UW moves classes online, staffer tests positive for COVID-19


The change begins March 9 and will last through March 20

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The University of Washington announced Friday its classes will no longer meet in person beginning Monday, March 9. The move comes on the same day the school revealed one of its staff members had tested positive for COVID-19.

For the remainder of the quarter, instructors have been asked to conduct classes and/or exams remotely, as possible, until the quarter concludes on March 20, according to school officials. The precaution is the latest step taken by Seattle-area businesses, groups, organizations and schools looking to stave off COVID-19. Public health agencies have recommended large groups avoid meeting in close proximity out of worries the virus will spread.

The staff member who contracted the coronavirus is in self-isolation at home, said school officials. The building where the employee works has been closed in order to be disinfected and cleaned.

People who were in direct contact with the infected employee have been contacted by health officials. They have been asked to stay home for 14 days since their last contact with the individual.

Despite the school’s shift to online instruction for the remainder of the quarter, officials said the risk to the broader Seattle campus community is low.

“The last week or so has been difficult as the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has gained a foothold in our region and country,” said UW President Ana Mari Cauce in a release. “Thank you for the calm, resilience and care that you have demonstrated toward each other, as well as toward our students, patients and communities, as we work together to minimize the impact of the virus on our state. Our focus remains keeping this community healthy as we fulfill our important educational, research and service mission.” 

All UW campuses will remain open to serve those who rely on services, including hospitals and clinics, dining services, residence halls, and recreation and athletics facilities. Husky athletics events will proceed as scheduled as well.

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