Executive Office Shared Services

COVID Return to Work FAQs and Resources

Exec Office Return to Work Autumn Quarter 2021 Planning Template 7-8-21 update

We encourage units to utilize this template in their planning for returning to onsite work for Autumn 2021.


FAQ’s & resources subject to change based on evolving information and guidance — Updated 7/12/2021

What if I feel sick?

If you are sick with any potential illness, stay home. Contact your doctor and ask if you should be tested for COVID-19 and follow the guidance provided. If you are enrolled in Husky Coronavirus Testing, report your symptoms in your daily survey. Protect your health and the health of others.

Do I need to follow COVID-19 prevention measures after I am fully vaccinated?

Following federal, state and local health guidance, as of August 14, face coverings are required when indoors for all individuals regardless of your vaccination status. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated should also consider wearing face coverings outdoors when distancing is not possible.

Based on state guidance, effective July 7, the UW is also lifting both indoor and outdoor distancing and COVID-19 capacity requirements, though distancing is still recommended for unvaccinated individuals.

What does it mean to be fully vaccinated?

It takes up to two weeks to develop antibodies against the COVID-19 virus. You are considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after the second dose of the two-dose vaccine, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine.

Will the UW require vaccinations?

Yes. To protect the health of our community, the University of Washington will require faculty and other academic personnel, staff, student employees, and trainees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by autumn quarter in order to work on our campuses or within our facilities. This is consistent with the release of new workplace requirements from the Washington Department of Labor and Industries. Similar to the student requirement, employees will be allowed to seek exemptions for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.

How do I verify my vaccination status?

Starting July 7, students and employees are asked to either verify that they have been fully vaccinated, or declare a medical, religious or philosophical exemption:

    • Students: By the start of autumn quarter, please provide your information with the student COVID-19 vaccine attestation form.
    • All employees besides UW Medicine clinical personnel: Please provide your information through the Workday COVID-19 vaccine attestation form.
    • UW Medicine clinical personnel: UW Medicine will send you specific information about updated COVID-19 policies and vaccine attestation this month.

Washington Department of Labor & Industries regulations (pdf) require employers to verify that an individual is fully vaccinated before allowing them to go without face coverings at work where it is permitted. Providing false information is grounds for disciplinary or corrective action.

As of noon on Friday, July 9, unit administrators will be able to run the new R0711 Employee COVID-19 Vaccination Attestation Response Audit by Supervisory Organization report to review who has completed the COVID-19 Vaccination Attestation form and who has indicated they are fully vaccinated.

As a reminder, supervisors may not allow individuals to relax face covering requirements when working at a University location until they have verified that the individual is fully vaccinated. The report can be run by Academic Dean/Dean’s Delegates, Academic Partners, HR Partners and Managers.

Vaccination attestation information is private and confidential.

    • Managers may not use, share or disclose this information for any purpose other than upholding compliance with state regulations.
    • Employees may not ask colleagues about their vaccination status.
    • Instructors may not ask their students about their vaccination status, nor will they have access to students’ records or be expected to verify students’ vaccination status. Instructors may broadly inform students that individuals who are not fully vaccinated need to wear face coverings in the classroom.

A limited number of employees and students are exempt from the vaccination requirement. See the new vaccination requirement page for more information, including details on privacy protections and links to the attestation forms.

Does vaccination status make a difference as departments consider return-to-work options for individual employees?

No. Do not treat vaccinated and unvaccinated employees differently as you develop plans for returning staff to the workplace. Regardless of vaccination status, all employees who return to onsite work must follow both the UW and department’s COVID-19 prevention plans.

If you think your team includes positions where vaccination is an occupational health requirement, please confirm with your department leadership and Executive Office HR before pursuing the issue.

What is the current telework policy?

Employees not currently required to be on campus may continue teleworking through September 10. Employees who prefer to work from campus sooner than September 10 are encouraged do so, as long as it is safe and operationally feasible.

Staff telework arrangements after September 10 should follow autumn return to onsite work guidance

Departments are expected to have new or revised telework agreements submitted to Executive Office HR prior to September 10, 2021 (when current Back to Workplace guidance expires) – or sooner as operational and instructional plans require.

Should supervisors allow employees to continue working remotely up to September 10, 2021?

Provided health and safety guidelines mostly return to pre-pandemic levels, the UW plans for largely in-person instruction and operations after September 10, 2021.

    • Employees wishing to return to on site work prior to September 10, may do so with department leadership approval, pending the approved department prevention plan is up to date and they can do so safely.
    • Employees wanting to continue remote work up to September 10, may do so as long as business and operational needs and performance expectations are met with approval by department leadership.

Preparation and conversations should be occurring now for fall return to campus.  Work with your department’s leadership and Executive Office HR for guidance on ensuring your department prevention plans are up to date and approved and employee notification requirements are met.

What if departments need to bring back staff before September 10, 2021?

Based on your department’s operational and instructional requirements, you may need to have some or all employees return to on site work sooner than September 10, 2021.  If you believe this is the case, please work with your department leadership and Executive Office HR for approval and guidance on appropriate notification procedures (timing and communication).

In cases where an employee has been teleworking but is now needed in person to support operations, units must provide employees with 30 days’ notice for reporting back to work in person. Exceptions can be made for emergencies and in accordance with relevant collective bargaining agreements.

How to plan for returning to work onsite after September 10, 2021?

The UW plans to largely return to in-person instruction and operations after September 10, 2021.

The updated return to work information provides department leadership the flexibility to work with their teams on how to incorporate more telework into their operations in ways that are consistent with achieving their department’s missions and business needs. As we do this, certain functions should be prioritized for in-person work, including essential and clinical operations, instruction, research, student services, and services provided to the public, as well as the support services that underpin our teaching, research, clinical and service operations.