Q: Why is SU just now announcing its student COVID vaccination policy?

A: With the ever-changing situation created by the pandemic, the University wanted to wait as long as possible so our decision about student vaccination requirements was informed by the latest health data and government policies. This is not a decision we made lightly, and our only objective is to ensure we continue to keep our students, faculty, and staff safe.

Q: How will SU support students with housing or other services if they contract or are exposed to COVID-19 and must isolate or quarantine? Will unvaccinated students receive the same support as vaccinated students?

A: The University will provide the same level of support to infected or quarantined students as is provided to students who contract any other significant illness or communicable disease, regardless of vaccination status. Any student experiencing illness can work through the Center for Academic Success to coordinate with their professors to stay caught up with coursework. Remote, real-time (aka synchronous) instruction will not be offered in the 2021–2022 academic year, so it will not be provided for students who miss class for any reason. However, faculty are able to provide asynchronous opportunities for students to stay caught up.

Q: What if a student has to isolate or quarantine and has no safe alternative housing?

A: We have reserved a small number of beds for these situations. If no beds are available for a student who must isolate or quarantine and has no safe alternative for housing, we will help the student find alternative accommodations.

Q: Will students who have had COVID-19 be required to get vaccinated, even if they still have antibodies?

A: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone should be vaccinated regardless of whether they have already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long people are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if a person has already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible that they could be infected again with the virus that causes COVID-19. Studies have shown that vaccination strongly boosts protection in people who have recovered from COVID-19.

Q: Will student vaccine status be shared with faculty? How will professors know who should be masked and who doesn’t have to mask?

A: For privacy reasons, a student’s vaccination status will be kept confidential and not shared with faculty. Each faculty member will establish a classroom policy regarding masking. This policy will be included in the syllabus and communicated to students prior to the start of class.

Q: Is the campus basically returning to normal operations in the fall?

A: Here’s what students, faculty, and staff can expect when they return to campus in August:

  • Classrooms will return to full occupancy and a fully in-person instruction model, with limited exceptions for faculty members who require accommodations.
  • Faculty will be allowed to require masks in classrooms and labs at their discretion.
  • Residence halls will return to full occupancy.
  • Both indoor and outdoor gatherings will return to normal capacity, including athletic events.
  • Building hours will be restored to pre-pandemic hours.
  • On-campus signage will change to be consistent with the latest CDC guidance.
  • Visitors may return to campus and are asked to adhere to our campus health protocols. 
  • Domestic and international travel is allowed in accordance with CDC guidelines and the policies of travel providers.
  • Note that these plans are subject to change based on public health conditions.

Q: International students living abroad may not be able to obtain a vaccination before coming to SU. What should they do?

A: We understand that it may not be possible for all international students to receive the vaccine in their home country prior to arrival in the U.S. In this case, students may begin the vaccination process when they arrive in Texas. Students will not be required to arrive early or quarantine. Please contact Monya Lemery or Meaghan Bellande at the Office of Study Abroad and International Student Services to request assistance. International students should click here for more information.


Q: When does this policy take effect?

A: This policy took effect on July 14, 2021.

Q: Will visitors need to provide proof of vaccination?

A: Although we do not require proof of vaccination, we expect visitors to comply with the same protocols as SU community members do.

Q: Will unvaccinated students living in the residence halls need to wear a mask in their own room? 

A: As was the case before vaccines were available, students will not be required to wear masks inside their own residence hall rooms. In cases where roommates need assistance defining shared expectations for their room or suite, residence life staff will provide support and facilitation.

Q: Will vaccinated students need to quarantine for 14 days if they are exposed to COVID-19?

A: According to the CDC , people who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated against the disease and show no symptoms.

Q: What if students are partially vaccinated when they arrive on campus but still need a second dose or must complete a waiting period to be considered fully vaccinated?

A: Students who arrive on campus partially vaccinated will be tested weekly until their vaccination regimen is completed and documented.

Q: How will masking be enforced for unvaccinated students in settings where they are required to wear masks?

A: A student who enrolls at Southwestern voluntarily becomes part of a community where respect for others is the norm; each student’s voluntary entrance into the community implies their acceptance of University regulations. Unvaccinated students, therefore, are expected to demonstrate this acceptance by knowing and complying with Southwestern’s masking requirements. As with any policy violation, refusal to comply will subject the student to disciplinary action through an established procedure.