COVID-19: FAQS | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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COVID-19: Returning Student Information and FAQ

NOTE: The below information pertains to returning students. If you are an incoming student, please see the FAQ that will address your specific situation. 

We are excited to start our fall semester on August 24, 2020. We will begin with a hybrid approach: some courses, which benefit the most from in-person pedagogy, will be held on campus. Others will be online. As we adapt to this new system, some changes in previously determined schedules will need to be made. More information will be coming on how that will affect your course registration, your individual classes and instructors, and your schedule. Read Dean McKay's May 20th email on the fall semester.

Even as the stay-at-home order has lifted, please note that over the summer, no students should be on campus or in Brown School buildings. The vast majority of staff and faculty will continue to work remotely, and all events and courses will be virtual. 

We know you will have many questions, and we hope the below information will start to address them. We will keep this updated with new information as we have it. 

The FAQ below covers the following:

All Field Education and Practicum related questions can be found here.


When and how will I know which classes are online, which classes are in-person, if a class instructor has changed, or if the day/time of a class has changed?
Our current timeline is to have course listings updated by mid-June. All students will receive an email when the updates are complete. If this timeline changes, we will email you with updates. 

Will I need to re-register for any of my classes?
Your Academic Advisor will be available to assist with any changes to your fall 2020 schedule. 

When will I know if the semester schedule has been adjusted in terms of end date, breaks, etc.? 
This information should be available by mid-June, and updates will be communicated over email. While the start date will not be adjusted, we anticipate there may be some adjustments to normal “breaks” in the academic calendar.

Will Pass/Fail Options still be available for fall online classes? 
The option for taking classes pass/fail was a temporary measure introduced to accommodate students whose learning was severely disrupted by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rapid transition to online learning. Moving forward, all classes will be completed under the letter-grade system, except for those classes previously graded Pass/Fail under normal operations.

What public health precautions are you anticipating for fall on-campus classes?
We are working on a robust public health protocol that includes changes to our facilities as well as behavior modifications. These changes include regular health self-assessments, frequent hand washing, and universal masking. We will share more information as we finalize protocols. 

As a returning student, can I take all of my classes online?
Please work with your Academic Advisor if this is an option you would like to explore. We expect that the majority of students will choose a combination of in-person/on-campus and remote learning for their fall coursework, but your advisor will collaborate closely with you to create a program that meets your unique needs.

Will in-person classes be recorded to watch at home? 
We are working with IT and academic leadership to explore this option.

Are there going to be modifications for attendance policies in case I start in-person but then get sick?
We are working with faculty so that accommodations may be made in case of illness. During the current public health challenge, we need all students, faculty and staff to stay off campus if they are ill.  Thus, we will create multiple ways to support students who might become ill.

TUITION, FEE and Health Insurance INQUIRIES 

Will tuition be adjusted for online courses?
At this time, we have not received any guidance from the university regarding the impact the global pandemic will have on tuition and/or fees.  Additionally, it is clear that each school will be guided by the university policy.  We will raise this question with university leadership.

Will any fees be adjusted?

  • Student Activity Fee:  No decisions have been made yet about adjustments to this fee.  
  • Health and Wellness Fee:  It does seem important to us given the public health threat that all students have some type of health insurance so that there are no barriers to care, if needed.  Again, no decisions have been made yet about adjustments to this fee.  We will share information as decisions are finalized.

What happens if I purchase student health insurance through the university, but plan to take all of my courses online and live outside the St. Louis area? 
If students choose to enroll in the student health insurance plan, they will be able to use it anywhere that United Health Care is accepted/in network. The referral requirement is waived anytime you seek care 50+ miles away from WashU.

If I am planning to take all online courses and live outside the St. Louis area this fall, will I be required to purchase health insurance through the university? 
Habif Health & Wellness is looking into the possibility of adjusting the waiver criteria for students who will not live in the St. Louis area.  More information will be available later this summer.

Will there be changes to parking prices and/or options for students?
The Office of Parking & Transportation is aware of concerns raised about safety around use of public transportation to and from campus amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and has not made final decisions concerning pricing and availability of parking for the coming year. For the most up-to-date information, please visit their website at


I’m a student who needs access to high-speed internet for remote learning. Can someone help me?
If you have concerns about your internet access, please call 314-933-3333 to learn how to access technical support.

Where can I go for information about online learning?
Students should go to Strategies for Learning Remotely on the Teaching & Learning Continuity website for information about the shift to online learning. Also, see Frequently Asked Questions on that site.

I need access to specialized software that I access at the Stat Lab. What do I do now?
IT has arranged for free licenses for needed software and a virtual computer lab that allows you to remotely access machines in Goldfarb 330. Learn more at the Student Remote Learning Resources page.

Being on Campus and Campus Services 

Am I allowed in the buildings at the Brown School?
No students should be on campus, per the stay-at-home order. 

What about my part-time job that I held at the Brown School?
Please check with your supervisor, however, some decisions about on-campus student employment may not be finalized.

Will physical and mental health services be available through the Habif Wellness Center? 
Yes, please go to the Habif website for more information.

What if I need to access to additional student services on campus? Will those remain open?
We have put together a separate page that addresses the availability of many on-campus services. Click here.


I am an international student who has concerns about my Visa. What do I do ?
On July 6, 2020, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ruled that international students in the United States must be enrolled in at least one in-person class, and cannot take all of their classes online. Read the full email sent out to our student population from Tammy Orahood, director of Global Programs.

Keep in mind that you can remain in the United States as long as you are enrolled (duration of stay). For more specific answers about visas, please see the COVID-19 International Student FAQ document.

Where can I find additional resources specific to international students?
The Office of Global Programs has created a Google Doc that has consistently updated resources that may be beneficial to our international students. Some highlights include: 

  • Multilingual COVID-19 information can be found on Medline
  • An online free medical service called Wedoctor Global, provided by Chinese Medical Association, offers free medical consultation both in Chinese and in English.
  • Table Wisdom is a social enterprise that brings mature adults and foreign-born students together for professional mentoring and conversational English-speaking sessions. During the COVID-19 crises, Table Wisdom offers mentors for free for our international students. Register for Table Wisdom here.    
  • Access the full Google Doc

Given recent accounts of xenophobia, I don’t feel comfortable running errands. What resources are available?
We are committed to supporting you during this time. The Office of Global Programs is keeping a list of Brown School community members who are volunteering to run errands for international students who do not feel safe. If you would like access to this assistance, please email Tammy Orahood.

How has the university addressed international students during this time?
Our international students play a vital role in our vibrant community. Chancellor Andrew Martin emphasized this on social media as well as his graduation message to the McDonnell International Scholars during the WashU's this year. THe also shared these values in a blog post last year. 

The University responded to the the presidential proclamation regarding Chinese scholars in this post.

Staying Healthy

What do I do about medical attention or testing if I think I might have COVID-19?
Brown School students should contact Habif Health and Wellness Center at 314-935-4959.

How can I manage my mental health during this time?
It is normal to feel fear and anxiety during a time of uncertainty and upheaval like this. As hard as it can be, make sure you are getting adequate sleep, eating well, getting some exercise and communicating with friends and family. People who already are managing existing mental health conditions should particularly prioritize self-care during and contact their clinicians if they have questions or concerns. Assistant Dean Ryan Lindsay has put together a site on managing anxiety during this time. The CDC offers some additional tips. We recognize that many of you desire mental health counseling or more individual  telehealth resources during this time. Students should check  Mental Health Services at WashU for up-to-date information and telehealth options.

As always, you can reach out to Danielle Bristow at if you need additional supports or recommendations.

Staying Informed

What else can/should I do to make sure I know the latest information?
If there is new information or polices, all students will receive direct emails via their WUSTL email address.

I have a question, whom do I ask?