UW Alert Blog

February 12, 2021

Seattle campus operations, along with UW Bothell and UW Tacoma, remain suspended through Monday

UPDATED at 2:20 p.m. Sunday: The UW’s Seattle campus operations will remain suspended through Monday, Feb. 15, due to significant snow and potentially ongoing icy conditions around the region. Normal operations are expected to resume on the Seattle campus Tuesday, Feb. 16. Any updates will be announced accordingly.

With the University already in modified operational status due to COVID-19 – and due to the holiday weekend – the potential effect of this temporary suspension of nonessential operations due to weather conditions may be minimized because many employees, instructors and students should be able to continue their activities from their alternative work locations.

UW Bothell and UW Tacoma have also suspended operations through Monday. Visit uwb.edu/emergency for UW Bothell updates. Visit emergency.tacoma.uw.edu for UW Tacoma updates.

Nonessential employees
Under current COVID-19 modified operations, the majority of the University’s faculty, staff and student employees (defined in policy as nonessential to on-campus operations) are teleworking. Employees who are teleworking and scheduled to work Saturday should continue to do so during suspended operations. Those who cannot telework or are unable to continue teleworking due to weather-related impacts (e.g., power outage) or changes in telework circumstances as a result of operational suspension should follow the UW Suspended Operations Policy.

Essential employees
Employees identified by their unit as performing an essential service — and who must come to campus during the COVID-19 pandemic — are required to report to work during any period of declared suspended operation.

Students and instructors
Classes that are being taught remotely should continue to do so during suspended operations. Instructors who are unable to teach remotely due to weather-related impacts should communicate directly with students and provide alternatives as appropriate. Students who are unable to participate remotely due to weather-related impacts should similarly communicate with their instructor. In-person instruction will not meet on campus during suspended operations. Instructors currently teaching in person should communicate in advance with students about expectations for remote instruction or alternative class assignments.

UW Athletics
For updates regarding athletics events – which are being held with no spectators in attendance in adherence to state guidelines – please visit gohuskies.com or @UWAthletics on Twitter.

More information
If you have questions about HR practices during suspended operations and inclement weather, please contact your unit’s Human Resources Consultant. If you have questions about or need assistance with business continuity planning, please contact UW Emergency Management at disaster@uw.edu.

For updates about UW shuttle service, parking closures and links to transit snow routes, please see https://transportation.uw.edu/.


January 18, 2021

UW Alert Seattle – All clear

[UPDATE 1:15 p.m.] All clear. Seattle Fire Department personnel could not confirm any smell of gas in the area of the J&K Wing loading dock at the Health Sciences Building and are wrapping up their response. Puget Sound Energy will continue to investigate, but the area is now clear.

[UPDATE 12:57 p.m.] The Seattle Fire Department is investigating a report of the smell of gas at the J&K wing loading dock of the Health Sciences Building. Please avoid the area until further notice.

More information will be provided on this page as it becomes available.

[ORIGINAL POST at 12:54 p.m.] SFD investigating smell of gas at J&K wing load dock (Health Sciences bldg). Avoid area. Info: alert.uw.edu
Sent at 12:54pm Mon


December 24, 2020

Seattle Fire response near Roosevelt Way NE and NE 50th St.

Seattle Fire Department crews are responding to a large fire in a vacant commercial building in the University District, near Roosevelt Way NE and NE 50th St. No injuries have been reported at this time.

Please avoid the area. Road closures are in places and traffic is being diverted to accommodate the fire response.

More updates are being posted on Seattle Fire’s Twitter feed.


October 22, 2020

911 outage reported throughout WA Thursday afternoon

A 911 system outage in the state of Washington was reported Thursday afternoon. UWPD’s system may have been affected briefly but appears to be working normally. Please do not test 911.

If you are on campus and need to reach UWPD in an emergency and experience any issues with 911, please call 206-685-8973.

This website provides alternative phone numbers for emergencies statewide, if needed: https://mil.wa.gov/911-alternative-phone-numbers


October 14, 2020

UW Alert test on Oct. 15 timed with Great ShakeOut 2020

The UW Alert notification system will be tested on Thursday, Oct. 15, around 10:15 a.m., in conjunction with the Great ShakeOut 2020, an international earthquake drill.

A test UW Alert message will be sent via email and text, and posted on the UW Alert Twitter feed and Facebook page, reminding people about the drill and directing them to more information about preparing for earthquakes. If you don’t already receive these UW Alert notifications, sign up and learn more here.

The UW Outdoor Alert notification system will also be tested the morning of Oct. 15.

Learn more about the Washington state ShakeOut drill here.

More information:

Harold Tobin, UW professor of Earth and space sciences and director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, discusses seismic risks in the Pacific Northwest.


September 30, 2020

UW Advisory Seattle: Fire response at Stevens Court, traffic closures in place

UPDATE at 1:11 PM: The fire response at Stevens Court has been cleared, and all surrounding roads are open.

UPDATE at 12:24 PM: The fire in an apartment unit kitchen in Stevens Court has been extinguished. Seattle Fire Department crews remain on scene to help with smoke and water clean-up. One person sustained a minor burn injury.

A stovetop fire and smoke activated the building’s sprinkler system, causing some water damage to the apartment and surrounding units, officials said. Fire crews are working to clear water and smoke from the building.

Traffic closures are still in place on Brooklyn Ave. NE between NE 40th St. and NE Pacific St. Please continue to avoid the area.

ORIGINAL POST at 12:16 PM: Fire response at Stevens Court. Traffic closures; avoid area. More info alert.uw.edu


September 14, 2020

UW Alert Seattle: Hazardous materials response at MolES Building

[Update at 11:55 a.m.]: Seattle Fire Department officials have investigated and cleared the hazardous materials response at the Molecular Engineering & Sciences Building. An alarm was triggered due to an issue with the ventilation system in the building. There was no leak or release of hazardous materials. Anyone who is authorized to work in the building is allowed to re-enter.

[Update at 11:28 a.m.]: The Seattle Fire Department is responding to a possible hazardous materials incident inside the Molecular Engineering & Sciences Building near Grant Lane and Stevens Way. Please avoid the area until further notice. More updates will be provided here as they become available.

[ORIGINAL POST: 11:22 a.m.]: SFD responding to possible HazMat incident @ Molecular Eng & Sciences Bldg. Avoid area. Updates: alert.uw.edu
Sent at 11:22 a.m. Mon


August 30, 2020

UW Alert Seattle: Reported accidental shooting inside U-District business

[UPDATED at 4:26 p.m.]: Seattle police investigated a reported shooting inside a business near NE 47th St. & Roosevelt Ave. NE. They determined the shooting appeared to have been accidental and there is no suspect outstanding.

[ORIGINAL POST at 4:08 p.m. Sunday]: Report of shooting inside business near NE 47th St & Roosevelt Ave. NE. SPD on scene. Avoid area. More info: alert.uw.edu
Sent at 4:08pm Sun


August 28, 2020

UW Alert Seattle: Bank robbery on University Way NE contained; investigation continues

[UPDATE 11:25 a.m.] Suspect: Male, 5′ 10″ wearing dark jacket, dark sunglasses, bandana, carrying a brown or orange-colored bag. Last known direction of travel was east of the bank.

No injuries have been reported.

A large police presence is in the area. Seattle Police are continuing to investigate.

Further updates will be provided as they become available.

[ORIGINAL POST 10:53 a.m.] There was a bank robbery at U Way NE and NE 47th St. Report of a shot fired. There is a large police presence. Avoid the area.

More information will be provided when available.


June 3, 2020

A message regarding Monday’s UW Advisory and UW Alert messages

We have heard concerns and criticism from many members of the UW community and beyond about the UW Advisory and UW Alert messages that went out Monday ahead of and during some demonstrations near University Village. Bottom line: We hear you and we will take this feedback seriously moving forward.

The notification system is designed to provide information to the UW community about disruptions or emergencies that could threaten their safety. (Learn more about the notification system here). The first advisory was sent as a precaution about a protest that police had reason to believe was intended to incite violence, property damage and theft, and not as a peaceful demonstration intended to call attention to the very real and serious issue of systemic racism. In hindsight, it is clear that the initial note to avoid the area could be read as a directive to not attend a protest. That was not its intention but in retrospect, we should have been clearer and will aim to in the future.

Regarding the second message, the Safeway store near University Village was broken into and was being looted by several people. As part of this incident, an individual who we learned later is a UW student was assaulted by multiple people trying to force their way into the store. All of this occurred within a span of about 15 minutes and the decision was made to send a UW Alert message to advise the UW community about a potentially dangerous situation, especially considering the location which has student housing around it in multiple directions.

A nearby traffic camera that was pointed toward Safeway showed a peaceful group of protestors sitting in the Safeway parking lot, and some helicopter footage showed University Village itself was heavily guarded and clear of anyone except for police patrolling the area. UW police contacts on the ground reported the activity at Safeway, and confirmed that the broken windows and looting was out of view of these cameras. We made the decision to send the message based on the information available at the time and did not intend to imply that the full group was involved in any such activity.

Finally, every time the Crisis Communications Team is convened, we conduct an after-action review to assess, analyze and learn from every decision we make and every message we send. We understand that words matter, and we will take this feedback and consider it when making future decisions.


Next page