Face Covering Policy

Updated April 10, 2024

Face coverings are optional in most indoor locations with the exceptions summarized below. Please refer to the University's COVID-19 Face Covering Policy, log of changes, and the frequently asked questions below for more information. 

 UW Medicine medical facility personnel follow the UW Medicine face covering and personal protective equipment policies.

As part of the University’s multi-layered strategy to limit the transmission of COVID-19, face coverings, particularly well-fitting, high-quality masks (e.g., N95, KN95, surgical mask) remain a useful tool in helping to limit the spread of COVID-19. High-quality masks are available at no cost in several locations on each campus.


Effective November 21, 2023, high-quality facemasks are required to be worn by UW personnel in all UW patient care settings including clinical research settings, dental clinics, and UW shuttles serving healthcare facilities. The facemask requirements in UW healthcare facilities are based on respiratory virus transmission (COVID-19, flu, and RSV) metrics. All patients, visitors, and families are strongly encouraged to wear a mask while in clinical spaces. Follow the mask signs posted upon entry to clinics.


In alignment with CDC and local public health guidance:

  • Masks are strongly recommended when returning to campus after ending COVID-19 isolation, indoors when around others until 10 days have passed from the start of illness.
  • Masks are strongly recommended after a higher risk COVID-19 exposure,  indoors when around others until 10 days have passed from when you were exposed. In addition, follow the instructions for testing and symptom monitoring on the COVID-19 Public Health Flowchart.

Otherwise, face coverings are optional and may be considered for the following:

  • Immunocompromised individuals or those at high risk for severe illness in crowded settings.
  • Healthcare settings when they are not required.

Additional information

Face covering requirements will be reassessed as public health indicators change. Staying up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations  is the most important layer of safety for preventing severe illness.

In addition, stay home when sick or experiencing symptoms, and get tested if you have symptoms or have a higher risk exposure. 


Frequently asked questions

FAQs for University settings where face coverings are required