CBE Intranet


LAST UPDATED: July 20, 2020

There are a lot of instances of misinformation and unsubstantiated rumors around COVID-19. Continue to rely on the UW coronavirus page as well as the UW Admissions and Autumn 2020 FAQs as the definitive source of all information about how UW is responding to this public health crisis, and the impacts on you. For technology specific resources, please refer to our Timely Resources page.

We will continue updating these FAQ’s and resources with the most accurate and up-to-date information. Please continue to check this page and your email for updates from our Dean and your departments.

If you have additional CBE-specific questions that are not addressed here, please send them to cberesponse@uw.edu. Find CBE-specific news and information and frequently asked questions about the novel coronavirus and Autumn 2020 and beyond, below.


CBE Autumn 2020 Townhall with Dean Cheng; Back to School & What to Expect

I am a newly admitted to a CBE degree program, can I defer my offer of admission if I do not want to do remote learning, or I have visa issues, or personal family/health/financial concerns?

Congratulations again on your admission, we are very excited about the incoming classes and believe you are a great match for the program for which you were admitted. We understand the decision to enter a degree program is not one to take lightly and your situation may have changed since you first applied. We are committed to supporting our students to succeed in whatever is their best path. Program advisors are well positioned to help you work through options and understand the implications of deferral. In general, most degree programs have flexibility but there are some for which deferrals are not possible. Please reach out to your advisor if you have questions.

For specific departmental questions please email your departmental advisor or chair. 


Can CBE plan for hybrid courses with consistency throughout all quarters this academic year?

Our planning is based on the public health and CDC recommendations for ensuring health and wellness of our communities. We want to ensure that our students have the best educational experience while we as a community work to stop the spread of COVID 19. Current guidance is focused on the window of time for fall quarter, so we can not predict the rest of the academic year. However, we hope to continue (or increase) in person options throughout the year. We also know that public health recommendations may change over the course of the quarter or academic year to be more or less restrictive and our plans will adjust accordingly. We commit to continuing remote learning options for all our courses until such time that vaccines and visas remove obstacles for students to attend classes in person.

I am concerned about doing studio classes online. What are your plans for studios?

Our mission remains the same even as delivery changes. We appreciate the unique value of studio interaction and have learned the limitations and opportunities of remote format over this past spring quarter. We have been working with national and international peers to share ideas of what autumn might look like that is different from spring. We are also getting feedback from professionals on ways that the online studio experience prepares students for remote work settings that could persist in workplaces of the future. While studios will not look the same as pre-pandemic, we are exploring many innovative ways to achieve in-person and remote learning.

Is there a timeline for decisions about autumn quarter? What considerations will factor in those decisions?

We have decided that this fall will have both in-person instruction and remote. We expect to provide more information on specific CBE classes soon, each department has been communicating with students on their expected date to announce. We are working on many scenarios, and each week provides more public health information to inform our decisions. At this time, we anticipate an autumn quarter that includes both in-person and remote elements. For example, some larger classes could be held online with smaller sections held in-person as long as everyone in the room practices physical distancing.

I am a current student considering taking time off, can I take a leave of absence? For how long?

We are committed to supporting students’ success and we know that there are many challenges you are facing. Program advisors are best positioned to help you work through options and understand the implications of leaves. In general, most degree programs have flexibility but there are some sequences that cannot be changed. If you believe time off would benefit you, please reach out to your adviser first. The undergraduate policy can be found here and the Graduate School policy can be found here.


Are instructors expected to alter their format in order to make it easier for students who are not in Pacific Time?

We are strongly encouraging faculty to provide asynchronous options for students (through recorded classes and lectures). We recognize both the challenges of time zone differences, as well as the instructors’ right to choose synchronous format for pedagogical reasons. We also acknowledge that accommodating multiple options can create additional burdens on instructors and staff. Like many issues during these pandemic times, we are providing maximum flexibility for students possible while maintaining academic integrity. Please contact your instructor for detailed information on course schedule and format.

I’m not able to be in Seattle because of family or other reasons. Will I need to be in the Seattle area to complete my classes?

You will not need to be in the Seattle area to take your classes. However, keep in mind that moving to a different time zone may make it more difficult to participate in synchronous classes and activities if the instructor is not able to provide asynchronous format. If you have not yet decided if you will be in the Seattle area, or if you know you cannot be, please discuss this with your advisor or instructors.


Will CBE Buildings still be open? Can I use the Digital Commons, Fabrication Lab, and CBE library?

Yes, buildings will be accessible with Husky Card access. We are currently working through guidelines for CBE spaces. We will update information as we finalize our plans and will email you those plans as well. We expect, at minimum, to continue the spring quarter arrangements for service bureau access to fabrication, remote access to hardware and software, and remote service for library.

Should I move to Seattle? Sign a contract for housing on campus?

We hope that as many students as possible are in the Seattle area since the in-person experiences will be valuable. However, we understand some students may choose not to move and others may simply not have a choice to move so we are accommodating remote options for any student who is not in Seattle.


What do I do if I cannot acquire a visa to study in the US? Or, if I have a visa, how does the recent SEVP announcement affect my ability to study in the US?

Rest assured– Students who choose not to return to campus for fall quarter, such as for health reasons or difficulty traveling or obtaining a visa, will be able to continue their academic progress through remote instruction.

For international students with visas who are concerned about their ability to return to or remain in the US, CBE and ISS staff are deeply dismayed about the July 6 DHS announcement and are taking steps to better understand and mitigate its impact. At the same time, we are working with UW leadership, campus partners, our state’s congressional delegation and other key federal officials, as well as higher education professional organizations and legal experts across the U.S. to try and change or block DHS’s proposal before anything is enacted.

Regardless of your visa status, we know you, your families, advisers, faculty, and staff have many questions, as do we. The ISS is working on answers to trending questions for all international students and we will post to this page as soon as we have clarity on the answers. Information is changing rapidly and interpretations of the announcement vary greatly, so we want to ensure we provide accurate responses.

The ISS will also schedule in the coming weeks online webinars for continuing and incoming new international students where we will provide updates, options, and answer your questions. We will publish the dates to this page and update our ISS calendar as soon as these are scheduled. We will post those webinars here as well once they become available.  In the meantime, we are working to identify the international students who will be most impacted by this policy so that we can provide you with options as soon as possible to meet your specific needs. Updates will be shared on the Office of Global Affairs website and ISS COVID-19 information page. We will email you with any major announcements.

The University of Washington is here to support you. Please stay in touch with your advisers and your Husky community. CIRCLE offers virtual drop-in office hours and may be reached at uwcircle@uw.edu. Your health and wellbeing are our top priority, and we will do everything we can to help you continue your UW education according to plan.


What technology do I need to participate in an online class?

To participate in an online class, you will need access to a computer with a webcam and microphone as well as access to wifi. In some cases, you will need to download additional software. Your instructor will let you know what software is required for the course.

What should I do if I don’t have access to reliable Wi-Fi?

CBE students are asked to work with their advisors or chairs about their Wi-Fi, technology and software access. This information will provide useful feedback to help us best support our students’ remote learning needs for spring quarter 2020.

Several internet service companies are offering expanded services that may allow you to get connected.  Learn more about offerings from Comcast, Charter Communications, Spectrum and Verizon

I have a disability that requires accommodations. How can I complete my courses as expected?

Please coordinate accommodation through UW Disability Resources.

If you have any issues related to device access, internet connectivity, or a disability due to the move to remote learning, immediately contact your program advisor for assistance.

How do I log on to a class?

Most classes will be offered through Zoom and Canvas. Instructions for both of these are available here. Your instructor will also email you additional instructions before the start of class, including the Zoom meeting time and ID number associated with your course. If you have questions about how to join a class, please contact your instructor.

What software will I need for my class?

Most classes will be managed through Zoom and Canvas. Some may also include additional communication tools. Most will not require any additional software beyond what you typically use to do your work. If a class does have specific software requirements your instructor will let you know this during the first week of class or earlier.

How do I get the additional software I need for my class?

Most software should be available through the CBE Resource Page.

If I need to borrow a computer, where can I get one?

The UW has a computer loaner program run out of Kane Hall. Students can reserve laptops for the entire quarter. You can find more information here. However, supplies are limited. Additionally, CBE will have a limited number of computers available for students to borrow. More information on this will be coming soon.

What do I do if my computer doesn’t support software required for my course?

Most of the software required for CBE courses is available for your use on the CBE Citrix Application Server. This allows you to use software without installing it on your computer. You will, however, need to install the Citrix receiver software. To do this, please follow the instructions in the “How to Connect to the Citrix Application Server” section.

If your computer is too old to support Citrix Applications, please email your instructor or CBE IT for help at behelp@uw.edu.

What if I don’t have a camera or microphone?

CBE does not have webcams to loan at this time. However, you may purchase an inexpensive webcam that connects to your computer from local retailers or online vendors. You do not need an expensive webcam. A simple, low cost webcam will be sufficient for most applications. If you need financial assistance, please contact your department chair.


How will academic transcripts, graduation requirements or financial aid be impacted by CR/NC grades?

The UW registrar has announced that there will be a notation added to transcripts. “Transcript Comment: The COVID-19 outbreak impacted Winter 2020 grades. Some courses display CR/NC rather than numeric grades.” For more in depth information contact your departmental advisor, and find full details on these and other issues on the UW Registrar’s FAQ site.

Will online learning impact my time to degree?

No. Online classes format will not affect your time to degree in CBE programs. However, if you are enrolled in a class that is canceled or postponed, you may need to enroll in a different class to meet your graduation requirements. If you have questions or concerns regarding fulfilling program requirements, please contact your program adviser.

Will there be a refund for tuition or fees due to the change of format?

Every available resource is being utilized to continue providing an uncompromising education for our more than 50,000 students in light of an unprecedented health crisis that has disrupted every facet of life, not only nationally but also globally. With remarkable skill and flexibility, our faculty members are moving to alternative means of engaging with students so that everyone is kept safe, healthy, and able to continue their educational journey with minimal disruption.

We understand that for some people there is an initial sense that a financial adjustment is due because of these necessary adaptations. We hope, on further reflection, that you will understand we are going to great lengths—including increasing investments in technologies and virtual tools —  striving to provide high quality of education through different means of communication. This requires not only full tuition support, but also public support, for which we thank you. We have chosen to reaffirm our commitment to every student’s educational excellence, which will ultimately become the future success of our local communities, state, and nation.

Thank you for supporting that commitment.

I have a graduate student assistant-ship or TA-ship offered by a CBE department or program to help with teaching. Now that classes are online, do I still have a job?

Yes. We will honor all RA and TA teaching contracts. However, it is possible that you will be asked to modify your work from what was originally expected, including supporting a different class. All changes will be made with advanced written notice and will be appropriate to your expertise and interest. If this happens, the program employing you will contact you directly. Otherwise, you should assume you will continue working with your assigned course.

My family income has changed. What options exist to update my financial aid award package?

We understand that your family’s financial situation may have changed as a result of COVID-19. Students can request changes to their award by completing a “change in financial situation – parent,” or “change in financial situation – student” form using the revision request website.

Will there be work study options on campus in fall, or has that changed due to COVID-19?

There will work study opportunities. We are working across UW to put employment guidelines in place to make sure our employees are all safe. This may require students to fill out an attestation form before coming on campus to work (if they cannot work remotely).

Can I take a leave of absence or defer admission without financial penalty?

Student decisions for leaves and deferrals in our degree programs may have impact on financial aid, gifts, or employment. Students should contact their advisors to understand the impact of student status on finances.


Will faculty/TAs have office hours?

As usual, faculty and TA’s will be available outside of regularly scheduled class times. However, it will be up to each instructor to determine how to manage this time. In general, if you need to meet with your instructor or TA you should email them and request an online or phone meeting. If you cannot reach your instructor or TA and it is an urgent matter, please email the program adviser.

How do I reach my professor/TA?

The best way to reach faculty is generally through email, though some faculty may specify other preferred forms of communication. All faculty email addresses are available from the department websites. If you have trouble locating a faculty member, please contact your program adviser.

TA contact information should be listed on the course syllabus. If you have difficulty reaching a TA, please contact the course instructor or the program adviser.

How do I talk to an adviser?

All program advisers will be available online. Please email your adviser if you have a question, need help with something, or want to set up a meeting. Due to the increase in email volume, advisers may take longer than normal to respond, but be assured that we will do our very best to support you during these challenging times. You can find an adviser for your program here: http://be.washington.edu/academics/academic-advising/

Will program applications and admissions be impacted?

See the page for the program you are applying to for current information.

What if I have a question about the coronavirus?

For all questions related to the coronavirus, including how to minimize your exposure, how to recognize symptoms, and what to do if you expect that you or someone you know has been exposed, please go to the UW Novel coronavirus & COVID-19: facts and resources page at Washington.edu/coronavirus.


What happens if COVID cases continue to rise in WA?

CBE’s current hybrid education model is predicated on the UW Seattle campus meeting criteria for Phase 3 of the COVID-19 recovery in Washington’s Safe Start plan. We are preparing for the possibility that King county may be in Phase 2 by the start of autumn quarter. In developing that scenario, we are partnering with county and state agencies to develop safe, in-person instruction strategies knowing they may be more limited in group size, duration/frequency of contact than the current plan.