School of Medicine

School of Medicine Employee Frequently Asked Questions

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 School of Medicine is taking precautions to make sure our campus stays safe and secure. For the past couple of 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 the campus 24 hours a day and will respond as necessary to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff, which is always the school’s top priority.

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 – username: WashingtonU, password: guest.

Situations like these, which are so close to home, can elicit a variety of reactions, emotions and concerns. Toward the bottom of this Employee Assistance Program 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 Medical School employee, what if I can’t use the Metro Link?
Exit Passes for the Clayton-Taylor Garage may be purchased from the Facilities Integrated Service Center (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:

Leanne Stewart, PhD – Manager, Employee Relations

How can I get information about what’s going on?

We encourage you to visit the university-wide Grand Jury Information page for updates and helpful information. 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.

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