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Coronavirus Information for Residents

HFS Facilities crew member following CDC cleaning protocols

Updated: October 20, 2020 at 8:40 am

How we are keeping you safer in six 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.

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.


 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.

We have updated our room cancellation policies for Autumn Quarter. All students can request an exception to cancellation charges if:

  • they have a late registration appointment,
  • their travel plans change,
  • health concerns arise, or
  • a financial change occurs.

Students who cancel will be able to reapply for winter quarter housing and for 2021–22 housing; they will retain their returning resident priority.

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 measures

  • Group gatherings, events, and programs will be limited per current UW and state restrictions
  • Furniture in hall lounges, meeting rooms, and amenity spaces will be modified or removed to allow for appropriate distancing
  • Lounges and meeting rooms that cannot accommodate physical distancing will be closed
  • Residential programs and services will be revised to support no-contact delivery or appropriate physical distancing in lines

 Wearing a mask

At the UW, you must wear a face covering indoors wherever other people are present. This includes wearing one in common areas such as hallways, stairways, restrooms and elevators. You must also wear a face covering outside whenever it may not be possible to stay 6-foot away from other people.

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 or call (206) 616-2414.

 Isolation and quarantine protocols

  • Check out our video about our isolation housing for the school year
  • Oak Hall and Poplar Hall will be designated as isolation spaces for residents with confirmed cases of COVID-19, in a single room configuration (203 beds)
  • 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 (approximately 16 spaces)
    • 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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 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:

 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 or 206-616-3344.

Housing assignments

 Agreement Addendum

Every housing applicant must verify that they have read and understand the HFS Public Health Agreement Addendum how the housing agreement has been, or might be, impacted by different scenarios we may face this year.


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.

 Cancelling your housing application

Students who choose to cancel their housing application will be charged per the cancellation schedule published in the housing agreement

Students can request an exception to cancellation charges and pay no cancellation fees if any of the following occur:

  • There is a change to how classes are delivered
  • Their travel plans change
  • Health concerns arise
  • A financial change occurs
  • Their visa status changes

Students who cancel will be able to reapply for winter quarter housing and for 2021–22 housing, retaining their returning resident priority.

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.


  • 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 will also have three new how-to videos ready for fall quarter, in case you’re more comfortable watching a video than an 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 will be available both in person or virtually via Zoom to answer questions or get you started on one of the machines.
  • Appointments will be available and strongly recommended in Area 01, Fitness Center West, and the MILL. Appointments will open on 9/21 for fall quarter on the Perks & Recreation portal: The McMahon 8 will operate by appointment only, and appointments can also be made via the portal.


Residential guests will be restricted until King County achieves Phase 3 of the Governor’s Safe Start Reopening Plan.