All Updates

Message to the university community

Dear Washington University faculty and staff,

As you’re all too aware, the past few weeks have been transformative for the university as we’ve navigated unprecedented changes to our operations in a very short period of time. We’ve shifted our classroom teaching and learning to online instruction, moved out the vast majority of our residential students, and made the transition to “alternate operations” for most of our employees, with all but those who absolutely must be on campus working remotely until further notice.

As the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, we are constantly reviewing our policies and procedures to adjust our response. With that in mind, I’m writing today with these important updates.


All university faculty, staff and students are expected to comply with the Stay at Home orders issued by the City of St. LouisSt. Louis County and the State of Illinois, and any other Stay at Home government orders applicable to your place of residence, including the travel and social distancing restrictions in those orders. To slow the spread of COVID-19, the orders generally prohibit residents from leaving their homes except as needed for specified essential activities or essential travel, such as going to work when authorized to do so, obtaining medical care or supplies for oneself or one’s family, caring for family members, shopping for groceries, and engaging in outdoor exercise. 

We had previously indicated that our “alternate operations” would be in effect through at least April 6. In order to be consistent with the duration of the Stay at Home orders in place in local jurisdictions, we are extending the university’s alternate operations period until April 22. We will reassess the situation at that time to determine whether we can begin planning for a return to normal operations.


Consistent with the Stay at Home orders, all university-sponsored international travel and non-essential domestic travel remains suspended until April 30, 2020. In addition, the following restrictions and guidelines are in effect for university employees:

Danforth Campus 

All Danforth-based faculty and staff, especially those whose physical presence is required on campus to perform essential services, are strongly discouraged from traveling outside a 60-mile radius of campus when engaging in activities authorized by the Stay at Home orders. This will allow you to report to work within one hour if necessary. This does not include travel between your place of residence and campus.

Medical Campus 

All faculty, staff and trainees of the School of Medicine are strictly prohibited from traveling for any reason outside a 60-mile radius of the Medical Campus, unless required to do so to provide clinical and patient care services. This restriction is being adopted in an attempt to ensure an adequate workforce during a patient surge from the coronavirus outbreak and to reduce the spread of virus on the Medical Campus. For additional information, please consult the School of Medicine’s policy.


As a reminder, there are medical screening and clearance requirements that must be followed before you may return to work on campus if you have traveled outside of a 60-mile radius of your campus within the past 14 days. Information on the screening process for the Danforth Campus can be found here and for the Medical Campus can be found here.

This is a challenging time for us all. We’re grateful for your continued support as we all work together to take these important steps to keep our community safe. We’ll continue to provide updates as additional information becomes available. You can visit the university’s COVID-19 website for additional information, and our telephone hotline is also available for additional questions, 314-935-8300 or 888-234-2863.


Hank Webber
Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Administrative Officer