COVID-19 health and safety expectations

Updated March 14, 2022

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 These expectations may be updated from time to time and will continue to apply until revised or withdrawn.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 workcontrol@spu.edu.

Expectations

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 was enforced in connection with the start of Autumn Quarter 2021 and continues 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 may request a temporary deferral of the vaccination requirement. For additional information about the vaccination requirement for students and employees, including what it means to be “fully vaccinated,” for purposes of registration, how to submit documentary proof, how to request an exemption, and how to request a temporary deferral for online-only classes see the web page, Vaccination Requirements: FAQs.

Contractors

Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 21-14.3 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. In September 2021, SPU’s Office of Facility and Project Management distributed 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 received a copy of the declaration form and has returned a completed form, or the contractor will not be permitted to work on campus. Questions about requirements for contractors can be emailed to COVID19Plan@spu.edu.

Volunteers

Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 21-14.3 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 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. 
    • Each SPU department should send an email to COVID19Plan@spu.edu identifying any volunteer that the department has confirmed satisfies COVID-19 vaccination requirements.
  • 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 COVID19Plan@spu.edu 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.

Visitors

In general, visitors are not required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a condition for being on SPU’s campus. However, the University reserves the right to require verification of vaccination at University events and activities, including if required by law to do so.

What is a face covering?

A mask or face covering is anything that completely covers your mouth and nose, and fits securely on the sides of your face and under your chin. It should be made of two or more layers of tightly woven fabric with ties or straps that go around your head or behind your ears.

Guidance from the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) recommends strategies to improve mask fitting to more effectively slow the spread of COVD-19. These strategies include wearing a cloth mask over a medical procedure mask, knotting the ear loops of a medical procedure mask, using a mask fitter, or using a nylon covering over a mask.

In addition, the Washington Department of Health does not recommend the use of masks with exhalation valves or vents, or single layer bandanas or gaiters.

SPU’s rules regarding face coverings

SPU’s rules regarding face coverings are intended to meet state and local legal requirements (as applicable).  

Beginning March 12, 2022, face coverings are not required on campus, except in limited circumstances. Specifically, face coverings are required in the following situations:

  • Visiting Student Health Services
  • Utilizing the Athletics Trainer area
  • When you see a sign posted by the Office of Facility and Project Management within spaces that still require face coverings
  • Meeting in an individual office when requested by the employee who works in that office and signage is posted
  • When directed by Health Services personnel

Face coverings are not required if an exception in the Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03.8 applies. Individuals may still choose to wear face coverings on campus voluntarily. Notwithstanding what is written above, SPU reserves the right to require face coverings of all people regardless of vaccination status in certain situations.

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 recently vaccinated or boosted against COVID-19 is encouraged to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others when possible. For purposes of the preceding sentence, "recently vaccinated or boosted" means an individual received a booster more than two weeks ago, completed the series for Moderna or Pfizer within the last five months, or received the Johnson & Johnson dose within the last two months.

In general, SPU does not have COVID-19 limitations on the size of social gatherings or in-person meetings. 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 recently vaccinated or boosted against COVID-19. For purposes of the preceding sentence, “recently vaccinated or boosted” means an individual received a booster more than two weeks ago, completed the series for Moderna or Pfizer within the last five months, or received the Johnson & Johnson dose within the last two months. If you are unsure whether your exposure constitutes “close contact,” or if you have tested negative for COVID-19 after an exposure, stay home and 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.

Notwithstanding the self-screening expectation stated above, individuals who come to SPU's campus for the purpose of receiving a COVID-19 test from Curative are permitted on campus solely to receive the test, so long as they are only on campus for the time needed to be tested and do not go anywhere else on campus.

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.

For additional information about isolation and quarantine protocols for students and employees, please see SPU Isolation/Quarantine Protocols. 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 contact SPU Health Services. SPU Health Services may contact SPU students and employees who are suspected of being close contacts of a confirmed case on campus, depending on the circumstances. SPU Health Services will 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 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 COVID-19 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 COVID19plan@spu.edu