Washington State University
Environmental Health & Safety COVID-19 Work Plan

COVID-19 Work Plan

WSU remains committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment; which includes preventing COVID-19 infections in the workplace. After contact tracing since March 2020, including cases involving pre-symptomatic but infectious employees occupying the workplace, EH&S has learned that masks and distancing very effectively prevent workplace infections. With the vaccines now available statewide and to anyone accessing WSU facilities, COVID cases in the state and on campus continue to decline. As prevalence decreases, the need for controls, such as those identified in the following sections also decreases. Meanwhile, anyone accessing or managing WSU facilities must adhere to the following minimum plan requirements:


Get Vaccinated

WSU requires the COVID-19 vaccine for all students and employees system-wide (except students attending on-line only) by October 18, 2021, with the option for individuals to file a medical or religious exemption. Personal exemptions will no longer be accepted per the Governor’s Proclamation and WSU policy. To meet the October 18 deadline, students faculty and staff must initiate vaccination with Moderna by September 6, Pfizer by September 13, and obtain their second dose on October 4, or recieve the Jansen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine by October 4. Please also understand the availability of the Jansen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine is limited in some locations.


Effective June 15, 2021, WSU will no longer require daily attestation. See Sick? STAY HOME below.


People should not enter a WSU location if they feel ill. WSU strongly discourages self-diagnosis of symptoms and recommends testing. Leadership, supervisors, faculty, and instructors are encouraged to foster a  flexible workplace and learning environment that allows for students and employees experiencing illness. We all must do our part to protect public health.

See also DOSH directive 1.70, section IV.A.5

Face Coverings

Order of the Secretary of Health Amending Order 20-03 requires face coverings in the following locations regardless of vaccination status as of August 23, 2021:

  • Indoor locations accessible to the public, e.g. WSU classroom buildings, the CUB, dining centers, recreation centers. Note: Face coverings are not required for vaccinated instructors lecturing in the classroom, although instructors may elect to wear a facial covering if desired
  • Health care (long-term care, doctor’s offices, hospitals)
  • Public transportation (aircraft, trains, buses, road vehicles)
  • K-12 schools, childcare facilities and day camps in locations where children are present or expected to be present
  • Correctional facilities
  • Homeless shelters

There are limited exceptions when face coverings won’t be required indoors, such as office spaces not easily accessible to the public where individuals are vaccinated, and when working alone or in a vehicle with no public face-to-face interaction. Small, private indoor gatherings where all attendees are vaccinated are also exempt. WSU employees who wish to no longer wear facial coverings in work locations not easily accessible to the public must be fully vaccinated and complete the vaccination verification process in Workday. For additional exemptions, reference DOH order 20-03.4.

Unvaccinated people must wear a mask while indoors at WSU locations unless alone in a room e.g. a personal office, while actively eating or drinking or participating in organized sports, swimming, showering or bathing, under a medical accomodation, or inside their private residence. Unvaccinated people should also reference the Vehicles section on this page.

Face coverings are no longer required outdoors for any person regardless of their vaccination status. However, DOH strongly recommends all people wear face coverings in crowded outdoor settings with decreased ability to maintain physical distance.

contact tracing

Please visit our Contact Tracing page. Unvaccinated close contacts, people that are not yet fully vaccinated and within 6 feet of a person testing COVID positive for 15 cumulative minutes over 24 hours must quarantine for 14 days.

Return to Workplace Process

Each college, campus, or area must have their vice president, chancellor, dean, leader and/or their designee perform the following steps:

  • Designate a COVID coordinator for their respective campus, college, or area. This person is responsible for monitoring this webpage for updates to COVID operational guidance and communicating those updates to their respective areas. Additionally, this person should ensure area compliance with the most current guidance.
    • Designated COVID coordinators will only be required at the college, campus, and area levels; however, some units or departments under those areas may choose to also designate a COVID coordinator. For example, the College of Arts and Sciences will be required to have a COVID coordinator, and the School of Music may also choose to have a COVID coordinator.
  • Direct all units under their purview to follow the current WSU COVID Workplace Guidance (listed on this page).
  • Document the name and contact information for their COVID coordinator as well their agreement to follow the most current guidance online.
    • All COVID coordinators will receive an email confirming their role and expected duties and an invitation to join Microsoft Teams COVID Coordinators. Updates to return to workplace and campus guidance will be provided via the COVID Coordinators team.
  • If the above steps are completed, campuses, colleges, and areas do not need to complete an RMAG review for returning to campus/workplace. However, RMAG is available to provide an optional review to anyone who requests it.

Return to Workplace Training

Due to changing guidance and WSU’s plan for a robust in-person experience in the fall, COVID return to workplace training is no longer necessary. Individuals should follow relevant informational signage and reference this webpage for more information.

See also DOSH directive 1.70, section IV.A.1

Remote Work

Employees may continue working remotely when mutually beneficial to the employee and department or area. Employees working remotely must enter into an approved telework agreement.


WSU has adopted the CDC recommendations for Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility. As such, disinfectant products will remain available and stocked in classrooms, labs, and offices for individual use. In some communal spaces, like dining halls, game rooms, exercise rooms, and lounges, occupants should continue to disinfect touched surfaces between uses. Facility WSU custodians will continue cleaning facilities daily, with some additional focus on high touch common areas, but will not be cleaning in between classes or activities. Additional cleaning will be performed if a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 ois identified in a WSU facility.

Capacity Restrictions

Distancing requirements no longer apply to fully vaccinated Institutions of Higher Education. Capacity restrictions apply to large indoor events with 10,000 or more participants. Spectator Event Requirements For all other WSU facilities, gathering limitations default to the fire code capacity.

Breakrooms and Drinking Fountains

Fully vaccinated persons may use breakrooms with other fully vaccinated persons. Unvaccinated persons should continue alternating break schedules to permit distancing, or eat in alternate locations. COVID infections have been linked to breakroom interactions and unvaccinated persons should maximize distancing and limit unmasked breakroom activities for their protection. Drinking fountains restrictions will be removed and returned to full service. The fountains will be cleaned and disinfected daily.

Classroom Distancing

Distancing requirements no longer apply to fully vaccinated Institutions of Higher Education such as WSU see Governor’s Higher Education Proclamation.


Masks must be worn on public transportation. For non-public WSU vehicles, unvaccinated people, if riding with others must:

  • Maintain at least 3 feet of seperation from others at the breathing zone, the space directly in front of the nose and mouth
  • If not able to distance 6 feet, wear a surgical or procedure mask, or KN95 respirator
  • Maximize vehicle ventilation by opening windows and/or operating the vehicle ventilation system at maximum settings, not on recirculation mode

Industry Guidance

Industry specific guidance has defaulted to Labor and Industries and Department of Health Requirements. Contact Jason Sampson at 509-335-9564 or Shawn Ringo at 509-335-5251 for assistance if needed.


Facilities Operations will be removing existing COVID-specific generic signage (unless required by industry guidance) and replacing it with updated signage. WSU adheres to L&I workplace COVID communication and education requirements, and uses signage to inform individuals about workplace policies. Currently, signage at WSU should communicate the following:

  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Wear a face covering.
  • For additional information please visit ehs.wsu.edu/workplan.


With the vaccination requirement and associated reductions in COVID cases and restrictions, RMAG review is no longer required for events. Contact Risk Management for assistance with risk awareness and assessment, insurance, enterprise risk management, international risks and travel or other WSU legal or liability concerns.

If you have COVID specific event concerns, contact the COVID Operations Committee by e-mailing Jason Sampson or Shawn Ringo.

Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) must register through COUG Presence, contact Student Involvement for additional information.