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Washington University releases plans for fall semester

"Our plan is informed by science. We have made decisions based on all available data, and we will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation as it develops"

ST. LOUIS — Washington University has announced its plans for the fall semester as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the St. Louis area.

Since spring, the university said it's been planning for the fall semester to determine how to bring students and staff back to campus as safely as possible amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We cannot emphasize enough that there is nothing more important than the safety, health and well-being of our university community," wrote Chancellor Andrew D. Martin and Provost Beverly Wendland. "We have made every decision with this core principle in mind, and with guidance every step of the way from our infectious disease experts at the School of Medicine. Our plan is informed by science. We have made decisions based on all available data, and we will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation as it develops in the weeks and months ahead.”

The “WashU Together” plan includes “significant” changes to reduce campus density and “promote a safe and healthy learning and working environment.”

The changes include:

  • Public health requirements 
    • All students, faculty, staff and approved visitors are required to:
      • Wear masks or face coverings at all times, practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet, screen for symptoms on a daily basis and practice personal hygiene, including washing hands often
  • Monitoring, screening and responding to COVID-19
    • The university is implementing plans for quarantine, isolation and contact tracing and is developing plans for testing students who will be living in university housing, as well as additional testing during the fall semester for students, faculty or staff who meet certain criteria.
  • Delivery of instruction
    • Academic coursework will be delivered in a variety of formats Some courses will be offered either 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.
  • Residential housing
    • Changes will be implemented to reduce population density. These include significantly lowering the overall number of students living in Residential Life housing and providing single bedrooms to all who do.
  • Closing Campus to Visitors
    • Washington University will limit on campus guests and visitors. Guests will not be permitted in student residences at any time. Building entry will only be accessible by key card.
  • Travel Policy
    • Students, faculty and staff living on-campus or using university facilities are asked to stay within the St. Louis area. If students travel outside of St. Louis, including during the Thanksgiving holiday, they will be required to finish their coursework virtually. 
  • Sports
    • All fall varsity and club sports have been canceled. The recreation and fitness centers will be open with preventive measures in place.

“We have worked to ensure that we can continue to deliver an outstanding Washington University experience to our students in a manner that is consistent with our highest priority of protecting the health, safety and well-being of our entire community,” Martin and Wendland wrote. “At the same time, it is very important for everyone to know this will not be a normal semester. It will look and feel different on campus."

The university said more details will be shared directly to students, faculty and staff.

You can read Washington University's full WashU Together plan here.