COVID-19 Health and Safety Expectations

Updated April 16, 2021.

The following expectations apply on SPU’s campus for all students, employees, contractors, visitors, and other persons no matter their current vaccination status or levels. These expectations may be updated from time to time and will continue to apply until revised or withdrawn. SPU employees and students may also access a copy of SPU’s COVID-19 Exposure Control, Mitigation, and Recovery Plan online, which contains detailed descriptions of SPU’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Reducing the risk of infection on campus is a shared responsibility, and everyone needs to do their part. While no university can guarantee an environment free of COVID-19, and even with all of SPU’s policies and protocols it is still possible that people could contract COVID-19 on campus. However, by collectively taking precautions, we can promote each other’s health and well-being.

If anyone needs to contact SPU Health Services pursuant to the expectations below they can call 206-281-2231. If SPU Health Services cannot be reached, then the Office of Safety and Security may be contacted by calling 206-281-2911. Also, if SPU employees need to contact the Office of Facility and Project Management regarding cleaning or physical facilities on campus, they can call 206-281-2330 or email

General expectations for all employees, students, vendors, and guests to campus

Six feet of separation: All persons on SPU’s campus must maintain at least six feet of separation from each other whenever possible.

Face coverings: The rules for face coverings differ depending on whether or not an individual is an SPU employee on the job and whether an individual is on campus. SPU’s face covering rules are intended to reflect the requirements of Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 20-25.7 and Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03.1. Examples of face coverings include cloth face masks, scarves, and bandanas. Visit the Washington State Coronavirus Response webpage for more information on face coverings.

  • Employment Situations:  When on the job, all SPU employees must wear face coverings over their noses and mouths except (i) when working alone on campus inside their individual office with the door closed; (ii) when working outdoors, the job has no in-person interaction, and distance of at least six feet can be maintained from other individuals; (iii) when working from home; or (iv) when another exception is approved by SPU’s COVID-19 Decision Group ( Employees should not wear N95 masks or other tight-fitting respirators unless approved by the Assistant Vice President for Facility and Project Management, since these masks can raise special regulatory considerations. When on campus but not on the job, SPU employees should follow the guidance described for non-employment situations, below.
  • Non-Employment Situations: When individuals are on SPU’s campus other than as SPU employees, they must comply with Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03.1, unless they are exempt under the order (e.g., children younger than five years old, or persons with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering). In general, this means that unless an exception applies, all individuals must wear face coverings over their noses and mouths when they are outside of their dwelling unit. For example, unless an exception applies, face coverings should be worn in all SPU classrooms, in all hallways and common areas of all buildings (including residence halls), in all bathrooms (other than bathrooms within apartments or connected to bedrooms), and outdoors. Exceptions are listed in Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03.1 and include:
    • When engaged in the act of eating or drinking (provided that prescribed physical distancing measures are followed);
    • While engaging in personal hygiene activities that require removal of the face covering;
    • While engaged in exercise activities (provided that prescribed physical distancing measures are followed, and subject to more specific guidance for organized athletic and exercise activities);
    • While in an outdoor area, provided that a distance of at least six feet is maintained from non-household members; and
    • When any party to a communication is deaf or hard of hearing and not wearing a face covering is essential to communication.
  • Masks should be worn and removed correctly, and washed after each use. Hands must be washed or sanitized after handling or touching a used mask.
  • We understand that wearing a facial covering can impact opportunities for interaction and friendly connection between individuals. Please remember that beneath the facial coverings we are all bearers of God's image, worthy of dignity and respect. May we continue to cultivate a community of belonging and care as we stand against all forms of bias.

Gatherings: SPU rules for gatherings on campus depend in part on the reason for the gathering.

  • Work activities, events, and meetings: Area supervisors are responsible for determining what normal work operations need to be performed in person and what tasks can be performed remotely. In general, administrative meetings, department trainings, and work-related events should be conducted virtually and not in-person. If an employee believes there is a compelling reason to conduct a meeting, training, or event in-person, the employee should email the SPU's COVID-19 Decision Group at to request an exception before placing a request for campus space. The request should describe the event and explain why some or all should be allowed to meet in person.
  • Social gatherings for offices and departments: Until further notice, SPU offices and departments should not have in-person social gatherings. Also, any permitted in-person work meeting or event should not include food or any activity that could involve increased respiration (e.g., singing, exercise) without SPU's COVID Decision Group approval.
  • Informal social gatherings for students: Students are permitted to gather outdoors in group of 10–15, as long as they follow all the face-covering and physical-distancing practices. Students are not permitted to gather in spaces on campus that have been closed to gatherings. For additional rules about social gatherings within residence halls, see the Residential Living section of the Student Handbook.
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On-campus work: Each University area supervisor needs to complete a safety planning checklist developed by the University’s COVID-19 Implementation Team as part of the process for reopening offices and departments in such supervisor’s area. Each department will need to submit the checklist for approval from the Assistant Vice President for Facility and Project Management. SPU has adopted a Remote and Tele Work Policy (effective 9/4/20). Employees and supervisors should follow this guidance issued by the University regarding approved remote work arrangements. All employees must complete the online COVID-19 safety training as soon as possible if they have not already done so. New employees should complete the training upon hire.

Health self-screening: No person should come to SPU’s campus if any of the following apply:

  • Such person is feeling sick, including if such person is experiencing any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19 (e.g., fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle aches, or new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea). For this purpose, fever is a temperature of 100.4°F or higher.
  • Such person has been in close contact with a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 within the preceding 14 days. If you are unsure whether your exposure constitutes “close contact,” contact SPU Health Services to discuss.
  • Such person has tested positive for SARS CoV2, with or without symptoms, in the last 10 days.

Each person who does not live on campus should perform self-screening each day before coming to campus, and each person who lives on campus should perform self-screening each day before using any campus facilities other than their residential units. In addition, each day that a student or an employee comes to campus, the online self-attestation should be completed in Banner through the SPU website or via the QR code application located on building entry signs affirming that the employee meets the stated criteria to be on campus.

Illness and Exposure — Notifying SPU and avoiding campus:

  • Students, employees, contractors, and visitors on SPU’s campus who test positive for COVID-19 should call SPU Health Services for contact tracing purposes.
  • If any SPU student, employee, contractor, or visitor develops symptoms of COVID-19 (see list above under Health self-screening), they must stay home or go home, seek medical attention and inform SPU Health Services.
  • Employees should make a report to SPU Health Services as soon as possible if they develop symptoms of COVID-19. If symptoms develop while on campus, the employee should be immediately sent home and report symptoms to SPU Health Services. If symptoms develop while the employee is not on campus, the employee should not return to work until they have been evaluated by a healthcare provider and cleared for returning to work by SPU Health Services.
  • Contractors on SPU’s campus should follow similar procedures as those outlined in the paragraph above for employees (it is not the responsibility of SPU Health Services to determine if contractors may return to work, but after a contractor has been cleared to return to work by a health care professional, the contractor should make a report to SPU Health Services).
  • All students exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19 (see list above) should notify SPU Health Services and (for residential students) their Residence Life Coordinator as soon as possible to make appropriate arrangements, which may involve quarantine or isolation. 
  • If an employee or student has a family member or household member sick with COVID-19, that employee/student must notify SPU Health Services and follow the isolation/quarantine requirements as established by the State Department of Health. Employees should inform their supervisors as well as SPU Health Services if they have a sick family member or other household member with COVID-19.

Good Hygiene:

  • All persons on SPU’s campus should wash their hands regularly, including before and after going to the bathroom, before and after eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose.
  • Employees, students, and contractors must follow hygienic practices, including not touching their faces with unwashed hands or while wearing gloves; washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol; cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces on campus such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, machines, shared tools, elevator control buttons, and doorknobs; covering their mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing; and other hygienic recommendations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Government Guidance: SPU students, employees, and contractors should seek to follow all other applicable government rules and regulations, including the Safe Start Washington reopening plan while it is in effect.

Enforcement: Deans should monitor faculty activities, supervisors should monitor employee activities in their areas, and employees who oversee contractors or interact with students or visitors should monitor their activities for compliance with the expectations described above on campus. SPU students, employees, contractors, and visitors will not be permitted to remain on campus if they do not comply with the expectations stated above.