Messages from the University

Update to Washington University Spring Semester Plans

Dear Parents and Families,

I wanted to share a communication with all of you that was sent this evening to our University community.  As we have been doing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we are closely monitoring conditions and carefully relying on the most up-to-date guidance provided by our own public health and infectious disease experts. The safety of our community is always our top priority.

Our goal is to be together in person for the majority of the spring semester and resume all the in-person activities that we had on campus last fall. We believe this delay will allow us to begin on time and resume fully in person activity at the end of the month.

We value your continued support as we continue to make difficult decisions in a changing environment. May you all have a safe and happy New Year.

Warm Regards,

Anna “Dr. G” Gonzalez
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs


December 30, 2021

Dear Danforth Campus students, faculty and staff,

In recent weeks, we have seen a significant increase in positive COVID-19 cases on campus, in the region and nationally. New information is coming in daily about the omicron variant and the effectiveness of various mitigation measures. As always, our highest priority continues to be the health, safety and well-being of our campus community. With that in mind, we’re writing to share a number of changes that will impact our return to campus for the spring semester. Please read the following information carefully.

Classes will be held online for the first two weeks of the spring semester. Students who are able to do so should remain at home and not return to campus until in-person instruction resumes.

  • We will hold all classes online beginning Tuesday, January 18, which is the regularly scheduled start of the term. Access to on-campus facilities and in-person services will be extremely limited during the first two weeks of the semester.
  • As long as conditions allow, in-person instruction will begin January 31, with residential students allowed to move back into university housing beginning Friday, January 28.
  • While we have seen no classroom, lab or other workplace transmission of COVID-19 when our public health requirements are followed, we have made this decision based on current conditions, and to give us additional time to learn more about the omicron variant and its impact on the community as the situation continues to evolve. This will allow us to determine more precisely what mitigation efforts will be necessary when students return to campus and to minimize potential disruptions to academic activities that significant infection among students and faculty could create.
  • Students will receive instructions for accessing their courses online from their schools, with special instructions as needed for graduate and professional students.
  • International students will receive a separate communication with instructions for their return to campus.

All Danforth Campus students will complete pre-arrival and entry self-testing.

  • The university will mail a kit with two COVID-19 self-tests to each Danforth Campus student who has a U.S. address listed in official university records. Students, please review and, if needed, update your address in WebSTAC immediately, and no later than Sunday, January 2. See instructions in the spring semester FAQ.
  • Students will be expected to complete pre-arrival testing and will be required to complete entry testing utilizing these tests. Through the test kit mobile app, students will be able to send their results directly to the university.
  • More information regarding use of the test kits, access to tests for those unable to receive kits by mail, and dates for uploading test results will be shared next week.

All students, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to receive a COVID-19 booster shot if they are eligible to receive one.

  • Boosters reduce the risk of severe COVID illness, likely reduce the risk of acquiring COVID infection, and prevent the need to quarantine after exposure to COVID.
  • It is our expectation that all students, faculty and staff will receive a COVID-19 booster and we very strongly encourage them to do so, unless they have an approved medical or religious exemption.
  • 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.

In-person on-campus activities will be limited.

  • 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.
  • Research activities will continue as usual, with current mitigation efforts (masking, screening, etc.) remaining in effect.
  • While a small number of students will be allowed to remain on campus during the two-week online class period due to extenuating circumstances, access to student-facing services such as the fitness and recreation center, dining and common spaces will be significantly limited. We strongly encourage students not to come to campus during this time.

Employees will continue with their current work arrangements, which may be reevaluated on an individual/departmental basis as needed.

  • Employees who are working in person on campus should continue to report to work as directed by their departmental leadership.
  • Any changes to existing work arrangements should be reviewed and approved by HR and implemented through managers on the departmental level.

We are making these scientifically-grounded decisions based on guidance from our medical experts and with your health, safety and well-being in mind. We know there will be questions and we will communicate with you directly as new information is available. We also encourage you to check the spring semester FAQ page on the WashU Together website for additional details.

Thank you, as always, for your patience and perseverance as we continue to navigate the many twists and turns of the pandemic. We’re grateful for your support and your ongoing commitment to protecting our community.

Sincerely,

Andrew D. Martin
Chancellor

Shantay N. Bolton
Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Administrative Officer

Anna “Dr. G” Gonzalez
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Beverly Wendland
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs