In consultation with medical and safety professionals at UW Environmental Health & Safety, UW Medicine Allergy & Infectious Diseases, and San Juan County Health and Community Services, we have established a COVID-19 Prevention Plan for FHL. The goal of this plan is to minimize the risk of disease introduction to and transmission within the FHL and greater island community, while still allowing small research collaborations and courses at the labs.  

The plan includes detailed procedures for various scenarios and settings; virtually all of these follow from the now familiar COVID-19 prevention guidelines of physical distancing, PPE (especially face coverings/masks), personal hygiene, disinfection, and more physical distancing.

Please review the plan (click on the link) as well as the detailed instructions below for quarantine and testing. To view a brief summary of important COVID-19 prevention procedures, go to Researchers – Procedures or Course Students – Procedures. Contact FHL Operations Manager Bernadette Holthuis if you have any questions.

View the FHL COVID-19 Prevention Plan

Quarantine and Testing Procedures – Before and After Arrival

FHL is located on an island only accessible by vessel or plane. Thanks in part to early, proactive county regulations designed to minimize the risk of COVID-19 introduction from the mainland, the island has experienced a very low incidence of COVID-19. Thus the elements of the FHL plan that are arguably the most critical to its success are those aimed at incoming visitors: a combination of self-quarantine and viral testing before and after arrival designed to catch cases before they get to the island or if they do get here, before they spread.

As FHL welcomes visiting researchers and students this summer, we ask that all of you do your part to keep FHL and the island community COVID-free!


  1. For 14 days before departure, please self-quarantine as much as possible, staying at home except for trips needed for essential services.
  2. Before departure, obtain a COVID-19 viral test. If results at your location are reliably being reported within a day or two, have the test done within three days (72 hours) of departure; if results are taking longer, have the test done as near to your departure date as possible while still being sure you will have results before you leave.
  3. If you cannot easily get tested in your home town (for financial or availability reasons), contact FHL Operations Manager Bernadette Holthuis (, 206-626-0708) at least three days before your planned departure. She can suggest locations for testing in WA State. See further notes below regarding testing options.
  4. Email pre-arrival test date and results to Bernadette: If results are positive, discuss cancellation or postponement of your visit with Bernadette.
  5. Before departure, monitor yourself and household members for symptoms of illness. You must cancel or postpone your visit to FHL if anyone is experiencing any of the following symptoms:
    • A new fever (100.4 F or higher) or a sense of having a fever
    • A new cough that cannot be attributed to another health condition
    • New shortness of breath that cannot be attributed to another health condition
    • A new sore throat that cannot be attributed to another health condition
    • New muscle pain that cannot be attributed to another health condition or to a specific activity, such as physical exercise
    • New gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea that cannot be attributed to another health condition
    • New respiratory symptoms, such as a runny nose, that cannot be attributed to another health condition
    • New chills that cannot be attributed to another health condition
    • New loss of taste or smell that cannot be attributed to another health condition
    • A new headache that cannot be attributed to another health condition or emotional reason


Follow these rules and procedures during your first 14 days at FHL or until you can present the negative result of a viral test performed at least three days after you’ve arrived on island (see notes below about testing).  For rules and procedures after this quarantine period, see the COVID-19 Prevention Plan.

  1. Do not leave the FHL campus except when absolutely necessary; combine errands to minimize trips.
  2. Go to town only for groceries, toiletries, and medications; the three retail establishments allowed are King’s, Marketplace, and Friday Harbor Drug.
  3. Make any visit to town as short as possible.
  4. The only FHL buildings you may enter are your housing unit and the building with your personally assigned lab space, if you have one. DO NOT ENTER any other FHL indoor spaces, including common bathrooms, the entire Fernald top floor (incl Library), Lecture Hall, Commons, Computer Building, Stockroom, Student Shop, and common lab spaces; this means no use of shared equipment such as CT scanner, confocal microscope, TEM/SEM scopes, and flumes.
  5. If you have an assigned lab room, limit yourself in the building to that space and the route necessary to access the space.
  6. If you need something from the Stockroom, call Peggy Combs during work hours (206-616-0697; Mon-Fri, 8-5) for assistance.
  7. Do not enter FHL buildings to retrieve packages sent to you; all parcels from USPS, UPS, and FedEx will be placed on a table outside the Stockroom entrance, and remain available there Mon-Fri, 8-5 (this will be true throughout your stay).
  8. Use only the bathroom in your housing unit.
  9. Whenever you receive an email link for a Daily Attestation Survey, please clink on the link and submit the survey that morning. 


Pre-Arrival Testing Options

Washington State offers convenient COVID-19 testing in several locations, most at little or no cost regardless of insurance (if you have medical insurance, bring your insurance card and photo ID to testing). For the Seattle area, refer to this list of King County locations; for outside of Seattle (and outside of WA), refer to Health & Human Services’ list of locations nationwide.

Curative testing booths can be found at locations across the US, and new ones are rapidly being installed (in December 2020, they began appearing in Seattle). Check for up-to-date information on current sites. Some COVID-19 testing locations require advance appointments, while many do not. If no appointment is necessary, be sure to confirm the hours testing is available and plan for a wait time.

**As of January 8th, we are no longer accepting test results from Curative due to data suggesting a high rate of false negatives. We are monitoring the situation and will update the policy if warranted.**

Another option is to order an at-home test kit from Pixel by LabCorps. Health insurance (or public funds, if no insurance) will cover the cost of the test for those who are eligible, based on responses to a 3-question survey.  As of 8/14/2020: people are receiving their kits within 2 days of ordering them, and being notified of test results 1-4 days after sending back their samples. Check the Pixel website to view their current average time for delivering results. Contact Bernadette if you have any questions.

Post-Arrival Testing in Friday Harbor

Testing should be done no fewer than three days after arrival to FHL. The best option is to order a test kit from Pixel by LabCorps. Health insurance (or public funds, if no insurance) will cover the cost of the test for those who are eligible, based on responses to a 3-question survey (for further details regarding the survey, email Bernadette). If you’d like, you can order the Pixel kit sent in your name to FHL (620 University Road, Friday Harbor, WA 98250); stockroom supervisor Peggy Combs will let you know when it’s arrived. Before you take your post-arrival sample, contact Peggy to schedule a FedEx pickup for the completed kit; as FedEx does not run on evenings or weekends in Friday Harbor, you should plan to take your sample on a weekday morning, delivering it to the stockroom for pick up before 1 pm.

Email Bernadette Holthuis with your test results.

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