Faculty & Staff

Frequently Asked Questions for Employees

For the latest information, visit the Campus Updates section of this site.

Should I be concerned about what’s happening right now in St. Louis?
This has been a very challenging time for St. Louis and we are keeping a close eye on the situation as it develops. The university is taking precautions to make sure our campuses stay safe and secure. For the past couple months, a group of leaders has been meeting to review emergency procedures and the Washington University Police Department has remained in close contact with area law enforcement agencies to gather the latest information. Our police officers are monitoring campus 24 hours a day and will respond as necessary to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff, which is always the university’s top priority.

What is happening on campus?
Out of an abundance of caution for our students, faculty and staff, the decision has been made to close the university’s West Campus on Tuesday, November 25. West Campus is located in downtown Clayton and is home to administrative offices, a library and retail space. Classes and other activities otherwise are happening as normal, with many students planning to travel for Thanksgiving break, which takes place November 26-30.

What should I do if I feel unsafe?
Employees should use their best judgment in coming to and from work and to take the necessary steps to ensure their own safety. This may include altering the way they come to work, where they park their car, being mindful about the times at which they choose to leave and maintaining an awareness of their surroundings – on and off campus.

Employees may also want to keep in mind that there is a possibility that some streets/intersections or Metrolink could be disrupted for short periods of time. As such, they should plan alternate routes and ensure that they allow for extra time to get to and from work. Also they should try to be flexible in their planning as no one travel route may work every day.

I’m a manager. What should I do if I have staff members who are struggling with emotions and concerns?
We know this is a stressful time and some may benefit from speaking with professional counselors. The university’s employee assistance program, LifeScope, is a very helpful resource that can connect any employee and his or her family members with local counseling supports. LifeScope is available 24/7 and can be accessed confidentially by calling 800-765-9124.

Supportive resources for coping with trauma and loss can also be accessed online at WUSTLeap.com – username: WashingtonU, password: guest.

Medical school managers may request additional, immediate on-site counseling. They should contact either Legail Chandler (2-4930 or 314-392-7246) or Leanne Stewart (2-8278 or 314-601-1582). We can arrange for an EAP response or provide counseling services from HR staff who are trained counselors.

Situations like these, which are so close to home, can elicit a variety of reactions, emotions and concerns. Toward the bottom of this page are easily accessed materials that offer tips for managing anxiety about crisis, coping with crisis for managers, and talking to children about scary events.

Managers may refer to the Managing During Challenging Times section of the Human Resources website for further information, policies and guidance.

I’m a Danforth Campus employee. What if I can’t get to work?
Contact your supervisor to discuss options if you are unable to get to work due to concerns regarding safety, transportation interruptions or other related issues. You/your employees should use your judgment regarding your personal safety. 
Policies related to time off and work schedules are listed on the HR website: vacation time, personal leave, alternative work schedule and telecommuting.

I’m a Medical School employee, what if I can’t use the Metro Link?
Exit Passes for the Clayton-Taylor Garage may be purchased from the FISC at a discounted rate. If the Clayton-Taylor Garage fills, transportation will enact its established overflow plan.

Employees are encouraged to consider carpooling whenever possible.

I’m a Medical School employee/supervisor, what if I/my employees can’t come to work? What about essential personnel?
The Medical School expects to conduct “business as usual” and employees should report to work if they are able to safely do so.

Employees who are affected by curfew, security or transportation problems may be allowed to temporarily telecommute if they are able to conduct meaningful work from their homes, or they may use vacation time. This decision is up to departmental management.

Encourage your employees to stay in touch with their immediate supervisors should they need to arrange for alternate work arrangements.

Ensure that all supervisors have the home contact details of their staff, should it become necessary to contact them after hours.

Essential personnel and employees who work alternate shifts should have been identified and have been given a letter identifying them as such in the event of a curfew or other travel restriction.

What if I don’t have vacation time?

  • For staff members who have a zero vacation balance, but who are otherwise eligible to accrue and use paid vacation, up to five days of paid time may be advanced.
  • For staff members who are within the first six months of employment and are eligible to accrue but not use paid time off, up to 5 days of paid vacation time may be advanced. See the policies section of Managing During Challenging TImes on the Human Resources website for further details.
  • This time off requires supervisor approval and should be recorded as vacation time in HRMS.

What if I need care for my children, family members?
In partnership with Bright Horizons Family Solutions, Washington University offers the Back-Up Care Advantage Program to assist eligible individuals in balancing the competing demands of life and work. The benefit provides back-up care for eligible individuals when they need to be at work and their regular child or elder/adult care is unavailable. Information can be found on the HR website regarding back-up care.

I’m a manager, who should I contact if I need additional assistance with personnel issues?
If you are unsure what to do or need additional support, contact human resources for guidance. The best way to contact us is through:


Sara Wright, Danforth Employee Relations Manager:
Email: sara.wright@wustl.edu; Phone: 314-935-3147

Apryle Cotton, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Employee Services and Organizational Development:
Email: apryle.cotton@wustl.edu; Phone: 314-935-5146

Medical School:

Leanne Stewart, PhD – Manager, Employee Relations
Email: lstewart@wustl.edu; Phone: 314-362-8278How can I get information about what’s going on?

We encourage you to visit the Grand Jury Information page on this site for updates and helpful information. In the event of an emergency, information will be available online at emergency.wustl.edu, or by calling a recorded hotline, 314-935-9000 or 888-234-3863.

Please ensure that your staff members update their personal information in HRMS so that they receive any emergency communications via text, email or phone.

Is the university offering opportunities for students, faculty and staff who might want to somehow get involved?
Yes. A number of events for students, faculty and staff are planned in the days and weeks ahead that will give our community a chance to come together, talk and share ideas about what’s going on. Students, faculty and staff will receive email invitations to these events as they are planned. We also are updating the events section on this site with a number of lectures and other opportunities to further explore these topics.

DIFFS, the Diversity and Inclusion Forum for Faculty and Staff, encourages faculty and staff from all university areas to attend one of their events and meet others with an interest in diversity and inclusion on campus. DIFFS seeks membership and active participation to ensure the sustainability, institutionalization and productivity of DIFFS in the Washington University community.