Return with Confidence
After 18 months of remote operations, we look forward to a full return to campus with a great deal of anticipation and optimism. The increase in vaccinations, along with our continued adherence to health and safety protocols and procedures, will create a safe environment for everyone to work, teach, and learn.
In the interests of everyone's health and safety, Seattle Colleges has chosen to be a fully vaccinated campus per Governor Inslee’s higher education proclamation. This requires all students, staff, and faculty to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. For all the details, visit the COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement page.
Health and Safety Protocols and Procedures
Strong adherence to the health and safety protocols and best practices below enabled Seattle Colleges to operate limited in-person education and specialized training for hundreds of students this past year while avoiding community spread on our campuses.
Please keep in mind the most effective infection control measures are to get vaccinated and wear a mask or face covering while in indoor public spaces.
The ICP is a group of policies and procedures that guide COVID-19 infection prevention and control issues on our campuses. The ICP complies with the Washington State Stay-Home, Stay Healthy mandate and Safe Start Plan for Reopening. These protocols and procedures will remain in place and gradually be revised until they are no longer needed. We anticipate that these policies and procedures will change as we move from Fall to Winter to Spring Quarters.
While on campus, employees and students are expected to follow current COVID campus entry protocols, which follow best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection. These include:
- Wearing a well-fitting, multi-layer mask that fully covers the mouth and nose.
See Guidance for wearing a mask and how to improve your protection.
- Maintaining a physical distance of 3 to 6 feet from other people, where possible.
- Practicing good respiratory etiquette by coughing or sneezing into the inside of the elbow (with mask on) – not the hands.
- Washing hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and avoiding touching one’s face or mask.
Seattle Colleges employs trained contact tracers who work directly with Public Health of Seattle and King County to respond immediately to reports of confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 within the college community. They confidentially notify any individual identified as having had direct contact with a confirmed case report. Learn more.
Facilities and maintenance engineers proactively monitor the performance of the ventilation and HVAC systems. They work with Health and Safety to adjust ventilation systems as public health guidelines continue to evolve.
Each campus has undertaken a full system review of indoor air filtration, ventilation, and recirculation based on system design and operation limits. A major focus has been placed on improving the level of air filtration as much as possible without significantly reducing airflow. The colleges have upgraded filtration efficiency and maximized fresh air exchange for ventilation and HVAC systems, as recommended by CDC, OSHA, L&I, and ASHRAE. Additionally, faculty and staff are encouraged to open classroom doors and windows wherever and whenever possible.
Note, filtration efficiency is not the same as heating/cooling efficiency, and increasing fresh air exchange makes regulating room temperatures less easy.
The risk for transmission of COVID-19 through inanimate objects is low (much less than previously believed). Thus, many of the previous protocols for isolating objects or disinfecting beyond daily routine cleaning is no longer necessary unless an infected individual is known to have been present. Learn more about our disinfection response plan for what happens when someone is sick or has COVID-19.
That being said, cleaning and disinfection of shared items (frequently-touched) is one standard precaution to prevent the spread of most communicable illness, particularly in the educational setting. For this, we encourage but do not require the continued practice of disinfecting high-touch points. Colleges provide safe and effective disinfection materials for campus employees to wipe down their space before and after work and periodically throughout the day. Please do not bring chemicals from home or purchase new products without chemical safety review by Health and Safety.
Emergency Planning and Safety Teams
Many people across Seattle Colleges, including staff and faculty from each college and the district office, have spent many hours in planning and implementation of the various aspects of our Infection Control Program (ICP) and health and safety plans.
Seattle Colleges’ ERT includes the chancellor and three college presidents as well as other administrative leaders. The ERT now meets weekly to address COVID-19 policy and planning. The RTC Committee, with representation from all campuses, also meets weekly to discuss COVID-19 issues, implement responses, and facilitate communication and consistent adherence to protocols and best practices. These groups are involved in the planning of the phased return to on-campus activities.
An approved program-specific health and safety plan is required for all college programs that are planning to return to regular on-campus activities. These plans detail how the program will meet ICP standards and best practices of prevention established by federal, state, and local public health COVID-19 guidelines. Learn more.
Seattle Colleges' districtwide H&S Team works with each college to address COVID-19 related issues and concerns. These employees provide expertise and training, evaluate and approve RTC plans, and help connect to local and state entities related to COVID-19 health and safety services.