Although the situation has changed significantly since the pandemic began in spring 2020, we know COVID-19 remains widespread in our region, across the country, and around the world, and we continue to closely monitor conditions. Based on current levels of transmission in St. Louis and in consultation with our team of medical advisors, we plan to take the following steps for fall.
At this time, we feel it is safe to begin pulling back some of our COVID mitigation efforts on campus, and are making the following changes to our masking policy.
While we remain hopeful that the situation will improve as the semester progresses, at this time we feel it’s necessary to take a somewhat cautious approach at first.
As always, our highest priority continues to be the health, safety and well-being of our campus community. With that in mind, we’re writing to share a number of changes that will impact our return to campus for the spring semester.
At this time, while we continue to keep a close eye on trends as they develop, we believe our current mitigation efforts remain effective measures to protect our university community against COVID-19. Looking ahead to spring, we plan to continue with our current requirements.
As we prepare to welcome our community back to campus next month, we wanted to reach out to share with you our plans for the fall semester at Washington University.
With the aim of protecting our community and the patients we serve, and returning to full in-person teaching, learning, research and campus life in the fall, we will require all Washington University faculty, staff and trainees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
All Washington University students on the Danforth and Medical Campuses will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Students must be fully vaccinated before they arrive on campus for the start of their fall academic term or August 30, whichever comes first.
We are planning to resume most of our on-campus activities in the fall. As always, the health and safety of our community will be our number one priority in all decisions.
We are working diligently to create plans that will allow for maximal in-person instruction, with flexibility to comply with any public health restrictions that may still be in place come August.
In the past 12 months we have proven time and again the resilience of our community, our deep commitment to caring for people, and our ability to act quickly and selflessly in support of the greater good.
I am writing today to share the good news that, due to the hard work of our entire university community and our improved financial outlook, the Board of Trustees has given approval to resume our salary merit increase program for faculty and staff.
As we approach the final weeks of the fall semester, it is now time to turn our attention to spring, and what the next semester will look like at Washington University.
Because of the increased risk of COVID-19 transmission due to personal interactions around the holiday, undergraduate students who choose to travel more than 60 miles outside of the St. Louis region will not be allowed to return to campus for the remainder of the fall semester.
We are now heading into what could be a pivotal time period, and perhaps now more than ever, we must remain nimble and be prepared to shift our strategy.
While we continue to monitor our financial situation closely, at this time we believe we are in a strong enough position to move forward with some positive steps to restore employee benefits.
As you are aware, we have had to make some difficult decisions since this spring in response to COVID-19, many of which have had a direct impact on our faculty and staff. These steps were taken based on the information we had at the time, and now that we’re getting a clearer picture of our financial situation, we are cautiously optimistic that our outlook is improving.
Though this semester is nothing close to typical, there’s still something to be said for the excitement and anticipation that has filled our campuses once again.
Our team here has been hard at work since spring and we are now in the final stages of our preparations for the beginning of the fall semester for the rest of our students, for whom classes will resume on Monday, September 14. As that date draws near, we wanted to provide you with an update on our planning.
For the last several months, we have been squarely focused on planning for the fall semester and the steps we will take to bring our students, faculty, and staff back to the Danforth Campus as safely as possible for teaching, learning, research, and community. We are writing to you today to share our plan for fall.
For those who are now on campus, whether for short periods of time or for full days, there are a number of important steps we all must take to help keep our community safe and healthy.