Is the university shutting down?
No. The university is still open, but has shifted to “alternate operations.” Learn more about the shift to alternate operations in Chancellor Martin’s March 16 message to the university community, and learn about how the university is planning to return to campus in Chancellor Martin’s May 7 message to the university community.
Why did you make the decision to shift to online instruction?
This decision is part of our responsibility as a community to pull together to help one another, to show care and compassion for those who are vulnerable, and to each do our part in service of the greater good.
What policies has the university put in place to manage the COVID-19 outbreak?
On March 27, the university updated a number of policies that aim to protect the university community. These policies are in place to help guide decision-making about travel, events and visitors to campus. See policies.
Will there be a fall semester?
Yes. In order to accommodate a slow and deliberate return to normal operations, we are making changes to our academic calendar, to allow for a phased approach to bringing students and faculty back to the Danforth Campus. We have every intention of teaching courses in the classroom this fall and our planning is focused on returning to in-person instruction at the start of the new academic year. At the same time, we know the fall semester will not be business as usual. It will look and feel different, and we all are going to have to be flexible as we make any necessary modifications to allow for social distancing and other precautions that will be required to keep our students, faculty and staff safe. See the details in Chancellor Martin’s May 27 message (PDF).
Is the crisis having an impact on the university financially?
Yes, even for an institution like ours, with a strong financial foundation, this crisis is taking a huge toll. More details are available in the April 20 message to faculty and staff.
What financial changes is the university making?
The university has implemented a number of measures detailed in the April 20 message to faculty and staff.
Why doesn’t the university cover its financial losses by taking money from the endowment?
It may seem hard to believe that an institution like ours could face a serious financial challenge like this. But the scale and scope of this pandemic are unique. We do have a significant endowment, and we will distribute as much as is deemed prudent from this fund to address the current need. However, the reality is that the endowment is also highly restricted, with guidelines in place to ensure our long-term stability in order to provide a secure future for the university for generations to come. In addition, the endowment has already seen a negative impact due to this global crisis, and it is highly likely that it will be affected further. It would not be prudent – or even possible – for us to use a significant amount of our endowment funds for this purpose. See more information in the April 20 message to faculty and staff.
Is the university receiving funding through the CARES Act?
The university has received money from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund established by the federal CARES Act. This fund was established to reimburse health care providers for health care-related expenses or lost revenues attributable to COVID-19. Due to preparations necessary to address the public health emergency in our region, the School of Medicine has lost significant revenues; thus far, we have received $16.5 million from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund.
We also were eligible to receive an allocation under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. Like most other higher education institutions, we currently are facing extraordinary financial challenges due to the unforeseen circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, after careful consideration of the possible regulatory liabilities associated with the Fund, we have concluded that accepting this funding would not be the correct course of action for our long-term recovery. We remain firmly committed to providing financial support to our most vulnerable students through other means, and will dedicate additional university resources to ensure that we are able to meet demonstrated need.
What is happening with summer programming?
All in-person summer programming is suspended until at least August 1. Where possible, programming will be postponed or transitioned online. This suspension of summer programming will allow us to keep our focus on (1) maintaining the health and safety of our community, (2) readying the university for the return of employees from alternate operations, and, (3) preparing to implement modified university protocols for teaching, research, and residential living in the fall to be developed in accordance with guidance from health officials.
How is the university monitoring the COVID-19 situation worldwide?
A university response team including infectious disease experts and the Crisis Management Team, along with the university’s Global Travel Safety Manager and the International Travel Oversight Committee, is monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 worldwide. To assess risks, the university uses a number of resources, including governmental agencies, news reports, reports from the university’s international security and travel assistance provider, professional health and security organizations, and more.
What steps is the university taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the university community?
We are doing all we can to reduce the risk of further spread of the virus within our community. With most students and many employees living and working away from campus, we are continuing to take all necessary precautions to keep our community safe.
We are no longer using travel history to determine whether individuals are restricted from coming to campus. Our focus has shifted to monitoring symptoms and diagnoses. See COVID-19 restrictions and screening for campus access.
What should I do if I learn or hear of a potential COVID-19 diagnosis or exposure within the university community?
If you have learned or heard of possible exposure to COVID-19 within the university community, please contact your dean or department head to report this information.
How are classrooms, dorms, bathrooms and other buildings being cleaned in order to reduce the risk of infection?
The university has implemented a robust cleaning and sanitization effort in all residence halls, dining areas, classrooms, restrooms and common spaces, including building entries, lobbies, corridors and elevators. We have notified and required our partners and vendors to follow current best cleaning and sanitation practices for their respective campus responsibilities. The university will continue to evaluate our processes and remain flexible to ensure effectiveness.
What about students who are returning from study abroad programs?
The university has suspended study abroad programs in countries identified as high-risk and rated a Level 3 by the CDC due to widespread ongoing community transmission. Students who were participating in those programs have returned to their permanent residences, not to campus.
Are there students on self-quarantine living in student housing?
There are no students quarantined in the residence halls.
Are university events canceled?
We are following guidance from St. Louis regional leaders who have placed limits on the number of people who may gather in one space. Many events have been canceled or postponed. Contact event organizers or check the university calendar for updates on specific events.
I have a question about parking. Where can I find that information?
The Parking and Transportation Services team has been working through a variety of options to meet the needs of the university community during this challenging and unprecedented time. Check the Parking and Transportation page for the latest information and updates.
Are any dining services currently available?
Dining is carry-out only at this time; mobile ordering is available. Dining locations and the hours they are open (to order food, not to dine-in) are available on the Dining Services website.
Are the libraries open?
Most library locations will remain open with limited hours and access through Friday, March 20, and then will be closed through at least Monday, April 6. Note: The Becker Medical Library and Brown School Library are not adhering to this schedule. For more information, visit the Libraries website.