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Coronavirus Information for Residents

Bright sunlight through fall trees outside west campus residence halls

Updated: September 16, 2021

How we are keeping you safer in seven important areas

We worked hard to plan for the many unknown scenarios that may face us this school year, with an emphasis on being prepared, responsive and adaptive, and on providing you the safest and healthiest living environment we can.

We are confident, and you should be too, that HFS’ resilience, and what we’ve learned housing students throughout the pandemic, will stand us all in good stead. We are experienced, responsive and responsible. We work closely with partners across the university to ensure our rules and actions are in line with local, state and federal COVID-19 guidelines.

The combination of HFS' required indoor public spaces mask wearing, physical distancing guidelines, enhanced cleaning and sanitizing, and the new UW vaccination requirement, provides a safe and healthy community living environment.

During all this uncertainty and disruption, your Husky Home will be a place of safety and comfort while you focus on the school year.

Information, policies and procedures contained on this page are subject to change pending new guidance and recommendations from the university and/or local/state/federal agencies and leaders, and the evolving nature of the pandemic situation.

Updates: This page will be updated regularly as new information comes. New content on this page will be marked with a gold band.

Vaccination

 UW Vaccine Requirement for Students

Widespread vaccination is the only real way we can put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us and return to a more normal way of living, learning and working. Fortunately, vaccines are now readily available that have proven safe and highly effective, including through clinical trials in which our own faculty collaborated and during real-world experience.

In order to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, academic personnel, staff and broader community, the University of Washington will require all students to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

 If I have not been vaccinated yet, can I still apply for housing?

Yes. However, it is expected that you will comply with the UW vaccination requirement by the time you move in or immediately after you arrive on campus. Vaccination verification will be handled by the University for all students, not just HFS residents.

 Do I verify to HFS I've been vaccinated?

The University's Housing & Food Services department is not handling vaccination verifications. Before the start of autumn quarter, students will need to verify to the University they have been vaccinated unless they are claiming a medical or religious exemption. This is similar to our existing tri-campus immunization requirement. If students are unable to verify they are vaccinated because they can’t get vaccinated where they currently live, the University will provide access to vaccinations upon arrival on campus. Information on the UW vaccination requirement, including how to attest to your status, is available at https://www.washington.edu/coronavirus/vaccination-requirement/

 May I request to live with a vaccinated student?

With the vaccination requirement in place, it is anticipated nearly all UW students and HFS residents will be vaccinated, making it unlikely such a request is necessary. You can use the HFS roommate finder app to identify a roommate who may be a good fit for your preferences, including vaccination status. We encourage prospective roommates to discuss COVID-19 prevention and mitigation strategies as you get to know each other.

 There are no vaccinations available to me where I live. Can I still move in and get vaccinated after I get there?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccinations are readily available in the community and can be accessed via Vaccine Locator (https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov/) upon arrival to campus. UW anticipates having vaccination opportunities available on campus as well.

 If my roommate is unvaccinated can I switch rooms?

You can use the Room Swap Message Board to identify a roommate who may be a good fit for your preferences, including vaccination status. Once you have found a resident to swap with, both parties should complete the 2021–22 Mutual Room Swap Request to notify HFS of your request. The deadline to submit a room swap request is September 7. We encourage prospective roommates to discuss COVID-19 prevention and mitigation strategies as you get to know each other.

 Will community standards and policies be applied differently depending on vaccination status?

Our community standards and expectations will apply to all HFS residents, including compliance with the public health guidance and university policies associated with your vaccination status.

 For those living in family housing apartments with family members, are family members required to be vaccinated as well?

At this point, vaccination is only required of students and employees. We do recommend everyone living in or visiting our residential communities be vaccinated.


Communication

 To our residents

  • Posters and digital display boards are used to display information on hygiene practices and other safety information
  • Proper hygiene is posted in each shared restroom
  • HFS and Residential Life staff will communicate via email and all-resident newsletters
  • HFS will provide an addendum to each resident outlining COVID-19 prevention expectations, protocols, and measures

 Family and guardians

Sending your student off to live on-campus during these challenging times can be stressful. We want to ensure you that providing your student with a comfortable and safe living environment is our top priority. We have protocols in place to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and procedures you can trust if your student becomes sick, including rapid testing for COVID-19 and care for them if they need to be isolated for recovery. We will be sending communications regularly to your student via email while we navigate through our adjusted situation and we encourage you to ask your student share these with you. This webpage will be updated regularly with new information and changes as the situation continues to evolve, so check back regularly. Updates and new info will be notated by a gold bar preceding their link.


Cleaning and service

 How we clean

  • HFS custodial staff clean building public areas daily, including shared restrooms, using EPA-registered disinfectants
  • Cleaning frequencies will be modified, including additional disinfection, based on current public health guidance for specific types of spaces.
  • Residents are responsible to clean their own in-unit bathrooms.
    • While residents are encouraged to bring their own cleaning supplies, limited cleaning supplies are available in each hall
    • HFS has created a bathroom cleaning training video for residents
  • Appropriate cleaning protocols are in place to respond to a positive COVID-19 case
  • All entries to student residence, dining and amenity spaces will have continually replenished hand sanitizer dispensers
  • Hand sanitizer is available for sale in all HFS on-campus stores and markets

 Dining on campus

On-campus dining locations have modified operations to align with current university, local, and state requirements and guidelines.  Expanded takeout service will be continued to maximize options for customers, and many self-service or open service options have transitioned to pre-packaged sealed grab-and-go.


Physical distancing and masks

 Physical Distancing Update

Based on state guidance, the UW is lifting both indoor and outdoor distancing and COVID-19 capacity requirements, though distancing is still recommended for unvaccinated individuals and in crowded settings.

Also consistent with state requirements, Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) is updating the University’s COVID-19 Prevention Plan template, events guidance, cleaning and disinfection procedures, training and other guidance documents.

 Face Covering Update

Effective August 14, 2021, the University is requiring everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask or other face covering indoors.

Read the University's COVID-19 Face Covering Policy and the frequently asked questions below for more information.

  • All individuals are required to wear a face covering indoors, regardless of vaccination status, when on site at a University of Washington location. This requirement is applicable indoors when other people are present and in all public and common areas, including, but not limited to lobbies, hallways, stairways, restrooms, elevators, and in shared vehicles.
  • Outdoors, face coverings are optional, regardless of vaccination status. However, a face covering is recommended when in outdoor crowded settings and in settings where there is a decreased ability to consistently maintain a physical distance between others. 

Testing, tracing and quarantine

 Husky Coronavirus Testing Program

You can spread the coronavirus even if you have no symptoms — so for your health and the health of our community, you’re encouraged to enroll in the Husky Coronavirus Testing program.

Tests for the virus that causes COVID-19 are administered at in-person testing sites and through a test you can take yourself at home. The program is powered by the Seattle Flu Study team — the group that was the first to report community spread of COVID-19 in the United States. If you have questions, please review our testing FAQ. You can also email huskytest@uw.edu or call (206) 616-2414.

 Self-testing kits available at move-in

UW expects all students to complete a COVID-19 test just before or upon arrival to campus. The Husky Coronavirus Testing program (HCT) and Housing & Food Services (HFS) have partnered to make testing broadly accessible to the on-campus resident population at move-in.

  • It is important for all residents to enroll in Husky Coronavirus Testing program and get tested upon arrival
  • A testing kit will be in your room when you arrive, or can be requested from your RA if you did not receive one
  • The test is self-administered
  • When you complete the test, you will register the kit online and then return the swab to a drop-box at the Lander, Willow, or Nordheim desks.

 Travel advisory

For travel information, see the CDC travel guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html

 Isolation and quarantine protocols

  • The latest UW isolation and quarantine guidance can be viewed on the UW Environmental Health and Safety website: https://www.ehs.washington.edu/covid-19-prevention-and-response/quarantine-and-isolation-guidance
  • Spaces will be designated as isolation spaces for residents with confirmed cases of COVID-19, in a single room configuration
  • Some residents in close contact with a person who is COVID-19 positive, needing quarantine, will be able to remain in place based on housing configurations.  If unable to quarantine in place, quarantine space is available as follows:
    • Within existing HFS emergency space
    • At a local hotel; contracts are in place through UW Procurement
  • Residents in isolation or quarantine housing have a meal delivery program available to them through HFS
  • Residential life staff are trained and equipped for COVID-19 case management in support of EH&S
  • HFS has “wellness kits” available for sick residents that contain a thermometer, mask, gloves, and sanitizer

 Isolation/Quarantine housing FAQ

  1. Can I move in early so I can quarantine or so I can get a vaccination before school starts?
    • Yes. Please fill out the Early Arrival Housing application for your housing type. 9-Month 12-Month
  2. Why have I been asked to quarantine but my roommate or friend hasn’t been?
    • Individuals who have had close contact (defined as being within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes, even if wearing a face covering) with someone who has COVID-19 are directed to quarantine for 14 days after the close contact. In the event of an outbreak, such as the one occurring in the UW Greek System, UW Environmental Health & Safety may direct individuals to quarantine who, during the last 14 days, either spent time in a chapter house or have had any in-person contact with a member of a fraternity or sorority chapter that has members who tested positive during the current outbreak. This is an enhanced effort to control the outbreak based on the interconnectedness of the community.  If your roommate or friend doesn’t meet those criteria, they would not be asked to quarantine. If a resident who is quarantining subsequently tests positive for COVID-19, their roommate would then be asked to quarantine, if they shared housing during the positive roommate’s infectious period – since 48 hours before symptoms started or, if asymptomatic, 48 before testing positive. UW Environmental Health & Safety reviews individual risk levels when making quarantine determinations.
  3. I tested negative for COVID-19, why am I being asked to quarantine?
    • COVID-19 has an incubation period of up to 14 days. As a result, an individual may test positive at any time within that 14-day period. A negative test result indicates that an individual does not have COVID-19 at that moment; however, that does not remove the requirement to quarantine for the full 14 days after a  close contact or after having contact within a high-risk community.
  4. Can I isolate or quarantine off-campus?
    • Due to the possibility that an individual needing to quarantine or isolate could transmit COVID-19 to family members or others in the community, completing quarantine or isolation on-campus is the preferred option, especially if there are individuals in high-risk categories in the off-campus location. In situations where a resident believes it is best for them to isolate or quarantine off-campus, and they can do it safely, they may do so.
  5. I received a message that I need to quarantine, but I do not believe I meet the criteria. What should I do?
    • The determination whether an individual needs to quarantine is made by UW Environmental Health & Safety based on close contacts with positive cases, vaccination status, whether you are experiencing symptoms, and/or risk related to a current outbreak (such as participation in social activities, community gatherings, or affiliation with specific groups). If you were told to quarantine but believe you do not meet the criteria outlined in item #1 above, you can contact EH&S at covidehc@uw.edu to discuss your risks and the related quarantine recommendation.

 Rapid COVID-19 testing

Hall Health offers coronavirus-related care to students, staff, alumni and the greater UW community. If you or your roommate have questions or concerns about coronavirus, please call Hall Health at 206.685.1011. They will ask you about your symptoms, living situation, and job (if any) to help determine whether you need to be tested and where that testing might occur. They will determine whether you need to visit the clinic in-person, talk with a nurse by phone or schedule a video visit. Test results processed through UW Laboratory Medicine are often available within 6 to 8 hours. Please do not go to Hall Health without calling first.

 COVID-19 case investigation and tracing

Case investigation and contact tracing is generally able to be conducted within 24 hours of a positive case. The university is increasing contact tracing capabilities for fall and is working in partnership with Public Health of Seattle and King County and the state of Washington.

Visit the UW COVID-19 Case Response site for more information: https://ehs.washington.edu/covid-19-case-response

 COVID-19 surge testing

One of the goals of the Husky Coronavirus Testing Program is to identify students who test positive for COVID-19 early, so actions can be taken to prevent further transmission or an outbreak. When students who test positive for COVID-19 are identified, they may have a common exposure pathway (such as being in the same place around the same time) when transmission could have occurred. In this scenario, surge testing, which involves the testing of a group of people such as students in a residence hall, may be conducted.

The purpose of surge testing is to help determine whether additional students may be COVID-19 positive and for the individuals who are impacted to take measures for self-isolation and quarantine. If surge testing is needed, you will be notified and provided information by your Community Manager and the UW about what is known, who is being asked to get tested, instructions for how to get tested, and about what you can do to stay healthy and safe.

Other measures may be taken while surge testing is taking place, such as being asked to quarantine in your residence until your sample result is received or you may be asked to quarantine for 14 days as a precaution in case you may have been exposed to someone who tested positive. EH&S will provide you with information and guidance if this situation arises.

The most important things you can do to limit the spread of COVID-19 are:

  • When you are sick, stay home and avoid close contact with others
  • Keep at least six feet of distance from others
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (If water is not available, use hand sanitizer.)
  • Wear a face covering (They are required in all common areas of HFS buildings.)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid social gatherings, especially indoors

For more information, see the UW’s Coronavirus FAQ webpage. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the EH&S COVID-19 Response Team at covidehc@uw.edu or 206-616-3344.


Housing assignments

 Public Health Agreement

Applicants for 2021–22 housing must submit the 2021–22 Public Health Agreement as part of their application.

 Housing for 2021–22

We anticipate that all facilities will open at their pre-COVID capacity for autumn quarter 2021. 

This page will be updated if we are advised differently by UW Environmental Health & Safety, the UW Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases, and University leadership.

 Cancelling your housing application

2021–22

Last year we were very lenient with terms of the application and agreement because of the sudden and devastating impacts of the pandemic. As the world begins to return to normal, we expect to return to regular operations, including adherence to all terms of housing applications and agreements. This includes obligations related to cancellation, termination and housing and dining charges.


Residential Life

 Residential activities for you

Our Residential Life team will work hard to give you the best possible residential activities experience, while respecting physical distancing and other precautions designed to protect against the spread of the coronavirus. There will be fun and innovative ways for you to experience your best Husky Home with your friends and neighbors, brought to you by your fellow students on the Residential Programming Board (RPB) and the Residence Education Programmers (REP). The Residential Community Student Association (RCSA) will also be very active all year, providing you with leadership and connection opportunities.

 Amenities

  • Additional cleaning procedures have been implemented including regular disinfecting of high touch surfaces, more frequent cleaning of all common spaces, and time in between room reservations to allow for cleaning. Soap and water, as well as hand sanitizer, are available at all spaces. Some items that are difficult to clean (i.e. board games) may be temporarily unavailable for check out.
  • We’ll still offer makerspace workshops, and we also plan to hold several virtual events throughout the year. Each workshop will allow a limited number of students to register to allow for appropriate physical distancing. We also have three new how-to videos in case you’re more comfortable watching a video than attending an in-person workshop. They are: Intro to 3D Printing, Intro to Laser Cutting, and Intro to Vinyl Cutting.
  • You can still get staff assistance on your school or personal project. Staff are available in person or virtually via Zoom to answer questions or get you started on one of the machines.
  • Appointments are available and strongly recommended in Area 01, Fitness Center West, and the MILL. Appointments are open on the Perks & Recreation portal: reg.hfs.uw.edu. The McMahon 8 will operate by appointment only and appointments for academic projects can be made by contacting hfsperks@uw.edu.

 Guests

HFS currently only allows residents to have essential guests. Essential guests are defined as someone who is on campus to perform an essential function or service. Examples include food delivery, medication delivery, or assistance moving.

We do recommend everyone living in or visiting our residential communities be vaccinated, including those assisting with move in and move out processes. Residents are allowed to have guests from other on-campus residential communities.