Thanksgiving travel + WASHU - What's the plan?

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To the WashU administration.

As WashU parents, we are writing to express our concern about the change in your Thanksgiving policy for students living in university housing, especially those on the South 40 and in the Village.

It is a loss to not have our children coming home for Thanksgiving, especially for first year students. And, in signing our housing contracts and after hearing from the administration and medical experts this summer, we made a commitment to WashU -- and you to us. We hear you that the university cannot enforce policies across the 6000 students at Wash U. The campus will never be a closed bubble. However, students living on the South 40 and in the Village have both the benefits and significant risks of living in close proximity -- and they have less ability to isolate without support than those living off-campus.

The change in Thanksgiving policy feels like a breach in safety and in communication. The reality is that you have permissioned travel over Thanksgiving which introduces significant risk of infection to those living and working on campus. Our request is as follows:

  • Consider a strict Thanksgiving policy for those living in university housing, especially on the South 40 and in the Village.
  • If students leave campus overnight during Thanksgiving, make explicit what they will be required to do when they return. Given that testing will not capture infections immediately, consider significantly isolating those students until testing becomes more accurate. Please do not let returning students attend in-person classes or eat inside dining halls. This also assumes that WashU will be aware of which students plan to travel over Thanksgiving ahead of time.
  • Finally, please communicate your plans to parents by convening us around this issue.

We want to express our gratitude for all that you are doing so that our students are having a rich in-person experience at WashU this year -- including partnering with us to make sure this in-person experience continues.

Our appreciation in advance -- from the following WashU parents.

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