Academic Break Housing Information

Housing Information and procedures Thanksgiving, Winter, and Spring academic breaks for students living in Residential Life managed housing.

Thanksgiving Break Information

Residential Life provides housing for current residential students who need to stay over the Thanksgiving Break at no additional cost. Residence Halls will remain open over the Thanksgiving Break. Because of the increased risk of COVID-19 transmission due to personal interactions around the holiday, undergraduate students who choose to travel more than 60 miles outside of the St. Louis region will not be allowed to return to campus for the remainder of the fall semester. This applies to undergraduate students because of the higher prevalence of COVID-19 cases among this population, as well as the elevated risk for transmission among undergraduate students. For the most recent updates from Chancellor Martin regarding Thanksgiving Break protocol, please view here.

If Spring opening is delayed, shipping or storage of items will not be provided by Residential Life.  If you are not planning to return in the Spring Semester following Thanksgiving Break, please see move out information here

Residential Students who are planning to travel

  • Residential students who choose to travel more than 60 miles outside of the St. Louis region will not be allowed to return to campus for the remainder of the fall semester.
  • Students should take with them any essential belongings needed before the start of the spring semester.
  • Residential students returning for the Spring semester are welcome to leave items in the residence halls.
  • Procedures for leaving for break:
    • Remember to close and lock all windows and doors.
    • Take out garbage and recyclables.
    • Empty expiring items from your refrigerator.
    • Turn off any auto alarm clocks.
    • Consider doing your laundry prior to leaving campus.
    • Take time to clean up your residential space.
    • Bring home all valuables, medications, passports, high value items, things of personal significance, etc.

Completing your Thanksgiving Break Travel Commitment

  • All undergraduate students must complete a Thanksgiving Break Travel Commitment before Friday, November 20. This commitment indicates that you understand that if you travel outside of the region, you will not return to campus, and that you will abide by all public health requirements, whether or not you are leaving the region for the break.
    • Your link to the Thanksgiving Travel Commitment Form below is a link that is unique to you.  Do not forward this link to others and only complete your individualized link. If you plans change and you need to edit your response before the deadline, you will need to use the edit link that will be sent in your confirmation email after you complete this form.
  • Undergraduate students who indicate they are traveling outside the region, as well as those who do not complete the commitment form mentioned above, will have their campus swipe access turned off until the start of the spring semester.

Access will also be temporarily suspended for students who do not complete the Thanksgiving Break Travel Commitment Form.

Residential Students remaining on campus for Thanksgiving Break

  • While previous announcements indicated a possibility of in-person programming, arrangements have been made to provide virtual programming for students who are in St. Louis over the holiday due to current public health guidance in St. Louis County. We encourage students who are remaining to check out and sign up for the Virtual Thanksgiving Break Weekend.
  • Students who are remaining on campus must still adhere to current COVID restrictions. Families and or guests are still not allowed entry on campus or inside of residential halls. This is for the safety of all and our residential students remaining on campus. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to submit a cancellation if I plan to return in the spring?

If you currently have a Spring contract and are planning to return in the Spring, you do not need to submit a cancellation. More information will be provided about Spring opening.

What are the procedures for leaving if I am not planning to return in the Spring?

If you are not planning to return in the Spring Semester following Thanksgiving Break, please see move out information here.

Will I be prorated for my housing contract if I decide to travel at Thanksgiving Break and RETURN in the Spring? 

If you will be returning in the Spring semester, you will not be prorated if you decide to travel more than 60 miles outside of the St. Louis region during Thanksgiving break. Because your items will be remaining in your space, your contract is still in place. The protocols put in my place by the university for travel are for the safety of all undergraduate students. You will return to your same housing assignment in the Spring.

Will I be prorated for my housing contract if I decide to travel at Thanksgiving and NOT return in the Spring? 

To not be billed for the Spring semester, you must submit a housing cancellation request as soon as possible. You will be charged for the Fall semester housing.

Will I have access to my space after Thanksgiving break if I’m NOT returning in the Spring?

We will provide a period of time during the Winter Break to retrieve your items if you are not able to completely move out at Thanksgiving break. There were will be a process and sign up required.

Can I travel after Thanksgiving break and return to campus?

As long as you are traveling within 60 miles of the St. Louis region, you will be able to return to campus.

I left items in room that I need, can I request the items be shipped?

If you are returning in the spring, we ask that you take all essential items with you and leave remaining items for your return in the spring. Residential Life will not be providing any shipping or storing of items.

If you are not returning in the Spring, we ask that you completely move out of your space at the Thanksgiving break. If you are not able to gather all of your things, we will be communicating in December about a process to sign up to retrieve your items at the Winter Break.

What happen to my left over meal points?

For students returning in the Spring, all meal plan points remaining will roll into the Spring semester.

Can I come back to stay on campus for Winter Break if I travel for Thanksgiving?

If you decide to travel more than 60 miles out of the St. Louis region, you will not be able to return to campus until the Spring semester. Please make arrangements to remain home until Spring opening.

Winter Break Information

Registering for Winter Break Housing

Students who plan to remain on campus for the duration of the Winter Break period (including fraternity housing) must register via the Winter Housing Request Form in their WashU Housing Portal.

  • The Winter Housing request form will open Fri., December 4 at 9pm. 
  • The Winter Housing request form will close Thurs. December 17 at 11:59pm.

Students should register if they are planning to:

  • Stay for the full duration of Winter Break. I.e. staying for the entire break.
  • Leave at a certain point following the close of residential facilities. I.e. needing a few additional nights for travel accommodations. Once a student departs for the remainder of their Winter Break, access to residential facilities will be turned off until Spring opening. There will be no exceptions. 

Who is eligible for Winter Housing:

  • Residential students with a Spring booking who indicated they would not be traveling for Thanksgiving break and remained on campus.
  • New incoming students in the Spring are not eligible for winter housing. 
  • Graduating senior contracts will end when residence halls close Friday, December 18, 5:00 p.m. Graduates must be completely moved out at closing time by 5:00 p.m.

Surveillance Testing

Surveillance testing will be available for students remaining on campus over the winter break. Testing appointments will be available bi-weekly on the following dates for the following alphabet:

  • December 21 & 22 (A-Lee)
  • December 28 & 29(Lef-Z)
  • January 4 – 8 (A-Lee)
  • January 11 – 14 (Lef-Z)

Testing is available only to students who participated in Fall semester testing AND are living on campus during the Winter Break. There will be no surveillance testing available on university holidays or weekends during the Winter Break.

Students who are unable to maintain their bi-weekly testing while staying with us over Winter Break, will be required to complete their Spring semester entry test January 11 and January 14 before the official start of the Spring semester. Students are required to comply with all St. Louis city guidelines over the winter break and. Off-campus trips should be limited.

Dining Services

For information about dining over the Winter Break, visit here

Leaving Instructions (Returning in the Spring)

Residents who plan to leave for Winter Break but return for the Spring semester should adhere to the following procedures. All rooms will undergo Health and Safety inspections during the Winter Break. Fines will be assessed for any damages.

  • Keep heat on (65 degrees or low) but DO NOT TURN OFF.
  • Close all of your windows.
  • Close your blinds. 
  • Unplug everything (defrost the refrigerator then leave unplugged). Fish tanks may remain plugged in.
  • Remove all perishable items and throw items away. (This includes perishables in the fridge)
  • Unplug your alarm clock.
  • Take out the trash and recycling.
  • Move furniture away from the heater or vents.
  • Remove bikes from your room. (We recommend you register your bike if you haven’t already, purchase a lock from WUPD and lock your bike to a bike rack station on campus)
  • Move all electronics up off the floor.
  • Turn off all lights. 
  • Lock your door(s). 

Take all valuables with you while at home for winter break. Residential Life will not provide shipping of items. 

Move Out Instructions (NOT Returning in Spring)

If you are not planning to return in the Spring Semester, please see move out information here.

Bringing Move Out Assistance

We ask that students limit assistance to 1-2 persons when moving out of the residence halls to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Those assisting are asked to follow all Danforth Campus Visitor Protocols when coming to campus. A daily self-screen is required before entry on campus. Information about the Danforth Campus Visitor Protocols can be found here.

Process to Return and Retrieve your Items

Updated 1/11/21: The deadline has now passed to return and retrieve your belongings. If you experienced a delay in your plans to return to retrieve your belongings or you have recently cancelled your housing contract, follow the instructions below. 

  • Students can request to return by completing the form HERE. This form MUST be completed in order to have access to your residential facility. 
  • Requests will be accepted on a rolling basis until Spring Closing.
  • If you are not able to return in person to retrieve your belongings, we recommend contacting university approved vendors Utrucking or Mazza Moving for packing and shipping assistance. Residential Life will not be able to provide assistance with packing or shipping.
  • Items not retrieved during this time frame will not be shipped or stored by Residential Life. 

We encourage students to plan to arrive during Residential Life office hours should they need any assistance with access. 

Instructions for returning and retrieving items

  • Students may return to campus  on the requested date provided in their submission. 
  • Students will have 24 hours to complete their move out on the date of their request.
  • Students must complete a self-screening upon their return to campus. 
  • Students must return to retrieve their items from their residential space ONLY. 
  • Students may not enter, stay, or roam in other parts of their residential building. 
  • Students’ access will be turned off the following day of their requests.

Additional Information

Quiet Hours

24-Hour Quiet Hours begin on Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 11:00 p.m. and will remain in effect until the Residence Halls close for the semester. There will be a $50 fine for all violations.

Health and Safety Inspections

All rooms/suites will be inspected during winter break. Fines will be assessed for any damages found. To avoid a $50 fine, make sure you have checked off the items on the Winter Break checklist prior to leaving for break.

Participating in Formal Sorority Recruitment

If you are looking to arrive early for formal sorority recruitment, Campus Life has outlined the process for individuals participating on their website here. Our office will not be allowing students to return prior to this groups approved date. You must be participating in formal sorority recruitment for this process.

Spring Opening Information

Spring Opening will begin on Friday, January 15, and resume Tuesday, January 19 through Sunday, January 24.  Entry testing will be required and is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the dates provided above with the exception of January 15 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Your testing sign up day will serve as your official arrival date to campus. Please visit our move-in page here for more information about Spring Opening. 


Operational Hours for Spring Opening

Residential Life offices will be open 8:30am to 5:00pm, Tuesday, January 15 and January 19 – January 24. We will be closed on Sunday, January 17 and Monday, January 18. Up to date office hours can be found here