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Coronavirus Information for Residents

HFS Facilities crew member following CDC cleaning protocols

Updated: August 10, 2020 at 2:30 pm

How we are keeping you safer in five 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 guidence 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
    • Shared bathrooms in Hansee, Haggett, and Madrona will be disinfected a second time daily
    • McMahon cluster bathrooms will be at least twice per week
  • Residents are responsible to clean their own in-unit bathrooms.
    • While residents are encouraged to bring their own cleaning supplies, 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 social 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.

 Reducing density in community bathrooms

To reduce living density in our housing areas with community-style bathrooms, we will limit occupancy in those areas to one student per room. This encompasses Hansee Hall, Haggett Hall and some floors of Madrona Hall.

Testing, tracing and quarantine

 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.

 Isolation and quarantine protocols

  • Haggett Hall South Tower will be designated as isolation space for confirmed cases, in a single room configuration (200 beds)
  • The majority of close contacts 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
  • HFS has a food-delivery program in place
  • Residential life staff are trained and equipment for COVID-19 case management in support of EH&S
  • HFS has “isolation kits” available for sick residents that contain a thermometer, mask, gloves, and sanitizer

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. The 2020–21 Housing Agreement Addendum must be submitted by 11:59 pm on July 12.

 Assignment Strategy

With student well-being at the forefront of consideration and in alignment with public health guidance, HFS intends to deploy a housing strategy for autumn quarter with appropriate COVID-19 mitigation elements in place. We will maintain all room density at two students or less in each residence hall room, which currently is adequate to guarantee housing to all applicants.

All rooms will be charged at their original rate, regardless of the number of residents during autumn quarter. So, for example, two students living in a triple room without a third person will each be charged the triple room rate.

This 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 primary recommended mitigation per these resources is de-densification of housing. The following housing de-densification measures will be put in place:

  • All residence halls with in-unit bathrooms will be designated as 2-person occupancy regardless of design capacity or previous assignment as a triple (2 students per bathroom)
  • Hansee Hall will remain as single rooms (8 students per bathroom)
  • Apartment-style housing will remain at the current operating capacity for 2- to 6-bedroom apartments with single bedrooms (2 to 4 students per bathroom)

For the duration of their cohabitation, roommates are considered household members from a public health perspective.

HFS has appropriate worksite safety plans in place to ensure that residential programs can be delivered and the public health implications of COVID-19 can be effectively managed.

An on-campus living experience is important to many students. The University endeavors to continue providing that option, in as safe a manner as possible, to help students form the lasting and strong bonds, between themselves and their fellow students and the University community, that come from living on campus.

 Housing assignment process and timeline


Returning residents will be able to select their own rooms in early August. We’ll email students with their appointment time a week in advance. Please note that not all rooms will be available and some room types may change because of capacity limitations for physical distance requirements. Some students who requested to return to their same room may not be able to for the same reason.

Because of the many uncertainties and changing environment due to COVID-19, HFS is making up-to-the-minute changes based on public health recommendations. Given the time limitations this has caused, new students will be assigned by HFS and notified beginning mid-August. Please note that each housing priority group may need to be assigned based on commuting distance. We will do our best to honor roommate, LLC and building preferences.

 Room types

The majority of our rooms are double and triple rooms with private bath, though each will likely only have two students assigned to them for autumn quarter. Some double rooms will be used as single rooms because they are in community bathroom areas of the halls. The availability of as-built singles and studios is very low, because those rooms are being reserved for students who have a pre-existing condition that requires private rooms.

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

 Pre-existing conditions

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. The request should be made by July 12. Information is available on our Disability Accommodation page.

 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:

  • All of their classes are online
  • Their travel plans change
  • Health concerns arise
  • A financial change occurs
  • Their visa status changes

Students who cancel within seven days of their Advising and Orientation session will not be charged and do not need to request an exemption.

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

 Sorority Recruitment

Housing & Food Services (HFS) and the Panhellenic Association have been working together to develop autumn quarter plans that ensure that students who want to join a Panhellenic sorority can do so safely and will be assured a place to live on campus for the whole of the 2020–21 academic year.

Not all new members will be able to live in a chapter house for safety reasons, and the decision has been made that no new member will be required to move into a chapter house during 2020–21. 

If you have already applied for on-campus housing, you can expect to receive your assignment information beginning in late August.  You no longer need to cancel your housing contract by August 15 but may keep it through the conclusion of primary recruitment.  HFS expects to be able to assign all housing applicants and hopes to be able to honor all roommate requests.

  • If you accept a bid but choose to live with HFS, your room will be held for you without any action on your part.
  • If you are not offered or do not accept a bid, your room will be held for you without any action on your part.
  • If you are offered a bid and and are able to live in the chapter house, you may cancel your housing application by 12 noon on September 19 at no charge.
  • If you are offered a bid and plan to live at home, you will charged for cancelling your housing application per your agreement.

If you are not planning on living at home, we encourage you to apply for on-campus housing if you have not already, to ensure you have a place to live. You can cancel at no charge if you accept a bid during primary recruitment and are able to live in the chapter house.


Like most things, move in will be a bit different this year, as we strive to ensure proper physical distancing between you and our staff and volunteers. We still want your move-in day to be memorable, but we also want it to be safe.

Please go to the Move-In page for the most up-to-date information.

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 group fitness classes and makerspace workshops. Each class or 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.


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