Autumn Quarter 2021 Planning

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Last update: 7/9/2021 @ 4:55 p.m.

UW personnel and students: Verify your COVID-19 vaccination status.

Welcome, Huskies! We’re eager to see you on campus this autumn as we return to in-person instruction and activities.


We look forward to safely returning for in-person instruction and activities this autumn. 

As part of a public research university, we’re fortunate to have experts in medicine and public health who’ve been studying the pandemic from its beginning. We understand much more about the virus now than when it emerged, and Washington state’s vaccination levels are trending in a very positive direction.

Since UW Tacoma is on a quarter system, we have even more time to prepare classrooms and campus facilities for the start of autumn quarter on Sept. 29, 2021. Our experts know how to ready UW Tacoma’s living, learning and working spaces so you can come to campus for in-person classes and activities. As vaccination rates and vaccine availability climb in our region, we will continue making decisions that reflect the most current public health guidance.

Remote Advising and Orientation

Whether you’re a freshman or a transfer student, advising and orientation sessions will help you build community, register for courses and connect to campus resources before your arrival.

New students should schedule an advising appointment with their advisor — this step is required for freshmen and Running Start students but optiional for transfer students.

Information about additional Orientation events will be posted soon.

Incoming graduate students can check with their program for updates and review University 501 (U501) a self-guided, online orientation to help you prepare for graduate school.

Classrooms and learning spaces

As more students and community members become fully vaccinated, we’re confident that Washington state will revise higher education guidelines related to distancing, such as the ones adopted in K-12 schools based on Centers for Disease Control guidance. All students and instructors will still be expected to continue to follow public health guidelines in our learning spaces.

Study sessions, RSOs and other co-curricular activities will have safe ways to meet in-person this autumn. We will prioritize the use of these spaces for UW community members including current students, staff and faculty.


Right now, we anticipate that campus housing will be at 50% of our pre-pandemic occupancy, with a goal of higher occupancy if public health guidelines indicate that it is safe to do so. Housing and Residence Life will provide updates as the overall public health picture becomes clearer in summer, when more people have been vaccinated.

Historically, all students who apply by the priority application date (May 1) have been assigned housing, and we expect the same for this academic year. Once you apply, you will receive more updates from Housing. You can also find more information about how we protect your health and safety in our housing facilities.

We have well-honed plans in place for anytime a student does test positive while living in on-campus residences. Students who test positive temporarily move to a designated place where they can recover safely away from people who may be at risk of becoming infected. During this time, we help with food and mail delivery, laundry service and engagement activities to keep students connected. The University’s COVID-19 response team will work with student who test positive to understand whether other people may have been exposed, so we can get them tested and protect their health as well. You can learn more about how we respond to positive cases on our COVID-19 FAQ page.

Student Life and activities

University Y Student Center and other student spaces

The University Y Student Center is currently open. The UW Y follows state COVID-19 guidelines to protect your health and safety, and our goal is to return as near as possible to regular operations in the autumn. The Y is also planning for ways to make all of our fitness classes, intramurals and other activities available in hybrid models so you can stay active no matter how the pandemic evolves.

Want to study on campus? Study spaces are available (reservation required).

Our hope is that our clubs and student organizations will be able to offer some level of in-person activities, depending of course on state and local public health guidance.

Husky Athletics

UW Athletics is planning for Husky football to have a full stadium in the 2021 season, and is also making plans for the return of fans to fall and winter sports. They are also preparing for other scenarios that might limit seating capacity in order to follow all public health and safety regulations. Visit for the latest updates on football tickets, including information this May about Dawg Pack student season tickets.

COVID-19 vaccines, testing and prevention


In order to protect the health and safety of our community, the University of Washington is requiring all students and personnel to be vaccinated against COVID-19, with certain exemptions allowed. You will need to verify that you’ve been vaccinated or declare an exemption:

  • As soon as possible after the second dose of a 2-dose series or after a 1-dose vaccine, after they have decided to declare an exception, or by the start of autumn quarter on September 29, 2021, whichever date is earliest.
  • Students who are unable to get vaccinated until after arriving on campus may submit their form by November 5, 2021. If you haven’t been able to get a vaccine where you live, we will have vaccinations available when you arrive. 
  • A hold will be placed on winter quarter registrations if your form has not been submitted by November 5, 2021.

Please note that students required to participate in the Health Sciences Immunization Program are eligible for medical waivers only.


Did you know that the UW has a campus-run testing program that’s free for students, staff and faculty? Husky Coronavirus Testing has been running since autumn quarter 2020 and will continue to provide free, fast testing for current UW students, faculty and staff throughout the summer and during the 2021-22 academic year.

Since Husky Coronavirus Testing started, the UW’s COVID-19 levels have been lower than in the broader region. We’ve conducted nearly 80,000 tests, with less than 1% coming back positive for COVID-19.



If you’re fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a face covering in most settings on campus, with some exceptions including health-care and child-care facilities. People who aren’t fully vaccinated must continue to wear face masks indoors at UW campuses and facilities. You can read all the details about our UW Face Covering Policy from Environmental Health & Safety.

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

UW Tacoma is fortunate to have an outstanding Facilities team who keeps our classrooms and buildings safe all day, every day. If you’d like a deep dive into our cleaning and safety protocols, UW Environmental Health & Safety has a wealth of information on its COVID-19 resources page including its building readiness guidelines.