COVID-19 Housing Information
Updated July 15
Housing will continue to work with University, local and state health officials as we plan for increasing occupancy in our residence halls. Safety will continue to be our driving principle when evaluating occupancy restrictions, in-person programming guidelines and other services that may impact resident life on Western's campus.
Take a look at the updates, FAQs and announcements for more information about WWU Housing.
WWU has announced that students will need COVID vaccine clearance to live on campus fall quarter. This means students will either submit proof of vaccine completion or submit a COVID vaccine exemption form.
For vaccination info, visit the Student Health Center website. More information is available here:
COVID Testing for University Residences
Testing is part of a comprehensive health and safety plan to reduce the risk of COVID infections on Western's campus. COVID testing of students in university housing will be as follows:
- All residents: students moving into university housing, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, are required to get a single COVID test. There are two options:
- Get tested one to seven days before your arrival and submit your results to the Student Health Center via your patient portal.
- If you cannot get tested before your arrival, the Student Health Center offers testing starting the week of September 20th. Your Resident Advisor or Apartment Advisor will show you how to sign up for a test at your first floor meeting. Not getting tested for COVID-19 before move-in will not delay your move-in.
- Any student who has submitted a COVID vaccine waiver will also be required to get a COVID test every week during the fall quarter. If this testing requirement causes hardship for any student, they can simply obtain a COVID vaccine and submit their completed COVID vaccine card to the SHC. Vaccines are available at many locations in Bellingham. SHC will also be offering COVID vaccines starting Monday Sept 20.
UPDATE: COVID Testing Prior to Move In
The recent surge in the COVID delta variant has caused a shortage of COVID testing availability in Whatcom County, throughout our state and the region. We understand this has been very frustrating for students planning to move into university housing. In an effort to assist you, we are adjusting our COVID testing plan prior to move in.
If you are able to get a valid COVID test (PCR or Rapid Antigen) from a licensed provider 5-7 days prior to moving in to housing, please upload it as soon as you can through your secure MyWesternHealth portal. NOTE: At home tests will not be accepted for this purpose.
For students who cannot get a COVID test before arriving, you will be prioritized for testing through our COVID Testing Facility on campus. Please watch for additional instructions from Housing and the Student Health Center.
Thank you for doing your part to keep Western safe!
Western’s COVID Support Team
How do I submit my COVID test prior to move-in?
- Get your COVID test within 7 days of your move-in date (home COVID tests will not be accepted).
- Log in to your MyWesternHealth patient portal and go to "Medical Clearances".
- Click "Update" next to the "COVID-19 Test requirement".
- Enter the collection date of your COVID test (not the date of your result).
- Upload a copy of your COVID test.
- Click "Done". Your status will show compliant as soon as it is verified.
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For fall 2021, we expect housing occupancy to return to normal. This means 1 person per single room, 2 people per double room, and 3 people per triple room.
University Residences is currently evaluating occupancy restrictions and demand for fall housing. Housing is planning to offer more space by safely reducing some of the occupancy restrictions for fall quarter, under the direction of University, local and state health officials.
We are working hard to create a safe housing experience that will include:
- Planning for virtual and in-person events and meetings with live-in staff
- Space on campus for quarantine and isolation for students who cannot travel home
- Increased sanitation procedures by custodians in high traffic areas
During the Summer 2021 quarter, isolation and quarantine housing will be located in Birnam Wood. We have reserved two stacks to ensure we have more than enough space to house any student who tests positive for COVID-19 or who comes in contact with someone who has tested positive.
For Fall 2021, isolation and quarantine housing will be located in Ridgeway Gamma and Birnam Wood apartments.
All students pick their own rooms unless they choose to let us assign them. Our assigning process occurs in late August, after self-selection.
We have a multilayered response plan and will identify isolation space in the event a resident tests positive for coronavirus and quarantine space if a resident is exposed, but did not test positive.
Housing will continue to work closely with University, local, and state health departments to adhere to best practices and responses to the coronavirus.
Yes, residence halls will have in person events in the fall! Our Residence Life team is working hard to provide in-person programming and meetings with live-in staff. We are planning to offer some virtual programming options as well for students who are not yet fully comfortable with in person gatherings. In past years, in-person events have looked like:
- Floor dinners
- Recreational events such as outdoor activities (hiking, sports competitions)
- Movie nights
- Resident Advisor and Hall Council led games
- Pool tournaments
- Card games
- Outdoor lawn games
- Skill building and educational events
- Attending athletic events as a floor or building community
- One on one and small group dialogues with Resident Advisors, Apartment Advisors, and Inclusion Assistants
Our commitment to building a safe community where you invest in academic success and personal growth remains a central component of our mission. When planning in-person events, we utilize current COVID-19 health and safety guidelines for higher education institutions.
We continue to work with campus partners to find effective ways to ensure our facility use is set up to encourage stay safe habits, like social distancing, wearing face coverings, and frequent hand washing.
Housing works closely with University, local and state health officials to stay up to date on COVID-19 best practices and safety guidelines. For more information, on testing in the residence halls, visit Campus Virus Testing.
Throughout the academic year, non-vaccinated students are required to be tested for COVID-19 weekly. All students, vaccinated or unvaccinated, will have access to COVID-19 tested if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
If you test positive, you will be instructed to move to an isolation space. Residence hall staff will assist you, bring you meals and check-in regularly with you while in isolation.
Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) will perform necessary contact tracing after Western alerts them to a positive case. Those who tested positive can anticipate being contacted by the health department.
If there is a known exposure to a positive COVID-19 case, we will ask you to go home or get transported to quarantine housing with daily check-ins and meal delivery for up to 14 days.
To learn about what the contact tracing process entails, please visit the Whatcom County Health Department website.
Isolation & Quarantine
Students exposed to a positive test are instructed to stay in quarantine for 14 days. Students who test positive are advised to stay in isolation for at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared or since the date of their first positive diagnostic test; and at least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; and symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved. Note: A negative SARS-CoV-2 PCR test does not supersede the above expectations. Any extension of a stay in isolation/quarantine will be handled on a case by case basis by Student Health Center and the Whatcom County Health Department.
Students have the option of completing their quarantine or isolation at their permanent address or in WWU’s quarantine and isolation space.
It is expected you only leave isolation/quarantine space if you are required to go to an appointment at the Student Health Center or have a service animal in need of care. Additionally, guests will not be allowed.
For more information on isolation and quarantine, visit Quarantine, Isolation, and Student Housing.
Spaces will include at a minimum: bed, mattress, dresser and internet access. There will be basic bed linens and towels provided as well as toilet paper, paper towel roll, cleaning spray can, and toiletries. In addition, a care package will be provided that includes non-perishable foods such as granola bars, tea and cup of noodles. We will also provide a tea kettle that stays in the space once the student leaves. We encourage students to bring what will make them comfortable for the 14 days.
Since you will be in the room for two weeks, please bring anything you need to be comfortable during that time, as well as plenty of clothing. You will not be able to do laundry during the time you are in quarantine/isolation.
If you are moving to quarantine or isolation, we have a trained team who will be in full PPE to move you and your belongings.
Please note: If you have a vehicle with a WWU parking permit, we can transfer your permit to the isolation/quarantine area.
Yes, you can. The transport team can assist with the transport of your animal too. You will need to pack what your animal needs for 14 days and you will be able to utilize certain outside spaces of isolation/quarantine to care for your emotional support animal.
University Residences staff will deliver two meals to your room each day, lunch and dinner. You will receive breakfast items as part of your care package, which will be placed in your room prior to your arrival.