all of our graduating seniors, graduate and professional students in two ways. The first will be this spring when we will conduct a live, worldwide, interactive webcast on June 13, 2020. Please visit the Bothell, Seattle or Tacoma commencement sites for information specific to your campus.

Graduates of the class of 2020 are also invited and encouraged to fully participate in an in-person commencement ceremony for them on their respective campuses in 2021, where we look forward to recognizing them and the sacrifices they have made. The ceremony will be a well-earned opportunity for members of the Class of 2020 to walk across the stage with their classmates in front of their loved ones. We are still determining whether the Class of 2020 in-person commencement will be included as part of the Class of 2021’s commencement ceremony, or grow into its own separate ceremony if enough 2020 graduates decide to return for the event, as we hope they will. The postponement to June 2021 gives us ample time to work with our graduates on how they would like this event to take shape.

The determination that we could not safely have in-person ceremonies this year was one of the hardest decisions we have made in response to the pandemic. We share the disappointment felt by so many families that COVID-19 has forced us to find new ways to honor our graduates, just as it is forcing so many changes in our society. We are committed to creating experiences that honor and celebrate our graduates’ achievements. We made this decision, in consultation with student leaders, our academic leadership and Regents, and the Office of Ceremonies, based on our commitment to health and safety as well as equity and fairness. We cannot predict when it will be safe or feasible to hold an in-person ceremony for thousands of graduates and guests. Many students and families are managing personal and financial stress and/or have future plans that makes selecting a reasonable date outside of the traditional commencement calendar challenging. Commencement is an event that unites our community and it must continue to reflect our values of inclusivity, diversity and equity.

Additionally, the lead time needed to organize and plan for such large ceremonies is significant and does not provide flexibility for fluid scheduling, given the magnitude of people and resources required.

Return to table of contents


Preparing for online learning

How can I prepare for successful online learning?

Here are a few tips that could help you prepare for remote learning during spring quarter:

  • Set up a distraction-free workspace and be prepared to engage in learning online during your regularly scheduled class times.
  • Learn how to improve connectivity and about resources that internet service providers are offering. For students in need, emergency aid may be available.
  • Check out the suite of resources that Academic Support Programs is developing to assist you as you transition into and through a quarter of online learning.
  • Turn on Canvas notifications to ensure you receive alerts when there are changes or posts in Canvas.
  • Learn how to find and submit assignments on Canvas.
  • Check your UW email at least twice a day, setting up email forwarding if necessary.
  • Familiarize yourself with Zoom. Zoom Pro is now available free of charge to all current students, faculty and staff.
  • If your instructor uses Poll Everywhere, sign into the application with your UW NetID to sync your responses with Canvas.

Can I still get study help and support for my academic and personal well-being?

What options are there for students who do not have access to technology at home?

Currently enrolled students can access the following resources:

Bothell students

Seattle students: The Student Technology Loan Program allows students to borrow laptops, tablets and other equipment for free. Visit their site to see real-time equipment inventory and learn more.

Tacoma students

Return to table of contents


Disability Resources for Students

How can I access Disability Resources for Students?

In accordance with guidance from University and public health leadership, Disability Resources for Students (DRS) offices are available remotely and will hold all student appointments via phone, video, or email, with no in-person meetings, until further notice. Coordinators and staff will be available remotely for questions and meetings.

Bothell campus | Seattle campus | Tacoma campus

Return to table of contents


Financial concerns

There will be no change in financial aid for full-time students enrolled in spring quarter who qualify for and planned to receive it.

Student Financial Aid has created an FAQ to support students with information related to financial aid, as well as benefits for veterans. Students should direct their questions to osfa@uw.edu for general financial aid questions and veteran@uw.edu for Veterans Education Benefits.

What if I am experiencing a financial emergency?

Each of the UW campuses has emergency aid available for students to assist with unexpected financial hardships that may disrupt their education or prevent them from earning their degrees.

Should I still be searching and applying for scholarships?

Yes. Many internal UW and local scholarships have deadlines during spring quarter, and many national and international scholarship programs will open in spring with deadlines in fall. Most scholarship providers are doing their best to maintain their usual deadlines and timelines for awards.

Will tuition rates or fee-based program rates change for spring quarter?

Whether instructors present their classes in-person or online, a UW education is still an excellent education and the degree or credential that you earn will have the same value. The same instructors scheduled to teach in-person classes this quarter will be teaching remotely, and they bring the same expertise, experience and knowledge to the remote courses as they have in their in-person teaching.

It’s also important to remember that resident tuition is lower than non-resident tuition in recognition of the taxes paid by resident students and their families to the state of Washington, thereby supporting the UW through state funding. It is not a reflection of whether a course is offered in-person or remotely.

With the University shifting to online instruction for spring quarter, we are actually increasing our investment in instructional costs. We continue to pay faculty and staff for their work, and at the same time are making existing and new services available online and investing in new technological capabilities as we serve students remotely and support the UW community in these extraordinary times. In spite of these costs, tuition and required fees for spring quarter 2020 are not changing.

Will my student fees change? Will I get a rebate on fees such as the Services & Activities fee or other fee components if I am not regularly accessing these services? (Updated 05/15/20)

Even though we are delivering instruction remotely, we continue to offer services and activities such as student counseling, health and wellness programs, software and cloud services, and student-parent assistance. As a result, the fees that support these programs must continue in order for these services to continue to be offered. In addition, many of these fees support bonds that were used to construct student-mandated projects. For example, the IMA fee paid by Seattle campus students provides needed resources to pay the bonds issued to build the Intramural Activities Building, as voted on by students. The technology fee supports access to laptops, cloud computing and needed software. The services supported by these fees will expand and shift during spring quarter, and resources are needed to provide consistent services and to back long-term commitments.

On March 23, some regional transit agencies announced that bus drivers would not collect fares for the foreseeable future. As a result, the UPASS fee is being waived for spring quarter. Find more information on the Transportation Services site.

Additionally, UW Tacoma students pay the Y Fee, which supports the operation of the University Y Student Center under contract with YMCA of Pierce & Kitsap Counties. The YMCA closed its buildings, including the University Y, so in consultation with ASUWT and the Services & Activities Fee Committee, the University has waived the Y Fee. The Board of Regents approval for the waiver applies only to spring quarter 2020.

Will special course fees or components of current fees be charged for spring quarter?

If a course section is cancelled for spring, students will be notified and the corresponding course fee will not be charged. Course fees that are associated with the costs of delivering a course offered during spring quarter will be charged. In reality, the cost of delivering courses is increasing as we provide excellent education and professional development to our students remotely due to the public health crisis.

Does the UW still provide food assistance for students in need?

Bothell students: Find information about Husky Pantry here.

Seattle students: The UW Food Pantry provides food assistance to members of the UW community to help address food insecurity. The pantry remains open and operational and currently has no plans to halt operations. Please check the Any Hungry Husky website for operating hours.

Tacoma students: Find information about about the UW Tacoma Food Pantry here.

Return to table of contents


Graduate students

Do the same policies regarding classroom instruction apply to lab research?

No. However, under Gov. Inslee’s new “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, employees who can telework without hampering critical operations must do so. Every researcher who can work remotely must stay home for the duration of the order. PIs/faculty sponsors must provide maximum flexibility to their RAs/postdocs in terms of completing lab work. There must be no expectation that personnel come to campus or to their usual workplace to conduct any research activities that can be adapted to telework.

What does the move to remote learning and telework mean for my academic student employee position?

Given the current situation and the University moving to remote instruction for spring quarter, departments and PIs may need to reassign Academic Student Employees to work that changes their current job description or offer. This is allowable, however, ASEs should see no change to the compensation, benefits or tuition waiver outlined in their original offer with their reassignments. Per the ASE contract, ASEs that have been reassigned should be given an updated job description as soon as possible. This ability to reassign includes all ASEs – RAs and TAs as well as hourly ASEs. Example include:

  • TAs – reassigned to a different class, reassigned to a Research Assistant or Staff Assistant position
  • RAs – reassigned work that can safety be performed at home, for example reading literature or writing protocols
  • Hourly Tutor position – reassigned to a Reader/Grader position
  • Hourly Reader/Grader position – reassigned to a Tutor position or if an undergrad, reassigned to an UG TA position

Does fieldwork outside of Seattle need to be postponed?

Any fieldwork that violates University of Washington restrictions, such as those on travel or gatherings, or mandates by the governor of Washington state or local health officials, should be canceled. If fieldwork does not violate those mandates, you should be in close contact with your faculty advisor/sponsor as you determine how and whether to proceed. This conversation, with a clear agreement between the parties, should take place regardless of whether the work is funded by a grant/contract or other UW funding procured by the faculty member or the student/postdoc to conduct the work.

Please also carefully review the Office of Research’s guidance on mitigating impacts to research activities. 

What happens if I am defending my dissertation in winter or spring quarter?

If you are a doctoral student who will defend your dissertation in winter or spring quarter, the Graduate School has waived the requirement that the Graduate School Representative (GSR) must be physically present during general exams and dissertation defenses. Also, the student no longer needs to be “proctored,” which means that they do not need to be on campus and in a room with a faculty member. 

Do public defenses need to be postponed?

For as long as Washington state’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” directive is active, public defenses will need to be converted to a livestream format. Even after the order expires, public defenses should take place only if all the health guidelines are in place and that all waivers regarding GSR and proctoring are utilized so that neither students nor committee members need be present.

Return to table of contents


International students

International Student Services maintains a page with coronavirus-related updates for international students. Please consult that page and with ISS staff for more information specific to your individual circumstances.

Will international students be able to comply with what is required to keep their visas?

Yes, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) has updated these requirements in light of the COVID-19 emergency. Please consult with International Student Services for more information.

Are Center for International Relations and Cultural Leadership Exchange (CIRCLE) services and programs still available?

CIRCLE will be fully operational in a remote capacity and plans to continue offering success coaching and engagement programs remotely. For more information please check the CIRCLE website.

Return to table of contents


Student veterans

Student veterans can also contact veteran@uw.edu for questions about Veterans Education Benefits not addressed here.

I am a student veteran. Will my winter housing allowance be affected?

No, your winter housing allowance will not be affected by the move to remote instruction and exams for the final two weeks of winter quarter.

I am a student veteran. Will my spring housing allowance be affected?

No, your spring housing allowance will not be affected by the move to remote instruction. Congress has passed, and the President signed, legislation that provides the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs with the authority it needs to administer VA education benefits without disruption as schools across the nation respond to COVID-19.

Return to table of contents


Student health and wellness services

Is Hall Health open?

Hall Health Center remains open. Hall Health provides medical and mental health care to students and established non-student patients.

If you are experiencing cough, fever and/or difficulty breathing and want to be seen for an appointment, please call 206.685.1011 before coming in. Please do not drop in without calling first.

For mental health appointments, contact 206.543.5030 to schedule. Learn more on the Hall Health website.

What mental health services are available to students?

Many mental health services will still be offered during spring quarter from the Counseling Center and Hall Health Mental Health. Individual, group and crisis counseling are available via secure Zoom sessions. Students can also access online workshops and other content to enhance your well-being and self-care.

Hall Health Mental Health
Appointments: 206-543-5030
Counseling Center
Appointments: 206-543-1240
  • Psychiatric medication management
  • Group counseling
  • Brief individual counseling
  • Crisis response
  • Online workshops
  • Brief individual counseling
  • Crisis response

Who should I contact for mental health services?

Both Hall Health Mental Health and the Counseling Center offer similar counseling services. If you already have a provider at Hall Health or you are interested in medication, Hall Health may be a good place to start. If you do not have access to health insurance, the Counseling Center may be a good place to start. Either way, the professionals at both places can help direct you to the appropriate service.

What can I expect from an online appointment with the Counseling Center or Hall Health Mental Health?

A trained clinician will meet with you via secure Zoom to discuss your concerns. We will then work collaboratively with you to develop a plan for next steps. Next steps may include effective coping strategies, a follow-up appointment, or referral to other resources.

Will Let’s Talk be available?

Let’s Talk will be offered in an online format spring quarter. Please check the Let’s Talk page for more information.

Can students still get support from a LiveWell confidential advocate if they have experienced sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking or sexual harassment?

Yes, the LiveWell advocate is still available to work with students by phone, email or Zoom. Please email lwadvoc@uw.edu for more information.

Can students still access the LiveWell Student Coaching and Care Program for help with hardship withdrawals and other academic advocacy support?

Yes, contact the LiveWell Student Coaching and Care Program by emailing lwcare@uw.edu.

Does the UW still provide food assistance for students in need?

Bothell students: Find information about Husky Pantry here.

Seattle students: The UW Food Pantry provides food assistance to members of the UW community to help address food insecurity. The pantry remains open and operational and currently has no plans to halt operations. Please check the Any Hungry Husky website for operating hours.

Tacoma students: Find information about about the UW Tacoma Food Pantry here.

Return to table of contents


Sexual misconduct prevention and response services

Do UW policies regarding sexual misconduct apply in remote learning or working environments?

Yes, UW policies prohibiting sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and other forms of sexual misconduct apply to all students and employees—whether the prohibited behaviors happen in person, online, over the phone, or in some other form.

Is SafeCampus still available to discuss safety and well-being concerns, including concerns about sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, and sexual harassment?

Yes, SafeCampus is available to all members of the UW community, no matter what your location, 24 hours, seven days a week. Call 206-685-7233.

Can students and employees still get support from a confidential advocate if they have experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, or relationship violence?

Yes, confidential advocates are available to work with students and employees by phone, email or Zoom. Advocates can help students and employees regardless of when or where the harmful behavior occurred. You can contact advocates by phone or e-mail. SafeCampus can also connect you with a confidential advocate.

Can students, staff, or faculty still make reports of sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, or relationship violence?

Yes, the Title IX Investigation Office, UCIRO, and Human Resource are still investigating reports of misconduct by students and employees. Those offices are available by phone, email, or Zoom. Contact information is here.

Return to table of contents


Housing and Food Services

Housing & Food Services has developed a Q&A for students living in on-campus housing in Seattle. If you cannot find answers to your questions there, please contact your resident advisor. Bothell Housing & Residential Life and Tacoma Housing & Residence Life are also available to answer questions for students.

Return to table of contents


Career services, Greek Life and other student services

Are career and internship support services available?

Yes, career services centers on each campus are operational in a remote capacity.

Bothell Career Services | Seattle Career & Internship Center | Tacoma Career Development

Will fraternity and sorority houses close or remain open for spring quarter?

The determination on remaining open, closing, or any related prorated costs or refunds will be made by each individual fraternity or sorority house corporation in consultation with its leadership. Questions pertaining to individual houses should be directed to the leadership of the organization for specifics on their plans.

Will the HUB be open for services and studying?

The HUB is closed until further notice; however, many services remain available remotely. Please contact individual offices or programs directly for details.

Will the HUB be open for meetings and events?

The HUB is closed until further notice; however, many services remain available remotely. All meetings and events — including meeting spaces, major event spaces, HUB Games and the RSO Resource Center — scheduled through May 4 are canceled. Meetings and events after May 4 are on hold until further notice but have not been automatically canceled.  No new reservations will be accepted for spring quarter until further notice.

Are Registered Student Organizations (RSOs), ASUW, and GPSS operating?

All RSOs will remain registered and have access to the Student Activities Office (SAO) advisors remotely. You may contact advisors directly, or by emailing sao@uw.edu.

In-person meetings and events are not permitted until further notice. The SAO will work with RSOs, ASUW, and GPSS to continue student engagement through online methods throughout spring quarter.

Are UW Recreation facilities open?

All UW Recreation facilities in Seattle — the IMA Building, the Waterfront Activities Center and the Golf Range — are closed until further notice. The University Y (Tacoma) is also closed.

Will UW Recreation be offering fitness classes in the spring?

UW Recreation is exploring possible options for delivering remote classes, but as of now, all UW Recreation offerings are canceled for the foreseeable future until further notice.

Return to table of contents