COVID-19 Health and Safety Expectations

Updated October 4, 2021

The following expectations apply on SPU’s campus for all students, employees, contractors, visitors, and volunteers. These expectations may be updated from time to time and will continue to apply until revised or withdrawn.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 Campus 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. 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


Students and Employees

Subject to permitted exceptions, all SPU students and employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and are required to provide SPU with documentary proof of vaccination. This requirement has been enforced in connection with the start of Autumn Quarter 2021 and will continue to be enforced as new students and employees join SPU.

Students and employees have been permitted to request exemptions from the vaccination requirement for medical or religious reasons. Students who are only taking classes online during Autumn Quarter 2021 have also been permitted to request a deferral of the deadline for providing vaccination information. For additional information about the vaccination requirement for students and employees, including what it means to be “fully vaccinated,” how to submit documentary proof, and how to request an exemption, see the web page Vaccination Requirements: FAQs.


Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 21-14.2 requires that contractors fulfill COVID-19 vaccination requirements in order to be permitted to work on SPU’s campus after October 18, 2021. The proclamation defines "contractor" to include any person who provides goods or services pursuant to a contract with another person or entity (including SPU), and also to include subcontractors. A contractor is not subject to this requirement if the contractor is physically present at SPU for only a short period of time and any moments of close physical proximity to others at SPU are fleeting (e.g., a driver for a contracted shipping and delivery service briefly entering a site to pick up parcels for shipping).

The proclamation permits SPU to require contractors to sign a declaration that they are complying with the vaccination requirements stated in the proclamation, rather than have SPU verify the vaccination status of each member of a contractor’s staff individually. During September 2021, SPU’s Office of Facility and Project Management is distributing updated notifications of SPU’s COVID-19 expectations to contractors with a copy of a declaration form for contractors to sign and return. Any SPU department that engages a contractor to work on campus should confirm that contractor receives a copy of the declaration form by the end of September and returns a completed form no later than October 18, 2021, or the contractor will not be permitted to work on campus. Questions about requirements for contractors can be emailed to


Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 21-14.2 prohibits volunteers from providing voluntary service on SPU’s campus after October 18, 2021, unless SPU has confirmed that the volunteer has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or is eligible for a permitted exemption. To satisfy this requirement, each SPU department is required to take the following steps no later than October 18, 2021, with respect to any person who volunteers on campus or in any off-campus university activity in any capacity with that department:  

  • Ask the volunteer to provide documentary evidence that the individual has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
    • The only forms of acceptable evidence are: (a) CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card or photo of the card; (b) Documentation of vaccination from a health care provider or electronic health record; or (c) State immunization information system record. 
    • A person is considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two weeks after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use, licensed, or otherwise approved by the FDA (e.g., Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) or two weeks after they have received a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use, licensed, or otherwise approved by the FDA (e.g., Johnson & Johnson/Janssen). 
  • If the volunteer can provide documentary evidence, have an SPU employee (other than a student employee) inspect the evidence, and document that the evidence has been inspected. 
    • SPU employees should not keep a copy of the documentary evidence that is provided. SPU employees should only create a record that includes the following information: (a) name of volunteer; (b) type of documentary evidence that proved full COVID-19 vaccination; (c) name of SPU employee who inspected the evidence; and (d) date of inspection. 
    • On October 18, 2021, each SPU department should send an email to with a list of volunteers that the department has confirmed satisfy COVID-19 vaccination requirements. If the list is subsequently updated, the department should send an updated list to at the end of each quarter (but the verification should still be performed prior to the time the volunteer provides service on campus). 
  • In general, SPU does not intend to grant religious or medical exemptions to volunteers, and requires that all volunteers on campus be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or that the voluntary service be provided remotely. However, if an SPU department wants to request that a volunteer for its area be considered for a religious or medical exemption, a representative of the department may email the COVID-19 Decision Group at to inquire whether an exemption may be considered. 

The proclamation does not define the term “volunteer” but suggests it includes anyone who engages in work on SPU's campus (other than an employee or contractor), unless the individual is physically present at SPU for only a short period of time and any moments of close physical proximity to others at SPU are fleeting. If an individual is a guest on campus (e.g., a guest speaker for a class who is not an employee and is not performing work pursuant to a written contract), then SPU does not believe the individual needs to be treated as a “volunteer” for purposes of the proclamation's vaccine requirement.


In general, visitors are not required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a condition for being on SPU’s campus. However, pursuant to the Local Health Officer Verification of Vaccination Order issued on September 16, 2021, SPU will begin requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test as a condition of attending certain university events and activities (e.g., certain sports and performing arts events) beginning October 25, 2021, as described in the order.

SPU’s rules regarding face coverings are intended to meet legal requirements, including Proclamation 20-12.5, Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03.6, Local Health Officer Outdoor and Indoor Masking Orders, and Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) guidance. Based on these pronouncements:

  • All SPU students and employees are required to wear face coverings when inside SPU buildings, subject to the exceptions listed in Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03.6. For example, while SPU encourages everyone to wear face coverings indoors, face coverings are not required in the following situations:
    • Students living in residence halls and campus apartments do not need to wear face coverings in their bedrooms;
    • People do not need to wear face coverings while eating or drinking in campus spaces where eating and drinking is permitted;
    • People do not need to wear face coverings while engaging in personal hygiene or grooming activities that require removal of a face covering;
    • A face covering is not required when a party to a communication is deaf or hard of hearing and not wearing a face covering is essential to communication;
    • Employees are not required to wear masks while working alone indoors (i.e., while they are isolated from interactions with others and have little or no expectation of in-person interruptions);
    • Fully vaccinated employees are not required to wear face coverings while working in indoor areas not generally accessible to the public if only co-workers are present (e.g., when meeting in a closed room with co-workers); 
    • An individual who has a medical, developmental, or cognitive condition that prevents wearing of a face covering does not need to wear a face covering; and
    • While actively engaging in a performing arts performance, leading religious services, or engaged in other similar activities, subject to the authorization and requirements of the Washington Department of Health (DOH), including any vaccination requirements. For purposes of the preceding sentence, DOH has stated in DOH 820-202 (9/27/21) that a lecturer at a fully vaccinated higher education campus may remove their mask when actively lecturing if they are able to maintain physical distance from all observers, such as in a large lecture hall.
  • All contractors who perform work on SPU’s campus are required to wear face coverings in accordance with Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03.6 and any applicable L&I workplace safety requirements. Contractors must also follow all requirements stated on SPU’s notice regarding infectious disease requirements for contractors and vendors working on university campuses.
  • All volunteers and visitors on SPU’s campus must wear face coverings when inside any SPU building, unless an exception from the Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03.6 applies (e.g., the individual is eating in a campus dining area, the individual has a medical condition that prevents wearing a face covering).
  • At outdoor events or gatherings attended by 500 or more people, face coverings are required for all attendees, unless an exemption under Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03.6 applies.

Notwithstanding what is written above, SPU reserves the right to require face coverings of all people regardless of vaccination status in certain situations (e.g., SPU may require face coverings in connection with crowded outdoor events or activities with fewer than 500 attendees).

SPU generally does not require physical distancing for people on campus. However, SPU may impose physical distancing requirements in certain circumstances (e.g., buildings with limited air circulation). Also, anyone who is not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is encouraged to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others when possible.

In general, SPU does not have COVID-19 limitations on the size of social gatherings or in-person meetings. Special events that involve large gatherings may be required to follow certain precautions (e.g., sporting events, performing arts). Smaller social, work, and academic gatherings on campus should follow protocols stated on this web page as applicable. Gatherings may also be subject to size limitations due to capacity limits for certain rooms and buildings. For guidelines about what types of gatherings and events require advance review for COVID-19 protocols, see the webpage Guidelines for Requesting Event Approval from the COVID-19 Decision Group.

At this time, online self-attestation is not required for students or employees. However, students, employees, contractors, volunteers, and visitors should all perform personal health self-screening each day and 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 and is not fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 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.

If any SPU student, employee, contractor, or visitor develops symptoms of COVID-19 (see list above under Personal Health Self-Screening), they must go home (or, if already home, stay home), inform SPU Health Services as soon as possible, and seek medical attention.

  • After an employee has gone home, the employee should not return to work until they have been evaluated by a health care provider and cleared for returning to work by SPU Health Services.
  • Contractors should also be evaluated by a health care provider and cleared for returning to work before returning to SPU’s campus (SPU Health Services does not make determinations whether 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 residential students exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19 should notify their residence life coordinator, in addition to SPU Health Services, as soon as possible to make appropriate arrangements, which may include quarantine or isolation on campus.

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 and by SPU, as applicable. 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.

Students, employees, contractors, volunteers, and visitors on SPU’s campus who test positive for COVID-19 should call SPU Health Services for contact tracing purposes. SPU Health Services will directly contact all SPU students and employees who are suspected of being close contacts of every confirmed case on campus. SPU Health Services will also report cases to local public health and state occupational safety and health authorities and coordinate any necessary cooperation with such agencies.

SPU students and employees who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 may be required to be tested, at the discretion of SPU Health Services, regardless of vaccination status.  

SPU does not require periodic testing of students or employees who are not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. However, SPU strongly encourages asymptomatic, unvaccinated students and employees to be tested periodically for COVID-19.

All persons on SPU’s campus should practice good hygiene. Good hygiene practices include washing hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (e.g., before and after going to the bathroom, before and after eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose); not touching your face with unwashed hands or while wearing gloves; using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol; cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces on campus; and covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

Students living in residence halls may use kitchenettes on their floors and employees working in university buildings may use kitchenettes for their offices, including microwaves and refrigerators. 

Also, students and employees are permitted to have shared food at campus events. In these types of situations, all students and employees are still encouraged to follow good hygiene practices and take safety precautions such as wiping high-touch surfaces before and after use with disinfecting wipes; minimizing touching of fixtures; not refilling used cups and glasses; not sharing dish sponges, scrubbers, cups, glasses, and silverware; and serving shared food and drink in a way that avoids the potential spread of germs. Unvaccinated individuals should exercise special care in any shared food or shared food preparation or eating situations.

Food is not permitted in laboratories on campus.

SPU employees and students are not prohibited from asking each other about their vaccination status. Any discussion of vaccination status should be conducted respectfully. 

Students and employees are not obligated to disclose their vaccination status to each other, although SPU may require disclosure to SPU officials in connection with enforcement of face covering rules. SPU employees and students may remind contractors, visitors, and volunteers about SPU’s COVID-19 Health and Safety Expectations, but are not expected to verify the vaccination status of every person, except as otherwise required by SPU policy (e.g., as described above under "Vaccination").

SPU students, employees, contractors, visitors, and volunteers should follow all other applicable COVID-19 rules and requirements imposed by government agencies while on campus, except to the extent that SPU policies are more restrictive.

Deans should monitor faculty activities; supervisors should monitor employee activities in their areas; employees who oversee contractors or volunteers should monitor their activities; and employees who interact with students or visitors should monitor their activities for compliance with SPU’s COVID-19 Health and Safety Expectations on campus. 

SPU students, employees, contractors, volunteers, and visitors will not be permitted to remain on campus if they do not comply with these expectations.

Questions can be emailed to SPU’s COVID-19 Decision Group at