Guiding Principles

Guiding Principle 1: Protect the physical and mental well-being of Southwestern University’s students, faculty, and staff.

Guiding Principle 2: Retain and promote Southwestern University’s distinguishing value proposition.

Guiding Principle 3: Ensure Southwestern University practices responsible financial stewardship.

Guiding Principle 4: Respect the shared-governance processes and divergent perspectives of Southwestern University’s community. 


September 7: Classes begin on campus
November 24: In-person instruction ends
November 25: Move-out deadline for campus housing
November 30–December 11: Remote instruction
December 12 and 14: Remote reviews, music juries, and capstone presentations
December 15–19: Final exams


Southwestern recognizes that in-person instruction aligns with our mission and goals, yet the pandemic has required a new level of flexibility for both students and faculty concerning the delivery of the University’s academic program for the fall semester. All Southwestern students have the option of engaging in remote learning. Students who need to pursue remote learning because of their health-related circumstances should reach out to Associate Director of Academic Success Jennifer Smull ( All other students should contact Director of Academic Success Dave Seiler ( to engage in remote learning. 

Other Academic Notes

Office hours and advising are remote rather than in person. Most classes are meeting in person on a regular basis, but some may have remote components because of health accommodations or classroom capacity constraints. Some classes are conducted completely through remote instruction and will be labeled as such on WebAdvisor. The majority of our classes are scheduled for on campus.


Dining hours are significantly increased to allow de-densified and in-person dining for those who choose to eat in Mabee Commons. There will be no buffet or self-serving options. For those who desire to order meals to go, there will be an app to facilitate the order and provide pick-up details. For those who would like a grab-and-go option, that is available at the Cove.

Residence Halls

The goal is to de-densify campus housing by being flexible about exemptions and cancellation requests.

Move-in Dates: Students will be contacted by the housing office to set their move-in date.
First-Year and Transfer Students: September 3–4.
Returning Students:
September 4–6. 


Classrooms are arranged to provide physical distances of six feet between students and eight feet between faculty and students. Classroom furniture is set up in fixed configurations. Hand-sanitizer stations are available in all classrooms. Most classes are conducted in one-hour segments. Supplies will be provided for students to clean desk surfaces upon entry to classrooms and laboratories. Guidelines for foot-traffic flow will be posted in all buildings.

Student Testing

Students: All students are required to present a negative COVID-19 test that has been taken no longer than 14 days prior to arrival on campus. The test is the preferred polymerase chain reaction test (PCR); antigen or antibody (serology) tests will not be accepted. Upon arrival, students will take an intake test at a designated time and space on campus. Any student with COVID-19 symptoms will be tested at the campus Health Center. To ensure there is not a high percentage of asymptomatic cases on campus and to monitor infection rates, randomized testing will be conducted on campus throughout the semester. Students will self-quarantine until the results of any COVID-19 test are known. 

Staff and Faculty Testing

Staff and Faculty: All staff and faculty on campus for the fall semester are required to have a negative COVID-19 test that has been taken 14 days prior to students returning to campus or as instructed by Human Resources. Human Resources will contact all staff and faculty about testing options. The preferred test is the polymerase chain reaction test (PCR); antigen or antibody (serology) tests will not be accepted. Any staff or faculty member with COVID-19 symptoms will be required to remain off campus until they have received a return-to-work release from their physician and have been approved to return by Human Resources. To ensure there is not a high percentage of asymptomatic cases on campus and to monitor infection rates, randomized testing will be conducted on campus throughout the semester.

Symptom Monitoring

All students, faculty, and staff must self-monitor for the following symptoms. Any individual who is experiencing these symptoms or has come into contact with someone who has exhibited these symptoms must immediately isolate themselves and contact Health Services (students) or their medical provider (faculty and staff).

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

All students, faculty, and staff must also self-monitor for—and immediately self-isolate and contact a healthcare provider if experiencing—the following emergency warning signs of COVID-19:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

Southwestern University is investing in a mobile health-screening app that will help individuals and the University monitor the health of our campus community. The mobile app (WorkSafe) is designed to help us maintain a healthy campus environment and remain in the classroom. The app has several helpful features, including a daily proactive self-health check and the ability to ask questions or address health and safety concerns related to COVID-19 on campus. Faculty, staff, and students will each check in on a daily basis and be advised to proceed to class or work or to seek medical attention. 


University-sponsored travel for faculty and staff should be limited and must be approved. All students, faculty, and staff are asked to (1) restrict all nonessential travel for 14 days prior to the start of the fall semester and (2) enter travel into the appropriate Travel Registry Google Form.

Health Protocols

Masks are required on campus. In all spaces except residence-hall rooms and other designated areas, individuals will adhere to a six-foot physical distance. Good hand hygiene is expected. No outside guests or speakers will be allowed at any campus event or in classrooms.


All intercollegiate athletic competition for all sports is suspended for fall semester. 


Students who have been exposed to COVID-19 will be asked to quarantine—and students who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be asked to isolate at home or off campus for a period of at least 10 days and no fever for 24 hours. University care coordinators will assist the students through either process. If the student is unable to go home or off campus to quarantine, they will do so in their assigned residential space with precautions. If a student is unable to go home or off campus to isolate, they will be provided, as available, a designated isolation room on campus. Currently, 6% of University housing is dedicated as isolation facilities.

Pirate Pledge

We ask all students, faculty, and staff to sign the Pirate Pledge and promise to take personal responsibility for following University guidelines for protecting the health and safety of our community. The Pirate Pledge can be found here

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