Residential Life COVID Frequently Asked Questions

Please review frequently asked questions carefully for Residential Life’s response to COVID-19 as it relates to the 2020 fall semester. Questions will be updated regularly to reflect any changes in procedure.

Housing Assignments Frequently Asked Questions

Clarification: Residential Life managed housing includes the South 40, Northside (Village, Village East, Lopata House, Millbrook) and Off-Campus Housing properties (Greenway, Lofts, University Drive, Rosedale Court, Kingsland Avenue, and Washington Avenue apartments).

I have accommodations that have been approved through the Office of Disability Resources; will those be maintained?

  • Housing accommodations approved through Disability Resources will be maintained.
  • If you have not submitted a request for housing accommodations and would like to be considered, you submit the appropriate paperwork to Disability Resources.
  • Priority deadline for accommodations passed in early December 2019. All applications received by December 6, 2019, are currently being reviewed if not approved by the Office of Disability Resources. Any applications received following the priority deadline will continue to be reviewed by Disability Resources.

Could I be assigned to a hotel room? What information is available about those accommodations?

Yes. If you are a returning student, you may be assigned to a hotel space off-campus that will be supported by Residential Life staff. More information about living in the Moonrise Hotel is available here

Can I request to live with a roommate?

We will do our best to keep roommates close together and returning groups together. We will not be taking additional considerations/requests for roommates.

Can I cancel my housing for the upcoming year?

Yes. We have currently waived all penalties for cancellation through August 31st. We ask that you review your housing assignment and situation carefully as you consider your return to campus. 

I am a returning/transfer student on the waitlist, is my request still being considered?

Housing will be very limited on campus due to de-densifying our spaces to single occupancy bedrooms. We understand that this is a really difficult situation, and we are also disappointed that we can’t provide housing for all of our juniors, seniors and transfers. However, this is a much needed step as a matter of protecting the health and safety of our students and our community during this pandemic.  We are following the public health expertise and guidance of the American College Health Association, the CDC, and other public health officials and in switching to single rooms, we hope that this will limit the spread of the virus when students return.

For clarification:

  • We do not guarantee housing for transfers. We will be prioritizing transfer students who are either incoming first year or rising sophomores. Rising junior and senior transfers are encouraged to review the Special Housing Selection Process as we can’t guarantee housing.

Will housing assignments be changed?

Yes. It will take all students to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Housing assignments are being reviewed to adhere to CDC public health guidelines regarding physical distance requirements. Updated assignments will be available for view for ALL students on Monday, August 24th. 

Are students still guaranteed housing?

  1. First-year students will be assigned to the South Forty campus.
  2. Rising sophomores will be assigned to limited South Forty spaces, Northside and off-campus housing facilities.
  3. Rising juniors and seniors are not guaranteed housing. 
  4. Students with approved housing accommodations assignments may be adjusted by location, but will still be honored. 

Do students living in Residential Life off-campus need to adhere to certain protocols?

Yes. Students will be expected to sign the Housing Contract, which discusses specific behavioral expectations, in addition to leases that are required for some off-campus locations.

Will we be receiving a revised housing contract? When will it be due?

Yes. You will receive a revised housing contract that will be available for viewing on Monday, August 24th. Once available, you will have until August 31st to confirm your housing contract via the WashU Housing Portal. 

What is the plan for Thanksgiving break?

Students who travel outside of the St. Louis region during the Thanksgiving Break will not be allowed to return to campus and will have to complete their courses remotely. 

Can students remain on campus over Thanksgiving break?

Residential students are encouraged to remain on campus over the Thanksgiving Break in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 virus. 

How will the university handle students who are diagnosed with COVID-19?

  1. While it is our greatest hope that all students, faculty and staff will remain safe and healthy, given the high transmission rate of COVID-19 locally and nationally, we will have cases reported within our community. When a member of the University community tests positive, is presumed positive or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 (see CDC guidelines on exposure), that individual must report this information to  Habif Health and Wellness Center (students) or Occupational Health (employees). 
  2. Members of the University community should respect the privacy of their fellow colleagues and peers and avoid sharing another person’s confidential health information with others. The University has obligations under HIPAA, FERPA, ADA and other federal and state laws, and, depending upon the circumstances, such disclosures may constitute a violation of these laws and University policy. 
  3. The University will have a process in place for sharing information about the general health of our community, including de-identified positive cases.
  4. Learn more about reporting and response to COVID-positive cases or exposure on the Danforth Campus.
  5. Please also see information on isolation housing.

How will social distancing be enforced in the residence halls?

  1. Residence Hall Room Capacity: Residence hall room capacity is limited to the number of people who can be present while maintaining physical distance of at least six feet between individuals. Masks or face coverings must be worn at all times if more than one person is in a room. Students are highly encouraged to socialize outdoors whenever possible, always adhering to public health requirements regarding masks and physical distancing.
  2. Common Spaces: Residence hall lounges and other common spaces will be reconfigured and marked to allow for physical distancing. In some cases, furniture will be moved or removed entirely to create more space.

Will masks be required on campus?

Public health and other data strongly support that universal masking substantially reduces transmission of COVID-19. The main purpose of the mask is to prevent the wearer from expelling small virus-containing droplets of saliva or mucus into the air and infecting others. Wearing a mask reduces the likelihood that an infected individual could spread the virus to people around them (colleagues, co-workers, faculty, staff, students, family, friends, etc.). This is especially important to reduce the spread from infected people who may be asymptomatic. It also provides some protection for the wearer. Therefore, to reduce the spread of the virus, and to protect the health of all our faculty, staff, students, and other community members, Washington University is requiring universal masking. 

Will the university require all visitors on campus to wear a mask?

  1. Only visitors whose presence on campus for mission-critical purposes will be allowed on campus. Mission-critical visitors include:
    • Admitted students
    • Finalists for faculty and/or leadership positions
    • Families of current students for drop-off or pick-up only
    • Vendors and consultants hired for mission-critical University work
    • Others depending on circumstances and approval
  2. Requests for permission to bring visitors on campus will be reviewed and approved through a University process. Approved, mission-critical visitors who come to campus must follow all health requirements, including wearing a mask or face covering, physical distancing, and enhanced personal hygiene and hand-washing. A screening process for visitors will be implemented to make sure they are checking for symptoms before coming to campus.

Will we be allowed to have guests in the residence halls?

    1. To help ensure the safety of our residential communities, our guest policies will be changed for the fall semester. Residential Life properties will only be accessible to the students who live there and the staff who work there. Guests, including those who live in other residential spaces on campus, will not be permitted for the foreseeable future. This policy and others will be evaluated as needed throughout the course of the coming year.
    2. Please also see responses to visitors on campus in the FAQ.

What health and safety measures will be implemented in the residence halls throughout the semesters?

  1. Face coverings must be worn at all times outside private rooms in the residence halls. Residents will not be allowed to enter personal spaces of other residents and will be expected to engage in the recommended practices of self-hygiene and physical distancing in all residential spaces.
  2.  Some amenity spaces (e.g. makerspaces, fitness rooms, computer labs, recreation rooms) will be closed; we are in consultation with experts to determine which spaces can be safely maintained and which will need to be closed. 
  3. Furniture in common spaces will be reduced and arranged to support physical distancing
  4. In general, gatherings (including RA programs) in social spaces will be limited and otherwise moved to remote delivery. Residential Life will propose guidelines and expectations for student gatherings and programs campus-wide, and our ultimate strategy will comport with these guidelines prior to students arrival.

If I decide to study remotely in the fall, will I be able to have housing for the 2021 Spring Semester?

At this time, current plans are for the 2020 fall semester. Our de-densifying of the residence halls will continue as we monitor the public health conditions. Adjustments will be made as we respond to COVID-19.

Will sophomores who are currently in fraternity housing that would like to be reassigned have the opportunity to do so? Will there be an opportunity to find a new housing group?

Fraternity houses are a part of Residential Life Managed Housing. Any students assigned to housing should follow the instructions communicated through the university information as it pertains to their class year. This includes the August 5th cancellation deadline. Please connect with your Campus Life contact with direct questions regarding fraternity housing.

Are first-year students required to live on-campus, per usual policy?

No. The requirement for first-year students to live on campus has been waived for the 2020-21 academic year.

Will first year students be guaranteed housing for spring should they choose to study remotely this fall?

At this time, we are only making housing assignments for students who are living in Residential Life housing for the fall semester. We hope these assignments will carry forward into the spring semester. Students who choose to study remotely for the fall semester will be advised of the process for applying for spring semester housing in November. There are many variables that will determine what will be available in spring, and we will work through those details as the situation continues to evolve. It is our hope that we will be able to accommodate as many students as possible who apply for Residential Life housing for the spring semester.

Will upperclassmen potentially have the option to live on campus in the spring?

We do not yet know the answer to this. It is likely that the conditions related to COVID-19 will require us to provide a reduced density housing environment for the full academic year. We also do not know yet how many students will receive Residential Life housing for fall. We will re-evaluate the situation in November and if we can make more housing available in the spring, we will do so.

Should students living on campus expect their housing assignment to change in the spring?

It is our hope that fall housing assignments will carry through to the spring semester. We will need to reevaluate as the situation continues to develop, and will work to minimize disruption to our students as much as possible. However, we cannot guarantee that students will not be asked to move at some point during the academic year.

Can students change to remote learning after receiving their housing assignment on August 24 if they find it unsuitable?

Yes. Students may cancel their housing contracts without penalty until August 31 and switch to virtual learning.

Will the university be testing all students who return to St. Louis or just the students living in Residential Life housing?

    • Residential Life will be partnering with Habif Health and Wellness to administer COVID testing prior to moving for all residential students living in Residential Life housing.

Will the extra furniture from unused doubles and triples be available for students to rent to furnish a non-Residential Life apartment?

    • Extra furniture will not be available for rent.

How will laundry be handled?

      • Residential Life is reviewing the in hall experience with an aim to reduce the spread of COVID. More information will be provided once students have arrived.

When will students find out their mailing address?

    • Students mailing address if living on the South 40 is (first year students can use now): MSC XXX, Your Name, 6515 Wydown Blvd, St Louis MO  63105-2298
    • Students mailing address if living on the Northside/Off-Campus Apartments (returning students will find out on August 24th): MSC XXX, Your Name, 6985 Snow Way, St Louis MO  63130-4400
    • Lofts: students mailing address is their: assigned building and apartment number. Packages are collected from a central location on 6300 Enright.
    • New Mail Services website:

How will bathrooms be handled?

    • Housekeeping will continue to clean all restrooms in modern and traditional residence halls. The schedule will be adjusted in response to COVID-19. More information will be provided once students arrive to campus.

How do these changes affect the price of Residential Life housing?

    • Please see our Room Rates. Additionally, Student fees for dining and the housing single room rate will be adjusted to reflect the shorter fall semester with final exams being conducted remotely over winter break.
    • If this were to occur, the university would offer students the ability to seek an exception to remain in residence on campus on a case-by-case basis if international travel restrictions or other significant extenuating circumstances prevent them from returning home.

Can students decide to leave Residential Life housing after the fall semester has started if they wish to switch to remote learning from home?

    • If students decide to do remote learning, they can cancel their contracts. They will be financially responsible for the obligations outlined in their housing contract.
    • The deadline to cancel housing contracts without penalty is August 31st.

Move-In Frequently Asked Questions

Please view move-In information here

Storage Frequently Asked Questions 

Update 9/1/2020: Due to shifts in our timeline and to respond to COVID recommendations, residential students who had items stored with our office should expect to receive their items to their fall assignment by the first day of class. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your patience as we continue working to make deliveries to fall assignments.

I am a continuing student who is choosing to return to St. Louis and had my belongings packed and stored by the university when I did not return to campus after Spring Break in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If I return to St. Louis for the fall semester, when and how may I receive or retrieve my items?

  1. Students who will be returning to Residential Life housing will have their items delivered to their room, designated by the fall room assignment process prior to their arrival. 
  2. Rising juniors and seniors who will be living in non-Residential Life properties will be able to select an option to have their belongings shipped to them in the St. Louis area free of cost.

I planned to get all of my items, but now I am not returning to campus due to the housing changes. At this time, I want to have some things shipped. Will I still get four (4) free boxes like others did earlier in the process?

Yes. If you have not had any items shipped or had less than 4 boxes shipped, you are able to get up to four (4) total boxes shipped over the course of our entire process. For example, if you have had zero (0) boxes shipped, you would be allowed four (4) free boxes at this time. If you have had two (2) boxes shipped previously, you would be allowed an additional two (2) boxes for free at this time.

Can a friend or family member come pick-up my items from storage?

Yes. You need to provide all of the necessary information for your friend or family member to either Handled or UTrucking directly when you are setting up your pick-up date. Your friend or family member will also need to have a picture ID with them in order to verify that they are who the items are being released to.

I am no longer returning to campus this fall, I had a bike that I left on-campus, what are my options?

  • We are not cutting locks and/or collecting left bikes at this time, so you can leave your bike on-campus. However, we may begin collecting abandoned bikes in Summer 2021.

Updates from 8/12/2020: Options for Storage/Shipping/Delivery (Communication from Handled)


We know many of you will either be returning to campus this fall or will be in alternate housing for the upcoming 2020-2021 academic year. Please read below for information about storage and shipping as it could provide information about what to do in your storage situation. 

Students who are NOT living in Residential Life managed housing have the following options:

  1. If you are living locally, your items can be delivered to your local address by Handled. You must live within five miles of campus for local delivery.
  2. If you want to retrieve your belongings, you can do so by coordinating directly with Handled, who will inform you of the location of your items. 
  3. If you would like to have your items shipped to you and had opted for storage previously, Handled will have your items shipped to an address of your choosing. 
  4. If you would like to keep your items in storage, Handled will extend your storage deadline to one of your choosing (at your expense), if after September 30. 

More information regarding each option is listed below. When you are ready to select your preferred option, please use the Delivery Preferences Form linked here.

Requesting local delivery of your items

To be included in the first round of local delivery, the form provided at the end of this email must be completed by Friday, August 14th, 11:59pm. If you do not complete the form by this deadline, you are opting to be included in the second round of local delivery. Cost for local delivery will be covered by the University for addresses within a five-mile radius of campus. You will be responsible for the cost for delivery outside of the five-mile radius. 

Due to high volume, a specific delivery date cannot be provided at this time. However, we will try to deliver as close to your requested date as possible. Email communication will be sent from Handled when your delivery date is scheduled.  

Requesting the retrieval of your belongings

You can coordinate the retrieval of your items directly from the storage warehouse where they are being kept. To request this option, 

  1. Reach out to our concierge team at to determine your facility location and receive next steps for pickup. 
  2. Handled will provide you with the location of your items and contact information for the storage company.
  3. You will be responsible for reaching out to the storage company directly to coordinate the retrieval of your belongings. 

As part of this option, you may designate another individual to pick up your items from the storage facility. Our concierge team will provide more instructions regarding this process when you reach out.

Requesting shipping of your items

Shipping cost for standard boxes with the maximum dimensions of 18x18x24 inches will be covered by the University. The University will not cover the cost to ship items (e.g., couches, plants, large bins, bikes, etc.) that do not fit within a standard box. Should you wish to ship items that do not fit within a standard box, you will need to cover the cost. 

Items that do not fit within a standard box will need to be shipped via FedEx Freight. Shipping items via FedEx freight is estimated to be at least $1,000. 

Shipping of items will begin following the first round of local deliveries. Email communication will be sent to those who have requested shipping once we have begun the process. Please note, delivery dates for shipping items will vary. Requests for priority shipping will not be granted. 

Requesting extended storage of your items

Storage cost until September 30th will be covered by the University. Following September 30th, requests for extended storage can be made at a discounted rate of $30 per month. You will be responsible for the cost of extended storage. 

Once you have selected extended storage, we will take that as your commitment to paying the monthly fee after September 30. Email communication will be sent in early October to set up payment. 

Additional Information

If after reading these updates you want to have any items donated, please inform the concierge team at

Click Here To Choose Your Delivery Preferences 

Thank you for your patience during this pandemic, and please reach out if you have any questions.  


The Campus Moves Team

Note: We recognize the deadline of August 14th is prior to some not knowing their housing assignments until August 24th. If you are waiting to make a decision, the August 14th deadline is for students who would like to be included in the first round of delivery. Any options received after August 14th will be on later timeline.

Financial Considerations

My contract was cancelled by Residential Life, will I receive the refund of my $450 housing deposit?

Housing refunds will be processed by the end of August. To request a specific method of return, please connect with Student Billing for how to make sure your deposit method is set up in the way you would prefer.

Is the university adjusting room charges in light of these changes?

The university will take a number of steps to provide financial support to students in light of changes that will be in place during the fall semester.

  1. Student fees for dining and the housing single room rate will be adjusted to reflect the shorter fall semester with final exams being conducted remotely over winter break. 
  2. If this were to occur, the university would offer students the ability to seek an exception to remain in residence on campus on a case-by-case basis if international travel restrictions or other significant extenuating circumstances prevent them from returning home.  

Will housing charges be prorated/refunded if the fall semester is interrupted and students are required to leave campus?

  1. Should the university decide that all students should return to their primary residence during the course of a semester as a result of the pandemic or other emergency, the university would provide a prorated refund of room costs to students who were living in Residential Life housing. Students receiving full financial aid would also be eligible for this prorated university housing refund to provide additional support if they are required to return to their primary residence. Students enrolled in meal plans would receive a refund of any unused meal points.

What if I am in need of financial assistance for housing?

  1. For undergraduate students and families whose financial situations have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Student Financial Services is available to discuss assistance that may be available. Graduate and University College students should contact their respective deans’ offices for assistance.
  2. The university is re-establishing the Crisis Response Funds for undergraduates and graduate students for those who are struggling financially. More information will be available soon.
  3. The university will ensure that all undergraduate students have access to a computer.


Dining Frequently Asked Questions

Do students who live off-campus need to buy a meal plan?

Dining Services is currently evaluating meal plan requirements for Fall 2020 and will announce rates and requirements on or before August 14 on the Dining Services website.

Are we required to choose a dining plan?

    1. Students will be required to have a meal plan for living in alternate housing.
    2. Students will be allowed to adjust down if they are moving to alternate housing. 
    3. Dining Services Website

What dietary options will be available to students to meet dietary needs?

All of our menu’s will provide options for students with a variety of dietary needs. We are introducing a new top 8 allergen free station at the Bears Den and expanding the availability of Kosher and Halal pre-packs on campus. All of our menus are reviewed by the Dining Services Dietitian and students with specific concerns are encouraged to reach out to Rebecca Miller,  to schedule a time to talk about their dietary needs. We will also have an allergen menu available for pre-order through the GrubHub campus app, items ordered through the allergen menu are prepared in a separate kitchen by trained staff to ensure your safety.

What Operations will be open for fall semester and will there be place to eat?

Dining Services will have all of our locations open with the exception of Law Café for the upcoming academic year. Our hours have been adjusted to allow for adequate cleaning and sanitizing while still providing plenty of dining opportunities around campus. We encourage students to visit for the full list of up to date hours of operation. Indoor seating will be available at a reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing. We are adding outdoor seats for increased physical distancing as well as converting a number of locations on campus to dining/study spaces where students will be able to have a space to sit and eat safely.

What is measures are being taken to accommodate students in housing for the dining halls?

Dining Services is setting up all dining locations on campus to ensure physical distancing can be maintained while in line as well as sitting and enjoying your meal.  Tables and seats have been spaced out and plexi-glass table dividers installed to provide protection to students while eating. Menus have been updated to ensure we can serve guests as quickly as possible to keep lines and wait times at a minimum. Mobile ordering will also be available for all locations so you can place an order and pick-it up without having to wait in line. We will also be introducing automated opportunities for students to have a custom made salad or bowl 24/7 while we are unable to offer a traditional salad bar. All of our dining services staff have been thoroughly trained in new sanitizing and safety practices and are screened daily per WUSTL campus guidelines before they start their shift.

Parking, Security, and Safety Frequently Asked Questions

What are we doing to increase security in the area around campus?

  • WUPD will provide law enforcement services to the Danforth Campus 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. WUPD officers also provide supplemental police and security patrols in the neighborhoods adjacent to campus. Additionally, WUPD officers coordinate with these local police agencies to provide joint patrols in the neighborhoods
  • To supplement police patrols, WUPD coordinates patrols with security officers to provide an added level of safety. These security patrols concentrate on high foot traffic areas and residential areas. 
  • These patrols, both on and off campus, are conducted by police officers and security officers on foot, in vehicle and by bike.  

What is the plan with local police to prepare for the students?

  • Washington University in St. Louis has a long history of working with local municipalities to assist our students who live in the local neighborhoods. WUPD coordination with local police agencies is an integral aspect of this mutual work with the University and these municipalities.  
  • WUPD patrol officers work daily with officers from Clayton, University City, St. Louis Metro and Metro Transit to provide security to the neighborhoods, as well as the Danforth Campus. Additionally, regular strategic planning meetings are held with these agencies on a regular basis to help coordinate response to any situations or events.  

What is the plan to communicate safety incidents to the community?

  • In the event of a serious university-wide emergency, WashU students, faculty and staff will receive an emergency message, or WashUAlert, providing basic information about the type of emergency, safety instructions and how/where to get additional information.  You can learn more about the emergency notifications by visiting the following link on the Emergency Management website:
  • The University also provides safety information to our community by issuing Crime Alerts and Security Memos to the campus community.  These communications provide information regarding recent criminal activity as well as safety strategies that can be implemented.
  • For information regarding Crime Alerts and Security Memos, please visit the following link on the Emergency Management website:
  • WashU Safe is a safety app developed by WashU public safety departments and the Office of Operations and Technology Transfer, with software assistance from AppArmor Mobile. Using the latest mobile technologies, this app offers updated features to address and promote student, faculty and staff safety on and off campus, including important safety alerts and access to campus safety resources. For more information, including downloading instructions, visit the below link:

Will WUPD still escort people?

WUPD will continue to provide safety escorts to community members via foot/bike.  Escorts are provided 24 hours a day; 7 days a week.   To obtain an escort, community members can call Dispatch at 314-935-5555 and a staff member will work with the community member to coordinate the quickest response. 

Will shuttle offerings be expanded with more students living off-campus?

We are currently reviewing and revising our shuttle system in order to accommodate more off-campus students.  This will include new routes and additional shuttles to meet the demand given the density limitations we will have this fall.  Updates to the shuttle system will be provided on the WashU Campus Shuttle System ( in the coming days and weeks.  

Will there be more frequent shuttles running to help ensure social distancing can take place?

Given the guidelines for density and physical distancing, we plan to increase the number of vehicles we use on some of the shuttle routes.  This will be based on past ridership data, access to other options (e.g., Metro), and information regarding expected student population densities off-campus.  While some of the routes may see an increase in round-trip travel time, our intent will be to maintain a 20-minute or less headway to and from campus.  We will closely monitor ridership and travel times throughout the fall and be prepared to adjust as needed.  Updates to the shuttle system routes and schedule will be provided on the WashU Campus Shuttle System ( in the coming days and weeks.  

Additional Questions

I’m planning to live in St. Louis in non-university housing and will come to campus for some in-person classes. Which option should I choose on the Intention for Fall Study Form – “I plan to study remotely” or “I plan to study in-person”?

Please choose “I plan to study remotely.” All classes with an in-person component will be available to students regardless of whether they are living in Residential Life housing. 

Is the Intention for Fall Study form binding? What if I change my mind, or decide to make a different choice for the spring semester? Am I committing to my choice for the full academic year?

The form is not binding, but intended to help us plan for the number of students who will be on campus this fall. If a student makes a choice and then needs to change from in-person to remote learning later (or vice versa), that will be accommodated. The student may fill out the Intention for Fall Study form multiple times if needed.