“We are grateful for all that you continue to do to allow us to fulfill our mission in support of research, education and patient care. It has already been a long haul, and the road ahead remains uncertain. It is reassuring to know that whatever the future brings, our community will rise to the challenge. It will be an unusual spring, but we know that together, we will make it the best semester it possibly can be.”

— Chancellor Andrew D. Martin and Provost Beverly Wendland
Read full message to Danforth Campus community


Our decisions are 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

Members of our community must continue to follow the requirements for being on campus fully and consistently, as reflected in the WashU Community Pledge and Policy Acknowledgment for Students and the faculty and staff training and pledge in Learn@Work that they completed in fall. In the event that any individual fails to adhere to the training and pledge, they are not permitted onto campus and disciplinary action may be taken.



Undergraduate students are asked to significantly limit their interactions with others in the 14 days prior to departing for St. Louis for the start of the spring semester. This includes staying at home as much as possible, washing your hands frequently, wearing a mask if you must be in contact with anyone outside your home, and keeping at least six feet of distance between yourself and others outside of your family. Please monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and if they develop, seek medical advice before coming to St. Louis. Students should call Habif Health and Wellness Center at 314-935-6666 or the COVID Call Center at 314-362-5056 and faculty and staff should contact the COVID Call Center at 314-362-5056. Do not come to campus if you have symptoms of COVID-19.


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.  


During the spring semester, Washington University Occupational Health and Habif Health and Wellness Center will continue to work with the St. Louis City and County Departments of Health to help conduct contact tracing and notification within the university community for COVID-positive individuals and their close contacts, if affiliated with the university. See more details about contact tracing


The university will provide isolation housing for students who test positive for COVID-19 during the spring semester, unless they are able to isolate in an off-campus location, as approved by Habif medical staff. We will provide quarantine housing for students who have been directed to quarantine due to exposure. We will conduct follow-up procedures for all students, faculty and staff to ensure that they are medically cleared before returning to campus following a positive test. 

We will provide meals and other essential services – including cleaning – to meet needs of students who are quarantined or isolated on-campus. Meal deliveries will include drinks and snacks as well as utensils/condiments. WashU Dining Services will charge $25 or meal points per day for quarantine/isolation meals and delivery. If a student does not have available funds, Dining Services will endeavor to use the food security fund and other resources to assist. Dining Services can be contacted at diningservices@wustl.edu

The amount of time students must remain in quarantine or isolation will be determined by current CDC guidelines. Learn more about quarantine and isolation.


The university will continue to operate 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. Learn more about alert levels.


Our COVID Monitoring Team, which includes campus leaders in medicine, infectious disease, public health, emergency management and logistics, will continue to oversee the implementation of the alert level system. The team will coordinate the collection and review of data related to COVID-19 prevalence in the university and St. Louis communities and recommend the appropriate level of campus operations during the spring semester based on current conditions.


In order to protect the safety, health and well-being of our university community, we will continue to require all students, faculty, staff and approved visitors to take the following actions.


Anyone physically present on campus must wear a mask that fully covers their mouth and nose at all times, unless they are alone in an individual closed office space or are outside and able to keep at least six feet between themselves and other people they do not live with. Please see the CDC website for information about allowable masks, including how to wear them properly. This includes washing your hands before putting on your mask putting it over your nose and mouth and securing it under your chin, and making sure it fits snugly against the side of your face while allowing you to breathe easily.

Masks may be removed while eating or drinking in spaces on campus where eating and drinking are usually allowed, as long as there are at least six feet of physical distance or a physical barrier to create separation between other people who do not live together. Eating outdoors is strongly encouraged whenever possible. See mask requirements for the Danforth Campus.


Maintain at least six feet of separation from other people at all times in all indoor and outdoor campus environments. Exceptions will be made for students sharing suites and apartments, and other individuals who share a household. There also may be a small number of exceptions to accommodate close work in certain lab and studio settings. In these environments, masks will be required and all other public health requirements will be followed as closely as possible.

The most effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to ALWAYS wear a mask. 


Self-screenings are a critical part of our public health strategy and it is extremely important that everyone is paying close attention to any possible symptoms of COVID-19. All students, faculty and staff must complete a daily self-screening to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 before coming to campus. The self-screening tool is available at screening.wustl.edu. Individuals living in residential housing must complete a daily self-screening before leaving their residence hall room. Anyone showing symptoms or otherwise failing the daily screen 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. Approved visitors also are required to complete a self-screening by visiting visitorscreening.wustl.edu


All members of the university community must take extra care to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, or after blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based disinfectant or hand sanitizer can be used if soap and water are not available. Everyone must also follow specified procedures for cleaning and disinfecting rooms, offices and common areas.


Any individual who consistently fails or willfully refuses to meet these requirements may be prohibited from being on campus and may face further disciplinary action. All students who are living on campus in residential housing, or participating in on-campus classes or activities will be required to pledge to adhere to these principles and indicate they understand the consequences – which could range from loss of privileges to be present on campus or removal from on-campus housing up to suspension or expulsion from the university – if they do not follow the requirements. Faculty and staff who are working on campus also must complete mandatory training through Learn@Work and may be subject to disciplinary action if they do not adhere to all requirements.



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. 


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 days throughout the semester to allow for rest and personal time. Student and faculty input was taken into account when making this decision. These dates are reflected on the academic calendar. Instructors will be asked not to schedule exams, quizzes or assignment due dates on the days immediately following the instruction-free days.


Academic coursework 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, will be available in the Course Listings catalog. Guidance on interpreting the information in Course listings can be found on the University Registrar’s website.


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. More information is available on the Office for International Students and Scholars website.


All students are required to have a computer that meets specified standards. The university will provide assistance to undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need to ensure they have access to computers and necessary internet bandwidth capacity. Graduate, professional and University College students with financial need should check with their individual programs. In addition, students can visit the Tech Den to learn about technology to meet their academic needs.


For undergraduate 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. Graduate and University College students should contact their respective deans’ offices for assistance. The university will ensure that all undergraduate students have access to a computer. Students can visit the Tech Den to learn about technology to meet their academic needs.


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.  

Campus dining will continue to have reduced seating and added table dividers in spaces where physical distancing will not be possible. Grab-and-go options have been greatly expanded. Buffets and self-service areas have been eliminated. 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. Dining locations and hours for the spring semester are available on the Dining Services website.



All campus rooms and facilities have been reconfigured to allow for physical distancing. 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. Outdoor spaces, including tents, will be reconfigured to allow for use during cold weather, and the individual “Cubbies” that are in place across campus will be realigned to support student preferences for spaces to study, eat or relax. Learn more about Cubbies.


With safety as our highest priority, we will continue to limit events and activities on the Danforth Campus. Gatherings will be limited in size and must be approved by Campus Life or the executive vice chancellor, dean or vice chancellor/provost responsible for the unit hosting the event. More details are available in the current policy regarding events and meetings.

We are hopeful that as conditions improve during the spring semester, we will be able to lift some of these restrictions and allow more events to take place on campus. Visitors will still be limited to those who are coming to campus for mission-critical activities. The Danforth Campus visitor protocol will remain in effect, with the addition of admitted students to the list of mission-critical visitors, starting in April. 


No decisions have been made yet about winter and spring sports. While there may be some team and individual workouts for students who are on campus, this will be done in small groups following appropriate public health guidelines. 

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.


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.


Travel restrictions remain in effect, including the suspension of all non-essential university-sponsored travel. Learn more about travel policies. For local travel, 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.