Keeping Our Community Safe

Throughout the pandemic, Webster University has followed the coronavirus guidelines recommended by local and state health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Our community responded expertly and diligently to these guidelines and produced exceptional safety results. We applaud everyone’s diligence and thank you for helping keep our students, faculty and staff safe.

Updated Mask Policy 

The University continues to monitor the conditions surrounding the pandemic, and has closely followed the guidance of the CDC and local health authorities. Based on the substantial decrease in COVID-19 cases and on the guidance of health authorities, the University is modifying its mask guidelines:

  • Effective March 7, 2022, masks will be optional in all non-classroom settings. Masks will continue to be required in the classroom.
  • Masks will be optional in all classrooms starting March 28, 2022.
  • Masks are recommended for unvaccinated individuals and those with health risks that make them susceptible to COVID-19.
  • The University may require masks to be worn at some events or when specific circumstances arise.

The University will continue to monitor health conditions and guidance from the CDC and health authorities. Safety Protocols found on the University’s COVID-19 page will continue to be updated in alignment with our changing guidelines.

Task Force Guiding Webster's Pandemic Response

When Webster moved to remote operations in spring 2020, the Task Force for Transition & Adaptability was formed to coordinate policy and guidance for a safe, phased return to on-campus operations in the fall and continued adaptation during the pandemic.

This Task Force included three working groups of faculty and staff representing different areas of the University, who collect input from students, faculty and staff and monitor regional data and public health directives to inform and guide safe on-campus operations during the pandemic.

Current TFT&A members are:

  • Julian Schuster, President of Webster University
  • Rick Meyer, Chief Financial Officer
  • John Buck, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
  • Cheryl Fritz, Chief Human Resources Officer
  • Nancy Hellerud, Vice President for Academic Affairs

Policies and Guidance (Updated March 9, 2022)

Starting with the Fall 2021 semester, Webster University required that all students, faculty and staff begin the vaccination process. The goal was to make sure we could safely resume in-person education worldwide.

See the July 22 announcement for details.

Employees should look for communication from Human Resources about requirements and vaccine verification or visit HR's Vaccine Mandate Info page on Connections.

Boosters: The University is not requiring booster shots at this time. We will monitor this situation closely and issue any updates as necessary.

Students, staff, and faculty will continue to access buildings at the Webster Groves campus with their ID cards. Faculty and staff have building access from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days/week; student access is 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday – Friday. Housing & Residential Life will be in contact directly with on-campus residents about COVID-related expectations for resident students in the near future.

All visitors must have an appointment and either meet their host at a building entrance or report to Public Safety to receive an ID card for building access.

We strongly encourage all visitors to be fully vaccinated.

These measures are designed to maintain a safe environment for the Webster University community.

Employees and students at all U.S. and international locations still must follow guidelines set by their local public authorities. Please note that University guidance prevails, in the event that local public guidance does not require face masks/coverings.

These recommendations are based on the most recent information obtained from the following resources: CDC, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and St. Louis County Department of Public Health. This protocol has been created in collaboration with the Webster University Student Health Services Medical Director. 

Purpose: Webster University will implement protocols for the employees in the management of an employee that has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or is suspected of having COVID-19, or has been identified as a close contact.

Policy Scope: This policy applies to all full time and part time employees on the main campus of Webster University and can be adjusted by other campus locations throughout the Unites States pending local health department protocols. This policy does not include student employees. 

Policy Statement: All employees on the main campus who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or suspected of having COVID-19, or have been identified as a close contact will be subject to quarantine or isolation procedures as needed for the protection of the Webster community. 

Definitions

Quarantine is defined as: 

  • Process by which a person that may have been exposed to the virus must stay away from others. 
  • The date of exposure is considered Day 0. Day 1 is the first full day after exposure. 
  • The amount of time may vary depending on each person’s unique situation and medical provider directions. 

Isolation is defined as:

  • Process by which a person infected with the virus is required to stay away from people who are not infected. 
  • The first day of symptoms or a positive test is Day 0. Day 1 is the first full day after symptoms or positive test results. 
  • The amount of time may vary depending on each person’s unique situation and medical provider directions.  

Case is defined as:

  • A person diagnosed with the COVID-19 disease.
  • Diagnosis obtained from a positive test result. 

Suspected case is defined as: 

  • A person exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
  • A person in close contact with a positive case.
  • A person that was tested for COVID-19 and is waiting for the return of the testing results. 

Close contact is defined as:

  • A person who was within 6 feet of a case for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. This can be defined as individual brief exposures added together over a 24- hour period (e.g., three 5-minute exposures over a total of 15 minutes). 
  • Examples of a close contact can occur when caring for someone at home who is sick with COVID-19, having direct physical contact with the ill person (touching, hugging or kissing), sharing eating or drinking utensils with the ill person, or if the ill person while talking, laughing, sneezing, or coughing sprays contaminated respiratory droplets on to the close contact. 

Asymptomatic is defined as:

  • A person is a carrier for a disease or infection but does not experience symptoms of the disease or infection. (e.g., an employee has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and does not exhibit any of the symptoms of the disease.)

Symptoms of COVID-19: 

  • Common symptoms are fever (100.4 F or 38 C) or higher , cough, and shortness of breath.
  • Other symptoms may include chills, fatigue, new or worsening muscle or body aches, new or worsening cough, sore throat, headache, new loss of sense of smell or taste, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, or abdominal pain. 

Required procedures for an employee with a diagnosis of COVID-19, or identified as a close contact, or suspected of having COVID-19. This applies to you if you are unvaccinated OR have completed the primary series of J&J vaccine (1 dose) over 2 months ago and have not yet had a booster dose OR have completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine (2 doses) over 6 months ago and have not had a booster dose: 

  • The employee will notify Human Resources (HR) and their direct supervisor.
  • The employee should notify their private physician of their status.
  • The employee will be asked to remain in an area away from others if not able to leave campus immediately. 
  • The employee is required to stay at home and is not to report to campus until they have completed the required isolation or quarantine period and have submitted proof of their positive test results. 

Isolation information when employee is diagnosed with COVID-19

  • The employee is required to remain in isolation and will be discharged from isolation when they have completed the required isolation period and have submitted proof of their positive test results.
  • The employee may be discharged from isolation based on all 3 criteria: 
    • Must be fever-free without the use of fever reducing medications (ibuprofen, Tylenol etc.) for 24 hours.
    • Symptoms of COVID-19 have improved
    • It has been at least 5 days after the positive test date. 
  • Employees should continue to wear well-fitted mask for 10 days from the positive test. 

If an unvaccinated employee is notified they are a close contact testing and quarantine information:

  • The close contact should be tested for the COVID-19 disease 5 days or later after the last day of contact with the positive (case) person. For example, if the close contact's last day with the positive case was a Sunday, the close contact should seek testing on the fifth day which would be Friday or later.
  • The close contact is required to complete the 5 days in quarantine and if the test is negative, they can return to work; monitor for symptoms for 10 days, and wear a well-fitted mask for 10 days from the date of exposure.
  • If the text is positive, the unvaccianted employee myst quarantine for 10 days.

New guidance for people ‘up to date’ on vaccines, according to the CDC:

  • A person who is ‘up to date’ on vaccines (according to the CDC) and had close contact with a person with COVID-19 does NOT need to quarantine if they meet the following criteria:
    • The person has completed the primary series of J&J vaccine (1 dose) over 2 months ago and have had a booster dose (if eligible) OR have completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine (2 doses) over 6 months ago and have had a booster dose (if eligible). 
    • The person has remained asymptomatic since exposure.
  • A person who is ‘up to date’ on vaccines according to the CDC and has symptoms of COVID-19 (from a known exposure or otherwise) should quarantine until they are tested (and receive results) and follow the isolation protocol should they test positive. Symptoms in people who are ‘up to date’ on vaccinations may be mild and mimic a cold or allergies. 

Participants at gatherings and events must follow the University's masking policies, and unvaccinated visitors are encouraged to maintain social distance.

When unvaccinated, keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we can implement to avoid being exposed to the COVID-19 virus and prevent its spread. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay away from others when possible, even if you have no symptoms. Social distancing is important for everyone, especially to help protect people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Staff who are not vaccinated or others who are instructed for self-protection and are at work on-site are encouraged to follow these social distancing practices:

  • Always stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.
  • Do not gather in groups of 10 or more.
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings

Due to the continued influence of COVID-19 at our international locations, international travel remains restricted. Essential international travel requires an approved Travel Authorization form.

Effective with the Travel Policy revised on May 21, 2021, restrictions on domestic travel have been lifted; however, such travel continues to require an approved Travel Authorization Form to ensure budgetary compliance.

Travel Authorization:

  • Faculty travel should be approved by the respective Dean.
  • Staff travel should be approved by the respective supervisor.
  • The completed Travel Authorization form should be retained by the approver and a copy sent to the Procurement Manager. A Travel Authorization form is required to be completed and approved prior to booking your travel as well as for documentation of any expenses related to your travel.

Additional Information: Travelers must follow state and local travel restrictions. For up-to-date information and travel guidance, check the state or local health department at the departure location, along the travel route, and at the planned destination. While a person is traveling, it is possible a state or local government may put into place travel restrictions, such as stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, mandated quarantines upon arrival, or even state border closures. Travelers should regularly check for updates as they travel.