Messages from the University

WashU Update on COVID-19

March 18, 2020

Dear parents and families,

I hope this finds you as well as can be expected in these challenging and unusual times. In our continued effort to keep you informed, I’m reaching out tonight to share with you an email Chancellor Martin sent to our university community earlier today. Please see below.

While it was difficult to learn about these confirmed cases of COVID-19 within our WashU family, we also take some comfort in knowing we’re prepared to respond to cases like these and any others that may come. We’ve had to make some very difficult decisions recently – in addition to the transition to online instruction, we also have implemented remote work for non-essential university employees – and we feel more confident each day that these were the right choices to reduce the probability of community spread.

We continue to send you our good thoughts and gratitude for the commitment and sacrifice you and your students are making to help keep our community safe. Please take good care of yourselves.


Lori. S. White

Dear Washington University Community,

I’m writing to you this afternoon with news I hoped I wouldn’t have to share. However, I’ve learned within the past 24 hours that four members of our university community have tested positive for COVID-19.

Without sharing many details, to protect the privacy of our community members, I can tell you that two of the individuals who have tested positive are physicians at the School of Medicine. These physicians are not currently working with patients and are quarantined. We’re working as diligently and quickly as possible with public health officials who are focused on identifying and communicating with anyone who may have had contact with the physicians.

The other two cases are undergraduate students who had been participating in a study abroad program in Denmark. We have been advised that they also tested positive for COVID-19. Both students are in quarantine out-of-state and are receiving care. They did not return to campus before traveling to their current location.

While this news is certainly troubling, and we are concerned for our employees and students, it is not entirely unexpected that we would have cases confirmed in our community. This is something we’ve been preparing for as the virus has continued to spread and as testing has become more readily available, and we have plans in place for responding. We are prepared to make necessary accommodations for our students and employees impacted by COVID-19 and, of course, we have some of the best physicians in the world to help manage patient care.

I want to reassure you that we are doing all we can to reduce the risk of further spread of the virus within our community. With most students and many employees living and working away from campus, we are continuing to take all necessary precautions to keep our community safe.

We’ll share additional information as updates are available. The latest updates will be posted on our COVID-19 information page. Please continue to take care of yourselves during this difficult time.


Chancellor Andrew D. Martin