UW Research

Guidance for Returning to In-Person Research


Current Healthy Washington status: Phase 3

[Note: All documents within this page referring to Phase 2 are currently being updated and replaced with Phase 3 content]

[Updated 3.22.2021] As of March 22, 2021, the State of Washington is in Phase 3 for Healthy Washington: Roadmap to Recovery, in accordance with the state’s Healthy Washington plan (pdf) and its Campus Reopening Guide (pdf).  In Phase 3, physical distancing, masking, disinfection, and staying home if you are sick or experiencing symptoms are still required by the State regardless of vaccination status, and the UW must comply with those requirements.

What has changed that could impact research:

  • Virtual meetings and small gatherings are still strongly encouraged.  However, in-person work or academic and other University-related meetings and gatherings (including those for research purposes) may occur under the following conditions (all must be met):
  • Total attendees are within space capacity/occupancy limitations as dictated by health guidelines (distancing, masking, cleaning)
  • A COVID-19 Site Supervisor is available and appropriate personnel are on site to monitor compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols
  • Employees who are currently teleworking are not required to come to work in person, including for meetings, unless it is required to support critical unit operations; if you have in-person research-related meetings, a remote option must be provided
  • Units have worked with Building Coordinators to review building readiness guidelines and ensured meeting spaces can be accessed and re-occupied in a safe manner

Guidance for fully-vaccinated UW personnel working on-site: UW personnel are required to follow all COVID-19 prevention measures in the University’s COVID-19 Prevention Plan and their unit’s plan, even after getting vaccinated. All Washington residents age 16 and older will become eligible for vaccination on April 15. See EH&S, Guidance for UW personnel who are vaccinated for COVID-19.

In-person social events and gatherings: Phase 3 raises capacity limits for in-person events. The state’s requirement for six feet of distancing remains in effect and often will be the primary factor limiting the capacity of workspaces, labs, classrooms and meeting rooms. Masks continue to be required at all UW facilities, and you must stay home if you have any symptoms. These requirements all apply even if you’re fully vaccinated. Hold remote when possible.

Travel: Updated travel quarantine guidance: Anyone who has traveled should still quarantine for either 7 days if they test negative 3-5 days after returning or 10 days if they do not get tested, even if vaccinated. See this link for more updated travel-related quarantine guidance. Non-essential travel is still discouraged.

Most types of in-person* research are currently allowed subject to a set of requirements.

Consult the UW’s Novel coronavirus & COVID-19: facts and resources webpage as it contains important information for everyone in the UW community. Remember, it is still the case that no one can be pressured to carry out on-site research if they are concerned about their safety, the safety of others, or if they have home-care obligations. Your HR representative can help you with any difficult situations in that regard.

*in-person refers to an in-person, face-to-face, and/or facility-based activity

This webpage contains guidance and resources to prepare for and implement a safe return to in-person research.

Planning and Implementation Toolkit

The tools included below are provided to assist in developing and implementing a plan for a gradual return to research.

Types of Research and Considerations for Each

This matrix is intended as a tool for units to use when considering the different types of research in their units and the requirements and responsibilities associated with each.

Returning to In-Person Research: Decision Tree  [Updated 3/23/2021]

(Note: To open this resource on a mobile device the appropriate software (Word or Excel) must be installed on the device.)

Checklist for Developing a Return to In-Person Research Plan

Heads of research labs: use this checklist as you prepare for returning to in-person research work.

Checklist for Developing a Return to In-person Research Plan [Updated 3/23/2021]

Example of Guidelines for Laboratory Research (School of Medicine)

School of Medicine Guidelines for COVID-19 prevention while working in the laboratory

Guides for Returning to In-Person Research by Topic

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and new information becomes available, we have carefully considered optimal strategies and requirements to protect the safety of our researchers, anticipating short and long-term needs. This topical list of guides provides guidance and requirements. Please print, share, and post these prominently in your research facilities.

Guides for Returning to In-Person Research

Plan for On-site Facilities and Social and Physical Distancing

Ensure the health and safety of your personnel

Download the guide

PPE / Facemask / Face Covering Use

EH&S Face Covering Requirements

Visit the EH&S page

Cleaning and Disinfecting your Workplace

Strategies to allow for a safe return

Download the guide

Personal Hygiene and Hand-washing

Stay Healthy Huskies

Download the guide

Reporting of Infection and Exposure

Symptom monitoring

Visit the EH&S page

Returning to In-Person Research Involving Fieldwork

UW Fieldwork Health and Safety Plan (COVID-19 Prevention)

Download plan template

Returning to In-Person Research Involving Fieldwork

Download Returning to In-Person Research Involving Fieldwork: Decision Tree

Download Fieldwork Decision Tree