COVID-19 Guidance for a Safe Return to In-Person Research
The majority of University community members have been wearing masks this quarter and even though cases at the University are declining, due to increases in our region, the University now strongly recommends wearing a well-fitted, high-quality mask indoors (e.g., KN95, N95, KF94 and surgical masks) to further reduce the potential for transmission.
- Face coverings are strongly recommended indoors
- Masks will continue to be required in clinical and other health-care settings and on public transportation, including UW shuttles. The UW Face Covering Policy will be updated to outline these specific settings.
- If public health conditions worsen once more, we may reinstate some or all restrictions until the health situation improves again.
- Mask wearing cannot be required.
Vaccinations are required for all students and personnel. On August 18, 2021, Governor Inslee issued proclamation 21-14.1, requiring all employees of Washington higher education institutions to be fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021, as a condition of employment unless a documented medical or religious exemption is approved.
- The proclamation applies to all UW employees whether on-site or remote, however, the information on this page applies to staff, academic student employees and student employees only. The Office of Academic Personnel will communicate about how the proclamation applies to faculty and academic personnel.
- Please note that mask and testing policies for unvaccinated students and personnel are still under review.
- Additionally, UW locations and facilities not specified in state, local, or University face-covering policies should not set their own mask policies.
In line with state, local and UW health policies, most UW-imposed restrictions on human subjects research have been lifted effective March 28, 2022.
For research conducted in WA State, researchers and study participants must continue to wear masks in indoor healthcare settings, correctional and jail facilities, and on public transportation and in transportation hubs (federal requirement). Healthcare setting includes any public or private setting in WA State that is primarily used for the delivery of in-person healthcare services (e.g., hospital, outpatient clinic, pharmacy) and other indoor settings that are not primarily used for the delivery of healthcare services (e.g., school classroom, food processing facility, private residence) but where in-person patient care/clinical activities occur.
Researchers and study participants must also still abide by any other requirements imposed where the in-person research activities will occur (e.g., institutional or facility requirements, local government, or public health agency). This includes research conducted in international settings. For example, UW Medicine currently requires that visitors to its hospital facilities must be either vaccinated or have a negative COVID test. These requirements would apply to any in-person research visits conducted there.
Return to In-person Research Plans
Guidance for Researchers
- We anticipate that unit-specific Return to In-Person Research Plans will no longer be required but note that (as of March 16) determination has not yet been made pending guidance from the State. At that time, this webpage will be updated.
- If investigators can wait another couple of weeks, they may not need to develop and implement safety plans. If they must begin before campus guidance comes out, they should have a plan in place.
- Though UW guidance may change, always look at award terms and conditions as they may be grant specific.
- Lab density restrictions for COVID are no longer in effect.
Return to In-Person Research Plans
Return to In-Person Research Plans must contain the following elements:
- List of all research personnel working in person.
- Plan for each individual working in-person to attest to their vaccination status and for the PI to keep a log of vaccination status. (Note: PIs are required to keep the log but can only log vaccination status for those who offer that information voluntarily. We are not allowed to ask anyone about their vaccination status.)
- For those listed in Workday, they should use the Workday system; supervisors will be able to generate a report of vaccination status.
- All personnel are required to attest to their vaccination status. Personnel who need to submit additional information — either to prove vaccination status or to document a medical or religious exemption — will be contacted.
- University personnel submits a COVID-19 Vaccine Attestation Form in Workday. Personnel who do not have access to Workday will be provided an alternative method by their supervisor.
- UW Medicine medical personnel are required to be vaccinated unless declaring an authorized exemption but follow the UW Medicine vaccination policies and procedures.
- Students submit a COVID-19 Vaccine Attestation Form on the Hall Health Center website. Students who are employed by the University must submit both the student and personnel COVID-19 Vaccine Attestation Forms.
- Those not listed in Workday, including volunteers, should fill out and submit to the PI a vaccination attestation form as explained in the FAQs here.
- Plan for apprising all laboratory members working in person of the new regulations.
- Existing plan for accommodating personnel at high risk for COVID-19 should remain in place. Accommodations should be requested through the UW Office of Human Resources.
- Existing plan for responding to exposure or illness should remain in place.
Guidance for Fieldwork
For those conducting fieldwork, ensure that your field research activities are accounted for in your COVID-19 Prevention Plan; COVID-19 precautions may also be incorporated into a more general Fieldwork Safety Plan. In addition, researchers should reference and follow the below precautions around travel, as applicable:
- UW FAQs on Travel and Study Abroad
- CDC Guidance on International Travel During COVID-19
- CDC Guidance on Domestic Travel During COVID-19
- University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) COVID-19 – Considerations for Scientists and Operators
EH&S is available for consultation and to assist in risk assessments if more stringent quarantine and testing frameworks are needed for specific fieldwork operations.