Updated COVID Activity Guidance

WUSM Specific Updated Activity Guidance (effective November 5, 2021):

Updated Guidelines:


  • Masking is required in all indoor spaces, including cubicles, regardless of vaccination status.
    • Masks may be removed while alone in non-clinical private spaces (offices, private meeting spaces, break rooms, labs, classrooms, meeting rooms).
    • Masks may be removed while eating or drinking with appropriate six foot distancing from others.
  • Masking is recommended in outdoor spaces when crowded or when distancing is difficult to maintain

Events and Meetings:

  • We strongly recommend utilizing large spaces or meeting outside when possible
  • For outdoor events, masking is encouraged for large events and in crowded settings
  • Indoor events should be planned to allow sufficient space to avoid crowding and to provide for 6-foot distancing if food and beverage are being served. Masking is required for all regardless of vaccination status when not actively eating or drinking.
  • Off-campus events: When planning or attending WashU-sponsored events that take place away from campus, you may adhere to the rules of the venue, but we strongly encourage following best practices to reduce risk of spread of COVID and other cold and flu viruses amongst members of our community. These include:
    • Not having, or limiting the time spent participating in, stand-up cocktail-style mingling events while indoors
    • Masking when not actively eating or seated at a dining table
    • Maximizing physical spacing
    • Using spaces with enhanced ventilation (outdoors, open doors/windows, or using filtration devices if available)
    • Limiting the total number of guests to avoid crowding and to minimize exposure opportunities
  • All participants should screen for COVID-19 symptoms no more than two hours prior to the event. WUSM personnel should use the daily symptom screening that is required for entering campus. Visitors should use (no longer exists) Evidence of a successfully passed screening should be given to the activity organizer on site. Active temperature monitoring is not necessary. Mild symptoms, such as runny nose and headache, may be associated with mild COVID-19 infections. People having either of these symptoms should not attend events and meetings while symptomatic.

Food and Drink:

  • Food and drink may be consumed in the following locations:
    • At outdoor events
    • In campus restaurants/cafes and dining areas where seats are pre-positioned for appropriate physical distancing
    • In conference rooms, classrooms and auditoriums if six-foot distancing can be maintained
    • In any private indoor space when alone


  • Work related domestic travel is permitted
  • Work-related international travel requires approval and should consider conditions in the country and whether the travel is essential. Travelers should consult with the International Travel Oversight Committee (ITOC), and approval from both the ITOC and the department/unit is required.


  • Visitors may be on campus in non-clinical spaces including research labs and clinical research spaces where their presence for the research is required
  • Visitors may not return to clinical spaces unless they are part of a formal program (i.e. PEMRAP, training contract for devices, physicians or allied professionals) or there is a pre-existing relationship with a Memorandum of Understanding/ Program Level Agreement. High school and undergraduate shadowing experiences are not allowed outside of these circumstances. Health professional students and graduate students at Washington University School of Medicine and other Washington University Clinically Oriented Graduate Programs (i.e. graduate engineering students or social work students working in the clinical environment as part of their core training rotations) are not considered visitors. Health professional students and residents/ fellows from affiliates with a formal MOU/ PLA are allowed for either formal rotations or shadowing if incorporated in the MOU/ PLA. Medical students from outside of Washington University are allowed for formal rotations for credit but must apply and be approved for a visiting rotation through VSAS to manage total clinical volumes. Faculty may not take shadowers outside of these parameters at this time because of density within the clinical space.


  • Approval for events and meetings is not required as long as requests fall within these guidelines
  • Advice regarding events/ visitors, etc. may be sent to
  • Failure to adhere to guidelines will likely result in changes to guidelines and process. These guidelines rely on the understanding and honor of our community.

Note: These rules may change as disease activity changes and CDC guidelines and science advance including potential return to more restricted guidance based on local conditions.

Background & Principles:

  • Fully vaccinated individuals are highly protected against severe illness, are at lower risk of contracting, and may be at reduced risk of spreading COVID-19. These risks are further reduced after receipt of a booster dose of vaccine.
  • Individuals are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after they have received the 2nd dose in a 2-dose series (e.g. Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, or 2 weeks after they have received the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine. At this time, receipt of a booster dose is not required to be considered fully vaccinated.
  • Over 97% of WUSM faculty, staff and trainees are fully vaccinated
  • There are many in our patient population and work environment who are immune- compromised and may not be able to develop a fully protective immune response to the vaccines or who are otherwise at risk of severe COVID-19 infection.
  • The vaccination rate in St Louis is well below “herd immunity”
  • Despite substantial reductions from the peak activity in September, transmission rates in the St. Louis region remain elevated at categories considered by the CDC to be Substantial or High
  • St Louis City and County currently have indoor mask mandates