COVID-19 Information

COVID Symptoms and Testing

Managing COVID Symptoms

Students experiencing COVID-like symptoms should assume they have COVID-19 and stay home until they can obtain a home COVID test.  Free home tests are available at

Symptoms from COVID, flu or other viral respiratory infections can last up to 10 days.  If your symptoms are concerning, do not improve, or worsen after 10 days, please contact the Student Health Center.

  • Book a PHONE CALL appointment with a Student Health Center nurse through the MyWesternHealth patient portal.  Simply click on “Appointments” and select “Nurse Consult for COLD OR FLU symptoms (Via Phone Call)”.
  • Call the Student Health Center during business hours at 360-650-3400 and ask to speak to a nurse.
  • Send a secure message to the Student Health Center Team via MyWesternHealth.

Any student, regardless of vaccination status, who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19, should obtain a home COVID test 5 days after the exposure.  See our Isolation Guidelines for more details.

Stay home and follow Western’s COVID-19 Isolation Guidelines.

Unfortunately, the Student Health Center no longer provides COVID testing for students without symptoms.  You are encouraged to obtain a home test to check your COVID status.

Isolation Guidelines

  • Stay home and away from others (including people you live with who are not sick).
  • Return to your normal activities when, for at least 24 hours, both are true:
    • Your symptoms are getting better overall, and
    • You have not had a fever (and are not using fever-reducing medication).
  • Take added precautions for 5 days after returning to your normal activities.  This includes taking additional steps for cleaner air, hygiene, masks, and physical distancing.
  • Keep in mind that you may still be able to spread the virus that made you sick, even if you are feeling better. You are likely to be less contagious at this time, depending on factors like how long you were sick or how sick you were.
  • If you develop a fever or you start to feel worse after you have gone back to normal activities, stay home and away from others again until, for at least 24 hours, both are true: your symptoms are improving overall, and you have not had a fever (and are not using fever-reducing medication). Then take added precautions for the next 5 days.
  • NOTE: a COVID test after leaving isolation is not required to return to work or classes on campus.

  • Watch for symptoms for 10 days.   If you develop symptoms, get a test, and stay home.
  • Wear a mask around others for 10 days.
  • Test 5 days after exposure (or sooner if you have symptoms).  If you test positive, isolate and see guidance above
  • Take extra precautions for 10 days around people more likely to get very sick.

A close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting from 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19. A person is still considered a close contact even if they were wearing a mask while they were around someone with COVID-19.

If you live in the same house or dorm room and had contact with the positive individual during their infectious period, you are considered a close contact.

At Home Tests

Get Your Free At-Home COVID Test Kits Now!

Rapid at-home COVID-19 testing is one of several effective strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  

When to Take an At-Home COVID Test

For additional information on when to use at-home tests, see the latest CDC self-testing guidance.

Yes!  College students residing on or off campus may request free testing kits. Students with shared housing addresses (residence halls, apartment buildings, group housing) should each enter their unique room or apartment number, and/or letter A, B, C, D, etc. along with their street address on the ordering form (or via phone).

Most COVID-19 home test kits have received expiration extensions from the FDA. To see if your COVID19 Test Kit has an expiration extension, see the List of Authorized At-Home OTC COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests.

If you have a disability, you can call the Disability Information & Access Line (DIAL) at 1-888-677-1199 for assistance ordering tests and accessing other COVID-19 services.

COVID Vaccines


As of June 12, 2023, Western no longer requires proof of COVID vaccination for students, employees, or contractors.

This decision was made with the best available evidence and guidelines from public health authorities and was consistent with COVID 19 emergency orders put in place by Governor Jay Inslee.

Staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines remains the most important step to protect yourself and your community. Western will continue to host vaccination and booster clinics on campus.

Prevention Tips

Stay Home If You Feel Sick

Stay home and away from others if you are sick or test positive. People at high risk for severe illness should talk to a medical provider about treatment.

Protect Others

Consider the health of others in your household and avoid people at high risk for getting very sick.

Practice Hand Hygiene

Wash your hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (contains at least 60% alcohol) if soap and water are not available. Wash your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds, and certainly after sneezing or before/after touching your face or a sick person.

Take action if you're exposed to COVID-19

  • Watch for symptoms for 10 days.   If you develop symptoms, get a test and stay home.
  • Wear a mask around others for 10 days.
  • Test 5 days after exposure (or sooner if you have symptoms).  If you test positive, isolate and see guidance above
  • Take extra precautions for 10 days around people more likely to get very sick.

More Tips

  • Keep your immune system healthy by getting plenty of sleep, nutrition, stress-relief, and exercise.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. 

  • Do not travel while sick.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

  • Avoid contact with others who are sick.