Coronavirus/COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

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Last update: 5/24/2021 @ 1:50 p.m.

Check the main COVID-19 page for latest news announcements.

Our goal during this pandemic 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. If you have question that isn't answered here on the other UW FAQs, please let us know at uwttownhall@uw.edu.

The Office of Digital Learning has developed resources for instructors who are teaching courses remotely.

Thank you for your perseverance and goodwill as we navigate difficult, uncertain and rapidly changing times in our country and the world.

Health and wellness

When and where can I get vaccinated?

All Washington residents age 16 and up are now eligible to be vaccinated at no cost. Appointments available at UW Medicine and many other providers. Learn more.

UW Tacoma is also partnering with MultiCare to host free vaccine clinics on campus this summer. No appointment or insurance card required and open to the public. Every Wednesday starting June 9 through Aug. 25.

What do I do if I feel sick?

If you are sick with any potential illness, you must stay home.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 infection are fever, cough and shortness of breath. The CDC also maintains a list of possible COVID-19 symptoms that you should review. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you need to take additional steps to take care of yourself and protect your loved ones:

  1. Contact your healthcare provider and ask if you should be tested for COVID-19. UW Tacoma students can also contact Franciscan Prompt Care at St. Joseph. To protect the health of others, do NOT visit a doctor’s office, urgent care clinic or other health facility unless you’ve talked with them in advance about possibly having COVID-19.
  2. Notify the COVID-19 Response & Prevention Team: covidehc@uw.edu or 206-616-3344 as soon as your healthcare provider confirms or suspects COVID-19.
  3. Follow public health guidelines to help you recover and protect loved ones from getting sick. These actions include staying home and physically separate from anyone who lives with you, wearing a face covering if you have to be around people, and being stringent about hygiene. You can learn more from Tacoma-Pierce County Public Health and the Washington State Department of Health.

Is there COVID-19 testing available on campus?

We are not currently offering on-campus testing, but you can get tested free at any of the mobile testing lab dates offered by the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department.

Another option is the Husky Coronavirus Testing program is powered by the Seattle Flu Study – the group that was the first to report community spread of COVID-19 in the United States. Enrollment is encouraged for all students, faculty and staff who will be on campus regularly or living in group housing in nearby neighborhoods during the fall quarter. Testing will be provided at no cost at designated testing sites on the Seattle campus, and with self-administered tests provided at the Bothell and Tacoma campuses.

What does the UW do when a member of our community has confirmed COVID-19?

We depend on people to report when they have confirmed or suspected COVID-19. Peoples’ identities are closely protected and disclosed only on a need-to-know basis, such as a public health response, HR actions, and unit management. Once we receive someone’s report, we take the following steps to protect the health and safety of our campus communities:

  1. We document the person’s symptoms, where they’ve spent time on campus recently and any close contacts, such as anyone who was within 6 feet of the person for a cumulative total of at least 15 minutes during a 24-hour period (even if both people wore masks).
  2. We conduct a risk assessment, which helps us decide on a specific action plan. Our actions may include any or all of the following:
    • We help the person understand how to take care of themselves and others by staying home and physically apart from other people.
    • If needed, we notify the person’s academic and/or work unit and provide information about actions that will be taken to prevent the virus’s spread.
    • We notify people who were in close contact with the person as far back as 48 hours before they developed symptoms.
    • If the person spent time on campus recently, we evaluate and coordinate enhanced cleaning and disinfection of those areas following CDC guidelines.
    • If the person spent time in a work space on campus recently, we notify coworkers and others who have also been in that space and share information about steps we’re taking to prevent the virus’s spread.

More information about how the UW responds to cases of COVID-19 in the University community is available from UW Environmental Health & Safety.

Is UW Tacoma Student Health Services open for services?

UW Tacoma Student Health Services is offered through Franciscan Prompt Care at St. Joseph and continues to be open regular hours. Franciscan Virtual Urgent Care is available 24/7 for students.

Additional FAQ on Prevention and Personal Health

Classes and academics

How will classes be held in autumn quarter 2021?

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

Read more about Autumn Quarter 2021

How can I tell if a course is being offered in person or remotely?

You can check the Tacoma time schedule, which indicates which courses are being taught in person or remotely.

One of my classes has been canceled. What can I do?

A small percentage of courses may be canceled and removed from students’ schedules because of a range of factors, from instructor availability to course demand. If that happens, you may be notified of changes through an auto-generated email from the Office of the Registrar or an email from a department chair, faculty member or advisor. To replace a course, contact your advisor and continue using tools such as MyPlan and MyUW.

Advisors can also help if the removal of a specific course creates challenges for you to reach an upcoming milestone like graduation, applying to a major, declaring a minor or preparing to pursue graduate/professional study.

How do I access my courses remotely?

Students can access courses in Canvas by visiting canvas.uw.edu or by clicking on the Canvas LMS link in the Quick Links box the MyUW site. Additionally, we recommend downloading the Canvas app from the app store on your mobile phone. Faculty members not using the Canvas learning management system will contact students with instructions.

Can I still come to campus to study?

Yes, there are individual study spaces available on campus. Note that you must reserve a space in advance. You will need your Husky Card to access the building. If you have trouble getting access, contact Campus Safety at 253-692-4416 or uwtsafe@uw.edu.

Where can I access resources for online learning?

There is a great page of resources and tips published by UW Tacoma's Digital Learning office:

Student Online Support

Are UW Libraries services available?

While the UW Tacoma Library's physical facilities remain closed, it provides a range of remote learning services for students and faculty such as 24/7 chat services, interlibrary loan (for electronic articles and materials only), and research consultations offered through Zoom. For the most current information, visit the UW Tacoma Library COVID-19 Updates page.

Will the University Bookstore be open for spring?

No, the Tacoma branch of the University Bookstore will not re-open until September. You can still order from the University Bookstore online and orders can be shipped to your home for a flat $5 fee (for students) or you can pick up your order at the Seattle location.

How can I purchase the textbooks I need for classes?

Students should check with their instructors first on the materials required for class. Many instructors are choosing e-books and other online materials this quarter, however not all texts are available as e-books. The UW Tacoma Library is also proactively purchasing e-books for course texts, when available, but there may be limits on the number of simultaneous users. If you require a physical copy of the book, you can order from the University Bookstore which is offering a flat $5 shipping rate on all student orders.

What options are there for students who don't have access to technology at home?

Currently enrolled students may borrow laptops, wifi hotspots and other technology by contacting the UW Tacoma IT Helpdesk.

Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid

What if I am experiencing financial hardship?

Students experiencing hardship are encouraged to connect with the UW Tacoma Office of Student Financial Aid. Emergency aid is available to help enrolled students with unexpected needs such as emergency medical costs, housing expenses, family emergencies, loss of income, and other situations.

Is the Pantry still open for students who need food assistance?

Yes. The Pantry has implemented a pre-order, pre-packaged bag model that is in alignment with the practices of other local food banks and food pantries. In addition, to better meet the needs of our students in this time, pre-packaged bags will include 15 food items instead of the usual limit of 10 food items.

Students should order online ahead of time for pre-packaged bagsfor pick up or delivery. Students can pre-select omnivore, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and kosher bags and provide any specific instructions regarding food allergies or a desire to also receive hygiene items. Delivery may be available within a 30-mile radius of campus.

Will tuition rates or fee-based program rates be reduced for online courses?

Whether your course is in-person, hybrid or remote, a UW education is still an excellent education and the degree or credential that you earn will have the same value. The instructors bring the same expertise, experience and knowledge to the courses that will be taught remotely as they do in their in-person teaching.

It’s also important to remember that resident tuition is lower than non-resident tuition in recognition of the taxes paid by resident students and their families to the state of Washington, thereby supporting the UW through state funding. It is not a reflection of whether a course is offered in-person or remotely.

With the University shifting to online instruction for many courses and providing hybrid options for others, we are actually increasing our investment in instructional costs. We continue to pay faculty and staff for their work, and at the same time are making existing and new services available online and investing in new technological capabilities as we serve students remotely and support the UW community in these extraordinary times.

Will my student fees change?

Even though we are delivering instruction remotely, we continue to offer services and activities such as student counseling, health and wellness programs, software and cloud services, and others. As a result, the fees that support these programs must continue in order for these services to continue to be offered. In addition, fees like the UW Y fee support bonds that were used to construct student-mandated projects. The technology fee supports student access to laptops, cloud computing and needed software. The services supported by these fees will expand and shift during autumn quarter, and financial resources are still needed to provide consistent services and to fulfill long-term commitments.

The University Y is currently open and virtual programs are also available. You can learn more about using the University Y Student Center here. The UW Y fee will be charged for spring quarter.

In consultation with ASUWT, UPASS Advisory Committee has decided not to charge the UPASS fee for Tacoma students this spring quarter. Students will still have the option to purchase a UPASS directly from UW Transportation if desired.

The Building Fee that is part of your tuition pays for maintenance and upgrades to the buildings that serve our campus community. While access to campus is limited due to state COVID-19 safety mandates, we still have to keep up with scheduled maintenance for all of our facilities.  

What if I am experiencing financial hardship?

Students experiencing hardship are encouraged to connect with the UW Tacoma Office of Student Financial Aid. Emergency aid is available to help enrolled students with unexpected needs such as emergency medical costs, housing expenses, family emergencies, loss of income, and other situations.

How is money from the federal CARES Act (Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund) being distributed?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law to provide economic relief from COVID-19. One section of the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief fund and sent money to schools to use for emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic. For more information about the UW disbursement of these funds, see the UW CARES Act FAQ.

Phishing emails are being received regarding CARES funding, do not provide personal information like your Social Security number or bank account information. You should only provide or update personal information through MyUW. The UW will use the information you have provided in MyUW to communicate with you or disburse aid to you.

Housing and Student Life

Can I still live on campus at Court 17 Student Housing?

Court 17 Apartments will be open and will welcome a limited number of students with reduced capacity to facilitate physical distancing. Students 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.

How do new UW Tacoma students get their Husky cards?

New students can get their Husky card through the UW Tacoma Online Husky Card Submission Portal. Follow the instruction to upload your photo, documentation and personal information. Husky Cards will be printed and mailed to the address provided within 10 business days. There is no fee for getting your Husky Card.

To get started you will need: Name, Student ID number, Current mailing address, email, color photo ID (driver’s license, passport, etc), current color photo for ID.

For questions contact the Office of the Registrar at reguwt@uw.edu. We cannot offer any in-person services at this time.

Technology

Does access to Zoom Pro continue through spring quarter?

Yes, UW Zoom Pro accounts will be available through spring quarter, and they are available to all instructors, staff and students at no cost. You can access Zoom using your UW NetID at https://washington.zoom.us/

How can I access specialized software that is only available on campus computers?

UW Tacoma IT has developed several remote-access and cloud-based “virtual lab” environments to accommodate courses with specialized software needs. Contact your instructor for specific information about how this will be accomplished.