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HCDE COVID-19 Information

This page was last updated on October 15, 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 for the most up-to-date communications and information for the full UW community.


Autumn 2021 HCDE Town Hall

Julie Kientz, Professor and Chair of HCDE, hosted a Town Hall on September 30, 2021, to welcome the HCDE community back to campus and provide important information about the transition to in-person learning and working. 

Vaccine verification status

The University of Washington requires all students and personnel to be vaccinated.

Employees:  HCDE has verified that all current employees (including faculty, staff, part time lecturers, and student employees) are100% vaccinated. 

Students: All students, including those that have already verified as student employees, should be submitting their vaccine information through the UW by October 29, 2021.

Please note you may not ask about the vaccine status of anyone else in the department. However, you are free to volunteer your own status to others (e.g., some people have worn “I’m vaccinated” buttons, which is welcome).

Mask policy

The University is requiring everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask or other face covering indoors.

Read the University's COVID-19 Face Covering Policy and the frequently asked questions below for more information.

  • All individuals are required to wear a face covering indoors, regardless of vaccination status, when on site at a University of Washington location. This requirement is applicable indoors when other people are present and in all public and common areas, including, but not limited to lobbies, hallways, stairways, restrooms, elevators, and in shared vehicles.
  • Outdoors, face coverings are optional, regardless of vaccination status. However, a face covering is recommended when in outdoor crowded settings and in settings where there is a decreased ability to consistently maintain a physical distance between others. 

COVID-19 and the classroom

As of Autumn 2021, HCDE courses and operations have returned in-person. Based on the UW guidelines, the following HCDE Department procedures have been revised and are now in effect. Updates and changes to the procedures below will be communicated to the HCDE community via email and this webpage.

Guidelines for isolation, quarantine, and testing

Covid-19 flowchart
Image courtesy of Amy Sprague

Download flowchart PDF 

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).

Common Spaces

The Student Lounge (Sieg 422) is available for all HCDE students, staff, and faculty to use. The lounge contains a refrigerator/freezer, microwave, hot water dispenser, and a cold water dispenser. For security reasons, keep the door closed (it locks automatically) after hours, or if you are the last one to leave.

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 new autumn quarter planning page has the most up-to-date information on the UW’s plans.
  • 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.
  • The UW has convened a Back to School Task Force reviewing and updating University protocols for campus spaces including residences, classrooms, labs and libraries.

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.