Dear student,

We look forward to seeing you back on campus this fall! As you know, this semester will be a very different experience than we are used to at Southwestern. As the University takes a number of actions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus, we ask that you take personal responsibility to limit your exposure to and spread of the virus.

By now, wearing a face covering and practicing physical distancing are hopefully part of your everyday routine. Once you arrive on campus, wearing a mask and maintaining physical distancing will be required. We also ask that you restrict your travel to only the most essential trips to reduce your exposure.

The following information will help guide your decision-making and preparation processes.

Restrict Travel and Activity

All students should strictly limit personal domestic travel and avoid non-essential travel and activity altogether.

COVID-19 cases and deaths have been reported in all 50 states, and the situation is constantly changing. The resurgence of COVID-19 infection rates in Texas means travel to hotspots like Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Fort Worth, and Austin will increase your chances of getting exposed, infected, and contagious with COVID-19.  Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick.

Personal international travel is highly discouraged. 

Starting August 1, 2020, all students are advised to restrict all non-essential travel and activity. Only leave your residence for essential trips. Essential trips are defined as shopping for groceries and essentials, going to medical and dental appointments, going to work, or taking trips within a short distance of your home that are absolutely necessary for your well-being.

Travel Registry

The University requires that all students, faculty and staff members complete and update their individual travel plans within the Travel Registry (student, faculty, and staff registries) with as much advance notice as possible.  For purposes of the Travel Registry, travel that is for everyday activities, such as shopping for groceries or other essentials, within your local community does not need to be reported.  Travel, whether for personal or other reasons, outside of your local county must be reported.

Information that is submitted through the Travel Registry will only be viewed by us and confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible. We may contact you for additional information, if needed.

Guidelines and Resources

The University will generally follow the CDC guidelines for travel in the United States.  If any student has traveled to a country that is subject to the CDC’s Level 3 or greater Travel Health Notice, they will be subject to a mandatory 14-day off-campus quarantine period and may be required to provide a note from their healthcare provider prior to their return to campus.

The University will follow state and local travel restrictions and encourages students who plan to travel to regularly refer to the most up-to-date information and travel guidance found on the applicable state or local health department.  Information from the trip’s origination, along the route, and destination should be monitored prior to and during the trip.  For quick reference, below are the links for health department COVID-19 sites for the State of Texas and major cities:

Texas Department of State Health Services (Georgetown, Round Rock) Williamson County and Cities Health District
(Austin) Travis County Health and Human Services
(San Antonio) Bexar County Emergency Services
(Dallas) Dallas County Health and Human Services
(Fort Worth) Tarrant County Public Health
(Houston) Harris County Public Health

The University anticipates that students will comply with this Policy to the best of their ability.  Failure to comply, particularly when there has been a potential COVID-19 exposure to the student during unreported travel – which then has potentially exposed others on campus – may result in appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with the Student Handbook. 

The fall 2020 semester will be a new and different experience for all of us. We want everyone to feel safe and supported, so please visit https://www.southwestern.edu/reopening/faqs/, or email questions@southwestern.edu with your questions. We also encourage you to seize this moment as an opportunity for personal growth. Just as you take responsibility for ensuring your body gets good nutrition and regular exercise, you now need to protect your body from this virus. Wear a mask, practice physical distancing, and restrict your travel. By doing so, you will also protect this community that we have all created. We are in this together, and together we will make this fall a rich and rewarding experience.

Shelley Story, Dean of Students
Jaime J. Woody, Vice President for Student Life


For updates on Southwestern’s Fall 2020 reopening and ongoing information on campus health and safety visit southwestern.edu/reopening.