As the state of Missouri continues to work through its COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, we are keeping a close eye on developments and will communicate with the university community as new information becomes available. At this time, BJC HealthCare is one of the state’s approved suppliers of the vaccine and is distributing the vaccine to personnel on the Medical Campus, as well as other groups at the state’s direction.
Danforth Campus faculty, staff and students who wish to receive the vaccine when eligible are encouraged to pre-register on the BJC website. You may also wish to pre-register through your local municipalities and the other health systems, if you have the opportunity to do so.
See the COVID-19 vaccine FAQ for more information.
Yes. Since we do not know yet whether the vaccine prevents infection or only eliminates or reduces symptoms, everyone who has been vaccinated still must follow all public health requirements. This includes masking, physical distancing, self-screening for symptoms, practicing personal hygiene, and for undergraduate students, participating in regular surveillance testing. See the COVID-19 testing page for more information.
The health and safety of our community is our highest priority in every decision we make. Although our current trends in the region and on campus are certainly of concern, we also should remember that throughout the fall semester we have been largely successful in containing the spread of COVID-19 on our campus. Based on what we have learned about how to keep our community healthy, we plan to take a similarly cautious approach to our plans for spring.
Read the full plan for the spring semester and the message from Chancellor Martin and Provost Wendland for details.
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or if you test positive, are presumed positive or believe you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you must report this information as follows:
All Danforth Campus students (on- or off-campus, undergraduate, graduate or professional)
Habif Health and Wellness Center, 314-935-6666 or COVID Call Center, 314-362-5056
Faculty and staff
COVID Call Center, 314-362-5056
Once notified of a positive case, Habif or Occupational Health will:
- Provide guidance regarding testing, contact tracing, and any other steps you may be required to take.
- Communicate with the appropriate local health department.
- Notify individuals in the university community identified as a close contact of the individual and advise them of next steps, including any required preventive measures such as testing or quarantine.
- Contact your supervisor or dean to advise on any necessary follow-up within your school or department.
- Advise and coordinate enhanced cleaning and disinfection of affected areas, if necessary.
What are the dates for the spring semester?
The spring semester will begin on January 19 for Brown School and Law School students and on January 26 for Arts & Sciences, McKelvey School of Engineering, Olin Business School, Sam Fox School and University College. The full 2020-21 academic calendar is available online.
Will there be a spring break?
Due to concerns about increased transmission of COVID-19 due to travel-related activities, we will not have a traditional spring break, but instead will offer instruction-free wellness days during the semester to allow for rest and personal time. Instructors will be asked not to schedule exams, quizzes, or assignment due dates on the days immediately following the wellness days. Student and faculty input was taken into account when making this decision. These dates are reflected on the academic calendar.
Why is there no traditional spring break and instead we have only three “wellness days” during the semester?
The decision was made in part due to concerns about the risk of increased COVID-19 transmission due to activities related to travel during a longer break. In addition, the start and end dates for the spring semester are largely fixed, due to the length of the winter break and the date that has been set for Commencement. We must also complete a minimum number of instruction days during the semester to meet accreditation standards and federal requirements for awarding financial aid. We additionally needed to include reading days between the last day of classes and the first day of finals to alleviate student stress before finals. In order to accommodate all of these constraints, we were left with three days for wellness in lieu of our traditional spring break. We realize this is not ideal, and we continue to look for opportunities to add more instruction-free days to the academic calendar for spring. Read the December 3 message from Provost Wendland.
What is the deadline for adding or dropping a course, or switching between letter grade and pass/fail?
In Arts & Sciences, McKelvey Engineering, Olin Business School and Sam Fox School, the deadline to add or drop a course for the spring semester without transcript notation will be Monday, February 8, at 9 p.m. The deadline for changing grade options between letter grade and pass/fail or audit, as well as to withdraw from a class will be Friday, April 23 at 9 p.m. Details of the Brown School, Law School and Olin Graduate School calendars can be found on the schools’ websites.
What are the pass/fail policies for spring?
For Spring 2021, pass/fail policies across all schools will remain as they were for the fall semester. This will be true even if instruction pivots to fully remote instruction. Details of these policies can be found on the school websites: Arts & Sciences, Brown School, Graduate School, Law School, McKelvey Engineering (Graduate and Undergraduate), Olin Business School (Graduate and Undergraduate) and Sam Fox School ( Graduate and Undergraduate).
How do I request a leave of absence for the spring semester?
Returning students who wish to take a leave of absence must notify their home school. Undergraduate students who take a leave of absence before the end of the second week of classes (Friday, February 5) would be eligible for a full tuition refund for the spring semester. Tuition refunds decrease when the leave is taken later in the semester, see Bulletin for details.
Students who are on a leave of absence for any reason are not eligible to participate in a registered student group, hold a student group leadership position, or attend/plan a student group sponsored event as a representative of said student group.
Additional information on school-specific policies and procedures for requesting a leave of absence can be found at the links below, or by contacting schools’ advising offices. See Arts & Sciences, Graduate School, McKelvey Engineering, Sam Fox School websites. Undergraduate or graduate students in Olin Business School may request a leave of absence by emailing their advisor. Incoming students interested in a gap year should see information under Admissions & Financial Aid below.
How will financial aid be affected by all of this? Will current aid awards be honored?
We are committed to meeting demonstrated financial need for all admitted students. Should the university need to limit access to campus and move to an online instructional environment in the future, all financial aid awards will be honored. The university will also continue to review and adjust aid to support students and families whose financial situations change during the course of their undergraduate enrollment at the university. Additional information regarding Student Financial Services can be found here.
Will any additional financial assistance be available to students who have different needs due to the pandemic?
For students and families whose financial situations have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Student Financial Services is available to discuss assistance that may be available. In addition, the university will ensure that all students have access to a laptop computer.
In the event that the university needs to move to alternate operations again as a result of the pandemic and instruction is shifted to all remote, will tuition be reduced?
No. We are working hard to plan the spring academic semester in a manner that meets Washington University’s high academic standards while also taking the measures necessary to enhance the safety of all members of our community. The public health measures we must take mean that the semester will be different from anything we have seen before. What will not change, however, is the commitment of the Washington University faculty to provide students with a high-quality educational experience. Students will continue to receive academic instruction from Washington University faculty members, in person and/or online, and we will continue to provide academic support services and resources. Students enrolled in the spring semester will continue to earn academic credit and make progress toward completion of a Washington University degree. The tuition assessed for the semester will be as previously announced.
If the public health situation changes such that we must suspend all in-person classes, instruction will be provided remotely or through other alternative means and there will be no tuition refunds based on that transition. If a student chooses to withdraw, entitlement to a partial refund will be determined in accordance with normal refund policies.
Are buildings open?
All campus buildings are accessible only by card swipe with a valid university ID. Students, faculty and staff can swipe into most campus buildings every day from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. In addition, they can swipe into their designated building(s) at any time. These include assigned residence halls for students, and office- or school-specific buildings for faculty and staff. Limits on building capacity for some campus buildings are in effect. One-way entrances and exits have been designated in a few locations to avoid congestion. Access to buildings or labs for students, faculty and staff may be requested by a department representative or advisor by contacting Card Access.
How have campus spaces been reconfigured for spring?
All campus rooms and facilities have been reconfigured to allow for physical distancing. In many cases, furniture has been moved or removed entirely to create more space. Where physical distancing cannot be ensured, plastic partitions or barriers have been installed as additional protection. Staff schedules have been staggered to reduce population density in buildings.
What spaces will be available on campus to sit and study, eat or attend an online class?
Individual “Cubbies” will be available in select locations across campus. These units provide private space for one person to sit to attend an online class, read, study or eat. The Cubbies will be available in a number of locations across campus, with some large reception venues and some classrooms converted into space to accommodate this type of seating. Cubbies provide a physically distanced option for individuals to share common spaces while maintaining adherence to health and safety requirements. Cleaning supplies are available for users to wipe down Cubbies before use. Cubbies are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Students may visit the Study Cubby Directory for more information and to reserve a Cubby.
Are any additional outdoor spaces available?
Two large tents will remain on campus to increase capacity for safer, informal outdoor interactions and dining. More than 600 chairs also will remain in place throughout the campus to provide additional outdoor seating options. Some large outdoor spaces, including parking garages and other parking structures, may also be repurposed to accommodate a variety of student uses as needs evolve during the semester.
Is the Sumers Recreation Center open?
The Sumers Recreation Center will remain open in a modified fashion as long as public health conditions allow. The initial, phased reopening, which began in the fall semester, is for students only. Capacity is limited and all participants are required to pre-register for a facility access time. Additionally, certain activities and amenities are not available due to physical distancing and public health considerations. More information is available on the Students website.
Are libraries open?
A limited number of in-services are available by appointment at Olin Library. Admittance is by appointment only. Online and remote services and resources are available now. Access and services are subject to change as conditions warrant. Visit the University Libraries website for more information.
Are visitors allowed on campus?
Only visitors whose presence on campus for mission-critical purposes will be allowed on campus. Mission-critical visitors include individuals approved for mission-critical research and scholarship activities (for Danforth Campus guidance, see the Visitors for Research page on the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research website); admitted students (starting in April); finalists for faculty and/or leadership positions, families of current students for drop-off or pick-up only, and vendors and consultants hired for mission-critical university work. A small number of other visits may be approved, depending on circumstances. See Danforth Campus visitor protocol for more information.
How do I request permission to bring visitors on campus?
Requests to have mission-critical visitors on the Danforth Campus must be submitted to and approved by a member of university leadership prior to the visitor(s) coming to campus. Requests within a school or academic department should be submitted to the appropriate dean, or their designated approver. All other requests should be submitted to the executive vice chancellor or vice chancellor/provost overseeing the unit seeking to host a visitor. Aside from families of current students for drop-off or pick-up only, students and student groups may not have visitors on campus. If you have a question about to whom a request should be submitted, contact Jessica Cissell (schools and provost’s CFU units) or Richard Payton (all other CFU units).
Schools, departments and units that receive approval to have mission-critical visitors on the Danforth Campus must keep a visitor log for contact tracing purposes. This log should include the visitor’s name, contact information, dates and times on campus, building(s) visited and name of university host.
Do approved visitors have to follow screening or public health requirements?
Yes. Approved, mission-critical visitors who come to campus must follow all health requirements, including wearing a mask, physical distancing and enhanced personal hygiene and hand-washing. Each day that an approved visitor is scheduled to be present on campus, the visitor is required to complete the university’s daily self-screen prior to their arrival. The self-screen tool for visitors is available at visitorscreening.wustl.edu. Prior to their arrival on campus, the visitor must also attest to their university host via email that they passed the self-screen by forwarding the email containing the result of their self-screen. If a visitor does not pass the self-screen, they are prohibited from coming onto campus.
Are parking permits still required on campus?
Yes. Anyone who wishes to park on the Danforth, West and North Campuses of Washington University is required to have a valid parking permit. The Parking & Transportation Services team has been working through a variety of options to meet the needs of the university community during this challenging and unprecedented time. Information is available on the Parking Permits page and the COVID-19 Updates page of the Parking & Transportation website.
Are classes available online or in person?
Academic coursework for the spring semester will be delivered in a variety of formats with some courses being either predominantly online or in-person, and others in a hybrid format, with learning offered both in the classroom and remotely to serve students regardless of whether they are able to be on campus. All courses will be designed with the capacity to pivot to fully remote learning with minimal disruption.
Course details, including information about the anticipated delivery format, is available in the Course Listings catalog. Guidance on interpreting the information in Course listings can be found on the University Registrar’s website.
Can I start a hybrid class in the classroom but switch to remote mid-way should I feel it’s safer?
Yes. Any course with “hybrid” instruction type listed in its course details will be available in a fully remote format for students who wish to take all of their courses online. If an in-person student needs to shift to fully remote during the semester, they should work with their advisor and instructors to make any necessary adjustments.
How have class schedules been changed to accommodate the extra time it will take to follow public health requirements like physical distancing and personal hygiene?
An additional five minutes of passing time has been added between classes to help reduce congestion in entering and exiting buildings and allow time for cleaning of classroom spaces. In addition, one-way entrances and exits have been designated in some locations to further avoid congestion.
Are student events allowed to take place on campus this spring?
We must prioritize safety above all else, and we have implemented significant changes to all on-campus events and activities in the spring. See Danforth Campus events and meetings protocol for more information.
What are the size limits for events?
Indoor gatherings are generally discouraged and in some cases will not be allowed. With approval, up to 10 people may be permitted to attend an indoor event, with proper precautions in place to ensure physical distancing. All participants will be required to wear a mask or face covering at all times while indoors.
How are student events being approved?
All requests from student clubs and groups to hold indoor meetings of any size or outdoor events of greater than 10 people will require approval through Campus Life.
Do other, non-student events also require approval?
Approval must be given by an executive vice chancellor, a dean or a vice chancellor/provost overseeing the school or unit seeking to host an event/meeting. These individuals may appoint a designate for this purpose. See Danforth Campus events and meetings protocol for more information about Danforth Campus events.
What is the status of winter and spring sports?
No decisions have been made yet about winter and spring sports. While there may be some team and individual workouts for students who are here, this will be done in small groups following appropriate public health guidelines. We were able to do this successfully throughout the fall semester.
With the new 2020-21 academic calendar, has the date for Commencement for the Class of 2021 changed?
We are planning to celebrate Commencement with the Class of 2021 on Friday, May 21, 2021, as scheduled. The Class of 2020 is having a special ceremony that will take place on Sunday, May 30, 2021, since the in-person ceremony was canceled last year. We are currently planning for on-campus ceremonies on both dates as health and safety allows.
Are weddings being held on campus?
Because of our ongoing safety concerns, the university has determined that we will not host weddings for the remainder of the 2020–2021 academic year, which includes all scheduled through May 31, 2021. We are unable to accept new applications at this time. We will revisit our ability to to accept applications for future weddings in March of 2021. Visit the Event Management website for more information. Additional questions may be directed to Campus Life at 314-935-3443.
How many faculty and staff will be on campus during the spring semester?
Danforth Campus and Central Fiscal Unit employees will continue with their current work arrangements, with many working remotely to reduce campus density. Schools and units will determine their individual needs for on-campus staffing, and will plan accordingly to bring back to campus additional employees who must be physically present in order to perform their job responsibilities. If conditions improve and we are able to bring more employees back during the spring semester, managers will determine how and when to do that. Our goal will be to provide at least one month of advance notice to any employee who will be asked to return to campus from working remotely. The Flexible Work Arrangement Policy remains in effect.
All Danforth Campus units have been directed to have faculty and staff return to work only in cases where their physical presence is required to complete their duties. All other employees will continue to work remotely. All unit plans for returning to campus must be approved by the Provost or Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Administrative Officer based on a careful review of the need for staff to be on campus and compliance with physical distancing and other public health requirements. Staggered staff arrangements are encouraged.
What are the policies for working remotely?
Human Resources policies have been adjusted to encourage telecommuting and flexible work hours. See Flexible Work Arrangement Policy on the Human Resources website.
If I’m working on campus, should my co-workers and I have meetings in person?
No. For employees who are physically present on campus, in-person meetings should not be held indoors. Even if people are physically on campus, they should continue to conduct meetings via Zoom, phone or other virtual platforms.
Where can instructors go for information about online teaching?
Instructors at all levels (including faculty, lecturers, assistants in instruction and teaching assistants) should go to Teaching & Learning Continuity for information about online teaching. Also see Frequently Asked Questions on that site.
Where can faculty and staff find technical support?
Learn about WashU IT Services for the spring semester on the WashU IT website.
What counseling and support resources are available for faculty and staff?
Faculty and staff may contact the university’s employee assistance program, Work-Life Solutions. Support for individuals affected by bias is also available, and any member of the community can report a bias incident or related concerns.
What resources and support are available for employees who need child care?
WashU employees, have access to child care and elder care benefits, as well as an array of family tips, tools and WashU expert-led courses and articles aimed at helping employees take care of their families. Visit HR’s new Child and Family Care Hub.
How have parking and transportation been affected by this situation?
The Parking and Transportation Services team has been working through a variety of options to meet the needs of the university community. Check the Parking and Transportation page for the latest information and updates.
What’s the latest with the COVID-19 vaccine?
As the state of Missouri continues to work through its COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, we are keeping a close eye on developments and will communicate with the university community as new information becomes available. At this time, BJC HealthCare is one of the state’s approved suppliers of the vaccine and is distributing the vaccine to personnel on the Medical Campus, as well as other groups at the state’s direction. Danforth Campus faculty, staff and students who wish to receive the vaccine when eligible are encouraged to pre-register on the BJC website. You may also wish to pre-register through your local municipalities and the other health systems, if you have the opportunity to do so. See the COVID-19 vaccine FAQ for more information.
If I’ve already gotten the COVID-19 vaccine, do I still need to follow public health requirements?
Yes. Since we do not know yet whether the vaccine prevents infection or only eliminates or reduces symptoms, everyone who has been vaccinated still must follow all public health requirements. This includes masking, physical distancing, self-screening for symptoms, practicing personal hygiene, and for undergraduate students, participating in regular surveillance testing. See the COVID-19 testing page for more information.
What testing for COVID-19 is available on campus for the spring?
All Danforth Campus undergraduate students who are returning to St. Louis for in-person instruction will receive testing at the start of the spring semester. Graduate and professional students will be offered an optional entry test at the start of the spring semester. Undergraduate students living in the St. Louis region will be required to complete a university-provided COVID-19 test every two weeks for the duration of the spring semester. Instructions for signing up for testing will be provided by email to all undergraduate students before the start of the spring semester. We also will continue to provide testing for all Washington University students, faculty and staff who develop COVID-19-related symptoms at any time during the spring semester upon referral from Habif Health and Wellness Center or Occupational Health.
In addition, the 1234 Kingshighway site will be made available to all WashU employees, students and family members for asymptomatic testing for a cost of $50 per test (which covers the operational costs of the test). Members of the university community may schedule this testing here. Learn more about testing in the December 18 message to the university community.
See additional FAQs: Testing, Contact Tracing and Transparency on School of Medicine COVID-19 Updates site.
What public health measures are in place for spring?
All students, faculty, staff and approved visitors are required to wear masks at all times; practice physical distancing of at least six feet from other people; screen for symptoms on a daily basis; and practice personal hygiene, including washing their hands often. See mask requirements for Danforth Campus and Medical Campus, and learn more about health and safety requirements.
Are face masks required outdoors?
Masks must be worn when outside on campus unless you are able to keep at least 6 feet between you and other people you do not live with. For example, if you are walking on a busy sidewalk where you cannot separate from others by six feet, you must wear your mask.
What happens if someone does not follow the public health requirements?
Any individual who consistently fails or willfully refuses to meet these requirements may be prohibited from being on campus and could face further disciplinary action.
How do I complete my daily self-screening?
All students, faculty and staff must complete a daily self-screening to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 before coming to campus. Individuals living in residential housing must complete a daily self-screening before leaving their residence hall room. Anyone showing symptoms or otherwise not passing the daily screen (i.e., not receiving a green checkmark) will be required to stay home and contact university health services (Habif Health and Wellness Center for students and Occupational Health for employees) for further instructions. Visit screening.wustl.edu and log in with your WUSTL key to complete the screening.
If I have already had a confirmed COVID-19 infection, do I need to take all the same precautions such as masking, avoiding gatherings and maintaining six feet distance from people who don’t live with me?
Yes. While our infectious disease experts believe prior infection does provide some immunity, we currently do not know if the protection is adequate to prevent re-infection or shedding of virus when re-exposed.
What is the alert level system and how can I find out what level is currently in place for the university?
The university is operating under an alert level system that uses four levels to indicate the severity of COVID-19 transmission in the St. Louis region and/or on campus. These levels will determine the nature of campus operations. A COVID Monitoring Team has been established to oversee the implementation of the alert level system, with guidance from infectious diseases experts at the School of Medicine. To see the current alert level, check the home page of this website. Learn more about university alert levels
(Note: Research activity levels are indicated by a separate color-coded system and are not directly tied to the university alert level. To see current status of different types of research activities, and to learn more about the research activity level system, please visit the Guidance for Researchers on COVID-19 page on the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research website.)
How will the university manage contact tracing when there are positive cases?
In coordination with the St. Louis City and County Departments of Health, Washington University Occupational Health and the Habif Health and Wellness Center will help conduct contact tracing and notification within the University community for COVID-positive individuals and their close contacts if affiliated with WashU. See more details about contact tracing.
If someone in the university community tests positive, will they have to isolate or quarantine? How will this be handled?
The university will provide isolation housing for students who test positive unless they are able to isolate in an off-campus location and quarantine housing for students who have been directed to quarantine due to exposure, pending test results or other circumstances. The university will conduct follow-up procedures for all students, faculty and staff to determine that they are cleared to return to campus following a positive test. It also will provide meals and other essential services to meet needs of students who need to be quarantined or isolated in the university-provided quarantine and isolation locations. The amount of time students must remain in quarantine or isolation will be determined by current CDC guidelines.
What if someone I know tests positive or is presumed positive? Should I notify someone?
When a member of the university community tests positive, is presumed positive or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 (see CDC guidelines on exposure), that individual must report this information to Habif Health and Wellness Center (students) or Occupational Health (employees).
Members of the university community should respect the privacy of their fellow colleagues and peers and avoid sharing another person’s confidential health information with others. The university has obligations under HIPAA, FERPA, ADA and other federal and state laws, and, depending upon the circumstances, such disclosures may constitute a violation of these laws and University policy. Learn more about reporting and response to COVID-positive cases or exposure on the Danforth Campus.
How can I find information about COVID-19 in the university community?
A dashboard is available with information about testing, positive cases and percent positive. The dashboard is updated every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. See dashboard.
Is a flu vaccination required in order to be on campus?
Yes. All students, faculty and staff who are physically present on campus are required to receive an influenza vaccine by November 20. See flu vaccine information for students and faculty and staff. Flu vaccines will be provided free of charge.
Is the university taking any additional steps to clean and disinfect spaces and surfaces?
Yes. The university has implemented a campus wide Integrated Disinfectant Plan based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, the American College Health Association, and infectious disease experts at the School of Medicine. With new protocols in place, our cleaning and sanitation activities have increased in frequency and scope for most areas. Disinfectants recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are being used for cleaning and sanitization, and signage is prominently displayed in campus spaces to clearly state the cleaning protocols for individual areas.
Has the university made any changes to its heating and cooling (HVAC) systems?
Yes. University Facilities has implemented a variety of indoor air quality strategies to reduce the possibility of COVID-19 transmission. These include increasing fresh air supply and implementing MERV-13 filtration. Each building is being reviewed, and the appropriate strategies are being deployed based upon the system design.
Why is the screener important?
Self- screening is an essential part of monitoring and controlling the spread of COVID-19 on campus. By completing the self-screen, we engage in understanding what the COVID-19 symptoms are and recognize these symptoms early before we potentially infect others. Each of us at WashU has pledged to complete this screen every day, so we can keep each other safe.
What if I just have one of the symptoms? Am I going to have to quarantine/isolate for two weeks?
Even if you have just one symptom, it is important that you reach out to Habif Health and Wellness Center at 314-935-6666 or the COVID Call Center at 314-362-5056 and not come to campus. They will be able to answer all your questions and connect you with testing and resources to make sure you can come back to campus safely and as quickly as possible. WashU’s COVID-19 test results usually come back within 24-48 hours, and if you are negative for the virus, haven’t been in close contact with someone who is infected, and your symptoms improve, you might be cleared to return to campus within days, depending on your symptoms, rather than weeks.
How can I get a test?
If you have or develop COVID-19-related symptoms, students should immediately contact Habif Health and Wellness Center at 314-935-6666 or the COVID Call Center at 314-362-5056. Faculty and staff should contact the COVID Call Center at 314-362-5056. We will provide testing for all Washington University students, faculty and staff who develop COVID-19-related symptoms at any time during the fall semester upon referral from Habif Health and Wellness Center or Occupational Health. Asymptomatic testing is also available. You can also review more information on testing.
What can I expect if I have to quarantine?
While quarantining may sound overwhelming, WashU has partnered with the Med School and numerous departments to make valuable resources and information available to make this important time more palatable. If you are a student, Habif Health & Wellness Center and the Residential Life quarantine and isolation staff will make sure that your needs are met regarding housing, food, academic accommodations, and other support. They will walk you through the process step by step and will have representatives on call if you need anything during your stay. More information regarding student isolation and quarantining can be found here.
If you are a member of our faculty or staff, the med school has helpful detailed instructions on how to quarantine/isolate at home. In addition, Human Resources has provided valuable resources to support your health, mental health, wellness, learning and financial well-being during the pandemic.
What happens during contact tracing? Will my close contacts know that it was me?
Contact tracing is a vital part of controlling the spread of the virus. Please know that Occupational/Student Health takes the confidentiality of your status very seriously. Contact tracers do not share your name with your contacts. Your information will only be shared with public health or university officials when absolutely necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others. You can learn more about contact tracing in this PDF.
This has been so hard for everyone. How can I get through this? How can I help others?
The past year has been an incredible challenge for everyone, requiring sacrifices, patience, perseverance, resilience, and optimism. Like many of us, it can seem challenging to keep going, especially since we have been dealing with multiple crises for such a long time. You and your friends may be struggling to maintain the energy to do the things you need to do to manage your workload and your personal life. But there are things you can do that may help you feel better. Find tips and resources for coping.
How is housing different this spring?
Students living in Residential Life housing will again be placed in single bedrooms. We will not be assigning new students into existing double or triple rooms that are occupied by one person currently. Students who need to cancel their housing contract or who would like to sign up for spring housing, can do so through the Housing Portal, which students can access through WebSTAC. Information about housing for fall 2021 will be available in early February.
Where are quarantine and isolation housing be located?
The university has reserved beds on campus to use as isolation housing for all COVID-positive students. To contain the spread of COVID-19 in our community, COVID-positive students must have a space where they can recover comfortably without coming into contact with other people in our community. Students in isolation housing are monitored by staff from the Habif Health and Wellness Center. We are ensuring they have meals delivered and that they do not need to leave the isolation or quarantine space while they recover. In many cases, COVID-positive students may be asked to share apartments with other COVID-positive students while they recover.
In addition, over 150 quarantine spaces on campus will be available to students who are not able to quarantine in their existing single rooms due to shared bathrooms or other considerations. If additional capacity is needed, we will pursue other available options, which we have already tentatively identified. Quarantine and isolation housing will be available to all students, regardless of whether they have an existing Residential Life contract.
Will students living in off-campus housing have access to the quarantine beds should that be required?
Yes. The university will provide isolation housing for all students who test positive unless they are able to isolate in an off-campus location. We also will provide quarantine housing for students who have been directed to quarantine due to exposure, pending test results or other circumstances. The university will conduct follow-up procedures for all students, faculty and staff to determine that they are cleared to return to campus following a positive test. We also will provide meals and other essential services to meet needs of students who need to be quarantined or isolated in the university-provided quarantine and isolation locations. The amount of time students must remain in quarantine or isolation will be determined by current CDC guidelines.
Do students who live off-campus need to buy a meal plan?
Information about meal plans is available on the Dining Services website. Students with extenuating circumstances are encouraged to reach out to Dining Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is fraternity housing available this semester?
Fraternity houses are part of Residential Life-managed housing. Any students assigned to housing should follow the housing instructions shared with students as it pertains to their class year. Please connect with your Campus Life contact with direct questions regarding fraternity housing.
What is the Residential Life guest policy?
To help ensure the safety of our residential communities, we will continue with our modified guest policies for the spring semester. Residential Life properties are only accessible to the students who live there and the staff who work there. Guests, including those who live in other residential spaces on campus, are not permitted for the foreseeable future. This policy and others will be evaluated as needed throughout the course of the coming year.
Can more than one student be in a residence hall room at the same time?
Residence hall room capacity is limited to the number of people who can be present while maintaining physical distance of at least six feet between individuals. Only students who reside in the same hall may visit other students’ rooms in that hall. Masks must be worn at all times if more than one person is in a room. Students are highly encouraged to socialize outdoors whenever possible, always adhering to public health requirements regarding masks and physical distancing.
Do students who are living with suitemates or in an apartment with roommates sharing common spaces need to wear masks and physically distance while at home? Or should these students behave like a “pod” or “family”?
The safest approach is for everyone to wear a mask and physically distance at all times in common areas. If students choose to treat their suitemates or roommates as a “pod” or “family,” they are accepting increased risk of exposure. This is especially true if individual students are leaving the residence for classes or other activities and coming back, as other occupants would have no way of knowing if everyone is following public health requirements at all times while away from home. If a student were to become exposed to COVID-19, they would then be exposing their suitemates or roommates if they did not wear a mask and physically distance in common spaces at home. Our strong recommendation is for all residents of a suite or apartment to wear masks, maintain at least six feet of physical distance, and wipe down common areas, particularly shared restrooms after each use.
Should I sign a lease for my non-Residential Life, off-campus apartment? What if classes are moved online and I have to break my lease?
The university will not reimburse losses associated with private off-campus leases. In the event that the Danforth Campus closes during the course of the semester for reasons related to health and safety, students living in university-owned housing will be reimbursed a prorated portion of their room and board.
What if the semester is disrupted? Will we get refunds for housing and dining?
Should the university decide that all students should return to their primary residence during the course of a semester as a result of the pandemic or other emergency, the university would provide a prorated refund of room costs to students who were living in Residential Life housing. Students receiving full financial aid would also be eligible for this prorated university housing refund to provide additional support if they are required to return to their primary residence. Students enrolled in meal plans would receive a refund of any unused meal points.
If this were to occur, the university would offer students the ability to seek an exception to remain in residence on campus on a case-by-case basis if international travel restrictions or other significant extenuating circumstances prevent them from returning home.
How is campus dining different this spring?
Campus dining has been redesigned to reduce seating and add table dividers in spaces where physical distancing is not possible. Grab-and-go options have been greatly expanded and buffets and self-service areas have been eliminated. Changes have been implemented to allow fewer people to be present in dining locations at the same time and to reduce contamination.
Following university health principles and guidance from the CDC and the St. Louis County Health Department, Dining Services will continue to monitor conditions for seating availability in the dining halls during the spring semester.
All dining locations will continue to have “hospitality coordinators” present to help ensure guests are able to follow all requirements and guidelines, and to answer any questions.Click here to watch a video about Dining Services and new safety guidelines.
What dining locations are open during the spring semester?
Dining locations and hours are available on the Dining Services website.
Who can students call for technical support?
Students should go to Strategies for Learning Remotely on the Teaching & Learning Continuity website for information about the shift to online learning. Also see Frequently Asked Questions on that site. In addition, students can visit the Tech Den to learn about technology to meet their academic needs.
Learn more about WashU IT Services for the spring semester.
What if I don’t have internet at home or my internet is too slow?
We know that some of our students have limited access to high-quality, high-speed internet services at home. Contact Student Technology Services for any technical assistance by emailing email@example.com or by calling 314-933-3333.
What if I don’t have a laptop or my computer isn’t fast enough for remote learning?
In order to ensure that students can fully participate in online classes, all students are required to have a laptop that meets specified standards. The university will provide assistance to undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need to ensure they have access to laptops and necessary internet bandwidth capacity. Visit the Student Financial Services website for more information. In addition, students can visit the Tech Den to learn about technology to meet their academic needs.
If I am not returning to campus, but I need to work in order to help pay for tuition, room and board? Will the university help me find a job where I live?
As a WashU student, you are always welcome to utilize the services provided by the Career Center. To learn more or to get in touch with the Career Center, visit the Career Center online.
I have an accommodation through Disability Resources. Will I still receive my accommodation if I am not on campus?
Yes. Disability Resources is available to support you via virtual communication. You may arrange phone and Zoom appointments to occur during business hours (8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. CST) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m an international student. Where can I find information about the requirements to maintain my visa status?
Washington University is a “hybrid” school in that the university is offering both in person and online courses. The immigration rules and government agencies’ interpretations of the rules have changed during the COVID-19 outbreak and could change again. The university will work diligently to keep international students informed of any changes to requirements to maintain their visa status. For more information, visit the FAQ page on the Office for International Students and Scholars website, and see the International Students Most Asked Questions from the August Town Hall.
What counseling and support resources are available for students?
- Students on the Danforth Campus may contact Habif Health and Wellness Center at 314-935-6695 for assistance.
- Students also may utilize TAO, Therapy Assisted Online for additional support related to anxiety, depression and other common concerns.
- The Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) Center is available during business hours at email@example.com or 314-935-3445, and after hours by calling 315-935-6666 and asking for the RSVP counselor on call. After-hours assistance is also available at 314-935-5555 for urgent issues.
- Support for individuals affected by bias is also available, and any member of the community can report a bias incident or related concerns.
What is the current university travel policy?
All non-essential university-sponsored travel, including all student group travel, is suspended until further notice. Requests to engage in essential university-sponsored domestic travel must be approved by the chancellor or provost, a dean, executive vice chancellor or vice chancellor. All approved essential travel must be registered here.
The International Travel Oversight Committee is accepting petitions for exception from faculty, staff and graduate/ professional students to pursue essential university-sponsored and supported international travel. Details including the definition of “essential” and the process to submit a petition for exception can be found here.
All travel restrictions are subject to change based on travel conditions and public health guidance. Most student group travel will be considered “non essential” for the foreseeable future. See the travel page on this site for additional information.
Can students travel outside of St. Louis and then return to campus during the spring semester?
At the present time, all non-essential university-sponsored travel is suspended until further notice. For safety reasons, the university is discouraging all travel outside of St. Louis that would be deemed personal or non-essential. We are not granting individual approval or exceptions for students, or consulting with students or families on individual situations. Every member of our community is expected to use good personal and individual judgment in making decisions related to travel or other activities that increase exposure and that could affect the health of others in our community. Our public health principles apply to campus and anywhere students travel. Students should continue to complete their daily self-screen before coming to campus and report any personal health concerns to Habif Health and Wellness Center (314-935-6666).
Is local travel in the St. Louis region permitted?
Students, faculty and staff must follow orders and guidelines that are in place in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, and other local jurisdictions. Members of the university community are strongly encouraged to limit their off-campus activities as much as possible to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission.
What changes has the university made to its study abroad and international academic study programs in light of the COVID-19 outbreak?
Given the continued uncertainty surrounding international travel conditions, the university has suspended all undergraduate student and group graduate/professional student university-sponsored and supported international travel, including study abroad for the spring 2021 semester.
These decisions are based on the health and safety concerns associated with international travel, restrictive entry requirements, interruption of visa processes and consular services, and potential disruption due to ongoing revisions to academic and program calendars.
What about summer 2021 study abroad and international academic programs?
Travel conditions remain uncertain for summer 2021. The university will continue to monitor the situation closely and have a decision when conditions are clearer.
Study abroad offices will be in contact with applicants with updates and details as they become available. Applicants can contact their study abroad advisor for program-specific questions.
Which applications used by WashU are blocked by certain countries?
Visit the Overseas Technology Access webpage for a breakdown of which applications are blocked by which country and what options are available.
Don’t see your question listed? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to help.
For More Information
- See additional FAQ pages
- See additional resources for new and returning undergraduate students
- Read the spring plan on this website
- Call our information line Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., 314-935-8300 or 888-234-2863 and choose from the available menu options
- Email questions to email@example.com
- Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 information page