Frequently Asked Questions about Health & Safety

Questions about health, wellness and prevention

Because COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, the CDC recommends that the general public wear cloth face coverings in public settings, especially where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Who should wear a cloth face covering:

  • People older than 2 years of age in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Who should not wear a cloth face covering:

  • Children under age 2.
  • Anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Students are asked to bring face coverings from home. 
Please see related question on this page, Will PPE be supplied to students and employees?, for more details.

Face coverings must be worn in the presence of others (i.e. not studying alone) and in public settings where other physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., common workspaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, etc.).

Gonzaga will be providing cloth face coverings to all employees. Additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be provided to employees based on role function and specific PPE requirements.

Face coverings must be worn in the presence of others (i.e. not working alone) and in public settings where other physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., common workspaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, etc.).

The general public should not wear surgical masks or N-95 respirators, as these critical supplies should be maintained for use by healthcare workers and other medical first responders. In support of this recommendation.

For comprehensive information about the use of cloth face coverings, please see the CDC Cloth Face Coverings page.


If you are a student, please contact GU Health and Counseling Services at (509) 313-4066.

If you are an employee, please contact your healthcare provider. Also, please report to the Human Resources benefits team at

You will need to quarantine for 14 days after your last exposure. Check your temperature twice a day and watch for symptoms of COVID-19. Be sure to keep yourself separated from others in your space. If possible, stay away from people who are at higher-risk for getting very sick from COVID-19. Follow the guidance of your healthcare provider.

If you present with symptoms please see the related FAQ on this page: What if I am sick with COVID-19 or think I might have it?


There is currently no vaccine to prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. The most effective prevention at this time is to avoid exposure to the virus. An abridged summary of how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses is below. For detailed information, you can visit the CDC website on prevention for detailed information.

The CDC recommends the following actions to minimize your risks:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put physical distance – at least six (6) feet apart – between yourself and others when you are outside of your home.
  • Do not gather in groups and stay out of crowded places.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Wear a cloth face covering when in public. However, cloth face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer immediately after.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces daily and more often as needed.
  • If you think you are sick, call your healthcare provider first for assistance.
  • Stay informed and up-to-date by monitoring the CDC website.
  • Get vaccinated for influenza (the flu) and other respiratory diseases.



Employees: Please contact your healthcare provider. Also, please contact the Human Resources benefits team (via

Students: Please contact GU Health and Counseling Services at 509-313-4066.

Please also see question for "Will students with COVID-19 need to isolate?"

If you are sick with COVID-19 or you suspect you are infected with the virus, follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to other people.

1) Stay home except to get medical care.

  • Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. Do not leave your residence, except for getting medical care.
  • Avoid public areas: Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
  • Take care of yourself: Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better.
  • Stay in contact with your healthcare provider: Call before you get medical care and seek help immediately if you have trouble breathing or think it is an emergency.
  • Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.

2) Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.

  • Stay away from others: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available. If you must be around other people or animals inside or outside the home, wear a cloth face covering.
  • Limit contact with pets & animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Until we know more about this coronavirus, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.

3) Monitor your symptoms.

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 fever, cough, or other symptoms.
  • Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department. Spokane Regional Health District may give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.

4) Call ahead before visiting your healthcare provider.

  • Call ahead: Many medical visits for routine care are being postponed or done by phone or telemedicine.
  • If you have a medical appointment that cannot be postponed, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep themselves and other patients from getting infected or exposed.

5) Wear a cloth face covering if you are sick.

  • You should wear a cloth face covering over your nose and mouth if you must be around other people or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
  • You don’t need to wear the cloth face covering if you are alone. If you can’t put on a cloth face covering (because of trouble breathing, for example), cover your coughs and sneezes in some other way. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from other people. This will help protect the people around you.

6) Continue to practice other health and safety measures to care for yourself and protect others. The CDC also advises you to:

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds immediately after. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean your hands often. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. This is especially important after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. Soap and water are the best options, especially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items. Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home. Wash these items thoroughly after using them with soap and water or put in the dishwasher.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday. Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your “sick room” and bathroom; wear disposable gloves. Let someone else clean and disinfect surfaces in common areas, but you should clean your bedroom and bathroom, if possible. If a caregiver or other person needs to clean and disinfect a sick person’s bedroom or bathroom, they should do so on an as-needed basis. The caregiver/other person should wear a mask and disposable gloves prior to cleaning. They should wait as long as possible after the person who is sick has used the bathroom before coming in to clean and use the bathroom. High-touch surfaces include phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.
  • Clean and disinfect areas that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Use household cleaners and disinfectants. Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant. Be sure to follow the product instructions for safe and effective use. For comprehensive information about cleaning and disinfection guidance, visit the CDC Detailed Disinfection Guidance page.
Updated June 7, 2020


COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. The CDC indicates that based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions, including those who are immunocompromised, might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

If you have an underlying health condition or are immunocompromised, you can protect yourself by preventing exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid leaving home as much as possible and practice social distancing.
  • If you must leave home, avoid other people as much as possible by practicing social distancing. Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet (2 meters) between you and people outside your household.
  • Avoid large gatherings or places where people congregate.
  • Have supplies, food, and medicine delivered to your home.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when around others to protect other people in case you are infected and ask others to do the same.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

You can also take additional steps to protect your health including:

  • • Continuing your regular treatment plan and discuss any concerns about your treatment with your healthcare provider.
  • • Obtain an emergency supply of your prescription medications
  • • Take care of your emotional health

For further information, visit the CDC website People Who Are At Higher Risk.


As shared by the CDC, stigma and discrimination can occur when people associate a disease, such as COVID-19, with a population or nationality, even though not everyone in that population or from that region is specifically at risk for the disease. Stigma can also occur after a person has been released from COVID-19 quarantine even though they are not considered a risk for spreading the virus to others.

Stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger towards ordinary people instead of the disease that is causing the problem. We can fight stigma and help not hurt others by providing social support. We can communicate the facts and prevent the unnecessary harm of stigma.

Information about stigma can be found on the CDC website Reducing Stigma.


Questions about University protocols

There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus at this time.


Students will not be provided specific PPE. Students will be asked to bring their own PPE, such as cloth face coverings, to campus. Education will be provided to students about the importance and proper use of PPE. Students may also purchase a GU care package that includes cloth face coverings and other items for health and safety. 

Employees and student employees will be provided PPE. Please see the Employee Return to Campus Plan for details. Necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided to employees specific to the function of their roles. GU is also making every effort to keep the working spaces of employees safe and healthy.



All GU community members will be asked to track symptoms as they return to campus and ongoing. This includes employees and students.

Employees will be required to formally attest that they do not present with symptoms prior to returning to work.

The mechanisms for this process are currently under development.


The following decisions on testing were made in consultation with the Spokane Regional Health District.

Onsite testing will not be offered to employees on campus. Employees that feel like they need to be tested should seek guidance from their medical provider for testing and testing center recommendations.

Health & Counseling Services will provide testing to students who meet criteria for COVID-19 testing. Students may also be directed to a local health center that routinely performs COVID-19 testing.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, GU is in close collaboration with the Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD), our regional public health agency. Contact tracing is a public health function that the SRHD currently manages for COVID-19 positive cases and for individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19. GU is developing processes, together with SRHD, to more readily support contact tracing in preparation for our students and employees returning to campus.

Please contact GU Health and Counseling Services at (509) 313-4066.

Employees must report to the Human Resources benefits team at if they: 

  • are under the care of a healthcare provider for COVID-19;
  • have been notified via the SRHD of recent exposure through contact tracing; or 
  • a household member contracts COVID-19.



Yes. If a student has a laboratory-confirmed positive test for COVID-19, they will be required to isolate. Students in isolation will be responsible for working with their advisor and faculty to arrange for continuing coursework via distance delivery.

Students living on campus will be moved to a specific residence hall during their time of isolation. Staff from Housing and Residence Life will maintain close contact (virtually) with students during this time. Support will be provided for food service, cleaning and disinfecting.

If a student is living off campus, they will need to isolate at their residence and separate from others in their space, following their healthcare provider's guidance.


Though this plan is not fully developed, GU will be training campus contact tracers to partner with Spokane Regional Health District efforts. GU will utilize the expertise of SRHD epidemiologists to inform this process.


The University’s custodial cleaning program uses an EPA-registered disinfectant to clean touchpoints, public and common area restrooms daily. Students living in on-campus housing are expected to clean the private bathrooms in their residences.

There are also dispenser stations throughout campus containing hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer can help prevent the spread of the virus, though proper hand-washing technique is deemed to be more effective by the CDC.

Facilities crews have also implemented extra measures to clean and disinfect surfaces in public areas that are touched frequently. This includes surfaces such as door handles, banisters, and elevator buttons. An increased cleaning of these “touch points” has been in place since October to reduce health risks during flu season. But we have stepped up these preventative measures to further mitigate risks of the novel coronavirus. It is also recommended that all departments purchase single use disinfectant wipes for human touch points within their work spaces such as keyboards, public counters, credit card readers, phones, and shared surfaces and items. We will continue to monitor recommendations from the CDC for preventing the spread of the virus.