Health & Safety


  • Student Health Center
  • Contact your primary healthcare provider
  • Call the Washington State Department of Health at 800-525-0127
  • Access free e-visits by MultiCare Virtual Care to anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath).

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, do not visit a healthcare provider without calling first. Health officials will guide students on next steps.

Counseling Services

The Counseling Center is offering tele-mental health services for the foreseeable future. Contact the Counseling Center to learn more.  

Face Masks

Western’s indoor mask policy now states that a mask or other suitable face covering is required indoors when other people are present and in all public and common areas, such as lobbies, hallways, stairways, restrooms, elevators and shared vehicles.  The only exception to this requirement is students inside their own room in a university residence.

Masks are also encouraged in crowded, outdoor areas.

To learn more about masks, such as what types of masks will offer you protection, view the CDC masking website.

Health & Safety FAQs

Campus Virus Testing

Western will be requiring any students or employees with a medical or religious waiver from the vaccine mandate to be tested on a weekly basis, through on-campus testing by the Student Health Center. 

Additionally, Western will be conducting surveillance testing of vaccinated students on campus, inviting a random sample of students to get tested each week. The Student Health Center will also provide testing for symptomatic students and students who have been exposed to COVID. 

Employees who are vaccinated and wish to be tested can enroll in the voluntary testing program through NW Labs

For information about Western’s COVID testing procedure for students, view the Student Health Center’s website. For information about Western’s COVID testing procedure for employees, view the HR website.

Illness and Exposure

If you have tested positive for COVID

If you are a student who has received a positive test result, contact the Student Health Center immediately at 360-650-3400.

If you are an employee who has received a positive test result, follow HR's reporting process.

If you are feeling ill

Even if you are not sure if it is COVID-related, do not come to campus, and get tested for COVID as soon as you can. This applies regardless of your vaccination status.

Exposure to COVID

If an individual has tested positive for COVID, contact tracing will occur with the Whatcom County Health Department, with assistance from the Student Health Center or Human Resources as necessary. If you have been in contact with a confirmed positive case, you will be notified and instructed on how to proceed. As a reminder, exposure to COVID is defined as being within six feet of a person with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes within a 24-hour period.

If you think you might have been exposed to COVID:

  • For vaccinated individuals:
    • Get tested 3-5 days after exposure
      • If you’re vaccinated and are not experiencing symptoms, you do not have to quarantine prior to testing or while waiting for testing results
      • If you’re vaccinated and experiencing symptoms, quarantine until you receive your test results
    • If your test comes back negative, continue self-monitoring for symptoms for 14 days. If you develop symptoms, quarantine and get tested again
    • If your test comes back positive, you will need to isolate for 10 days or until you have gone 24 hours without symptoms, whichever is longer
  • For unvaccinated individuals
    • Get tested 3-5 days after exposure
      • Regardless of whether you are experiencing symptoms or not, you must quarantine for 14 days
    • If your test comes back negative, continue your 14 day quarantine and continue self-monitoring for symptoms for 14 days
    • If your test comes back positive, you will need to isolate for 10 days until you have gone 24 hours without symptoms, whichever is longer

More information can be found on the Whatcom County Health Department website, Washington DOH website, and the CDC website.

Isolation and Quarantine

If you have been exposed to COVID and are experiencing symptoms or are unvaccinated, you will need to quarantine, which generally lasts about two weeks. If you have tested positive for COVID, you will need to isolate, which generally lasts about 10 days.

Whether quarantining or isolating, you will be instructed by the health department on the specifics of your situation including how long you will need to be in quarantine or isolation. Whatcom County Health Department or the Student Health Center will notify you when you are cleared to leave.

If a student lives on-campus, they will be able to quarantine/isolate in one of Housing designated quarantine/isolation rooms, or may choose to go home. Students who live off-campus and employees will be asked to remain home during their quarantine/isolation period. If that is not possible, the individual managing your case at the Whatcom County Health Department or Student Health Center will assist you in finding a place to stay.

Academics While in Quarantine/Isolation

If you are a student and will be unable to attend in-person classes due to being in quarantine or isolation, you are responsible for communicating this with your instructors, as you would with any other illness. Faculty have been instructed to provide accommodations during that time, which will differ based on the best practice for each class, in line with how they would typically work with students taking an extended leave. If you are facing difficulty with getting accommodations for your classes, please contact the Office of Student Life.

Faculty looking for help on what accommodations to provide or how to do should reference information from the Provost's Office or contact their chair/dean.

Employment While in Quarantine/Isolation

Employees and their supervisors will work together to determine any remote work options while in quarantine/isolation, or if taking leave would be needed. Employees can learn about different leave options available on the HR website.

Student employees should contact their supervisor regarding potential options for remote work or taking leave.

Quarantine/Isolation On Campus

Information about the quarantine and isolation spaces on campus, such as what to pack, meal delivery, and more, can be found on Housing's COVID website.