HCDE COVID-19 Information

This page was last updated on February 26, 2021.

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 uw.edu/coronavirus for the most up-to-date communications and information for the full UW community.

Community update from HCDE Chair Julie Kientz

Julie Kientz, Professor and Chair of HCDE, sends regular updates to the HCDE community about the impact of COVID-19 on the Department's operations. Read the most recent email update here: HCDE COVID-19 Update - February 8, 2021.

Recorded presentation: HCDE Winter Town Hall. Held February 25, 2021, HCDE Professor & Chair Julie Kientz presented a "state of the union" for the department and discussed results from the HCDE community survey. Julie also provided links to helpful resources and shared upcoming events and opportunities for the community. Find the presentation slides here

UW College of Engineering is in Phase 2

King and Pierce counties are in Phase 2 of Governor Inslee’s Safe Start Plan; UW Seattle Campus is in Phase 2, and the College of Engineering is in Phase 2. Phase 2 does not change significantly from Phase 1, meaning that those working remotely will continue to do so, with the exception of designated critical employees, and applies to the College of Engineering and all related departments.

Returning to campus

As we are in Phase 2, all who are able to work from home are encouraged to do so. All official HCDE business is taking place remotely. Sieg Building remains closed except for faculty, staff, and academic student employees who have been approved for on-site work. 

Students in HCDE classes

If possible, students are asked to attend remote classes from a safe off-campus location. If a student needs to attend a remote class while on campus, please consider using the HUB or South Campus Center. Unoccupied classrooms are off-limits, to ensure that social distancing is being followed and that classrooms have been cleaned and are not contaminated.

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

Find additional resources available on campus on the Student Life webpage.

Return to research

For research staff to be able to work in HCDE’s research labs, the faculty responsible for those labs must develop and enforce a COVID-19 safety plan for their labs. At this time, the Hsieh/Kientz/Munson, McDonald/Ribes, Aragon/Atman/Haselkorn/Turns, and the Peek/Findlater labs have approved on-site safety plans. If other labs wish to be approved, please have the faculty leads contact Erin Baker and Julie Kientz for guidance.

Return to work

HCDE faculty and staff are highly encouraged to continue working from home until further notice. Staff and faculty who need to access Sieg Building to work or even to pick up supplies must adhere to the guidelines presented here.

Health and wellbeing

Please review the Self-care guide from Academic HR and the new 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. 

For employees visiting campus

Required attestations

Daily attestations are required for all staff and academic personnel coming to campus.

Safety training

COVID-19 Safety Training is required for all employees prior to returning to campus.