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UW planning for return to campus life, in-person classes this fall

Drumheller Fountain on the University of Washington campus in Seattle. (MyNorthwest photo)

At this point, the University of Washington expects campus life, classes, and activities to be nearly back to normal this fall, with some added safety precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19.

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“We’re going to create a new normal that combines all of what we’ve learned about safety, about learning, and about being together in a strong community,” said UW President Ana Mari Cauce in a virtual town hall this week.

“I’m excited to add in-person gatherings, hallway conversations, spontaneous meet-ups, shared experience,” she added. “… Rooting for our Huskies on the field, on the court, and there’s a real thrill that comes with live events, performances at the Meany.”

There is a chance that conditions could change before the fall, to which Cauce noted that UW will continue listening to public health experts and following the guidance of public health officials as the university plans for its in-person return.

“We have a good understanding of COVID now — we know how it spreads and what works to prevent the spread,” Cauce said.

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Students returning to campus will be required to show proof of vaccination or an exemption.

“We wanted our students to come first so they will have the opportunity [to get vaccinated] before we know many of them will go someplace else over the summer,” Cauce said.

Cauce said negotiations are still underway as to whether faculty and staff will need to be vaccinated when school starts in the fall as well, an update on which is expected to be announced by early summer.

“We will be announcing whether or not we will have a requirement very, very soon,” she said.

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