Communications Sent to the UW Tacoma Community

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Communications from UW Tacoma leadership 

Communications from UW leadership


September 14, 2020 - “Coronavirus testing for UW Tacoma students,” from Chancellor Mark A. Pagano

To: All UW Tacoma students

This message was sent to all students enrolled at the University of Washington’s Tacoma campus.

If you are currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please stay home and follow the instructions at tacoma.uw.edu/coronavirus/students for what to do if you feel sick.

Widespread testing — especially of people who aren’t experiencing symptoms — is one important way to protect you and your community from COVID-19. The sooner we can get the pandemic under control, the sooner we can return to a more “normal” way of living, learning and working.

That’s why the UW is launching the Husky Coronavirus Testing program, which 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. This program is separate from the free testing for students, faculty and staff through the Pierce County mobile testing site.

Enrollment in the Husky Coronavirus Testing program opens Thursday, Sept. 24. Anyone who will be on a UW campus for any reason or who is living with several other people in neighborhoods near a UW campus this fall is strongly encouraged to participate and you can express your interest now. Testing is voluntary and offered at no cost to you.

We expect all students to be tested as they come back for autumn quarter, as well as at any sign of possible infection or exposure throughout the quarter. In addition to enrolling in the Husky Coronavirus Testing program, testing is also available via UW Tacoma Student Health Services, and at dedicated and mobile testing sites throughout Pierce County, or through your primary healthcare provider. Please do get tested!

Even if you are tested before arrival, if you are living on or near campus, you are strongly encouraged to participate in the Husky Coronavirus Testing program.

The Husky Coronavirus Testing program will be conducted through self-administered test kits that can be delivered to your home. The tests use short (not long) nasal swabs and only take a few moments of your time.

Testing will be conducted throughout the course of the pandemic on an individualized basis as determined by health risk status and/or risk of exposure. We fully expect to find positive COVID-19 cases through this testing — indeed, doing so is critical to stemming any spread on campus once in-person instruction and other campus activities begin. Anyone who tests positive will receive follow-up guidance from UW Tacoma Student Affairs and from UW Environmental Health & Safety about care, self-isolation and contact tracing.

You can learn more about the program at uw.edu/coronavirus/testing and from this UW News story.

Remember, young people are just as likely to catch — and spread — COVID-19 as older people, even if they are less likely to develop severe illness. People of all ages with underlying health conditions are at higher risk for developing severe illness and the long-term effects of COVID-19 illness are still unclear. Protect your Pack by participating in testing and by following the 3 W’s: Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Watch your distance.

Mark A. Pagano, Chancellor


September 14, 2020 - “Coronavirus testing for UW Tacoma employees,” from Chancellor Mark A. Pagano

To: faculty, staff

This message was sent to all staff, faculty and other academic personnel at the University of Washington's Tacoma campus.

If you are currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please stay home and follow the instructions at uw.edu/coronavirus for what to do if you feel sick.

Dear colleagues,

Widespread testing — especially of people who aren’t experiencing symptoms — is one important way to protect you and your community from COVID-19. The sooner we can get the pandemic under control, the sooner we can return to a more “normal” way of living and working.

That’s why the UW is launching the Husky Coronavirus Testing program, which 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. This program is separate from the free testing for students, faculty and staff through the Pierce County mobile testing site.

Enrollment in the Husky Coronavirus Testing program opens Thursday, Sept. 24. Anyone who will be at a UW campus or facility this academic year, especially those who will be there at least once a week, is strongly encouraged to participate and you can express your interest now. Testing is voluntary and offered at no cost to you.

Tests will be conducted through self-administered test kits that can be delivered to your home. The tests use short (not long) nasal swabs and only take a few moments of your time.

Testing will be conducted throughout the course of the pandemic on an individualized basis as determined by health risk status and/or risk of exposure. We expect to find positive COVID-19 cases through this testing — indeed, doing so is critical to stemming outbreaks before they can grow. Anyone who tests positive will receive follow-up guidance from UW Environmental Health & Safety about care, self-isolation and contact tracing.

You can learn more about the program at uw.edu/coronavirus/testing and from this UW News story.

Together we can protect our campus and broader community by participating in testing, and by following the 3 W’s: Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Watch your distance.

Mark A. Pagano, Chancellor


August 25, 2020 - “Your Back-to-School Checklist,” from Vice Chancellor Hynes-Wilson

To: All UW Tacoma students

First, I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well. As the University of Washington Tacoma prepares for autumn quarter, I need your assistance and write to announce significant updates and expectations to protect your health and the health of our communities.

The rise of cases this summer made clear how important it is for every one of us to remain personally committed to stopping the spread of COVID-19. It is also clear that college students are just as likely to contract COVID-19; serious illness is a possibility at any age and the long-term effects of this disease are still unknown.

Huskies have shown time and again a great capacity to care for each other in the face of great challenges, and I thank you in advance for your daily response to meet the needs of this moment.

For EVERY Husky, including if you plan to access all services and classes remotely:

  1. Familiarize yourself with resources for UW students (and additional resources for UW Tacoma students) to make your time as a UW Tacoma student safe and successful whether you’re learning on campus or remotely.
  2. Review and support the Husky PACK Pledge, which outlines the responsibilities Huskies have to protect themselves and each other.
  3. Bookmark tacoma.uw.edu/studenthealth to quickly find physical health and wellness resources, and tacoma.uw.edu/studentcounseling to find mental health and wellness resources when you need them.
  4. Save the information for Dr. Bernard Anderson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Life, to your personal device and contact him if you receive a positive or suspected COVID-19 diagnosis: bander48@uw.edu / 253-692-4901. If you have questions about your courses, please contact your instructor directly.
  5. If you plan to live with other people off-campus, make time to review UW’s sample roommmates agreement together before the quarter starts so you can develop and reach consensus on guidelines for your shared living situation.
  6. Wherever you are this autumn, please keep practicing good hygiene and remember the 3 W’s: Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Watch your distance.

If you will live in Court-17 campus housing, or will be on campus for ANY reason this autumn, including in-person classes:

  1. Try to quarantine for 14 days before coming to UW Tacoma for the first time by staying home and away from gatherings and from people outside your household. (Right now, avoiding even small gatherings is good advice in general!)
  2. If you can, get a COVID-19 test before leaving your home, within 72 hours of coming to campus. If you test positive, notify Dr. Bernard Anderson at bander48@uw.edu immediately.
    1. Free testing for the UW Tacoma community
    2. If you become ill or test positive for COVID-19 within 10 days of your planned return to campus, whether or not you have COVID-19 symptoms, you MUST self-isolate before coming to UW Tacoma. Contact your advisor and instructors to make coursework arrangements.
      • If you have symptoms: self-isolate until your symptoms improve, your fever is gone for 24 hours without fever reducing medications, AND it’s been at least 10 days since your symptoms started.
      • If you don’t have symptoms: self-isolate for 10 days after receiving your positive COVID-19 test result.
    3. If you come into close contact with someone who has diagnosed COVID-19 within two weeks of your planned return to campus, quarantine at home for 14 days and get tested before coming to UW Tacoma. (See “I may have been exposed to COVID-19. What should I do?” for more information.)
  3. Plan to get a regular flu vaccine this year. You can get a shot before coming to campus or can get vaccinated through UW Tacoma Student Health Services, and we’ll share more information in the coming weeks.
  4. If you are travelling to Tacoma, take precautions by following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guide for how to stay safe while traveling.

What to bring to campus with you:

  1. Face coverings are required to enter all UW Tacoma buildings, including classrooms and labs. If you have a U.S. address listed as your permanent residence, the University will send you two UW masks in the mail.If your address is outside the U.S., you can receive your masks when you arrive on campus.
  2. Hand sanitizer for times when hand-washing isn’t available
  3. A thermometer for daily symptom monitoring
  4. Cleaning supplies and disinfectants for high-touch surfaces inside your living space like door handles, light fixtures and bathrooms

This autumn quarter will be different from any we have experienced, yet many key elements will remain the same. We will welcome new Huskies into the fold and welcome back those of you who are continuing your journeys. We will celebrate achievements and overcome challenges. We will learn, grow and add to the vibrancy and diversity of our world. Whether you are joining us in person or online, I look forward to the unique commitment and contributions every Husky brings to our community — and to what we will accomplish together. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at uwtstudentaffairs@uw.edu if you need additional information, and continue to take good care of yourselves and each other.

Mentha Hynes-Wilson, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs


August 6, 2020 - “How the pandemic will affect autumn quarter learning,” from Chancellor Pagano, Executive Vice Chancellor Purdy and Vice Chancellor Hynes-Wilson

To: domestic students

In July, UW President Ana Mari Cauce and Provost Mark Richards committed to communicating, with as much certainty as possible, what to expect at the start of the academic year as we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. Today we are writing to present you with what we believe will be our final plans for autumn quarter classes.

We will hold a Student Town Hall on Friday, Aug. 7, at 11 a.m. You can livestream the Town Hall here: https://youtu.be/2p8-KUo_Xjg. Campus leaders will be on hand to describe the plans for the quarter and answer your questions, which can be sent before, during or after the Town Hall to uwttownhall@uw.edu.

In light of current and expected coronavirus case counts in Washington, 85% of all class sections on the Tacoma campus will be held online. Only those classes that cannot be taught remotely will be held in person, with all appropriate safety measures and physical distancing in place. The UW Tacoma time schedule has been updated and indicates whether courses and sections will now be taught in person or remotely. Additional changes may occur and these will be updated in the time schedule.

With a few exceptions based on academic program, you have the option to choose an entirely online schedule if you wish. Your academic advisors and course instructors can address questions you may have. While we have every expectation that this will be the schedule in place at the beginning and throughout autumn quarter, we have all seen that the trajectory of the pandemic can change rapidly. Further revisions to our plans could occur if, for example, state or local governments re-introduce more restrictive health measures.

Court 17 Apartments will be open and will welcome a limited number of students with reduced capacity to facilitate physical distancing. All student support services such as advising, counseling and psychological services, disability resources, financial aid and technology support will be offered fully remotely. Student Health Services will continue to be available via our partnership with Franciscan Prompt Care at St. Joseph.

During autumn quarter, the Library will continue to offer virtual services and is planning to provide curbside check-out service of materials and technology. Library facilities in Snoqualmie and Tioga Library Building will remain closed to visitors.

While we are all disappointed that the continued spread of the virus has made most in-person instruction impractical, we continue to be excited about the learning and discovery in store for our academic community. Our faculty and academic support staff have been engaged in developing innovative and creative approaches to online learning. We are looking forward to a meaningful and academically rich autumn, in which our community does its part to protect health and safety.

Students who reside on or come to campus for any purpose must wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in all public spaces, practice hand hygiene and maintain 6-foot physical distancing. All gathering and learning spaces will be routinely sanitized. Neither food nor beverages will be allowed in classrooms or labs. In partnership with the UW’s Seattle campus and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, we are developing a community testing program to help proactively identify and mitigate the spread of the virus. Students will also have ready access to tests if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms or believe that they may have been exposed. Face coverings will be distributed to all students, those who are learning remotely and those who are coming to campus for in-person instruction. We also urge you to invest in your own face coverings in order to rotate them as needed.

As we continue to wrestle with the demands of this extraordinary time, our path forward is challenging. But we are clearly on this journey together and our commitment to each other’s health, learning and diverse perspectives and circumstances must continue to be our north star. We look forward to the day when we can welcome all Huskies back to the UW Tacoma campus to resume the classes and activities we enjoy together.

We are looking forward to seeing you, whether virtually or in person, this fall. Please think carefully about about your choices. The coming quarter holds challenges, but it also promises discoveries and insights both in spite of and because of those challenges, and your achievements will be all the more impressive as a result of what we will overcome together.

Mark A. Pagano, Chancellor
Jill Purdy, Executive Vice Chancellor
Mentha Hynes-Wilson, Vice Chancellor


August 6, 2020 - “NEW FAQ for Autumn 2020,” from Dr. Jeff Cohen, Executive Director, Office of Global Affairs

To: international students

I hope this message finds you well. Earlier today you received a message from Chancellor Pagano with updated information about how the pandemic will affect autumn quarter learning. I wanted to take this opportunity to follow-up on UW Tacoma’s plan for supporting international students during this time. 
 
First, let me say that we are so very pleased that you have decided to begin or continue your education with the University of Washington Tacoma. Whether you are planning to remain in your home country or study within the United States during fall 2020, UW Tacoma is here to support your continued educational success in the coming academic year. 
 
You are valued members of our community. Your contributions to the vitality of our institution are central to our mission. Your hard work and commitment are important not only for your own success, but for the success of UW Tacoma and the communities we serve. While the world struggles to deal with the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, our ability to work collaboratively across cultural and national boundaries is all the more important for our collective well-being. 
 
We recognize and appreciate how the continually changing landscape for international students in the United States is impacting you and your families. Please know that regardless of changes to federal policy, we will continue to work to maintain your access to UW Tacoma and support your academic success. To that end, please know that UW Tacoma’s Office of Global Affairs and our International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) staff are here to support you. 
 
Your options for fall 2020 will depend on your status as a continuing or new UW Tacoma student and whether you are currently inside or outside of the United States. To help you determine the best course of action, ISSS has developed an FAQ, which is available here: www.tacoma.uw.edu/isss/coronavirus
 
In addition, if you are a student beginning your studies at UW Tacoma in fall 2020, in the coming days ISSS staff will be reaching out to you individually to learn more about your situation and help determine the best path forward for you. 
 
If you should have specific questions, please reach out to International Student and Scholar Services at uwtiss@uw.edu.

Jeff Cohen, Executive Director, Office of Global Affairs


August 6, 2020 - “How the pandemic will affect autumn quarter learning,” from Chancellor Pagano

To: faculty, staff

In July, UW President Ana Mari Cauce and Provost Mark Richards committed to communicating, with as much certainty as possible, what to expect at the start of the academic year as we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. As we had feared, COVID-19 has continued to spread in our state and county, and I write today with what we expect to be final plans for autumn quarter classes, information we are also sharing with our students today.

We will hold a Student Town Hall on Friday, Aug. 7, at 11 a.m. You can livestream the Town Hall here: https://youtu.be/2p8-KUo_Xjg. Campus leaders will be on hand to describe the plans for the quarter and answer questions, which can be sent before, during or after the Town Hall to uwttownhall@uw.edu.

In light of current and expected coronavirus case counts in Washington, 85% of all class sections on the Tacoma campus will be held online. Only those classes that cannot be taught remotely will be held in person, with all appropriate safety measures and physical distancing in place. The UW Tacoma time schedule has been updated and indicates whether courses and sections will now be taught in person or remotely. Additional changes may occur and these will be updated in the time schedule.

With a few exceptions based on academic program, students have the option to choose an entirely online schedule if they wish. We urge students to address their questions about their course schedules to their academic advisors and course instructors. While we have every expectation that this will be the schedule in place at the beginning and throughout autumn quarter, we have all seen that the trajectory of the pandemic can change rapidly. Further revisions to our plans could occur if, for example, state or local governments re-introduce more restrictive health measures.

Court 17 Apartments will be open and will welcome a limited number of students with reduced capacity to facilitate physical distancing. All student support services such as advising, counseling and psychological services, disability resources, financial aid and technology support will be offered fully remotely. Student Health Services will continue to be available via our partnership with Franciscan Prompt Care at St. Joseph.

During autumn quarter, the Library will continue to offer virtual services and is planning to provide curbside check-out service of materials and technology. Library facilities in Snoqualmie and Tioga Library Building will remain closed to visitors.

In any instances where UW employees are teaching, conducting research or providing services in-person, we are committed to ensuring that you can do so with the appropriate protective measures and in sanitized spaces. Many employees will continue to work from home throughout the autumn quarter, and we remain committed to supporting all faculty and staff with maximum empathy and flexibility throughout the challenging months ahead. Recognizing that many employees have caregiving responsibilities, UW leadership in Seattle has commissioned a group to provide recommendations on other measures we can take to support caregivers in our UW community.

While we are all disappointed that the continued spread of the virus has made most in-person instruction and on-campus activities impractical, we continue to be excited about the learning and discovery in store for our academic community. So many of you, including faculty academic support staff, have engaged in developing innovative and creative approaches to online learning. Your inspiring commitment to our educational mission ensures we will have a meaningful and academically rich autumn, one in which our community does its part to protect health and safety.

Everyone, including students, who comes to campus for any reason must wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in all public spaces, practice hand hygiene and maintain 6-foot physical distancing. All gathering and learning spaces will be routinely sanitized. Neither food nor beverages will be allowed in classrooms or labs. In partnership with the UW’s Seattle campus and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, we are developing a community testing program to help proactively identify and mitigate the spread of the virus. Face coverings will be available to all employees and will be required in all indoor campus public spaces or when physical distancing outside is not possible. Any faculty and staff who need to be on campus must complete an attestation of good health each day before they arrive and send an email to uwtsafe@uw.edu outlining when and where they will be on campus that day, as has been the case for several months.

As we continue to wrestle with the demands of this extraordinary time, our path forward is challenging. Our commitment to each other’s health as well as the shared mission of our great public University must continue to be our north star. We look forward to the day when we can resume our work of teaching, learning, discovery and service in person. The coming quarter holds challenges, but it also promises excellence and achievements both in spite of and because of those challenges. Your achievements will be all the more impressive as a result of what we will overcome together.

Mark A. Pagano, Chancellor


July 22, 2020 - “Update as we prepare for autumn quarter,” from President Cauce and Provost Richards

To: faculty, staff

We hope you are well and healthy during these difficult times. As we shared in our Back-to-School overview in late June, our planning for autumn quarter is contingent upon our county, state and nation continuing to manage the COVID-19 outbreak. Unfortunately, the current news is not good, and our nation is in the midst of an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases. Infection rates are not quite as alarming in Washington state and King and Pierce counties, but as you are no doubt aware, cases have also increased here.

We acknowledge that our community seeks clarity about how the current increase in cases will impact autumn quarter. In most instances, teaching, research and on-campus work continues to be guided by state and county requirements and your local COVID-19 prevention plans, which we expect to remain in effect for the majority of employees through the fall term. Our research enterprise, including work on a COVID-19 vaccine and antibody research, will also continue — it has never stopped — and research conducted in person will continue to be done in accordance with appropriate safety plans.

It’s also true that conditions continue to be extremely fluid and unpredictable. The degree to which instruction will be online versus in person is top of mind for many. Current plans call for holding the majority of our undergraduate classes, including all classes of more than 50 students, online, pending public health conditions. The Governor also issued a proclamation allowing in-person instruction to proceed starting Aug. 1 with appropriate safety protocols in place, irrespective of county phases. However, based on the evidence we have now, we will likely move even more courses online, possibly to fewer than 10% in-person classes for undergraduates on the Seattle campus. In this scenario, in-person instruction would be heavily weighted toward the kinds of courses in which hands-on and in-person learning is most critical, such as clinical instruction, certain labs, and arts- and performance-based courses. Within UW Medicine and other parts of health sciences graduate education, for example, a large portion of the learning is currently happening in person in hospitals and clinics, and that will likely continue. UW Bothell and UW Tacoma already have the vast majority of all classes offered remotely.

If we do need to scale back in-person instruction, it will be disappointing for all of us. But we, of course, remain wholly committed to ensuring our students can continue their academic progress. We appreciate that faculty, instructors and support staff continue to raise the bar and develop new ways of delivering instruction through high-quality online coursework, academic advising, student services and community-building activities. We also appreciate that clarity regarding changes to course modalities is essential to planning, and we will provide more definitive guidance, including a revised course schedule, about the degree to which instruction will be online or in person no later than Friday, Aug. 7.

State and county officials continue to plan — as do we — for a range of public health scenarios this fall based on the status of the virus. Our University is driven by evidence and facts — relying on accurate information to make decisions is fundamental to who we are. We are fortunate to have some of the world’s most knowledgeable epidemiologists and health-care experts on our faculty and advising us on a daily basis. Their guidance — the “3 Ws” — is clear:

Wear Your Mask. Wash Your Hands. Watch Your Distance.

Thank you for your patience. We’ll be corresponding again soon.

Ana Mari Cauce, President and Professor of Psychology
Mark Richards, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs; Professor, Earth and Space Sciences


July 22, 2020 - “Things to consider as you prepare for autumn quarter,” from President Cauce and Provost Richards

To: students

We hope you are well and safe during these difficult times. As we shared in our Back-to-School overview in late June, all of our planning for autumn quarter is subject to where our county, state and nation are in terms of the COVID-19 outbreak. Unfortunately, the news on this front has not been good. Our nation is in the midst of an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases.

Infection rates are not quite as alarming in Washington state and King and Pierce counties, but cases have increased here. We know this may raise questions for you and your families about what the autumn quarter will entail as you make plans and decisions. Although conditions continue to be extremely fluid and unpredictable, we write today to provide you with the best information and guidance we have and to ensure that you stay as safe as possible while you continue your education.

The vast majority of our classes, including all classes of more than 50 students, are already scheduled for online instruction. However, based on the evidence we have now, we will likely need to move even more courses online, possibly to fewer than 10% in-person classes for undergraduates on the Seattle campus. In this scenario, in-person instruction would be heavily weighted toward courses in which hands-on and in-person learning is most critical, such as clinical instruction, certain labs, and arts- and performance-based courses. Within UW Medicine and other parts of health sciences graduate education, for example, a large portion of learning is currently happening in person in hospitals and clinics, and that will likely continue. UW Bothell and UW Tacoma already have the vast majority of all classes offered remotely.

All activities on campus will continue to be guided by state and county requirements and local COVID-19 prevention plans. The UW’s critical research enterprise, including work on a COVID-19 vaccine and antibody research, will also continue — it has never stopped — and research conducted in person will continue to be done in accordance with appropriate safety plans.

Reducing in-person instruction even further would be disappointing for all of us. But whatever the modality, we remain wholly committed to ensuring students can continue their academic progress. UW faculty, instructors and support staff are continuing to raise the bar and develop new ways of delivering instruction through high-quality online coursework, academic advising, student services and community-building activities. We will provide more definitive guidance about the degree to which instruction will be online or in person, including an updated course schedule, no later than Friday, Aug. 7.

In the meantime, given the rise in cases, we ask you and your families to think seriously about what living situation will make the most sense for you this fall. As we shared last month, residence hall accommodations will remain available, as they have been throughout the pandemic, for those students who desire or require on-campus housing. We are committed to taking every reasonable precaution to keep our community healthy, including creating the safest possible conditions on campus: requiring masks and cultivating community norms that make masking, good hygiene and physical distancing standard practices among students, faculty and staff in our facilities, academic spaces and residence halls. We will also provide robust testing and contact tracing in line with public health guidance.

We do not, however, have jurisdiction over housing that is off campus, including the enforcement of masking and physical distancing that will be the norm in campus facilities. Please think seriously about where you choose to live as well as the choices you make within your living environments. Community safety is a top priority for us, and we will do everything in our power to support healthy and safe behavior for all of our students. But ultimately, it’s the choices you make for yourselves and with your families and friends that will have the greatest impact on your health and safety and the course of this virus.

State and county officials continue to plan for a range of public health scenarios this fall based on the status of the virus. While there are still many unknowns, one thing we know with certainty is that it requires all of us to suppress transmission. Our University is driven by evidence and facts — relying on accurate information to make decisions is fundamental to who we are. We are fortunate to have some of the world’s most knowledgeable epidemiologists and health-care experts on our campus and advising us on a daily basis. They and public health experts across the nation and around the world have given everyone the information needed to slow the virus and operate our campuses and our communities safely. Their guidance — the “3 Ws” — is clear:

Wear Your Mask. Wash Your Hands. Watch Your Distance.

The containment of this virus and eventual reopening of society is in all of our (frequently washed) hands.

Thank you for your patience. We’ll be corresponding again soon.

Ana Mari Cauce, President and Professor of Psychology
Mark Richards, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs; Professor, Earth and Space Sciences


June 29, 2020 - “Previewing autumn quarter at UW Tacoma,” from Chancellor Pagano and Executive Vice Chancellor Purdy

To: students

For those of you preparing to join the Husky community for the first time, welcome! For those of you continuing your academic careers at the University of Washington Tacoma, we look forward to welcoming you back this fall!

We know you and your families are eager to learn more about autumn quarter. Over the past few months, we have been hard at work preparing for how we can be safely together on all three UW campuses while offering robust experiences for students who are not yet able to return in person.

Protecting the health of our community is a responsibility we all share, and we will all need to be flexible. No one can predict with absolute certainty the course the pandemic will take, and if the virus is spreading too quickly in our state it is possible that we may need to pivot to all-remote learning, as we did in spring quarter. All our decisions, policies, and procedures are made in consultation with public health experts and are examined through an equity lens.

Our goal for the fall is to provide a high-quality Husky Experience for every student, inside and outside the classroom, as we prioritize your health and your academic success. Below, we outline autumn quarter instruction, campus health and safety requirements, and an overview of campus life so you can make your plans for the fall.

Because the UW is on the quarter system, our classes start roughly a month later than many schools on the semester system. That means we have a bit more time to finalize course schedules, refine our in-person and remote teaching plans, and prepare our campus for you. Recent reports of rising cases around the country, including here in Tacoma and in Seattle in neighborhoods where students live and are accustomed to gathering, remind us that the coronavirus can spread rapidly when proper precautions aren’t taken. All of what we outline below is based upon Pierce County being in Phase 3 of the state’s Safe Start process, and our plans are aligned with recent guidelines released by Gov. Inslee for colleges and universities in Washington.

Classes and academics

Classes will begin as scheduled on Sept. 30, in a hybrid approach. We are offering as many in-person courses as possible, prioritizing hands-on courses, such as studio and lab courses, and courses for first-year undergraduate and graduate students. You can check the time schedule, which indicates which courses will be taught in-person and which will be taught remotely. The schedule will continue to be updated over the course of the summer as instructors finalize their plans.

To maintain a safe six feet of physical distance among students and instructors, smaller classes will meet in bigger rooms. Larger classes will be taught remotely. Depending on your area of study and where you are in your academic career, you may have several of your classes in person or none. To allow for appropriately distanced passing between classes, we are maximizing the use of spaces with multiple doorways and alternating the use of adjacent classrooms between class periods. Students will not wait outside a classroom for the previous class to leave.

Students who choose not to return to campus, such as for health reasons or difficulty traveling, will be able to continue their academic progress through remote instruction. We will also continue to have computers and other technology available to borrow like we did in the spring. Whether you are studying with us on campus or from home, we’re working to ensure you have the courses and resources needed to progress toward your degree.

We understand students are in different stages along their educational journey, and you can expect communications appropriate to your particular status throughout the summer:

  • Incoming first-year and transfer students will receive more information at summer advising and orientation sessions and as class registration for first-year students begins.
  • Returning undergraduate students will receive more information from their academic programs over the summer as the need arises.
  • Incoming and current graduate and professional students will hear from their individual programs regarding program-specific orientations and expectations, while UW’s Graduate School will offer a general online orientation to all graduate and professional students.
  • International students will receive information from International Student and Scholar Services, given the varying and fluid restrictions on travel from and to many countries.

For all students, many services that help you make the most of your Husky Experience will be available this fall, in-person and remotely, including the UW Libraries and UW Tacoma Library, pre-major and academic advising, career services, Teaching and Learning Center, Center for Equity & Inclusion and disability resources. Other forms of academic support and experiential learning opportunities – such as undergraduate research, community engagement and leadership education experiences – will also proceed. Information about these and all services and programs will be updated online and shared throughout the summer.

Staying healthy

Protecting your health – and the health of your families and friends – will take a commitment from every one of us. Maintaining physical distancing may be tough, especially when you are meeting with friends or collaborating on projects and studying. But it is one of the most reliable ways to avoid spreading – or contracting – COVID-19. We expect all students to do their part.

To help us all stay safe, the state of Washington and UW have established a number of best practices and policies, including requiring students, employees and visitors to wear masks when they are indoors near other people and outdoors if people are unable to stay six feet apart. Health services are provided to UW Tacoma students through a partnership with CHI Franciscan. The Student Health Services Franciscan Prompt Care clinic is currently open and will remain ready to fully serve students’ medical needs, including COVID-19 testing. Contact tracing and voluntary expanded testing to spot any potential outbreaks early will also be part of our campus protocols. Contact tracing is already in place in partnership with UW’s Environmental Health and Safety unit. A University-wide testing protocol is in development with faculty and clinical experts and will be finalized soon. This includes planning for expanded testing on or near the UW Tacoma campus.

We will expect all students to practice the good and now familiar hygiene recommendations of public health officials: washing your hands often, using hand sanitizer and monitoring your temperature and other changes to your health.

If you get sick, we will require you to stay wherever you are living – on or off campus -- and away from common areas and other people. For those who live on campus, we will have residence hall rooms set aside for students who test positive for COVID-19 and need a place to isolate while recovering. In addition to the Franciscan Prompt Care clinic, Counseling and Psychological Services will continue to be offered in-person and remotely for students.

Any student who tests positive for COVID-19 should immediately contact Dr. Bernard Anderson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Life, for appropriate contact tracing follow-up and support.

Housing

We look forward to welcoming students back to campus housing. Those who have applied to live on campus will begin receiving communications outlining the next steps in the assignment process from Housing & Residence Life, including information regarding room assignments and the use of community spaces, as well as other details about life on campus.

Student clubs, activities

We know that being in community with others is important, especially during these challenging times. Whether you live on or near campus this autumn or decide to take courses remotely, we encourage you to participate fully in your experience. Student clubs and organizations will meet virtually and, when possible, in person, and the University Y Student Center will be open, with adherence to public health guidelines to protect your health and the health of our employees.

Campus gathering and study spaces

Gathering and study spaces such as the Mattress Factory, the UW Tacoma Library, the Center for Equity & Inclusion, the Veterans & Military Resource Center and other facilities are being prepared to be open for in-person services and meetings. Physical distancing guidelines for various facilities will be posted and available this fall directly from these facilities and offices.

More questions?

Join UW Tacoma leaders for a UW Tacoma Back-to-School Town Hall at 12:30 on Monday, July 13. Send your questions in advance to uwttownhall@uw.edu. A recording will be posted following the Town Hall.

You can also visit tacoma.uw.edu/coronavirus and uw.edu/coronavirus for up-to-date information and resources. And, as always, you can consult with your school for more information specific to your academic program.

Whether you are a first-time UW student or are continuing your academic career, by taking these and other simple steps, we can unite as Huskies on our campuses and worldwide, and continue our journey together, safely. Thank you for your resilience during these extraordinary times.

Mark A. Pagano, Chancellor

Jill Purdy, Executive Vice Chancellor


June 29, 2020 - “New details on our plans for autumn quarter,” from Chancellor Pagano and Executive Vice Chancellor Purdy

To: Faculty and staff

Over the past few months, people across the University have been hard at work preparing for how we can be safely together on our campuses when conditions in our region allow us to do so. We are now able to share more details about plans for autumn quarter. We are also sharing similar information with our new and returning students, as well as their families.

Protecting the health of our community is a responsibility we all share, and we will all need to be flexible. No one can predict with absolute certainty the course the pandemic will take, and if the virus is spreading too quickly in our state, it is possible that we may need to pivot to all-remote learning, as we did in spring quarter. All our plans for autumn quarter are based upon Pierce County being in Phase 3 of the state’s Safe Start process by then, and our plans are aligned with guidelines recently released by Governor Inslee for colleges and universities in our state.

UW Tacoma’s public, urban-serving mission is important to many people. Our goal for the fall is to provide a high-quality Husky Experience for every student, inside and outside the classroom, to support the vital educational, service and research missions of the UW.

Classes and academics

Classes will begin as scheduled on Sept. 30, in a hybrid approach. We are offering as many in-person courses as possible, prioritizing hands-on courses, such as studio and lab courses, and courses for first-year undergraduate and graduate students. The time schedule has been updated for most courses to indicate which will be taught in-person and which remotely. Schools will continue to update the schedule over the course of the summer as they finalize their plans, and you can read more about how courses were prioritized in a message sent to instructors on Friday.

To maintain a safe six feet of physical distance among students and instructors, smaller classes will meet in bigger rooms. Larger classes will be taught remotely. To allow for appropriately distanced passing between classes, we are maximizing the use of spaces with multiple doorways and alternating the use of adjacent classrooms between class periods. Students will not need to wait outside a classroom for the previous class to leave.

Students who choose not to return to campus, such as for health reasons or because of travel considerations, will be able to continue their academic progress through remote instruction. Additionally, we will continue to have computers and other technology available to borrow like we did in the spring, and the many services that help students make the most of their Husky Experience will be available this fall both for students studying on campus and those studying remotely.

Staying healthy

Protecting our health and the health of our community will take a commitment from every one of us. We will expect all UW students to do their part, and for each of us to model best practices.

All our decisions, policies, and procedures are based on consultation with public health experts and are examined through an equity lens. We recognize that every individual’s circumstances are different, and we know that some of us have underlying health conditions that put us more at risk for contracting COVID-19. For those employees at higher risk, or who become ill with the disease, accommodations can be requested through UW Tacoma Human Resources and Academic Human Resources in the same manner as other accommodations.

Each unit is completing a COVID-19 Prevention Plan and Safe Start Checklist, which details how it will protect its students and employees when we are able to return more people to campus. You can also find information and resources from the Back to the Workplace taskforce, including details on enhanced cleaning and a training video for all employees.

Additionally, the state of Washington and UW have established best practices and policies, including requiring students, employees and visitors to wear masks when they are indoors near other people and outdoors if people are unable to stay six feet apart. Contact tracing and voluntary expanded testing to spot any potential outbreaks early will also be part of our campus protocols. A University-wide testing protocol is in development with faculty and clinical experts and will be finalized soon. This includes planning for expanded testing on or near the UW Tacoma campus.

We will expect everyone to practice the good and now familiar hygiene recommendations of public health officials: washing your hands often, using hand sanitizer and monitoring your temperature and other changes to your health.

Students, staff and faculty who get sick now and in the fall must stay home and self-isolate. Employees should follow their normal department procedure for calling out sick, and are also required to contact an Employee Health Center should they test positive for or be suspected to have COVID-19. For students who live on campus, we will have residence hall rooms set aside for those who test positive for COVID-19 and need a place to isolate while recovering.

Housing

We will welcome students back to campus housing and those who have applied to live on campus will receive communications regarding next steps in the assignment process from Housing & Residence Life, including information about room assignments and the use of community spaces, as well as other details about life on campus.

Campus gathering spaces

Gathering and study spaces such as the Mattress Factory, the UW Tacoma Library, the Center for Equity & Inclusion, the Veterans & Military Resource Center and other facilities are being prepared to be open for in-person services and meetings. Physical distancing guidelines for various facilities will be posted and available this fall directly from these facilities and offices.

More questions?

Join UW Tacoma leaders for a UW Tacoma Back-to-
School Town Hall
 at 12:30 on Monday, July 13. Send your questions in advance to uwttownhall@uw.edu. A recording will be posted following the Town Hall.

UW leaders in Seattle will hold an online Back To School Town Hall at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, July 10. Send your questions in advance to presofuw@uw.edu. A recording will be posted following the Town Hall.

You can also visit tacoma.uw.edu/coronavirus and uw.edu/coronavirus for up-to-date information and resources. And, as always, you can consult with your school for more information specific to your academic program.

These are extraordinary times and it has involved a herculean effort across the University to respond to this pandemic while also planning for the future. Thank you for your service to our students and community. Our collective efforts will enable us to unite as Huskies here at UW Tacoma and in our community, advancing our shared mission and continuing our journey together, safely.

Mark A. Pagano, Chancellor

Jill Purdy, Executive Vice Chancellor


Apr. 16, 2020 - “UW Tacoma Class of 2020 Commencement - Online and On Stage,” from Chancellor Pagano and Vice Chancellor Hynes-Wilson

To: Members of the Class of 2020

As you may have read in a recent message from UW President Ana Mari Cauce, all three UW campuses will celebrate our graduates this year with a virtual commencement on June 13, 2020.

This decision was made in consultation with student, faculty and staff leaders on all three campuses and the UW Board of Regents. It was a very difficult decision because we all know how important commencement is as a celebration of the accomplishments of our graduates.

A virtual celebration will not be the same as our traditional event at the Tacoma Dome. But we must protect the health of students, families and our community by not holding an in-person event until the danger from the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. The virtual event will be a live, interactive webcast drawing on the resources of all three UW campuses. It will be the first time all three campuses celebrate commencement together, and it will also be a time for UW Tacoma to celebrate what makes us special.

Graduates of the Class of 2020 are also invited and encouraged to fully participate in an in-person commencement ceremony at UW Tacoma in 2021, where we look forward to recognizing you and the sacrifices you have made. The ceremony will be a well-earned opportunity for you to walk across the stage with your classmates in front of your loved ones.

We are still working to determine whether your in-person commencement will be included as part of the class of 2021's commencement ceremony, or grow into its own separate ceremony if enough of you decide to return for the event, as we hope you will. The postponement to June 2021 gives us ample time to work with you on how you would like this event to take shape.

You will find the latest updates on the UW Tacoma Class of 2020 Commencement website, and you can help by taking this brief survey to tell us what is the most important thing we can do to make the virtual ceremony meaningful for you.

We want to invite the entire Class of 2020 and their loved ones to take part in BOTH the virtual ceremony this June and their choice of UW Tacoma commencements in 2021, 2022, 2023 or 2024. Whether online or on stage, the Class of 2020 will be celebrated and recognized as the unique and wonderful Class it is.

As we are sure is true for you, we each are personally experiencing countless ways that people around us are rising to the occasion and employing their ingenuity to express themselves and move forward in this challenging time. Although it won’t be in-person, we can guarantee this year’s virtual commencement will be a unique experience, unlike any that has come before. Join us for what promises to be a unique and dynamic celebration of the Class of 2020!

Mark A. Pagano, Chancellor

Mentha Hynes-WIlson, Vice Chancellor


Mar. 26, 2020 - “Equity & Inclusion Online Resources and COVID-19,” from Assistant Chancellor James McShay

To: faculty, staff

As we continue to navigate through the changes that COVID-19 has brought to our communities, region and beyond, the Office of Equity & Inclusion is committed to supporting you by sharing resources and information in order to help build a supportive, inclusive, and informed community. In times of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever that we ensure that all our decision-making and practices as a community be grounded in our institutional values of diversity, equity and social justice. It also means that we should be cognizant about how this public health crisis exacerbates the impact of historically rooted systems and ideologies that have promoted discrimination and social inequality among groups due to their race, ethnicity, gender, social economic class, nationality, religion, and their other intersecting identities.

With that said, recent news reports of Asian and Asian American people being targeted and victimized due to COVID-19 are deeply troubling. The widespread stigmatization of this community calls for us to stand firm in denouncing and combating the xenophobia and racism directed at members of the Asian and Asian American community as well as be in solidarity with them and all other minoritized groups who have experienced harm through this public health crisis. As we prepare for our transition to engaging with one another in virtual learning and working environments, it’s important that we be intentional in promoting a sense of belonging and community for all students, faculty, and staff. Moreover, we should act with diligence by identifying and removing hidden barriers that prevent our community from bringing their whole selves into online spaces.

In order to help foster a community of care and solidarity as we work together in virtual spaces, the Office of Equity & Inclusion, in collaboration with partners across campus, has compiled the following list of resources designed to promote equity and inclusiveness in online settings. In the coming days, Equity & Inclusion will establish a page on its website that will house this information going forward. If you have additional resources that you would like to share with our community, please send them to Sara Contreras at saracc@uw.edu.

If you have experienced bias or discrimination during in-person or virtual encounters with other individuals, please consider using the following campus resources:

Please continue to take care of yourselves and others as we strive to stay in community, stay grounded by our values of diversity, equity and inclusion, and, most of all, stay hopeful.

James C. McShay, Assistant Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion


Mar. 26, 2020 - “UW Tacoma has restricted operations to comply with Stay Home, Stay Healthy,” from Chancellor Mark Pagano

I am writing to clarify how UW Tacoma is adjusting campus operations to comply with Governor Jay Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.

As UW President Ana Mari Cauce communicated in her recent message, the UW has been on modified operations and is now moving to restricted operations. Teleworking is no longer strongly encouraged or strongly suggested, it is mandatory for employees who can do so without hampering critical operations.

Effective March 26 through April 6, 2020, or longer if the Governor’s proclamation is extended, UW Tacoma campus buildings will generally only be accessible to critical personnel so that we can ensure the campus remains clean and safe. I have been working with our leadership team to define who on our campus meets the criteria for designation as critical. Supervisors are in the process of contacting those personnel now.

President Cauce has stated that preparations for remote learning during spring quarter are authorized to continue, including faculty and teaching assistants who periodically need to access on-campus technologies to prepare lectures and coursework. Likewise, Vice Provost Mary Lidstrom has provided guidelines that must be met for in-person research activities to continue.

In order to facilitate this limited access, and to sustain our custodial and campus safety personnel as they work to keep our campus clean and safe, Executive Vice Chancellor Jill Purdy has established an access request process that has been shared with faculty.

Thank you for your understanding, and please STAY HOME so all of us can STAY HEALTHY.

Mark A. Pagano, Chancellor


Mar. 24, 2020 - “How to stay home and stay healthy during spring quarter,” from Vice Chancellor Mentha Hynes-Wilson

To: students

I want you to know that I appreciate your attention to the numerous communications from the University about COVID 19. I understand the worry that this virus and its consequences has created and my top priority remains your health, safety and well-being.

It is natural to feel stress and uncertainty during these times. However, I also want you to know that all of us at the UW are staying abreast of developments and are working tirelessly to ensure that our students are front of mind as we constantly adapt to this evolving situation. One important recent development is the stay-at-home order issued by Governor Inslee last night.

Stay-at-home order: What does it mean?
Essentially, the Governor’s order requires every Washingtonian to stay in their residence unless they need to pursue an essential activity such as going to the grocery store, for health care needs, and for other critical needs. It also bans all gatherings for social, spiritual, and recreational purposes, as well as closes all businesses except essential businesses. However, there are some things you can do:

  • Grocery stores, gas stations, and pharmacies remain open. 
  • You can still go to restaurants for take-out only.
  • Feel free to go outside for activities such as walking or exercise, but it is important to keep at least six feet of distance from other people.
  • Move from your residence hall and return home to your primary residence.

Additionally, on the UW’s COVID-19 information page, we continue to share important information about community impact, university response, and health tips. The key health prevention measures have remained consistent, and include:

  • Washing hands often with soap and water for a least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer, with 60-95% alcohol if water is not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and immediately dispose of the used tissue.

Taking care of yourself

Now more than ever, it is critical that you take care of yourself so you can stay well and be there for others. Most UW and UW Tacoma offices remain available to you through remote means. Additionally, here is some information from UW Tacoma Counseling and Psychological Services that may prove useful:

Pay attention to your reactions: It is normal to experience stress, anger, anxiety, and fear during a crisis. Being aware of your reactions can help you decide what you need to cope with these feelings.

Be kind to each other: Remember that COVID-19 doesn’t recognize race, nationality, or ethnicity. Wearing a mask does not mean a person is ill. Being compassionate is the best thing we can do for ourselves and our communities.

Take a break and relax: There is life outside of the current crisis. Make sure to schedule a break and relax or do things you enjoy such as meditation, listening to music, coloring, etc. Different coping strategies work for different people; use what has worked for you in previous times of stress.

Maintain a healthy routine: It is important to maintain your regular schedule for sleeping, eating, studying, working, socializing, etc. Don't use nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs to cope with your stress – these may in fact reduce your body's capacity to heal itself.

Limit information: Too much information leads to overload and more stress, so try to limit your exposure to news and information regarding the virus. Choose a reputable and non-sensational news source such as the CDC or Tacoma-Pierce County Health department.

Connect with others: When in distress, you may feel lonely and isolated in what you are going through. You can benefit from connection with others where you can provide and receive support from each other. Talk to your friends and family.

Staying safe
We have found that when there are fewer people on or near the Tacoma campus, safety becomes of greater concern. To help keep you safe, we ask that you:

  • Be aware of your surrounding and what is going on around you.
  • Stay in well-lighted areas as much as possible.          
  • Remove yourself from potentially dangerous situations as soon as possible.                         

 If you suspect criminal activity, here is some helpful information to pass on to the police:               

  • Clothing descriptors: Look for layers under the visible layer, other distinctive identifiers, etc.        
  • Physical characteristics: Height, weight, eye and hair color, mannerisms, scars, or tattoos.              
  • Direction of travel.

Contact UW Tacoma Campus Safety and Security at 253-692-4416 for additional crime prevention information.

Moving forward together

These are distressing times for all of us, and while these conditions will pass in time, the disruption to our day-to-day living will undoubtedly affect each of us at different times and in different ways.

Together we will work through these distressing times with resilience, compassion, and strength and I ask you to observe the Governor’s order: Stay Home and Stay Healthy.

Mentha Hynes-Wilson, Vice Chancellor


Mar. 24, 2020 - “Impact of new COVID-19 measures on UW operations,” from UW President Ana Mari Cauce

To: faculty, staff

Yesterday, Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee issued a new “ Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order strengthening mandates already in place to encourage social distancing, a crucial measure for slowing the spread of COVID-19. While the Governor’s directive includes important new requirements, here at the University of Washington, we are already operating with many of these rules in place. This new directive does, however, require additional efforts to ensure that our region’s efforts to “flatten the curve” are successful. I thank you all for your ongoing flexibility and support of one another.

The UW has been on modified operations, and we are now moving to restricted operations. As a reminder, our campuses never close, and our hospitals, clinics, critical research and limited residential operations continue. Spring quarter will start next Monday, March 30, with classes held remotely. All preparations for remote learning during spring quarter are authorized to continue, including for faculty and teaching assistants who periodically need to access on-campus technologies to prepare lectures and coursework. Already, we are seeing how the creative, thoughtful work of our faculty moving instruction to online and remote tools is giving students access to instruction and coursework.

Most UW employees who can work from home are already doing so. With this new order, all employees who can telework without hampering critical operations must do so. Teleworking is no longer strongly encouraged or strongly suggested; it is mandatory for employees who can do so without hampering critical operations.

Mission-critical research as well as essential functions to serve and protect students who still reside on campus will continue. Supervisors, principal investigators and facility managers will receive additional guidance today about what this new directive means for critical employees as well as the operations of labs and research. And, of course, our heroic frontline health-care providers and the vital staff members who support them will continue their work enabling the testing, treatment and research needed to fight this pandemic and meet the critical health-care needs that occur in ordinary times. For the many people in our Husky family who have asked how they can support our UW health-care workers and others in our community who are being impacted by this virus, we have compiled some suggestions for how you can help.

In his message to the state, Governor Inslee reminded us that “the less time we spend together in public, the more lives we will save.” Our UW community is defined by our values and our commitment to putting those values into action — through our work, service and, sometimes, our sacrifices. At a time like this, I feel more acutely than ever what it means to be a member of this strong, generous, courageous family. And I know that together, we can save lives and help end this crisis. On behalf of all of us, please, STAY AT HOME so all of us can STAY HEALTHY.

Ana Mari Cauce, President, Professor of Psychology


Mar. 24, 2020 - “Research update on ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ directive,” from UW Vice Provost Mary Lidstrom

To: research administrators, associate deans for research and other research leaders

I’m writing to provide clarity for research activities, after Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation yesterday evening. Note, this message does not apply to clinical activities, only research activities.

Let me start by stating that the University is not closed. The directive allows for all research carried out remotely to continue, and in addition, for critical in-person research to continue, with additional restrictions and important requirements noted below. In accordance with these directives, we ask that the number of people working at their usual place of work be kept to a minimum. While the Stay Home, Stay Healthy directive will add some additional and enhanced restrictions, for the most part, strict adherence to advice already in place will be sufficient to maintain critical research operations.

Note, the Stay Home, Stay Healthy directive takes effect 5:00 pm tomorrow, March 25, and will be in effect for 2 weeks, until 5:00 pm on April 8.

Please note the following:

  1. Should every researcher at the University of Washington stay home?

Every researcher who can work remotely, must stay home for the next two weeks. At the same time, the Governor has noted that research is critically important to curb the pandemic and to assist in recovery afterwards. In many cases, that work can only continue with in-person effort. In addition, some critical in-person research functions must continue, such as maintaining animals, taking care of sensitive equipment, and monitoring for safety. This work must be carried out by designated critical personnel, who should already be identified in your Continuity and Recovery Plans. I encourage you to review your protocols and plan accordingly.

We expect you to provide maximum flexibility to support at home work for research personnel. At home they can conduct literature reviews, data analysis, and write papers and other documents; they can participate in lab meetings and meetings with research personnel via Zoom, conference call or other remote methods, and they can complete online training requirements for research. There must be no expectation that personnel come to campus or to their usual workplace to conduct any research activities that can be adapted to telework.

Remember, anyone who is sick must stay home. In addition, anyone experiencing symptoms that may be related to COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, respiratory symptoms) should contact your healthcare provider and then notify the Environmental Health and Safety Department’s (EH&S) Employee Health Center at emphlth@uw.edu. Anyone who has been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case must stay home for 14 days since their last contact with that person If someone showing symptoms or self-isolating is designated as critical personnel, an alternate must be identified.

  1. What areas of in-person research are still allowed and what restrictions are in place?

The goal of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy directive is to minimize the amount of close contact between people for the next two weeks. Some in-person research is still allowed, but only if it is possible to maintain appropriate safety standards:

  • social distancing of at least 6 feet
  • frequent laboratory decontamination procedures
  • personal safety with appropriate personal protective equipment and frequent hand-washing

If you cannot maintain these standards, you may not continue to operate in-person research projects and must either ramp down your research efforts to a level meeting safety standards or shut down your research entirely.

Types of in-person research that are allowed, if they can meet the safety standards noted above:

  • research that will help deal with the pandemic
  • public health research
  • research that will help the nation recover after the pandemic eases
  • research that is essential to meet thesis requirements for a final defense in Spring Quarter, or requirements of a new position that has already been accepted
  • long-term experiments, or maintaining vital equipment, cell lines, animals, and other time-sensitive research items, for which a pause would cause undue harm and/or cost
  • facilities that support the work noted in the above bullets

The Office of Research has developed a checklist to assist researchers in determining whether their in-person research is allowed.

The in-person research noted above is allowed, but no research personnel may be required or pressured to come to campus or to their usual work location or go into the field, unless they are designated critical personnel, required to maintain critical operations (see above). All other research personnel must be given the option to work remotely for the next two weeks (see point 3 below).

Three conditions must be met for you to continue in-person research:

  1. Your research falls under the allowable categories
  2. You are able to follow the required safety standards
  3. Personnel are available and willing to carry out the work

If your research meets these conditions for in-person work, here are guidelines:

  • Minimize the number of researchers in the laboratory or other facility at any one time. The concept of a “skeleton crew” should be in place, but it could be a rotating crew. In that case, scheduling is critical.
  • Maintain whatever work is essential to ensure that when restrictions are lifted, a rapid return to normal will be possible. For instance, if completely shutting down a piece of equipment will require extensive efforts to start it up again, minimal effort in maintaining such equipment is allowed.

The Office of Research will be providing further guidance soon, including who to contact with questions. For now, you are allowed to finish in-person experiments for the next 48 hours, but should only start new experiments or finish longer-term experiments if the above conditions are met. While we can offer no guarantees, we will be working with funding agencies on these issues in the weeks and months to come. We are optimistic that most funding agencies will be flexible given these unprecedented circumstances. It is widely understood that the research enterprise is critical to our region’s and our country’s well being now and over the long term.

If you feel that the best course of action for your research group is to ramp down your research activities or shut them down entirely, you should do so. You are not required to keep your research activities open. If you do ramp down or shut down, please see the Research Shutdown Checklist.

  1. How will research personnel of any type (students, postdocs, staff, faculty) be paid if their work cannot be done remotely from home for the next two weeks?

We expect those instances will be rare, given the nature of inquiry and the authority you have to exercise flexibility within the research enterprise. Our goal remains to keep as many employees working, paid and connected to UW benefits as we possibly can during this disruption. In cases in which absolutely no remote work is possible, HR and Academic HR are working on guidance.

Finally, thank you. We recognize how challenging these times are, and appreciate all of the work that you do to keep this university moving forward.  We will do everything we can to help you.

Mary Lidstrom, Vice Provost for Research


Mar. 20, 2020 - “All official UW travel outside of the United States is restricted until further notice,” from UW Provost Mark Richards

To: faculty, staff, students

I am writing to communicate new restrictions on official UW student and employee travel due to the COVID-19 outbreak. On March 19, 2020, the U.S. Department of State issued a global “Level 4: Do Not Travel” health advisory. The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return.

As a result of this new advisory:

  • All official travel outside the United States by University of Washington employees and students is restricted until further notice, effective immediately.
  • No exceptions to this restriction will be made as the UW travel waiver process has also been suspended.
  • No UW funds can be used to support any travel outside the United States until further notice.
  • Because of insurance exclusions triggered by a Department of State Level 4 travel advisory, UW-sponsored travel insurance and emergency assistance will not be available for any new travel.
  • The UW Office of Global Affairs website provides more details and resources for travelers currently outside the United States.

These restrictions do not apply to personal travel. However, we strongly encourage you to review applicable travel warnings and in-country restrictions for your destination. We are uncertain on how long these travel restrictions will last so it is important to be well-informed before you travel.

We are deeply concerned about members of the Husky community who are currently stuck outside the U.S. due to travel restrictions imposed by various nations. Be sure to connect with the embassy of your nationality in case you need emergency assistance. If you haven’t done so already, sign up for the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive updates directly from the Embassy (you can sign up for STEP even if you are not a U.S. citizen).

If you are currently abroad, you may face a situation where you have to remain where you are for a period of time. This is referred to as “sheltering in place.” If you must shelter in place, acquire safe food and water supplies to last you several days (ideally two weeks) in case of acute shortages. The UW Global Travel Security team is in communication with UW travelers outside the U.S. to offer support and resources.

For all Huskies here and abroad, remember:

  1. Clean your hands often.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  3. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  4. Put distance between yourself and other people — at least six feet — and do not gather in groups.
  5. Sneeze or cough into a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
  6. Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.

The Husky community is a global community, and we are deeply saddened by the circumstances that make this travel restriction necessary. The University of Washington is a global University — now and always — and we look forward to a bright future in which our students, faculty and staff are again traveling the world in pursuit of discovery and in service to humanity.

Mark Richards, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs


Mar. 20, 2020 - “We are here for you during spring quarter," from Chancellor Mark Pagano

To: faculty, staff, students

In a series of messages yesterday, UW leaders communicated details about how spring quarter will progress at the University of Washington. You can read messages to faculty and staff,  to students, and to parents and families from UW President Ana Mari Cauce, to instructors from Provost Mark Richards and Faculty Senate Chair Joseph Janes, and to researchers from Vice Provost Mary Lidstrom.

Spring quarter will proceed as scheduled on March 30, with remote instruction that will continue through the end of the quarter on June 12. As the quarter begins, students and instructors will work together to establish class norms for teaching and learning remotely. Instructors will offer a grace period, with no graded work due during the first week.

There are many other details about how spring quarter will proceed. You will find useful information in a special spring quarter FAQ, in a continuously-updated COVID-19 FAQ and in UW Tacoma’s Coronavirus/COVID-19 Facts and Resources page.

I’m writing to you today, though, to communicate something that I feel is very important for you to know: We are here for you! We are all going through this together and we will get through to the other side.

I know the constant infusion of new developments and updated information is daunting. This situation definitely creates feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. I, like you, am worried for my loved ones: my wife who is with me, and my children, my mother, and my siblings who live far out of reach.

But I am certain that we as a community together (6 feet, after all, is such a small distance) will not only come out on the other side of this pandemic, but we also will grow on the way through: in learning, in teaching, and in our understanding and support of one another.

Yesterday, March 19, we held the first of what will be a series of Virtual Town Halls. From our remote locations in our homes and offices, UW Tacoma leaders came together via a Zoom meeting that was livestreamed on YouTube. We learned a lot: How to use (and not use) the technology, the etiquette of the online environment and the little touches that make the online realm a warmer, more inviting place (shout out to virtual backgrounds!).

I encourage you to watch the Virtual Town Hall at your convenience. It is about an hour long and in that time we answered about 20 questions that were submitted by viewers. It is not too late to submit your own questions at uwttownhall@uw.edu.

We encourage your questions. We will read every one of them and try to get the answers. If we are unable to contact you directly with a response, we will update the UW Tacoma Coronavirus/COVID-19 Facts and Resources page with the information as soon as we have it.

There are still numerous questions that we just do not know the answers to yet, but I know there are many people at the UW and here at UW Tacoma who are working tirelessly to get those answers for you.

I share President Cauce’s gratitude for your patience, flexibility and dedication. Like her, what I will remember most from this time is the strength, courage and resolve of our UW Tacoma and Husky communities. Let’s all be kind to one another and proactive about our own health and the health of those in our care.

We will get through this together.

Mark A. Pagano, Chancellor


Mar. 18, 2020 - “Information for instructors regarding teaching remotely spring quarter,” from UW Provost Mark Richards and UW Faculty Senate Chair Joseph Janes

In this challenging time, we continue to be inspired by the resiliency, dedication and creativity of you, our instructors. At the end of winter quarter, you quickly transitioned, concluding your courses and final exams remotely in order to give your students the best academic experience possible. Because of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, we must pivot again and deliver all of our courses remotely for spring quarter in order to protect the health of our students, faculty, staff and community. We must strive to “flatten the curve” and help the outbreak subside, while continuing to educate our students as best we can.

Through this, we must remember that a UW education, whether delivered in-person or online, is still an excellent education. UW faculty have always developed and delivered exceptional traditional, hybrid and online courses by drawing on their scholarly and pedagogical expertise. The challenges we face require that we draw upon this expertise and reflect upon our commitment to the wellness and success of our students and of the UW community as a whole. We write today to provide more information on the instructional program for spring quarter and how, together, we will continue the vital work of our University.

Classes and instruction will be delivered remotely throughout spring quarter

Spring quarter will begin as scheduled on March 30, with fully remote instruction that will continue through the quarter, which will end as scheduled, after final exams conclude on June 12, 2020. In-person classes will not be held. Our intent is to offer as many currently scheduled spring quarter courses as is reasonable. In some cases this will not be possible, and certain courses may have to be cancelled altogether, but we will make rescheduling those courses a priority for summer and fall quarters. All of us are deeply committed to helping our students make progress towards their degrees, and to ensuring that students graduate in a timely manner. This change to remote instruction will require significant adjustments in course pedagogy and delivery; at the same time, it represents the best way to maintain the instructional mission of the University.

In cases where a student may require a spring quarter course for June graduation that, due to its nature, had to be cancelled, departments will be urged to either waive the requirement or identify substitute courses that satisfy degree requirements.

Recognizing that changing to remote instruction presents a series of challenges, we ask that you follow these guidelines as you develop your courses:

  • For undergraduate courses, treat the first week of the course as transitional. Together, you and your students are exploring – and learning – what it means to teach and learn remotely. Test the technology in a low-stakes manner. If your class is meeting synchronously (for example, through video conferencing), use the first meeting to review your course syllabus and discuss learning goals. This will allow you to “kick the tires” on the technology, assess connectivity challenges and provide a smooth transition to remote instruction. Please note that the first week must include instruction in order to meet accreditation and financial aid requirements.
  • Require graded assignments only after the first week of spring quarter in order to allow your students and yourself time to adapt without the pressure of graded work.
  • Craft a course that is sustainable and practical, and one that allows your students to achieve defined learning outcomes. Online instruction can be extremely effective, but it takes time and resources to optimize. We are asking you to do something different: transition your in-person courses to remote learning. We are not asking you to develop a highly-polished, complete online course ready for day one of instruction. Instead, we ask that you implement a viable and sustainable pedagogical and technological approach that will allow for remote delivery of your course. This way of teaching will be new to many of us, and there will be differences by field, discipline and the pedagogical styles we are familiar and comfortable with. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good! Pace yourself (and your students), as this will be a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Communicate with students frequently, clearly and effectively especially when you make changes to content, assignments, policies, etc. We’re all now meeting brand new groups of students who don’t yet know us, and many students are now removed from campus, so your presence will be even more critical than usual.
  • Think of ways to build community within your classes using group chat, online office hours, threaded discussion and activities where students can interact and build a sense of community.
  • Take advantage of centrally-provided, remote-instruction resources that are available through the Center for Teaching and Learning. In addition to advice on using Canvas, Panopto and Zoom, this site provides best practices for remote instruction and links to tutorials and technical help.
  • Supplement central instructional support by identifying resources within your academic unit as you develop your courses. Many of your colleagues are familiar with instructional technology and can help you identify the best approach for your course. Departmental IT staff can be extremely useful in helping you get started using instructional technologies. Some units have education research programs or online education programs that can provide you with expert advice. We’ve already seen many examples of great ideas being shared within and between departments and programs, and no doubt that will continue.

We understand this transition is complicated, but this is also a moment of opportunity to explore alternative approaches to instruction that promote student learning. Ultimately, your efforts will help our students achieve the academic goals they set before the challenges presented by the coronavirus outbreak. Working together, and in a spirit of collegiality, sharing and occasional good humor, we will all be working to support student academic success.

Mark Richards, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs; Professor, Earth and Space Sciences
Joseph Janes, Chair, Faculty Senate; Associate Professor, Information School


Mar. 18, 2020 - “Updated guidance and resources for UW researchers,” from UW Vice Provost Mary Lidstrom

First, let me thank you for the extraordinary work you are doing to support your research groups through this unprecedented time. As you have probably heard, the UW will be holding classes online for the duration of spring quarter, and you are likely wondering what that will mean for research. Even as many research universities around the country close their research facilities and buildings, I want to assure you that the UW is doing everything possible to keep our research programs open and productive, while also protecting the health and safety of our students, postdocs, faculty, and staff.

My goal in this communication is to provide you with guidance and resources to help you in planning during this time when constraints due to COVID-19 are constantly evolving and changing how we conduct research. How we plan can minimize the negative impact we may experience. Here is how you can help.

Research Considerations

  • Make sure your research business continuity plan is up to date and share it with your group. Consider documenting critical step-by-step instructions.
  • Please encourage everyone in your research group to work at home if they can. It is a great time to analyze data, write proposals and progress reports, and get caught up on manuscripts (especially working on that review you have been wanting to write). Students may be able to write the first chapter or two of their thesis, or work on a portion of an upcoming progress report or General Exam document. I encourage you to set up journal clubs and hold them remotely, if you have not already done so.
  • Discuss plans with each member of your research team; it may be useful to have a regular remote check-in on weekly plans and progress. Remember, everyone should be able to find a way to stay productive even if they are working at home (see HR policy and advice).
  • For those who continue working at UW research facilities, remind them to NOT COME IN IF THEY ARE SICK, and encourage frequent hand-washing.
  • Maintain social distancing. If it is difficult to maintain social distance due to crowding, you will need to work out shifts and set up schedules so that the number of people working at any one time does not preclude the ability to keep social distance. Ensure that research team members are able to arrange personal interactions to maintain a comfortable six-foot distance from each other.
  • Cross-train research staff to fill in for others who may be out sick or unable to come to work.
  • Remember to be as accommodating as possible for the members of your research team; each person will have unique circumstances. Regular and frequent communication is key for your research group.
  • If you feel that the best course of action for your research group is to ramp down your research activities, you should do so. Every situation will be different. If you do begin to ramp down, please be sure to address the issues noted below in the section, “Guidance for the Possibility of a Research Facility Shutdown.”

Office of Sponsored Programs and Human Subjects Division

The Office of Research has continuity plans in place so our work can continue. OSP is able to access all UW and sponsor systems remotely to e-support proposal handling, award acceptance, issuance of subawards, handling of non-award agreements, and pre- and post-award activities. HSD and the UW IRBs are fully functional and operating remotely at our standard capacity, however, please look for further messaging from HSD regarding a temporary halt of some human subjects research. Priority will be given to inquiries, requests, applications, and modifications related to SARS-COV-2 or COVID-19 research, or their impacts on other research. We are prioritizing our workload to accommodate changes in our work environment and we are strategizing to handle the expected increase in workload (within our current constraints) due to COVID-19.

Other Research Support Offices

Please use the links listed below to access information on other research support offices. They are all open and functioning, and each has important information for research continuity.

Building Access and Security

Finally, for security, UW buildings have moved to a locked mode, similar to on weekends or holidays, so you and your research team will still have access. Your building coordinator will be working on plans for deliveries, but make sure you have a plan for communication with anyone who might not have after-hours access but has legitimate access needs (such as an undergraduate researcher or a repair person, for instance). You will need to call ahead for access to recharge facilities that are in a different building. Note that some of these facilities are curtailing hours and/or services, so it is wise to check in advance anyway.

Although there are no plans to restrict access to UW research facilities to those who currently have after-hours access, this is a rapidly evolving situation and could change. As the Governor noted yesterday, they are considering all potential options. It is prudent to plan, just in case, and some ideas are listed below. In addition, as we have seen around the nation, two-week quarantines are a real possibility. Plan ahead and challenge your research group to consider what each would do if they could not come to the UW tomorrow.

Guidance for the Possibility of a Research Facility Shutdown

  • Prepare for a significant drop in support services on which you depend. By thoughtful planning you may be able to minimize the long-term impacts on your research.
  • Make sure all data is backed up on the cloud, that all labile materials are stored appropriately, and that all instruments are shut down every night. Plan as if you may not have access tomorrow.
  • Take stock of your inventory and pre-order reagents and supplies that have long shelf lives. Consider those that have had long shipping delays in the past and order early. Make sure your critical consumables (gloves, pipette tips, growth media, etc.) are in stock.
  • Plan for keeping equipment functional and safe.
  • Repairs performed by Facilities and other service providers may be delayed. Consider scheduling those now.
  • Check on updates from UW research units like the Office of Animal Welfare and EH&S for further guidance (see links at the bottom of this email).

Keep up the good work, wash your hands, and stay safe!

Mary Lidstrom, UW Vice Provost for Research


Mar. 18, 2020 - “UW spring quarter classes will be held remotely,” from UW President Ana Mari Cauce

To: students on all three campuses

Today we are announcing our path forward for spring quarter 2020. Thank you, again, for your perseverance and goodwill as we navigate difficult, uncertain and rapidly changing times in our country and the world.

Classes and instruction to be offered remotely throughout spring quarter

Spring quarter will begin as scheduled on March 30, with remote instruction that will continue through the end of the quarter. As country-wide social distancing requirements continue to increase and evolve daily, we believe this is the best course of action for reducing uncertainty and anxiety and establishing a reliable, high-quality method of instruction and academic progress for UW students through the spring.

At the outset of the quarter, you and your instructors will work together to establish class norms for teaching and learning remotely. They will offer a grace period with no written assignments due in the first week. Your instructors will also connect you with resources to support this transition, including online advising to support your questions about academic progress. As important, we will be developing online resources focusing on wellness and on how to maintain community and prevent isolation as we work together virtually to cope with the challenges of this ongoing public health crisis. Our faculty, staff and student leadership are here to help you both with your continued academic success and with new ways to engage in this uncharted chapter of your UW education.

The quarter will end as scheduled, after final exams conclude on June 12, 2020.

We recognize the nature of some courses precludes their being offered online due to the experiential nature of the content, or lack of access to required materials. We will be flexible with shifts in your schedule and hope to increase course offerings over the summer and fall to ensure access to classes required to meet major requirements. We will also provide, as much as possible, flexibility in requirements to support those nearing graduation, so as not to impede your post-graduation plans or opportunities. You can expect to hear more from your college or department soon about these and other issues. We also understand you likely have many questions. We have created a page with answers to many key questions about spring quarter and will be updating that frequently. Online student support services for advising, financial aid, libraries, counseling and career services will be available, and staffing adjustments are underway to expand our service capabilities. There will be no change in financial aid for full-time students enrolled in spring quarter who qualify for and planned to receive it.

It’s important to note that while there are many other practical details to attend to as we transition to a remote environment, a UW education, whether delivered in-person or online, is still an excellent UW education. Our faculty and staff are welcoming this quarter with a spirit of innovation and exploration, drawing on their scholarly and instructional expertise to create an active, engaging and experiential learning experience for students. We fully expect that for graduate and undergraduate students alike, research, vigorous inquiry, meaningful projects and a variety of programs and offerings will continue – online, but with the same creativity and commitment to quality that they do in person.

Housing, dining and campus operations

We expect that most students who returned home prior to spring break will remain there, and we encourage that. Housing and Food Services will send additional information directly to all students who currently have housing agreements with the University. We will provide those students with ample time to retrieve your possessions to ensure you have a smooth transition process.

Our residence halls, along with limited dining services, remain available to students who need to reside on campus. All students who remain in campus housing will be required to stay in residence halls or apartments with private bathrooms to limit shared hygienic spaces and encourage social distancing. As mentioned, more information will be sent directly to all students who currently have housing agreements with the university.

For those who do live on or near campus and wish to access campus services, modified operations will be in place. We continue to encourage all employees who can perform their work remotely to telework as per public health guidance. Those offices that remain open will have limited operations that minimize in-person interaction.

Thank you for your patience, flexibility and dedication to your education. We understand how profoundly disruptive and disappointing this crisis is to your academic and campus experience, and we share your sadness and appreciate your sacrifice on behalf of those who are most susceptible to this virus. We also recognize that the loss of in-person community and remote learning can feel socially isolating, and we encourage you to reach out and stay connected. Be assured that we will do the same.

As we deal with so much uncertainty, there is one thing about which I am certain – even from afar, we are a part of a great Husky family. Together, we will come through this, stronger, wiser and more deeply connected than ever before.

Ana Mari Cauce, President, Professor of Psychology


Mar. 18, 2020 - “Moving spring quarter to remote learning,” from UW President Ana Mari Cauce

To: faculty, staff and other academic personnel on all three campuses

In this challenging time, I continue to be grateful for your extraordinary professionalism, dedication and sacrifice for the good of our students, patients and the broader public we serve. I write today to outline our path forward for spring quarter and what it will mean for all of us as we continue the vital work of our University.

Classes and instruction to be offered remotely throughout spring quarter

Shortly, we will notify all students that spring quarter will begin with remote instruction on March 30, with fully remote instruction continuing through the end of spring quarter. There will be no in-person classes this spring.

We want everyone to get familiar with and engaged in a remote learning environment and we will use the first week of the quarter for that purpose. University and faculty leadership have been developing plans to provide support for all faculty and staff as we transition coursework and serve students in new and innovative ways through this transition.

We recognize that moving to remote instruction is a hardship and a challenge during an already difficult time and we are grateful to all of you for making this transition possible. Your dedication to students is so greatly appreciated. We also realize that some courses simply cannot be offered online. Deans, chairs and other leaders are working to provide flexible options for students by adjusting schedules to ensure academic progress and paths to graduation continue successfully. Faculty, instructional staff and graduate students can expect guidance from the Office of the Provost in a separate communication today, as well as additional information from unit leadership in the coming days.

Policies and procedures to maximize employee safety

Throughout spring quarter, our three campuses will continue with modified operations in order to provide critical academic, research and clinical work. How we work will be informed by a combination of state and local mandates, as well as public health guidance. Currently, this includes:

  • All employees who can perform their work remotely without hampering critical operations should telework as much as feasible. Supervisors should also work with their employees to maintain employment and pay to the greatest extent possible. Helpful guidance can be found on the HR website. If you have questions about how to assist employees in need, please reach out to your HR consultant.
  • Faculty and staff who are performing in-person work should, to the maximum extent possible, implement appropriate social distancing protocols.
  • Facilities such as dining services in residence halls and many offices will have limited operations that minimize in-person interaction and/or will be operated remotely. For security, most UW buildings will move to card key access only by Friday morning, similar to weekends or holidays, so that employees who need access to buildings can do so in as safe a manner as possible.

We also recognize that with K-12 schools closed, many employees are facing childcare needs. The University is activating additional childcare resources, which will be prioritized for employees whose services are most essential in dealing with this pandemic, such as first responders, health care professionals and custodial staff. Information about increased child care options will be posted here as it becomes available.

We know that you will have many remaining questions and uncertainty; across the University, we are working swiftly to answer those questions as we comply with the evolving guidance from public health and government officials. We encourage everyone to visit our central coronavirus website for vital, up-to-date information on campus communications and frequently asked questions.

Thank you for your patience, flexibility and dedication to our teaching, research and service mission. We understand how profoundly disruptive and unnerving this experience is and appreciate your commitment to supporting the safety of those most vulnerable to this virus.

We also recognize that the loss of in-person community can feel socially isolating and we encourage you to reach out, stay connected and be assured we will do all that we can to support you. When we look back on this time and the hardships it posed, what I will remember most is the strength, courage and resolve of this incredible Husky community. Together, we will come through this, stronger, wiser and more deeply connected than ever before.


Mar. 17, 2020 - “Scams target offsite workers and COVID-19 fears,” from UW-IT and the UW Chief Information Security Officer

To: all three UW campuses

This message is being sent to all UW students, faculty and staff with approval from the Vice President for UW Information Technology and CIO.

We are seeing an increase in email, text and phone scams aimed at the UW community as we all adopt new applications, tools and working conditions in order to inhibit the spread of COVID-19.

Scams that exploit fears and vulnerabilities in times of change and uncertainty are continually being adapted by cyberthieves and other malicious actors who target University and personal financial information, systems and accounts.

These scammers may:

  • Request that you provide your cell phone number or non-UW email address so their communications with you are outside any safeguards the University may have.
  • Ask you to buy gift cards or to send or receive money advances.
  • Entice you with seemingly urgent phishing messages to click on links or open documents that may lead to malware infections or the theft of your UW NetID credentials.
  • Send messages that appear to be from UW employees and offices, but are actually sent from phony or spoofed email accounts.

What you can do:

  • Be vigilant about lures in the form of emails, phone calls and texts that attempt to inspire a quick reaction or instill fear, whether it is a request to reset your account or a warning about a current news event.
  • Don't click on links or open unsolicited email attachments without verifying that the sender is who you think it is.
  • Don't respond with personal information to emails and texts from unfamiliar numbers and senders.
  • If you suspect an email message may contain malware or phishing, forward it as an attachment to help @uw.edu (no spaces).

More information:

  • Scams and best practices for working remotely: found in the "News & Alerts" section on the home page of the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer's (CISO) website. (Search for "CISO" on the UW home page.)
  • Tools and best practices for working remotely: found on IT Connect. (Search for "working remotely" on the UW home page.)

Contact us:

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact help @uw.edu (no spaces).

Links were intentionally left out of this message.


Mar. 13, 2020 - “New state guidance will inform spring quarter instruction and operations,” from UW President Ana Mari Cauce

To: all three UW campuses

Today Governor Jay Inslee announced new measures requiring the University of Washington, and all higher education institutions in the state, to discontinue in-person instruction on our campuses through April 24.

This will require us to begin spring quarter classes with online instruction. Although this mandate by the state comes a few days before we had planned to finalize our decisions about spring quarter, it is consistent with the guidance we have been receiving from public health experts and aligns with our contingency planning. It is important to note there will be limited exceptions, as necessary, for in-person work that can be performed with appropriate social distancing, such as in laboratories and clinics, and in exceptional cases when it is critical to meet the need for cohesive and high-quality instruction and academic progress for our students. Residence halls, dining services, libraries and other essential campus operations will also remain open, although with some limited operations. And, of course, our extraordinary hospitals and clinics will continue to operate. Their care and interventions have never been more vital for our community.

We will provide more detailed instructions to students, faculty and staff about the start of spring quarter no later than March 20.

We encourage supervisors to continue to provide telework options to employees, including student employees, whose job duties can be performed remotely without hampering operations, through April 24, pending further guidance from public health officials. We are also working to address the child care issues that many of our employees are facing, including our first responders, health care providers and public health officials, given the statewide closure of K-12 schools.

I know this latest development will raise many questions and concerns – as well as many emotions, including frustration and disappointment. I ask for your grace and patience as we all work swiftly to address the rapidly changing conditions and challenges in these unprecedented times.

For students in particular, we understand how disruptive this experience is and that you have many questions regarding everything from your academic progress and financial aid to your living situations and visas. Please know that our faculty and staff are working around the clock to prepare for your return to the UW – in whatever evolving form that experience takes – and that your education and community experience is our paramount concern. There is a reason our faculty are acknowledged as some of the most innovative and accomplished in the country. They are making extraordinary preparations to ensure that however your classes in spring quarter are delivered, you will continue to receive high quality teaching that will prepare you for whatever your next step in life might be – graduate studies, or entry into the workplace.

Our shared obligation, above all, is to stay informed and follow the guidance of public health officials: practice social distancing, do not hold or attend large events, keep surfaces disinfected, wash hands, and if you are sick, stay home.

Finally, as I have said and written often these past few weeks, I continue to be uplifted by the essential kindnesses I see you extend to one another. This community is what gives me great confidence and optimism about our ability to endure as we serve our great public mission. My faith is rooted in the extraordinary abilities and dedication that our community is bringing to this endeavor. Thank you all and keep taking care of each other. 


Mar. 13, 2020 - “Helpful information on telework, technology and more,” from Vice Chancellor Tye Minckler

To: staff

Today you received this message from Chancellor Mark A. Pagano. In his letter, he noted that I would be following up with important information about UW human resources and business continuity. I apologize for the long message, but I have heard that some people did not have access to earlier messages.

Status of operations

As of this writing, UW Tacoma suspended in-person instruction on March 9 through the end of winter quarter, and UW leadership has committed to communicating a decision about whether we will begin spring quarter with classes offered in person or remotely by March 20 at the latest. As of this writing, except for the shift to out-of-classroom instruction, the campus is operating with many staff working remotely. Facilities Services and the Registrar’s Office are coordinating closely to develop a modified building closure schedule during the week of March 17 and during spring break.

The general operational status of all three UW campuses will be kept updated on UW’s Novel Coronavirus Information page and on UW Tacoma’s Coronavirus Central Information Resource page. Detailed information about campus building schedules will be communicated through signage, on the UW Tacoma page and through your supervisors.

Telework

(Also see Technology section below.)

In accordance with public health guidance and UW HR policies, we encourage supervisors to provide telework options to employees, including student worker, whose job duties can be performed remotely without hampering operations.  Supervisors have maximum flexibility to implement this.

UWHR has published Working through COVID-19, an online resource housing UWHR communications and resources related to the coronavirus outbreak. You can find new support resources and guidance for setting up temporary remote work arrangements.

Time off

Know your time off options. UWHR’s time off policies for staff and student employees are generally equipped to handle contagious illnesses and you should continue to follow your department’s standard practices for requesting time off.

More information is available on the UW Novel Coronavirus Information page, under the section “Staff and Student Workers,” which includes answer to questions like:

  • What resources exist for employees and supervisors on topics like telework and time off?
  • When can I use accrued sick time off?
  • What if my child’s school or regular care provider is closed?

UW Tacoma HR is available to offer guidance.

Your Health

If you are feeling sick, please stay home and get well. If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to COVID-19, follow the guidance provided on the UW’s Novel Coronavirus Information page, which is being updated regularly with the most up-to-date information, and which includes answers to questions like:

  • What do I do if I feel sick?
  • What do I do if I have confirmed or suspected COVID-19?
  • I have been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19. What should I do?
  • I have COVID-19 symptoms but have not been around anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. What should I do?
  • I want to get tested for COVID-19. Where can I go?
  • How do I help prevent the spread of viruses, including coronavirus?
  • What should I do if I have an underlying health condition or am immunosuppressed or pregnant?
  • Should I wear a mask?

Know how to find more help. We recognize that there may be times when employees require additional support that our current policies do not contemplate or accommodate. If you confront a particularly difficult circumstance, UW Tacoma HR is available to offer guidance and support.

Staff also have access to UW CareLink, our 24/7 employee assistance program offering a wide range of services to you, your dependent and other household members. Services are offered in many languages at 866-598-3978.

Technology

UW Tacoma IT recognizes that you may have questions in regard to technology-related resources when teleworking. Please see the UW Tacoma Coronavirus Central Information Resource’s “How Can I Telework?” for the most up-to-date information about resources at UW Tacoma to help you use technology to work remotely. You will find answer to questions like:

  • How can I remotely access my UWT Office workstation?
  • How can I access my office files remotely, without remotely connecting to my office computer?
  • How can I forward my desk phone to my personal cell phone?
  • I need to schedule a meeting remotely. How do I use Zoom?
  • Is there a laptop I can use long-term outside the office?

Other useful information on working remotely:

Contacts

We are here to help you, even when we are not on campus.

UW Tacoma HRtfiacchi@uw.edu, 253-692-5669, hours Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

UW Tacoma ITtachelp@uw.edu, 253-692-HELP (4356), hours Mon. – Thurs. 7:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. | Fri. 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Sat. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Tye Minckler, Vice Chancellor


Mar. 13, 2020 - “We are unified in an unprecedented time,” from Chancellor Mark Pagano

To: students, faculty, staff

For all of us, this is an unprecedented time. As the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads throughout Washington and the United States, I know that it feels as if we are being overwhelmed with uncertainty. I am certainly experiencing this same feeling as well.

I want to assure you that all of the UW is unified in our work to ensure that we each have the best information available on how to protect ourselves and our community.

I know also that you are all getting high volumes of messages – through email and other channels. I urge you to do your best to keep up with UW communication coming through email and available on the UW and UW Tacoma coronavirus pages. In that spirit, you will soon be receiving a follow-on communication that has important information based on your specific connection to the UW and UW Tacoma.

To our students: The pivot to entirely-online instruction is not what you signed up for, but we really are dealing with an unprecedented event. I have been hearing great things from the deans about what is happening: faculty are committed to providing you with a wonderful UW experience despite the current uncertainty. Soon you will receive a communication from Vice Chancellor Mentha Hynes-Wilson with more information on and links to topics such as technology access and what we know now about planning for spring quarter.

To our faculty:  Just as UW President Ana Mari Cauce said in her message of March 11, I am inspired by your strength and resilience as you have shifted to remotely-delivered classes on such short notice. Your work means our facilities crews can do thorough cleaning of classrooms and public spaces, and we can follow the lead of our public health experts who assure us that social distancing is an important part of protecting our friends and loved ones from COVID-19. You will soon receive a communication from Executive Vice Chancellor Jill Purdy with links to more information on planning for spring quarter.

To our staff: Your heroic efforts have already proven to be central to our mobilization. You are working hard to keep us all safe and calm, helping us see our way through this crisis. You will soon receive a communication from Vice Chancellor Tye Minckler with links to more information on the HR and technology aspects of remote working.

As President Cauce indicated, a decision about plans for spring quarter will be made and announced no later than March 20.

I, like you, wish all these changes and special measures were not necessary. I, like President Cauce, also know that, however long this challenging time lasts and whatever measures we need to take, you are more than equal to the task. And I really appreciate what she said recently, “When we stand together – even if we are standing six feet apart – we can see each other through whatever may come.”

Mark A. Pagano, Chancellor


Mar. 9, 2020 - “Supporting excellence in teaching and learning during COVID-19 outbreak,” from Executive Vice Chancellor Jill Purdy

To: faculty

Thank you for the tremendous work you’ve done over the past few days in quickly moving to online instruction as of today. Your commitment to our students is evident in the creative solutions you’ve enacted to support continued excellence in teaching and learning. It is important that we all continue to display compassion while avoiding discriminatory behavior. Our mandate is to ensure the best possible learning outcomes for students that fairly recognize their academic work so that this disruption does not create barriers to academic progress.

SCHEDULING ONLINE CLASS MEETINGS
If you are using synchronous online teaching tools to teach “live,” please continue holding class at the normally scheduled times.

USE OF CLASSROOMS
The campus is currently scheduling additional cleaning for our 900,000 square feet of campus space.  Beginning Wednesday, March 11, faculty should NOT expect to have use of their regularly scheduled classrooms for remote instruction purposes.  If you require classroom space for class purposes between Wednesday, March 11 and Friday March 20, please send a message to Ana Marie Alameda at reguwt@uw.edu with requested dates and times. Once classrooms have been cleaned, they will be closed through spring break.

ONLINE TEACHING SUPPORT
We have enlisted additional support for online teaching and will be offering a series of workshops and consultation opportunities over the next two weeks.  Darcy Janzen will share details as soon as they are available.

GRADING
Grades are due by 5pm on Tuesday, March 24.  The Provost’s March 6 message emphasized that no X grades or I grades should be awarded unless those were arranged before March 2. Any delay in awarding grades can have significant impact on students’ financial aid status, eligibility for graduation, admission to major or graduate study, and ability to participate in commencement.

Although the option exists to change your course grading option to Credit/No Credit, it does create complications for students and should be considered as a last resort. A CR/NC option applies to ALL students in a course, and exceptions to assigning numeric grades cannot be made once changed. To make a request to change your grading option, please complete a request to the Office of the University Registrar which will be processed in our Tacoma Registrar’s Office with follow up to the faculty and students as needed.
https://www.washington.edu/coronavirus/2020/03/06/moving-classes-online-and-concluding-the-winter-quarter/

Many thanks for your continued perseverance and dedication.

Jill Purdy, Executive Vice Chancellor


Mar. 6, 2020 - “Changes to instruction due to COVID-19,” from Chancellor Mark Pagano

To: faculty, staff

As a follow-up to President Cauce's message this morning, I write to clarify instructional and operational guidelines at UW and UW Tacoma. Included are links to trustworthy resources you can use for information as we move forward.

Status of COVID-19 at UW Tacoma and in Pierce County

At this time, there is no confirmed case of COVID-19 in the UW Tacoma community, and there is no confirmed case of COVID-19 in Pierce County. If and when we learn of a confirmed case within the UW Tacoma community, we will communicate that as soon as we are able, and the Office of the President at the University of Washington, with public health counsel, will provide ongoing guidance to all three campuses.

Status of instruction

This morning, UW President Ana Mari Cauce announced that, starting Monday, March 9, classes will no longer be meeting in person. This applies to ALL THREE CAMPUSES, including UW Tacoma. This is not simply a recommendation: faculty may not convene face-to-face classes or final exams after March 9 for the remainder of this quarter.

Instructors should communicate clearly to their students that classes will not meet in person. Even if you don't yet have a plan in place, it's helpful for each of you to repeat the message of "no in-person classes" to students now.

There is additional guidance on grading policies and best practices for non-in-person instruction available via links in a message from UW Provost March Richards and Vice Provost for Academic and Student Affairs Phil Reid. If you have additional questions or seek guidance, please contact Executive Vice Chancellor Jill Purdy.Our focus is on ensuring our students can successfully complete their studies and academic progression.

Status of campus operation

The UW Tacoma campus remains open. Although no face-to-face instruction will occur, buildings will remain open through the remainder of the quarter to serve our students and community. Faculty and staff will continue to have access to offices and may conduct meetings and other business. That being said, we are strongly encouraging staff and faculty to telework when possible and to shift meetings to online platforms. UWHR has useful information on teleworking policies.Supervisors and employees should discuss how best to balance telework with ensuring campus operations are maintained. More information about the Zoom platform for online conferencing is available from UW-IT; and remote access to your work files on share drives is available on the UWT-IT website.

Campus custodial personnel are continuing their cleaning practices, with extra diligence, that use EPA-registered antiseptic cleaners, following public health hygiene best-practices. Custodial personnel will perform a comprehensive cleaning of all campus spaces, again with extra diligence, during the break between winter and spring quarters.

Other important information

Most people who get COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms. There are some people who may be at higher risk for severe infection. We ask that you be especially mindful and supportive of people in these higher-risk categories. Higher-risk individuals fall in any one of these categories:

  • Over 60 years of age
  • With underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease or diabetes
  • With weakened immune systems
  • Who are pregnant

There is a wealth of additional trustworthy information on UW’s central COVID-19 FAQ.

I would like to take a moment to thank you for leaning in during this time. I know we are asking a lot of you. As Provost Mark Richards said this morning, we deeply appreciate everything you are doing to ensure that our educational, research and service missions continue as we lead our students and community through this unprecedented public health challenge.


Mar. 6, 2020 - “Computing resources to help you complete the quarter,” from Vice Chancellor Patrick Pow

To: students

The UW Tacoma Department of Information Technology is making every effort to support students impacted by recent events. If you are unsure how to complete coursework due to lack of computing resources or software, you have the following options available to you:

More information about these options can be found on the UW Tacoma IT website.

For all other inquiries, please contact the IT Help Desk by mail at tachelp@uw.edu, or by phone at (253) 692-HELP.

**Laptops and remote access will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Patrick Pow, Vice Chancellor


Mar. 4, 2020 - “COVID-19: What you need to know,” from Vice Chancellor Mentha Hynes-Wilson

To: students

The recent outbreak of COVID-19 (the disease caused by the novel coronavirus) has been challenging for us all. There is an understandable level of concern on our campus, in our country and indeed across the world. I want to assure you that anxiety and feelings of unease are normal when inundated with stories of new infections and people being tested.

Although there is as yet no confirmed case of COVID-19 in Pierce County, we are working closely with the Washington Department of Public Health and Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, as well as following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our own experts at UW Medicine and the health sciences schools, to align our plans with the most current recommendations from experts. This includes encouraging everyone to monitor their own health, practice good hygiene, and stay home if feeling sick.

It is important to note that our region has increased its capacity to test for COVID-19. This is a very good thing that will help focus treatment and prevention efforts, but it almost undoubtedly means that the number of cases confirmed will increase in the coming days as we have an increased ability to test and identify existing cases.

Staying up to date – UW Novel Coronavirus FAQs

This is an evolving situation, both in Washington and globally, so circumstances could change rapidly – I encourage you to monitor the University’s Novel Coronavirus Information page, which is being updated regularly.

Staying healthy

The best strategies for prevention are some commonsense measures from the CDC and Department of Health, including: 

  • Wash your hands often, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you’re sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Getting plenty of rest, drinking fluids, eating healthy foods and managing your stress can help you prevent getting COVID-19 and recover from it if you do.

If you are sick

First, it’s important to emphasize that so far the vast majority of people who have become ill with COVID-19 have experienced relatively mild symptoms, such as fever and cough.

If you are sick, you should take steps you normally would when sick, including focusing on caring for your health, not attending class, communicating with your instructors, and contacting a healthcare provider if you feel you need to. Students at UW Tacoma may contact Franciscan Prompt Care or Franciscan Virtual Urgent Care as one option. Please call ahead before visiting your health care provider so that they can provide you with guidance specific to your symptoms.

University leadership and faculty are working together to ensure that if you miss class due to illness or choosing to self-isolate, accommodations will be made just as they would if you were experiencing any other health issue. No doctor’s note is needed.

For more information, see the University’s FAQs on health, wellness and prevention.

Classes, University operations and contingency planning

As we continue to monitor the events associated with COVID-19, we are developing a broader plan to account for a variety of scenarios. For example, in the event of suspended campus operations, UW leadership is working on plans to support instructors in offering their courses online.

For more general information, see the University’s FAQs on classes and academics.

Additionally, the Office of the University Registrar has created its own FAQs with guidance on issues around grading, finals, and graduation.

Navigating stress and anxiety

These developments are an understandable source of concern for many in our community, and may present an added layer of worry for members of our UW community who have personal connections to affected communities and countries. This is a critically-important time for all of us to reinforce a community of care on our campus and support one another.

If you would like to talk with someone, emotional support is available to Tacoma campus students through Counseling & Psychological Services.

Next steps

Your well-being is our paramount concern, and the University will continue working with public health officials to be as prepared as possible to protect the health of the UW Tacoma community. We are extremely fortunate to live in a region with outstanding medical services and public health infrastructure. We will continue doing everything we can to keep you apprised, and again, please check back regularly on the University’s Novel Coronavirus Information page for updates and information.

Mentha Hynes-Wilson, Vice Chancellor


Mar. 3, 2020 - “Planning for instructional continuity,” from Director of Digital Learning Darcy Janzen

To: faculty

As monitoring of COVID-19 (coronavirus) continues in Washington, now is the time for you to consider pedagogic and technological plans to move instruction online should we be faced with disruptions to our normal operations. The faculty senate meeting late last week advised faculty to plan for the possibility of a disruption to campus operations, and the University is undertaking contingency planning for to account for a variety of scenarios. The Provost has asked faculty to accommodate students who are requesting to stay home due to illness, including clearly communicating opportunities and expectations around alternative assignments or makeup work. Please see this FAQ from the Office of the Registrar for more information about finals, coursework, grading and other related topics.

Please make time to review the UW Tacoma Instructional Continuity webpage. There you will find a downloadable guide, a readiness checklist, teaching strategies, a breakdown of what supported tools can be utilized to meet specific instructional needs, and technical support information.

The UW Tacoma Office of Digital Learning (formerly Academic Innovation) is available to consult with faculty or departments regarding adjusting curriculum and how to go about moving in-class activities online in Canvas. UW Tacoma Information Technology is available to train and consult on Panopto lecture capture and video conferencing technologies like Zoom.

If you would like to have a phone, Zoom or in-person consultation with the Office of Digital Learning, contact Darcy Janzen (janzen@uw.edu). If you have questions regarding how to access Zoom, Panopto, or use other campus-supported technology, please email tacmedia@uw.edu.

Darcy Janzen, Director of Digital Learning


Feb. 6, 2020 - “Supporting our communities,” from Executive Director of Global Affairs Jeff Cohen

To: students, faculty, staff

On behalf of UW Tacoma’s Office of Global Affairs, I hope this email finds you well and in good spirits. As you are likely aware, the novel coronavirus continues to be a source of strain and stress for members of our campus community, their families and friends. In addition, both the coronavirus-related travel ban and unrelated expanded travel ban for six additional countries are likely impacting members of our campus community both directly and indirectly. 

It is during these times of heightened stress that support from colleagues and peers is of utmost importance. At UW Tacoma, we take pride in the diversity of our students and the incredible assets they bring to the learning environment. We also work toward generating a community of care where we acknowledge the differential impact of global events on our students, staff, and faculty and support one another through times of hardship. This is an opportunity to put into practice our ideals of community and support. 

For instance, if you notice members of our community wearing a surgical or N95 mask, please know that while this is not common practice in the U.S., it is in many other parts of the world for a variety of reasons unrelated to the novel coronavirus. We hope that anyone who chooses to wear such masks is treated with dignity and respect, as we would expect for any member of our community. If you are a faculty member, please maintain a culture of support and understanding for our students in line with the recent message from Provost Richards regarding health-related absences. 

In addition, the recent restrictions on travel to and from China implemented by the federal government and restrictions placed on nonessential University-related travel to China by the University of Washington will also have differential impact on our students, staff, and faculty. If you have questions regarding these restrictions, please reach out to the Office of Global Affairs here at UW Tacoma or go to UW Seattle’s Office of Global Affairs’ website

We in the Office of Global Affairs are confident that as members of this thriving campus community we can all work together to support those among us who are experiencing hardships related to these and other global events and policy shifts. If, however, you experience or witness negative or hurtful behavior or feel you or someone else is being treated with bias or subjected to discrimination based on national origin, race, ethnicity or other identities, please submit a Bias Incident Report. All reports are confidential, but you can also report anonymously.

You are also always welcome to reach out to staff in the Office of Global Affairs, including International Student and Scholar Services (uwtiss@uw.edu), Study Abroad (uwtintl@uw.edu), and Student Fellowships (tscholar@uw.edu), or directly to me (jwcohen2@uw.edu), with questions or concerns.

Jeff Cohen, Senior International Officer, Executive Director of Global Affairs