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HCDE COVID-19 Information

This page was last updated on March 14, 2022.

This page is updated regularly with COVID-19 information most relevant to students, faculty, and staff in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering. Visit for the most up-to-date communications and information for the full UW community.

HCDE Update: Winter Town Hall

HCDE Professor and Chair Julie Kientz hosted a community Town Hall presentation and Q&A on January 24, 2022.

COVID-19 Health and Safety

The University of Washington requires all students and personnel to be vaccinated. To help minimize infections on campus, everyone should plan on getting their booster vaccines if you have not already, and we will continue to follow UW’s Facial Covering policy

The Environmental Health & Safety Department (EH&S) maintains COVID-19 prevention policies, guidance, and resources for the UW community. Have you tested positive for COVID-19 or been in close contact with someone who has? View the Quarantine and Isolation Guidance (updated 2/2/22) and the Guidance Flowchart (updated 2/25/22)


Testing remains one of our best tools for preventing the spread, so please consider signing up for the Husky Testing Program being conducted at the former UW Club. Other places to get tested are the UW Medicine and Curative sites. You can also request free at-home rapid antigen tests from both the Federal and WA State governments. There is also a COVID test re-stocking update site to show who is selling them online. 

Mask/Face Covering Policy

HCDE continues to follow the UW’s Face Covering Policy, which was recently updated in light of new federal, state, and county guidelines. With the exception of the UW hospitals and transportation, the campus will be mask-optional beginning March 28, though masks are strongly recommended during the first two weeks of Spring quarter due to Spring Break travel possibly being a source of spread. Members of the HCDE community may receive an N95 masks from Jane Skau in the HCDE main office, Sieg Building 428. At this time, we are asking that you only take one mask if you are a student and if you are an instructor, you can take one per day you are teaching. 

COVID-19 and the classroom

In Spring 2022, We expect that most classes in HCDE will be in-person unless other otherwise specified. We know that there are some reasons why hybrid or remote teaching may be beneficial, and HCDE continues to give our instructors the authority to design the best class they can provide, whether it be fully in person or hybrid. As instructors update their hybrid configurations, they will appear on the Spring 2022 Hybrid Instruction list. Instructors should also be updating students via email and/or Canvas, so please make sure to regularly check those accounts for the latest updates.

What to do if I am sick or test positive for COVID? 

If you are exhibiting any signs of illness, please do not come to campus. Let your instructors and/or supervisors know and they will accommodate your absence similar to any other times you may have to miss class due to illness.

  • Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) has updated their visual flowchart for what to do in different scenarios and when to report to them and how, as well as their Quarantine & Isolation guidance.
  • If you have tested positive for COVID, you should contact EH&S, who will provide the most updated guidance and perform contact tracing as needed. 
  • If you are a student, EH&S will contact your instructor if they have had "substantial" exposure with a reported positive case.

Sieg Building access

The HCDE main office is in 428 Sieg Building. The hours of operations are: Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Fridays from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (closed for lunch from Noon – 1 p.m. every day). During spring break, the doors to Sieg Building will be locked, but current students, faculty and staff will have access to the building with their Husky Card. 

Sieg Building Designated Eating Spaces

The 4th floor student lounge (422) and 3rd floor kitchen remain both being designated as dedicated eating spaces for now, although we are told that this may be adjusted with the new face covering policy. If you eat in these spaces, we recommend that you space out at least 6 feet, keep the windows open, and minimize socializing. Eating outdoors or in a closed door office is recommended if possible. EH&S has more guidelines about safe eating practices. Socializing should take place in hallways or outdoors while masks are still worn.

Labs and Offices

For labs that currently have a safety plan, the social distancing and capacity constraints are no longer necessary for people who are vaccinated. Labs can choose to eliminate individual lab safety plans as long as they are following the UW guidelines (exceptions may apply for those who are doing research with children or in clinical spaces). However, labs should consider how they will manage distancing and masking to accommodate someone who is unvaccinated. Lab PIs will soon be able to verify the vaccination status of students and employees who work for them.
For any shared desks or surfaces, please continue to clean according to existing EH&S protocols until they are updated. Cleaning supplies are available in the student lounge and the kitchen on the 3rd floor of Sieg.

Exposure Notifications

UW is encouraging all members of the community to sign up for the WA Notify exposure notifications as well. For more information on how to do this, you can read more here.

Air Purifiers

Nearly all of the classrooms run by central UW have been equipped with air purifiers, as have HCDE classrooms and some of the larger shared spaces such as the student lounge and the larger research labs. If you have an air purifier in your space, the EH&S Ventilation FAQ states that "operable windows may also be opened to supplement mechanical ventilation when outside temperatures are moderate.” - We recognize that temperatures have been getting much colder, and the heat in Sieg Building is unfortunately not yet turned on despite multiple requests - UW Facilities has told us they are working on it. In the meantime, you can use your discretion about whether to keep windows open if there is an air purifier in the space. 
Campus life

  • The Office of Student Life released a student-focused COVID-19 awareness video, which is also included in the Stay Healthy, Huskies toolkit. 
  • Academic and extracurricular services are anticipated to be fully operational at the UW, including the IMA, the HUB, the Libraries, residence halls, and food services.
  • The Office of Student Life has announced My SSP, which provides students access to real-time, confidential mental health and crisis intervention support, available 24/7 and in multiple languages. Available at: 1.866.743.7732, online chat, via the My SSP app as well as on the mental health landing page on the Husky Health and Well-Being website.

If students have technology or WIFI needs, please refer to the additional resources listed here:

Health and wellbeing

Please review the Husky Health and Wellbeing webpage that provides resources about coronavirus anxiety, mental health resources for BIPOC students, and general wellness resources including recreation, medical/dental, and safety. 

Additional resources include:


UW Human Resources continues to work with on-campus and community partners to enhance caregiving supports and to inform our community about them. Visit their childcare options and resources page for more information. 

As part of Family care emergency absences, staff can use accrued sick time off for caregiving purposes resulting from the closure of a child’s school or place of care by order of a public official for any health-related reason. A school or place of care is considered closed if the physical location is closed, even if some or all instruction is provided online. 

Questions? Please feel free to reach out to HCDE Administrator Summer Dela Cruz Parks (, Office Manager Jane Skau (, or Chair Julie Kientz ( if you have any questions.