You are here: American University Campus Life Important Updates to Covid Protocols

American University

February 1, 2022

Dear AU Community,

Welcome back to campus, in-person learning, and hybrid work. We’re writing to share several key updates and additional information that follow up on President Burwell’s message on Friday on revised Spring 2022 Covid-19 protocols. Please read this message fully.


All community members must wear either a KN95, N95, or KF94 mask while indoors on AU property, as these mask types offer the highest level of protection. If you find yourself without the required mask type, reusable KN95 masks are available on campus at multiple distribution sites, including the Mary Graydon Center (MGC), Bender Library, and Washington College of Law (WCL). These masks are free (with AU ID) and reusable for 5-7 days, if in good condition.

Students and faculty must mask in the classroom. Consequently, both students and faculty must refrain from eating and drinking in the classroom, as these activities would require the removal of masks. You may request to step outside the classroom briefly to eat or drink if needed. In block courses, faculty will provide a break time to leave the classroom to eat or drink.

Find more details in President Burwell’s Jan. 28 community update and the Spring 2022 Covid-19 Guide: Masking Guidelines.

Change in Isolation Protocols

As of today (February 1, 2021), vaccinated individuals who test positive for Covid-19 may take an antigen test on the fifth day of isolation. If this “rapid test” is negative and the person is fever-free for at least 24 hours, they may leave isolation on the sixth day. If it is positive, they must remain in isolation for the full 10 days. In both cases, results must be reported on the Self-Reporting form.

This does not apply to unvaccinated individuals, who must complete the full 10 days of isolation.

Please note: AU testing centers do not offer antigen (“rapid”) tests and cannot be visited to test out of isolation. A person who tested positive cannot come to campus for any reason. More information, including how to receive antigen tests at your location, will be provided in your emails from AU’s Covid team ( when, after testing positive, you receive instruction on isolation protocols.

For details on isolation and contact tracing, please see the Spring 2022 Covid-19 Guide: Isolation, Quarantine and Contact Tracing.

Additional Surveillance / Ongoing Testing

As of February 7, AU will increase our ongoing surveillance testing for an additional layer of health and safety. You will receive communication on Friday with details and specifics, so that you know what to expect when expanded testing begins. Surveillance testing involves taking routine samples of the population to monitor the state of spread through a community.

This will NOT replace the current requirements. Unvaccinated individuals must continue to take PCR tests twice a week as a condition of their exemption. Symptomatic individuals and close contacts must also test as needed.

Changes in Self-Reporting to Facilitate Contact Tracing

If you test positive for Covid-19, you must fill out the Self-Reporting form whether you tested on campus or off campus. This is critical for contact tracing. If you tested off campus, the Self-Reporting form notifies AU of your positive test and provides information for contact tracing If you tested on campus, this is how you report your symptom onset and AU close contacts for contact tracing purposes.

Find more details in President Burwell’s Jan. 28 community update and the Spring 2022 Covid-19 Guide: Isolation, Quarantine and Contact Tracing.

Reminders: Testing and Booster

As a reminder, please be aware of these upcoming deadlines:

  • Return-to-campus testing. Within 48 hours after your initial return to campus, you must test for Covid-19 using a PCR test. We ask that you please test on-campus. (Check the testing schedule online for hours, sites, and details.) Note: If you were on campus and tested through AU during January, you can consider this requirement fulfilled. If you tested off campus, use the Self-Reporting form to report your results, whether positive or negative. Find details on the Spring 2022 Return-to-Campus test online.
  • Booster reminder. You must receive a Covid-19 booster and upload proof by February 10, or within 14 days of becoming eligible for the booster. For details and upload instructions, please check the Spring 2022 Covid-19 Guide: Vaccines and Boosters page. Thank you for your support of our community guidelines and helping to ensure that our return to campus is safe and healthy. Have a wonderful semester.

Fanta Aw
Vice President of Undergraduate Enrollment, Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence

Seth Grossman
Vice President of People and External Affairs and Counselor to the President

Peter Starr
Provost and Chief Academic Officer