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. 


January 19: Classes begin on campus
February 16: Reading day (no classes)
March 17: Reading day (no classes)
April 22: Research and Creative Works Symposium (no classes)
May 3–7: Final exams
May 8: Commencement


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 spring 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. Grab-and-go options are available at the Cove.

Learn more about Dining Options

Residence Halls

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

January 3, 2021: Designated athletes return.
January 8, 2021: Additional designated athletes return.
January 15, 2021: All on-campus residences open, and students can move in.

The residence halls will open on Friday, January 15th at 10:00 AM.

  • Upper division students may move in anytime after the halls open without an appointment. Please make sure to wear your mask and continue practicing social distancing. Housing will be sending you more detailed information about move-in soon.
  • First-year students must choose a move-in appointment here: You will have a one-hour block to move into your room. Please make sure to wear your mask and continue practicing social distancing.

Up to 2 guests help you move in for the spring semester. Each guest must wear a mask at all times while on campus. Please keep the door to your room closed and limit their time in your room to 1 hour. 

Sodexo will open for lunch on Friday, January 15th.


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.

View Classroom Diagrams 

Student Testing

All students must be tested for COVID-19 within seven days prior to returning to campus in January. You must provide your test results to the University. 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. Students who are engaged in fully remote learning and will not be coming to campus at all during the fall or spring semesters are exempt from testing requirements.

Spring 2021: Comprehensive Testing Information

Staff and Faculty Testing

All staff and faculty on campus for the fall semester are required to take a COVID-19 test. There are five (5) full days set aside for appointment dates from August 27, 2020 through September 1, 2020. Testing will be conducted exclusively for Southwestern faculty and staff at the St. David’s CareNow Urgent Care center in Round Rock. Throughout the semester, the university plans to conduct random COVID-19 testing of students, faculty, and staff.  You will be contacted if you are selected for one of these tests.

Learn More: Intake Testing

Learn More: Random Testing

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

Beginning your first day on campus, you will be asked to complete a daily health screening online. The purpose of the screening is to help you get into the habit of checking in with how you are feeling each day. It will also help you assess whether you might need to seek the advice of a healthcare professional. 

We’ll remind you to complete the screening through the SU App (which you can download here), through Campus Notices, and by email. You can also bookmark the link to the screening website and fill it out each morning before you receive your daily reminder.


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.


Many details about the spring season are still being finalized. You can view our current sports schedules on our Athletics website.

Isolation and Quarantine

Students who have been exposed to COVID-19 will be asked to quarantine for a period of 14 days (no exceptions will be made based on receiving a negative test). Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be asked to isolate at home or off campus for a period of 10 days with no fever for 24 hours. University care coordinators and contact tracers 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

Need more info? We’ve created a convenient PDF in which you can find a summary of the details about how Southwestern has responded to COVID-19. 

Please visit for the latest updates and announcements.