All Updates Chancellor's Message

Staying the course

Dear Faculty and Staff,

It’s been a particularly difficult couple weeks and I hope you all are managing as well as you possibly can be, given this incredibly challenging time in our community. I’m exceptionally grateful to all of you for your continued service and flexibility, especially those of you who are dealing with furloughs and other disruptions in your work lives. Please know we are thankful for your contributions and sacrifice.

As you probably are aware, Governor Michael Parson has shared his intention to begin lifting the stay at home order in the state of Missouri as planned on May 4, which is this coming Monday. At that time, some “non-essential” businesses will be allowed to reopen. Stay at home orders remain in effect for the State of Illinois, as well as St. Louis City and St. Louis County.

I’m sure many of you are wondering what this change in Missouri will mean for us as Washington University employees. As much as we all would like to get back to normal operations on campus as soon as possible, after careful consideration and guidance from our infectious disease experts – and given the orders still in place in our local jurisdictions – we will not be making any changes at this time, and our alternate operations will continue until further notice.

Rest assured that our leadership teams on both campuses are hard at work coming up with plans for a phased return to normal operations, and that our Fall Planning Contingency Committee is fully immersed in scenario planning for the next academic year. We expect that a number of our employees may continue to work from home in the weeks to come. We also expect that employees will return more quickly on the Medical Campus, while the return on our Danforth, North and West Campuses will be phased over the course of the summer. You will receive more information about this timeline as planning evolves, and we will make every effort to communicate well enough in advance to give you time to prepare for child care and other arrangements to meet your individual needs. 

Please know that every decision we make will be with your health and well-being in mind. We are as eager as you are to get everyone back to campus. But as much as we all want that to happen sooner rather than later, we are committed to taking whatever time is necessary to determine the appropriate course of action to keep everyone as safe as possible.

I greatly appreciate your patience and ongoing support for our shared efforts, especially now, as we continue to stay the course in the weeks ahead. This has already been a long haul, but what we do now will have a significant impact on what we’re able to do in the future. I’m thankful for your commitment, tenacity and kindness as we take the next steps down this path, together.


Andrew D. Martin