Frequently Asked Questions for Parents

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. There are no classrooms in West Campus. Classes and other activities otherwise are happening as normal on campus, with many students planning to travel for Thanksgiving break, which takes place November 26-30.

My son or daughter is traveling for Thanksgiving. What should I know about transportation?
At last report, Lambert St. Louis Airport was functioning normally. Up-to-date information is available at All public transportation is currently up and running in St. Louis. Visit Metro St. Louis for any updates.

Shuttle options:

  • The university is providing a free airport shuttle on Wednesday (November 26) from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., departing every half hour on the half-hour from the Clocktower on the South 40. 
  • A student-run business, “U-Shuttle,” will be running shuttles to the airport from the South 40 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday (November 25). The cost is $10/ride and tickets available at
  • The university also has set up a shuttle from the Clocktower to the Big Bend MetroLink station, running every 30 minutes from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., on Monday, (November 24), Tuesday (November 25), Saturday (November 29) and Sunday (November 30).
  • Taxis are available by calling County Cab at 314-993-TAXI (8294), Laclede Cab at 314-652-3456, or another local cab company.

How far is Ferguson from the university?
Ferguson is about 10 miles north of Washington University’s Danforth Campus and 13 miles from downtown St Louis. It is one of 90 municipalities in St. Louis County.

How far is Clayton from the university?
Downtown Clayton is about a mile from the Danforth Campus.

How can I keep track of what’s happening on campus?
There are seven live webcams stationed throughout the Danforth Campus. View webcams 

How else can I get information about what’s going on?
We will update the Grand Jury Announcement page on this site with any information that may affect our campuses, students, faculty or staff. In the event of an emergency, information will be available online at, or by calling a recorded hotline, 314-935-9000 or 888-234-3863. For general information about what’s happening in the region, local media outlets such as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis American, St. Louis Public Radio, KMOV-TV, KSDK-TV, KTVI-TV and KMOX-AM are useful sources.

Should I bring my son or daughter home?
Only you can make that decision after you talk to your son or daughter. We are prepared to respond as needed in the event of an emergency, but you should do what you feel is best for your student.

What is the university doing to keep students safe?
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. For the past couple months, we have been reviewing the university’s emergency response plan across numerous departments to make sure we are prepared for any situation. We are taking precautions to ensure that our campus remains secure in the event of civil unrest in the area.

Will there be civil unrest on or near campus?
There is no way to predict what will happen, though our police department is in very close and regular contact with other law enforcement personnel in the region and we are being kept up to date on events. We have not been given a reason to believe the university will be specifically targeted, but again there is no way to know for certain what might transpire so we are taking precautions to be well-prepared. Our students may wish to organize peaceful demonstrations on campus, which we will support as long as they are conducted within the university’s guidelines for such activity.

What happens if my son or daughter misses classes, assignments or exams? Will they be penalized?
The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority. If your son or daughter must miss class, assignments or exams because of this situation, he or she should talk to his or her professors and advisor. Our faculty will make every effort to be flexible, but of course each situation will be different.

What are you telling students about going off campus to participate in protests?
We are advising students to consider seriously all of the potential risks of participating in off-campus protests that could be dangerous for their safety and well-being. If they decide to participate, we have shared important steps to take including, for example, letting a parent or friend know of their whereabouts. We also are offering alternative activities on campus through which they can express concern and perspective.

Is the university offering alternatives for students and others 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. Beginning on the day of the grand jury announcement, a series of “Talking Circles” will create a safe, non-judgmental place to discuss the issues. 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.

My son or daughter is planning to go to an off-campus protest. How can I help them stay safe?
We are advising students to look for safer ways to participate, but if they are intent on going off-campus, we suggest that they travel in groups, let their parents and others know where they’re going, carry a charged cell phone, follow the instructions of law enforcement and to leave an area immediately if a situation becomes violent.

My student is feeling very anxious and I am worried about them. What should I do?
We understand that what is happening in St. Louis may cause stress for our students and we encourage anyone in need of support to seek out the many resources that we have available, including their resident advisors, residential college directors, professors, and academic advisors. The Habif Health and Wellness Center provides extensive services for students, which can be accessed at, by calling 314-935-6666 or by stopping in at the center, which is located on the South 40.