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

We understand you will have many questions about the distance learning policies that were recently announced. We have attempted to answer as many as we can below. There are also some scenarios for which we must wait for university policy or guidance. If you do not find an answer to your specific question below, please find a list of appropriate contacts to reach out to at the bottom of this page.

Watch Dean McKay's March 19 Virtual Town Hall.

The FAQ below covers the following:

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

Coursework, GRADING and Distance-Learning RESOURCES

How will I complete my courses?
Courses will resume on March 23 (following an additional week of spring break) and will be held remotely - via Canvas or other tools, per your instructor’s preference. You will hear from your individual instructors via email prior to classes resuming. Instructors will maintain flexibility in how they teach to allow for WiFi accessibility issues, illness, and other factors. We want all of our students to complete their courses and earn their credits.

What if I don’t have reliable internet or computer access?
If you are in an area served by either Charter or Comcast, you may be able to get free Internet service for the rest of the semester:

Charter Spectrum Broadband

Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.

Learn more 

Comcast Internet Essentials

Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, Comcast is offering 2 months free to new Internet Essentials customers in response to recent and anticipated emergency measures associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Learn more 

For other technology needs and questions, you can visit Student Technology Services.

Who can I call for technical support?
Students can contact Student Technology Services for assistance by emailing, or starting Monday, March 16, by calling 314-933-3333.

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 am supposed to graduate in May. Will I be able to graduate?
The Brown School’s ultimate goal is to make sure our students stay on their current graduation timeline. To do so, you will need to remain in consistent communication regarding any difficulties you have with your online coursework, your practicum hours and your health. We will work with you one on one to make sure we support you and the completion of your degree.

Will we have a pass/fail option for our courses?
MSW, MPH and MSP students will be offered a pass/fail grading option for their courses. It is our sincere hope that having this option will reduce some of your stress as we finish the last six weeks of the semester. Notice of this policy was sent via email from Dean McKay on March 21.  Key details are also highlighted below:

  • This will be an opt-in process for each individual course.  Students may choose which classes they would like to switch to pass/fail.   It does not need to be an all or nothing choice.  
  • No action is required if students do not wish to use the pass/fail option.
  • Students will have until Friday, April 24 at 11:59 p.m. decide if they want to exercise pass/fail. After that, the option is closed.
  • Pass/fail grades cannot be calculated into your GPA. Students must have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA to graduate. Thus, if you have a GPA lower than 3.0, please communicate with Registrar Alisha Wood Lindstrom before changing any of your courses to pass/fail.
  • The pass/fail option cannot be applied retroactively to any courses that have already been completed during this semester.
  • For more details and considerations, please see this Pass/Fail FAQ

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.

What about presentations that I was supposed to give in person?
Presentations and projects will be modified to reflect the new distance learning policies. This will not affect your grade.

What about group projects?
Presentations and projects will be modified to reflect the new distance learning policies. This will not affect your grade.

What happens if I am taking a class in another school? Will I be contacted with those instructions?
All university courses are moving online. Your instructor at the other schools should reach out to you with further instruction. If you do not hear from them, you should reach out to your instructor directly.

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. 

Can I stay in Graduate Housing through Quadrangle?
If you currently reside in WUSTL graduate housing through Quadrangle, you are allowed to remain. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Danielle Bristow.

I am a student worker. Can I still keep my working hours?
We are asking each of you to be in touch with your direct supervisors next week to figure out how you may still be able to work your normal hours from off campus. In most cases, supervisors should be coming up with a plan to support each of their student workers. In situations where there is not sufficient work that can be completed remotely, there is a possibility that you will be deployed to other parts of the school to work remotely. We will do everything possible to honor our commitment to each of you.

Will all events on campus be canceled? Can I come to school for an event if it is being held?
Events have been postponed, canceled, or moved to a virtual format. No events are being held in person between now and April 30.

Event sponsors are generally communicating by email with individuals who were registered for the activity and most are also updating their webpages as new information becomes available. If you check email and the web and still can’t find information about the event you’re wondering about, please reach out to the sponsoring individual or department with your inquiry.

What if I need to access 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.

Will Commencement be taking place as usual?
In light of the global health situation, Chancellor Andrew Martin and his advisers have made the difficult decision to cancel our traditional May Commencement ceremonies (See his video message.) The School is deeply saddened that we cannot celebrate our students’ tremendous accomplishments in traditional fashion.

The Class of 2020 deserves to be celebrated and recognized. Even though it may look different from typical years, our goal is to find a creative and innovative way to celebrate that maintains our commitment to protecting everyone’s well-being amidst this evolving situation. The Brown School Commencement Team will develop ideas with our colleagues across campus, and we appreciate any input or thoughts you may have about how we can best celebrate Commencement achievements. If you have any thoughts or questions, please reach out to Zach Romo at

My library book is due soon-if I can't return it, will I get a fine? What library services are available?
Currently, all book drops are closed. All loan return dates have been extended through May 4, and fines have been suspended for that time. Interlibrary loan is currently limited to electronic resources. MOBIUS is currently unavailable, and loan times have been extended. For MOBIUS questions, email

If you are not on campus and would like to ship books and materials back to the libraries, please label your package 'Attn: Olin Library Circulation' and mail it to Washington University in St. Louis One Brookings Drive, Campus Box 1061, St. Louis, MO 63130.

How do I access disability resources?
Visit the Disability Resources page for more information.

Tuition and Fee Inquiries

With the move to distance learning, will I be refunded any portion of my tuition or activity fees?
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 unclear how much autonomy each school will have on this issue. We will raise this question with university leadership.  When we have additional information, we will share it broadly. 

We are acutely aware that there is a lot of disappointment as we face a changing educational landscape that none of us would choose. We will continue to do all we can to ensure that the impact on your education and experience is minimized as much as possible. 

Since I will not be parking on campus, can I receive reimbursement for my parking fees? 
Yes, please see this link to request reimbursement. Visit the Parking and Transportation Updates page for more information about changes in parking and transportation.

Crisis Response Funding for Students

I am experience financial hardship due to the crisis. Are there any university resources available ?
The WashU Crisis Response Fund for Students has been established to try to address essential needs that Student Financial Services, School-based funds, and other additional support funds are unable to address. The following list includes some examples of categories that could be considered an essential need for a student and that may fall within the parameters for funding:

  • Unexpected expenses for Non-University owned housing, including unexpected rent and utilities (students in University housing should contact
  • Groceries (students with University meal plans should contact
  • Medicine
  • Unreimbursed co-pays for physical or mental health services

Please visit the WashU Crisis Response Fund for Students web portal for additional details. If you wish to submit a request, please carefully review the instructions on the form to ensure we can properly prioritize and respond to requests. The deadline to submit is Tuesday, April 7, 2020. 

While we will make every effort to offer some funding for requests that meet the criteria laid out above, it will not be possible for us to grant every request. If you have questions about the Fund or would like to check in on the status of your application, please email You can also reach out to Danielle Bristow if you are experiencing hardship.


I am an international student who has concerns about my Visa. What do I do ?
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.

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, and Ryan Lindsay and Danielle Bristow are working hard to put something in place for students in need. More will be communicated with you as soon as possible. 
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.
We recommend visiting the dedicated Office of Emergency Management page to learn of all updates to university policy and other links that may be helpful:

You may also want to download WashU Mobile app for Apple or Android to get immediate alerts.

I have a question, whom do I ask?