You are here: American University Home

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Summary Information

Updated - May 29, 2020

American University continues to take all necessary steps to protect the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff as we closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and around the world. The university is now in the recovery and renewal phase of our COVID-19 operations with a comprehensive effort to chart our path for the fall semester and beyond. This COVID-19 Resources page will continue to provide information about our actions, updates to the community, and answers to frequently asked questions for students and parents, faculty, and staff. Updated information can be found from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the DC Department of Health. As the situation changes, we will continue to provide information to the AU community.

We continue to follow guidance of global, national and local health and government officials. Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser will lift stay-at-home order and begin phase one of reopening, effective May 29. Recommendations of social distancing and face coverings remain in place and gatherings of more than 10 people are still prohibited.

Operating Status

On April 3, AU announced that summer classes will be conducted online for the summer semester. AU will be open this fall, providing the high-quality, dynamic educational experience that is the foundation of our mission while taking all necessary steps to safeguard our community. We are exploring many scenarios for the fall involving in-person, online and hybrid models and will make a decision that is at the intersection of the best available information about health and safety and our ability to implement our work and educational pursuits at the highest level. Our approach is designed to yield the right structures for our current undergraduate and graduate students and our incoming first-year students. The upheaval of the past several months demands an educational experience and community that is supportive, flexible, and presents a wide range of options that meet individual needs.

AU’s actions to-date, our ongoing planning processes and key task forces, and important upcoming dates are captured in this summary one-pager. The key task forces, comprised of AU’s academic and administration leaders and key experts, are actively developing options for the fall along with the COVID-19 Working Group, and will make recommendations to the executive leadership team by mid-May with an announcement expected no later than mid-June.


The previously announced transition to online classes began on Wednesday, March 18 will continue through the summer. There will be no on-campus instruction for the summer semester. This includes the Washington College of Law (WCL). As previously announced, services such as counseling, advising, and academic support will be available online.


Students were instructed to leave campus by Monday, March 23 and return to their permanent addresses for the remainder of the spring semester. With summer classes also being conducted online, students should continue to remain at their permanent addresses for the summer semester. We know some students are not able to return home over the summer months and therefore we are supporting them with summer housing. For additional information on summer housing, students should visit the Housing and Residence Life website.


Due to the global spread of COVID-19 and ongoing travel restrictions, AU Abroad programs scheduled to start before July 31, 2020 were canceled. We plan to continue AU Abroad programs for fall 2020 and Academic Year 2020-2021 that start in August or later. Students applying to study abroad in fall 2020 should also register for on-campus courses and housing (if needed). AU Abroad will work with students on alternative arrangements should the status of fall programs change.


The university transitioned to an expanded telework environment for the majority of operations beginning Monday, March 16 and continuing until further notice. The university has not been closed, and services are available on campus with limitations. To the extent possible, many services are provided remotely.

As we transition to the summer and advance our fall planning, we will retire the regular reporting of confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the AU community effective May 11, 2020. We will provide updates to the AU community about confirmed cases as necessary in our episodic summer communications. For confirmed global cases, please visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Coronavirus COVID-19 page for the latest information.


All domestic travel for official university business and university-sponsored student and recognized student group trips continues to be suspended. This includes all travel that had been previously approved. The ongoing suspension of all university-sponsored international travel announced on March 5 remains in effect. 


University-sponsored public events, both on and off campus continue to be suspended. While a number of the summer conferences that usually take place on campus are canceled, we are exploring opportunities to safely support communities and organizations that may need facilities when social distancing guidelines allow for it.

  • While the Washington College of Law (WCL) operates on a different calendar, the travel and event guidance and timeline apply to all WCL faculty, staff, and students as well. 

The most effective steps you can take right now are to stay at home and practice good hygiene such as regular and thorough hand washing and covering your mouth with your elbow when you cough or sneeze. If you must go out, keep at least six feet between yourself and other people. In addition, CDC is advising the use of cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Anyone exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness (e.g., cough, fever, shortness of breath) should contact your health provider for guidance. Members of the AU community can contact the Student Health Center at 202-885-3380 or Faculty and staff should contact their primary care physician.

Who To Contact