Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:
On March 23, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee issued Executive Order 20-25, “Stay Home – Stay Healthy,” to slow the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (“COVID-19”). On Thursday, April 2, Governor Inslee extended this order through May 4, 2020. On May 1, Governor Inslee extended the order once again, this time through May 31, 2020.
The university circulated guidance regarding the Governor’s original “Stay Home – Stay Healthy” proclamation on March 24. The university is recirculating its prior guidance. This same guidance still applies because the Governor’s original proclamation has not changed (other than relaxed restrictions for certain recreational activities, construction and medical procedures).
As a reminder, the order has two key parts: (1) it commands Washington residents to stay home unless conducting certain activities; and (2) it commands non-essential businesses to stay closed.
The Order’s Stay-at-Home Provision
- Stay at home with limited exceptions: Under the order’s Stay-at-Home Provision, all people in Washington State shall cease leaving their home or place of residence through May 31, 2020, except for the following reasons:
- (1) to conduct or participate in essential activities, and/or
- (2) for employment in essential business services.
- What is a “home” for students on campus? For students still living on campus, the university interprets the order’s definition of “home” to mean a student’s residence hall.
- Permitted reasons to leave home: The order explains that people in Washington may leave their homes (including residence halls) only to: (1) obtain necessary supplies and services including food; (2) engage in activities essential for health and safety, such as seeking health services or supplies; (3) care for or transport friends or family members for essential health and safety activities; (4) engage in outdoor exercise (but only if appropriate social distancing practices are used); or (5) travel to employment in essential business services.
- Prohibited activities: Leaving a home or residence to access internet, use a computer or study in an open space is not considered an essential activity. The university will continue to work with students to provide support and equipment to enable distance learning.
The order also specifically prohibits all public and private gatherings or multi-person activities for social, spiritual or recreational purposes, regardless of the number of people involved, though some additional recreational activities (such as golf) have been allowed to resume.
The Order’s Essential Business Provisions
- Seattle University is an essential business under the order as a university providing distance learning.
- The university has already directed all employees to work from home if their physical presence on campus is not critical. The order allows the university’s employees working from home to continue to do so, and those working from home should continue working from home until further notice.
- The order’s list of essential workers who may leave their homes to support employment in essential businesses is consistent with the university’s designation of workers whose physical presence on campus is critical or essential:
- “Workers supporting...colleges, and universities for purposes of distance learning.”
- “Workers to ensure continuity of building functions.”
- Security staff to maintain building access control and physical security measures.”
- “Support required for continuity of services, including janitorial/cleaning personnel.”
- “Health care providers and caregivers.”
- All workers whose presence on campus is critical or essential must continue to practice social distancing and sanitation measures that Seattle University has implemented under guidance of the Washington State Department of Health and King County Public Health.