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UW releases in-person COVID-19 health guidelines ahead of fall quarter

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A sign details the Covid-19 guidelines which need to be followed by those venturing to see the cherry blossoms.

The UW will be returning to in-person schooling with a university-wide mask mandate, vaccine requirement, and other health measures, university President Ana Mari Cauce announced Tuesday.

The updated policies are “based on state requirements, recommendations from UW health experts, guidance from our Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases, and consultations with many faculty experts and Faculty Senate leadership,” according to an email sent by Cauce.

All students and personnel are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and to confirm their vaccination status via the vaccination attestation form. Attestations will be verified via Washington’s vaccination database and “through requests for additional documentation,” Cauce’s email said.

Current vaccination rates, which are based on updated attestation submissions, are “well above 90%,” and positive COVID-19 cases reported to UW Environmental Health & Safety have “hovered around 1%,” Cauce said in the announcement.

Students who submit false or inaccurate information on their attestations or verifications will be subject to discipline that may include “dismissal from the university,” and students who have not submitted the attestation by Nov. 5 will receive a registration hold for winter quarter. 

Exemptions are provided only for documented medical conditions and religious beliefs; the university removed philosophical exemptions last week. Any individuals seeking exemptions will be “required to provide additional information regarding their exemption” prior to approval.

Students who receive an exemption will be required to submit weekly COVID-19 test results to the university. 

Husky Coronavirus Testing will continue to provide free in-person testing and self-test kits for individuals enrolled in the program. Self-test kits were distributed to on-campus and Greek housing residents during move-in.

The UW’s updated events guidance will allow, but not require, university units to require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for event attendees. 

Courses will not offer both in-person and remote options. 

Students at a higher risk for COVID-19-related medical complications can request accommodations from Disability Resources for Students (DRS), and personnel can request accommodations through the Disability Services Office (DSO).

“Several scenarios could lead to a return to largely remote operations, including a major uptick in on-campus transmissions or positivity rates; greatly diminished capacity in our area hospitals; major disruptions in our K-12 schools or transportation systems; or the imposition of state or local restrictions, such as distancing requirements or ‘stay at home’ orders,” Cauce said in the announcement. “At this time, none of those scenarios is occurring. We will continue to monitor public health conditions and respond accordingly.”

Reach News Editors Annie Denton and Matthew Hipolito at Twitter: @anniesdenton @hipolmat

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