Our decisions continue to be informed by these foundational pillars:

  • The safety, security and well-being of all people
  • Commitment to our mission in support of education, research and patient care to improve lives in service of the greater good
  • Our role as a strong community partner in the St. Louis region
  • Uplifting the values of diversity, equity and inclusion 
  • Accountability and transparency
  • Careful stewardship and sustainability of the university’s resources


Having a fully vaccinated community has allowed us to ease some of the restrictions that were in place during the 2020-2021 academic year. As always, we are monitoring the evolving conditions of the pandemic, and we remain prepared to adjust our policies as the situation warrants.

Masking and physical distancing

Masks are required at indoor gatherings for everyone, regardless of vaccination status or the size of a meeting or gathering. Masks are not required when an individual is inside a private office or room or while eating or drinking, allowing for personal space as much as possible. Masks are required in open office settings such as cubicles. Masks are not required for outdoor activities at this time, but are strongly encouraged at large events or in crowded settings.

At this time, physical distancing is not required in most settings, but strongly encouraged for individuals who are not fully vaccinated and any time individuals are unmasked.

COVID-19 testing

All Danforth Campus students will complete pre-arrival and entry self-testing before in-person instruction begins for the spring semester. SeeSee the January 7 message to students and the student testing FAQ for more information.

Throughout the semester, students who are not fully vaccinated because they have an approved exemption from the university will be required to complete re-entry testing and weekly surveillance testing as a condition of their enrollment. Faculty, staff and trainees who are not fully vaccinated are also required to complete regular testing. In addition, we will continue to provide free COVID-19 testing for all students, faculty and staff who develop symptoms of COVID-19 at any time. Individuals with even mild symptoms – including those who have been fully vaccinated – should be tested for COVID-19. Members of the university community should call the COVID Call Center at 314-362-5056 to report symptoms or exposure and to arrange for a free test.

COVID-19 vaccine

All students, faculty, staff and trainees were required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before the start of the fall semester. Students who are enrolling this spring semester for the first time or are returning this spring semester after a leave of absence are required to receive the vaccine or apply for a medical or religious exemption by January 10, 2022. Students who do not comply with the vaccination requirement will be administratively withdrawn from their courses by the start of the spring semester. Individuals who are approved for an exemption are required to adhere to surveillance testing requirements in order to remain enrolled in their classes, as further described in the testing section above.  

All students, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged and expected to receive a COVID-19 booster shot if they are eligible to receive one. We are not requiring the booster at this time, but may do so in the future. After receiving a booster, students and employees should update their vaccination records on the Habif Health and Wellness Center website or the ReadySet portal, respectively. We will hold booster clinics on the Danforth Campus for students, faculty and staff in January and February. Details about these clinics will be provided soon. Individuals who have already been approved for a COVID-19 vaccine exemption are not expected to receive a booster or request an additional exemption. Students who are participating in study abroad programs are required to receive boosters.

The CDC has recommended COVID-19 booster shots for everyone ages 16 and older. Booster appointments are readily available at most public clinics or retail pharmacies. To find a booster vaccine near you, visit and type in your zip code.

Visit the COVID-19 vaccine FAQ page and the spring semester FAQ for additional information.


All students, faculty, staff, trainees and visitors are required to complete a daily self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms before coming to campus or leaving their on-campus residence. Particularly during times of high transmission in the region, individuals may be asked to show their screening result before entering a classroom, dining facility, recreation facility or other shared space, and at university events. The screening tool is available at

Note: In addition to the symptoms listed in the screening tool, everyone also should pay attention to milder symptoms such as a new headache or a stuffy nose. These can also be signs of COVID-19. Call the COVID Call Center at 314-362-5056 to report even mild symptoms.

Contact tracing

In collaboration with Google, the university has launched a smartphone tool that allows students, faculty, staff and trainees to participate in a COVID-19 exposure notification system. All members of the university community are encouraged to use the MO/Notify system, which alerts users when they have had close contact with another user who has tested positive for COVID-19. Learn more about MO/Notify. Occupational Health and Habif will also continue with their regular contact tracing process.


Academic calendar

The full 2021-22 academic calendar is available online. The semester will start on time on Tuesday, January 18. For the first two weeks, classes will be held online. 

Delivery of instruction

We are planning to resume in-person instruction on January 31, as long as regional conditions allow. Students will be able to move back into Residential Life housing beginning on Friday, January 28.

Courses are being held predominantly in person. Modalities for specific courses can be found at Students who have symptoms of COVID-19 must call the COVID Call Center or Habif Health and Wellness Center for testing and should not attend any in-person class. Missing in-person class sessions for this reason will be considered an excused absence. Students may be asked to provide appropriate documentation based on course policy. In the case of discussion, studio, lab or other format courses, students should check their syllabus and/or discuss with their instructor what they should do in the event that they must miss class. During the 2021-2022 academic year, lecture-based courses will be recorded for the benefit of students who are unable to attend class due to symptoms of or exposure to COVID-19. Recordings of in-person class sessions are intended to support occasional, necessary absences from class and not as a mechanism for students to participate fully remotely in courses designed to be taken in person. 

Masking and distancing in classrooms

Students are required to wear masks at all times during indoor classes. Physical distancing is not required in classrooms where everyone is masked, but strongly recommended for those who are not fully vaccinated.

Passing time

Passing time between classes has been reduced to pre-COVID standards. Class times as listed represent true instruction time. 


Through at least the end of January, social events will not be allowed on the Danforth Campus. In-person business meetings while wearing masks may continue, but food and drink should not be served. 

Internal events that only include members of the Washington University community are allowed with no maximum number of people, as long as masking guidelines are followed. Outdoor events are strongly encouraged and indoor events should be planned to allow sufficient space to avoid crowding. 

As long as conditions permit, events may be held that are open to the public or that include invited guests who are not Washington University students, faculty or staff. For these events, members of the public and invited guests must complete an attestation that they are fully vaccinated and/or that they will follow all university guidance while on campus. The attestation is available on the visitor screening tool.

See Events with Visitors Checklist for more information.


Faculty, staff and trainees will continue to return to campus according to previously submitted school and unit plans. Any adjustments to submitted plans will be handled at the school or unit level. All students, faculty, staff and trainees must complete a self-screening before coming to campus each day. Anyone with even mild symptoms of COVID-19 should call the COVID Call Center at 314-362-5056 for guidance and to arrange for a free test. Faculty, staff, and trainees with exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine must undergo weekly surveillance testing.


Housing assignments

Students in Residential Life housing have been assigned to single or double rooms. Following the first two weeks of the spring semester, when classes will be held online, residential students will be allowed to move back into university housing beginning Friday, January 28. 

Isolation and quarantine housing

Housing spaces for COVID-19 isolation and quarantine have been reserved in Millbrook Apartment Buildings 1 and 4 for students assigned to Residential Life housing. This space is being held as a precaution in the event that it is needed for students who are exposed to or test positive for COVID-19. Students living off campus who are required to quarantine or be isolated as a result of COVID-19 will do so in their own space, and in a few cases, could be approved to move to on-campus quarantine or isolation housing.

Masks in the residence halls

Masks are required in residential indoor spaces for everyone, regardless of vaccination status or the size of a meeting or gathering. Masks are not required when an individual is inside a private room, suite or apartment with the door closed, including with roommates present.

Residence hall visitors

Visitors will be allowed in residence halls according to regular policy. Students may visit friends in other residence halls. Everyone must follow masking and other public health requirements as applicable. Non-university guests are allowed, as long as they complete the visitor self-screening prior to their arrival and follow all public health guidelines while on campus.


During the first two weeks of the spring semester, while classes are being held online, some dining services will be limited. For a full list of hours and locations, visit the Dining Services website. When students return, most dining locations are expected to be operating normally. Masks are required in dining spaces for everyone, regardless of vaccination status unless you are eating or drinking. Indoor spaces will be configured to allow for physical distancing as necessary and outdoor seating will be available in many locations.


COVID-19 dashboard

The university maintains a dashboard containing information on positive cases and positivity rates for all positive tests performed at WashU and our BJC Health partners on Danforth Campus students, faculty and staff. For regional data, visit the St. Louis County COVID-19 dashboard.

COVID Monitoring Team 

The university established the COVID Monitoring Team to provide public health guidance and to advise on university policies. The team, which includes campus leaders in medicine, occupational health, public health, emergency management and logistics, continually coordinates the collection and review of data related to COVID-19 prevalence in the university and St. Louis communities and recommends appropriate public health strategies based on current conditions.

Reporting COVID concerns

Members of the university community may report concerns about university policies and protocols related to COVID-19 or their enforcement through portals for students, faculty and staff. Learn more about the COVID Policy Concerns Portals.


Student recreation center

During the first two weeks of the spring semester, when classes will be held online, the Sumers Recreation Center will be open to students, faculty and staff on a very limited basis. Masks are required in all areas of the recreation center including during the use of cardio equipment. Masks are not required in some areas within the recreation center where it would not be possible to wear one (e.g., swimming pool, while showering).


All Washington University varsity sports that are in season will continue as long as conditions permit. As a temporary safety measure, we are not allowing spectators at university athletic events until conditions improve. Club sports activities will be paused until January 31.  Competition, practices, team travel and any public health measures required during those activities will be approved by the Athletics Department in consultation with the COVID Medical Advisory Group.


At this time, Danforth Campus employees and students may participate in university-sponsored domestic travel with no prior approval required other than those that are regularly in place at the school or unit level. University-sponsored and supported international travel still requires approval in certain instances, according to the process outlined by the International Travel Oversight Committee (ITOC) here. Potential travelers should consider conditions in the country and essentiality of the travel.


As long as conditions permit, visitors are allowed on campus, but are required to complete a self-screening using the university’s visitor screening tool. All visitors must follow university requirements such as masking while on campus. The visitor screening tool includes an attestation that visitors are fully vaccinated and/or that they will follow all university guidance while on campus. Event organizers will remind visitors of this requirement and confirm that everyone has passed the screening before they enter the event. (The screening tool provides a green check mark to indicate that an individual has passed.)

See Events with Visitors Checklist for more information.

Basic Service Contract staff working on a university campus in proximity to others are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or masked with an approved and documented exemption.