Community Updates: Looking Forward to the Fall Semester

Health and Safety Guide -- Updated Protocols for Return to Work and Classroom

August 9, 2021

See American University’s Covid-19 homepage, and read all University messages regarding campus health and safety.


This past week, American University published an updated AU Forward Health and Safety Guide for the fall semester, outlining university requirements and operational steps that will support our students and our workforce in the return to the classroom and the office. The guide includes updated protocols for mask wearing, vaccination, testing, and space capacity, and provides details about building operations, event management, and relevant policies and directives.

We encourage all of our faculty, staff, and students to take some time to read through the AU Forward Health and Safety Guide.


By default, all classes will take place in person. During the week of August 9, the Office of the Registrar will notify students if any of the classes in which they are enrolled will take place online.

Students: If you do not receive a message from the Registrar indicating that you are enrolled in an online class, you should assume all of your classes will take place in person. You can also see if a class is online or Hybrid in your schedule on EagleService.

You are expected to attend classes in person unless you are sick, you are exhibiting COVID symptoms, you have tested positive for COVID, or you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive and are waiting for the results of your own COVID test.


Based on the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the DC government, and to support our in-person activities, all AU community members will wear masks while indoors in any campus facility or AU building. The only exceptions are when eating/drinking or alone in a private office or residence hall room. Students will mask in class;faculty may wear a mask or choose to teach from a suitable distance without a mask. Masks are not required outdoors unless in groups of 25 people or more.


American University requires COVID-19 vaccinations for all students, faculty, staff, and contractors with a presence on campus or on university-sanctioned study abroad or off-campus activities. We’re proud that our community has embraced this responsibility. As of August 9, more than 9,500 students and 3,400 faculty and staff have completed or are in-process of COVID-19 vaccinations. If you have not yet been vaccinated, please do so as soon as possible to protect your health, your family, and our community.

Students must upload their proof of vaccination to their student health portal, and faculty and staff must complete the attestation form on the AU Forward portal. The Office of Campus Life sent reminders and supplemental instructions and timelines to students regarding proof of vaccination and the potential implications if this information is not received. Any student who has not reviewed the OCL message or completed their vaccination form must do so soon.

For faculty and staff, non-compliance with the vaccine requirement or exemption process can result in disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or termination, as noted in the Vaccination Directive. Those students, faculty, and staff who are seeking an exemption for medical or religious reasons must complete the form and receive approval before an exemption is considered final.

COVID-19 Testing

Unvaccinated community members with an approved exemption will be tested twice per week. Vaccinated students, faculty, and staff will be tested if they are exposed to someone who has tested positive, if they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, or if they choose to be tested for safety precautions. Any person experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, must get a COVID-19 test. Testing will take place in Capital Hall, Room 203, from 10am to 6pm Monday through Thursday, and 10am to noon on Friday.

Daily Screening

Beginning August 16, all unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff with an approved exemption and a presence on campus must complete the daily COVID-19 screening form. Vaccinated community members should monitor their health but do not need to complete the daily screening. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms or feel sick in general, do not come to campus.


Given the high transmissibility of the Delta variant, we are limiting in-person events for August-October. Specifically:

  • You may not invite outside guests to the law school without the express, written permission of the Dean’s office. (The only exception is clinic clients.)
  • Large community-only events, such as (Re)Orientation, will proceed as planned, with additional health and safety precautions in place.
  • Faculty, staff, and students may meet in small groups (e.g., 2-3 people) in offices, or in larger groups in classrooms, provided mask mandates are followed.

Guest/Visitor Protocols  

All campus visitors are expected to follow applicable university health and safety guidelines including checking for COVID-19 symptoms prior to coming to campus, not coming to campus if experiencing any symptoms, and abiding by any additional measures outlined by the event coordinator/host and all posted signage.