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Coronavirus Information for Residents

HFS Facilities crew member following CDC cleaning protocols

Updated: July 13, 2021 at 11:15 am

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, religious or philosophical 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. Early this summer, the UW will share how students can verify their COVID-19 vaccination or claim an exemption.

 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. The University will provide access to vaccinations upon arrival on campus for students in this situation.

 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. 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 physical distancing, 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 as follows:
    • High touch areas in all buildings will be disinfected a second time daily
  • 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

Dining locations are operating under take-out service and an on-site social distancing model to mitigate coronavirus exposure opportunities. Dining self-service or open-service options, such as salad or soup bars, have transitioned to prepackaged sealed grab-and-go.


Physical distancing and masks

 Physical Distancing Update

Physical Distancing: 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.

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

Face Covering Changes: All University units must follow the updated UW COVID-19 Face Covering Policy. Following federal, state and local health guidance, as of July 7, face coverings are optional for fully vaccinated individuals at UW campuses and facilities, with specific exceptions that include health-care and child-care facilities, and UW shuttles. You must continue to wear face coverings in these settings, regardless of your vaccination status.

Consistent with state regulations, individuals who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear a face covering indoors at all UW campuses and facilities, in accordance with the UW Face Covering Policy. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated should also consider wearing face coverings outdoors when distancing is not possible.

Of course, you’re welcome to continue wearing face coverings wherever and whenever you wish for any reason. And just as in the broader community, the UW includes individuals who are unable to be vaccinated or whose medical conditions put them at higher risk for infection.


Testing, tracing and quarantine

 Notice of COVID-19 variant in UW community

You should have seen a message from the UW informing you that the B.1.1.7 variant of the coronavirus, which originally emerged in the UK, has been detected in a student from our Seattle campus community. This is not a surprise. This variant has already been circulating in Washington since at least last month, and public health officials have expected it to continue spreading rapidly.

The best way to protect yourself from this variant is to continue to follow the 3Ws: wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance.

Because this variant is known to be 30–50% more contagious than the original coronavirus strain, and group living situations are known areas for higher risk, we strongly encourage you to get a COVID-19 test now through Husky Coronavirus Testing, even if you have no symptoms.

You can enroll online or in-person at the UW Club and Odegaard testing locations

  • UW Club: M-F from 9 a.m.–6 p.m., weekends from 9 a.m.–4 p.m.  
  • Odegaard: M-F from 9 a.m.–6 p.m.

Wearing a multi-layer mask, washing your hands regularly and watching your distance from other people, which includes avoiding gatherings, is how you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Additionally, please sign up for Husky Coronavirus Testing and come in for community tests when you are asked to do so, and get vaccinated when you’re eligible

We are all feeling the effects of limiting time with our friends and families—but the pandemic is not over, and your actions now are as important as ever.

 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.

 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

  • Check out our video about our isolation housing for the school year
  • Spaces will be designated as isolation spaces for residents with confirmed cases of COVID-19, in a single room configuration
  • The majority of 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 housing will have daily meals delivered to their room.
  • 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 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

Every housing applicant for 2020–21 must verify that they understand how the housing agreement has been, or might be, impacted by different scenarios we may face this year, by reading and submitting a HFS Public Health Agreement Addendum.

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

 Housing

2020–21

With student well-being at the forefront of consideration and in alignment with public health guidance, HFS has deployed a housing strategy for with appropriate COVID-19 mitigation elements in place. We will maintain all room density at two students or less in each residence hall room.

The housing strategy aligns with the UW Back to School plan, the State of Washington Safe Start Plan, and guidance from UW Environmental Health & Safety, the UW Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases, and university leadership. It is in alignment with Public Health – Seattle & King County Guidance for Student Housing at Higher Education Institutions and the State of Washington Campus Reopening Guide

The plan also relies on guidance and collaboration from the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International, American College Health Association, King County COVID-19 Response for Higher Education Institutions housing subgroup, and the Pac-12 senior housing officer group.

The majority of our rooms are double and triple rooms with private bath, though each will only have two students assigned to them. "Super-singles," which are double rooms housing only one resident, are available upon request and are charged at a higher rate. Students may request a room change on their MyHFS Homepage.

If public health conditions improve during the course of the year, it is possible that rooms will return to their original configuration. If that happens, students who are assigned to a triple with only two residents may be assigned a new roommate for a later quarter.

If a student needs a single room because of a pre-existing condition that may make them more vulnerable to COVID-19, they may request an accommodation through the Disability Resources for Students office. Information is available on our Disability Accommodation page.

All halls will remain open during all break periods, including winter break.

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

2020–21

Students can request an exception to cancellation charges by emailing us at hfsinfo@uw.edu. The process is designed to provide a means for students to request an exception to the terms of their housing agreement based on unforeseen situations related to COVID-19.

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. A guest is considered someone who does not have a tap access to that residential community. Therefore, residents in different communities are considered guests. Unfortunately, close relationships do not count as essential guests unless performing an essential function.

We do recommend everyone living in or visiting our residential communities be vaccinated, including those assisting with move in and move out processes.