Yesterday, Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee issued a new “ Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order strengthening mandates already in place to encourage social distancing, a crucial measure for slowing the spread of COVID-19. While the Governor’s directive includes important new requirements, here at the University of Washington, we are already operating with many of these rules in place. This new directive does, however, require additional efforts to ensure that our region’s efforts to “flatten the curve” are successful. I thank you all for your ongoing flexibility and support of one another.
The UW has been on modified operations, and we are now moving to restricted operations. As a reminder, our campuses never close, and our hospitals, clinics, critical research and limited residential operations continue. Spring quarter will start next Monday, March 30, with classes held remotely. All preparations for remote learning during spring quarter are authorized to continue, including for faculty and teaching assistants who periodically need to access on-campus technologies to prepare lectures and coursework. Already, we are seeing how the creative, thoughtful work of our faculty moving instruction to online and remote tools is giving students access to instruction and coursework.
Most UW employees who can work from home are already doing so. With this new order, all employees who can telework without hampering critical operations must do so. Teleworking is no longer strongly encouraged or strongly suggested; it is mandatory for employees who can do so without hampering critical operations.
Mission-critical research as well as essential functions to serve and protect students who still reside on campus will continue. Supervisors, principal investigators and facility managers will receive additional guidance today about what this new directive means for critical employees as well as the operations of labs and research. And, of course, our heroic frontline health-care providers and the vital staff members who support them will continue their work enabling the testing, treatment and research needed to fight this pandemic and meet the critical health-care needs that occur in ordinary times. For the many people in our Husky family who have asked how they can support our UW health-care workers and others in our community who are being impacted by this virus, we have compiled some suggestions for how you can help.
In his message to the state, Governor Inslee reminded us that “the less time we spend together in public, the more lives we will save.” Our UW community is defined by our values and our commitment to putting those values into action — through our work, service and, sometimes, our sacrifices. At a time like this, I feel more acutely than ever what it means to be a member of this strong, generous, courageous family. And I know that together, we can save lives and help end this crisis. On behalf of all of us, please, STAY AT HOME so all of us can STAY HEALTHY.
Ana Mari Cauce
Professor of Psychology