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

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. Read Dean McKay's May 20th email on the fall semester. The vast majority of staff and faculty will continue to work remotely, and all events and courses will be virtual. 

Fall Public Health Protocols

When classes resume on August 24, many new public health protocols will be in place – which include completing a health screening before arriving on campus, wearing a mask when on campus, physically distancing from others, and practicing good hygiene. 

More FAQ about the protocols are answered below.

Frequently Asked Questions

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. 

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

On Campus Public Health Protocols

What will I be asked in the health screening?

Within two hours of coming to campus, you will need to complete the health screening app.  It will ask if you are currently experiencing (or have experienced within the last 24 hours) any of the key symptoms of COVID-19.  It will also ask if you have been exposed to a household or close family member/intimate partner who has tested positive or is suspected of having COVID-19 in the past 14 days.

If you do not report any symptoms, and have not been exposed via a close contact, you will then be asked to take and input your temperature before being cleared to come to campus. 

What happens if I fail the health screening app?
Do not come to campus; remain at home and physically isolate from others. Contact Habif Health & Wellness Center at 314-935-6666 for additional instructions on testing, tracing, and clearance to return to campus.

If you wish, you also may contact the Brown School’s Student Support Team if you would like any support as you navigate the process or potential illness. There is a team of people who can assist you confidentially. Please contact:

Miriam Joelson:

Are there requirements for the kind of face covering I wear?

Guidelines for wearing a mask: Your mask must fit snugly over your mouth and chin. If you have a nose wire, it should be snug against your nose. Avoid touching the front of the mask when putting it on and taking it off. Wash you mask regularly to sanitize it. For more tips and guidance on masking, visit the CDC site. Face shields are not permitted.

Will I have to wear a mask throughout class?
Yes, a mask must be worn at all times during class.

Can I eat or drink in class?
For the protection of all, eating and drinking during class is not allowed. During breaks, when you can be more socially distant from you classmates, you may eat or drink.

How many people will be on the Brown campus at one time?
In-person classes are being very limited in each of our buildings. The maximum number of concurrently running classes in a day are five, and these are spaced out among our three buildings.

Are masks required on campus when I am outdoors?
When you cannot assure six feet of distance (a narrow or busy walkway, for instance) masks are required, even outside. If you can maintain regular physically distance outdoors, your mask may be removed.

Will my professors wear masks while teaching? How else might my classroom look different?
Yes, universal masking applies to faculty as well. In some cases, faculty may also use a combination of face shields, distancing and plexiglass partitions. Tables and chairs in classrooms have also be set up to accommodate physical distancing.

Will I need to worry about people departing classrooms as I am entering?
Classes are spaced out throughout the day so that students will not be arriving and departing classrooms at the same time.

Will there be any opportunity to socialize in-person with my classmates?
There will be a variety of ways that students can socialize and build community, but these will all require physical distance, outdoor locations and/or be translated online or in interpreted in other ways. Stay tuned for more information.

How should I respond if I notice someone else (student, teacher, employee) not following public health protocols?
If you have concerns about a lack of attention to protocols from a fellow Brown School community member, you can reach out to Danielle Bristow:

I am a Brown School student, but I am taking classes at other schools. Will policies differ across campus?
All Schools will follow extremely similar protocols, with the main elements being:

  • Screening
  • Physical distancing
  • Universal masking
  • Hand washing and sanitizing

Will Pass/Fail Options 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.

Illness Polices and Mental Health Concerns

If I get sick with COVID-19 or another illness, can I move my in-person class to online?
You should get in touch with your instructor discuss your options and work you may be missing. Faculty will work with you on any needed extensions or modifications. You can also work with your academic advisor if you need additional support.

Will I know if someone in my class or my professor contracts COVID-19?
Washington University Occupational Health or Habif Health & Wellness Center will be talking directly with anyone who tests positive on campus to learn about their close interaction with the university community. With careful analysis and contract tracing, they will follow careful protocols and inform those who are determined to be at risk. HIPAA compliance must be maintained.

If I have an illness, but have tested negative for COVID-19, will I be allowed on campus?
You will need to be in touch with Habif Health and Wellness Center for clearance before returning to campus.

I am living alone and am scared about what might happen if I get sick. What resources or help might be available to me?
We understand students will be facing a lot of anxiety should they fall ill. You can work with your Academic Advisor, or a member of the Student Support Team (Danielle Bristow, Zach Romo, Miriam Joelson) to discuss the medical care, food, and personal and academic support you need.

I live with roommates and I am afraid one of us might get sick and need to quarantine? What should we do?
The university will have designated quarantine housing for students who may need it. Contact Danielle Bristow at, to discuss this option should you need it. 

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.

Tuition, Fees, Health Insurance and Parking

Will activity fees be reduced or eliminated?
The Brown School fall semester Activity Fee has been waived.

Will tuition be reduced?
We are committed to offering the WashU academic experience in keeping with our high standards, no matter where students are studying this year. The commitment of the Brown School and Washington University to provide students with a high-quality educational experience will not change. The tuition assessed for the semester will also not change. We also understand COVID-19 created financial hardships for some students, and we are dedicated to helping students through this tough and uncertain time. The university is re-establishing the Crisis Response Funds for undergraduates and graduate students for those who are struggling financially.

Can I waive health insurance if I am not living in the St. Louis area?
Conditional waivers are available to students studying remotely outside the St. Louis area. Complete the waiver process to confirm eligibility. International students must remain enrolled if they plan to come to the U.S. at any point in the semester in order to meet visa requirements. Students will be automatically enrolled in the insurance plan for the spring semester pending additional pandemic response by the University. Contact for more information.

Will the Health & Wellness fee be reduced or eliminated?  Can I waive this fee if I am not living in the St. Louis area?
The Habif Health & Wellness Center is open and available to students for visits. Students must make an appointment and can often call in the morning and receive a same day visit. The Sumers Recreation Center is scheduled to open at reduced hours on August 24. More information will be provided should the fee be waived for those outside the St. Louis area.

What are the parking regulations for this year?
Parking in yellow or visitor spaces on the Danforth campus is free through Sunday, September 13. After that time, zoned parking permits will be required from 7:00 am – 5:00 pm and are being sold at

The OPP permit will not be offered during the Fall 2020 semester. Instead, we are adjusting the visitor hourly rates in the garages by 50 percent, to align with OPP rates. View garage rates.

Please be aware that the City of Clayton will resurface Forsyth Boulevard on September 8-9; we recommend finding alternate routes to campus.

Will the ParkSmart West Campus Shuttle be running when we are back on campus?
The intention is that a majority of WashU’s campus shuttles will return to pre-COVID-19 schedules starting Aug. 24. More information and specific details on the shuttle’s public health protocols will be shared in the weeks ahead at the

Distance Learning Resources

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.

WashU Tech Den is a new service for fall 2020 that will support students in core technologies, including laptop repairs/loaners, network connectivity, software support and more.  Contact them at  314-935-7100 or

I need access to specialized software that I access at the Stat Lab. What do I do now?
Current students can information on lab availability and software access information on Inside Brown. The Common Student Software page has been updated with information specific to the fall 2020 semester. 

Being On Campus & Campus Services

Will I be allowed to stay on-campus in between classes or to study?
Please plan to minimize your time on campus, but if you need to wait on campus in between classes, the university is arranging for spaces to be available to students. Learn more about the use of campus spaces for studying/eating in the university’s plan for fall.

Will any cafes or food options be available on campus?
At present, dining on campus is carry-out only. Grab and go at Grounds for Change will be available. The GET Food dining services app allows you to order meals from your phone or computer and schedule a convenient pick-up time at the DUC. There are pods across campus that will be earmarked for eating meals, if you plan to eat on campus.

Please note that no eating or drinking is allowed while in class. Communal refrigerators, microwaves and vending machines on the Brown School campus will also not be available for use.

Am I allowed to meet with a classmate or faculty member on campus?
While tempting to meet on campus, all meetings are encouraged to be virtual. This is for the safety of all.

If I want an “on-campus” job, will any be available, even virtually?
If you had student employment in the past, please work with your supervisor about opportunities for this academic year. The Career Services Office is collecting information about part-time student employment.

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.

Travel Policies

What travel guidelines are in place for students?
You may have seen that the university has issued a policy that students who travel during Thanksgiving break are not allowed back on campus. The Brown School, however, will release information about Thanksgiving travel in the coming weeks.

Do I need to report my travel to the university or be tested after traveling?
We discourage travel for those that plan on being on campus. If you choose to travel, you should follow all public health best practices while traveling and ensure you are following all School and university protocols upon your return.

International Students Resources

I am an international student who has concerns about my Visa. What do I do?
The July 6, 2020, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rule requiring international students in the United States to take at least one in-person class has been rescinded. The Student Exchange and Visitor Program sent an email to students announcing that the rules return to those announced in March/April 2020. The full SEVP email is available to current students. However, if you are a first year F1 student, you do need to take at least one class in person if you are in the United States. If you have any questions about registration and status, please contact Tammy Orahood, Director of Global Programs at

Please know that our international students have our steadfast support as we work with individuals to develop plans and solutions in order to mitigate the impact of these recent developments. We will continue to be guided by our values and center our work on our students.

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 the 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. He also shared these values in a blog post last year.

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

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?

For more information and FAQs, visit WashU’s together plan and University FAQs.