You are here: American University President Announcements January 14, 2021

AU Memo Letterhead

Dear AU Community,

The health and safety of the AU community guides our decision-making and actions. As we continue to respond to the changing conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are updating health and safety procedures for the spring 2021 semester. Please review the information below regarding the Spring Health and Safety Acknowledgment/Pledge, Self Screening and Self Reporting, AU COVID-19 Testing Procedures, Affiliate Notification, and COVID-19 Vaccinations, and follow the required steps. Following these procedures and supporting our community of care will contribute to a safe and successful semester. Additional details are available on the COVID-19 Testing Procedure webpage, the Student Health Center webpage, and in our FAQs.

Spring Health and Safety Acknowledgment/Pledge

Faculty and staff with campus presence this spring will complete a health and safety acknowledgement on the AU Forward portal, and students with campus presence will complete a pledge. Acknowledgements and pledges must be completed by January 30, 2021. The acknowledgement and pledge are only required for those community members who will have a campus presence during the spring semester. The acknowledgement/pledge summarizes updated information about health and safety measures and indicates your compliance with all university health and safety policies, directives, and procedures.

Self Screening and Self Reporting

Following the same approach as the fall semester, for any day you will be on campus, complete the daily Self Screening form. If you are experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms, you are in quarantine, or you tested positive for COVID-19, you will submit a Self Report to confidentially notify the university. There is no need to submit a Self Report if you are healthy.

AU COVID-19 Testing Procedures

Frequent testing is an essential component of protecting the health and safety of our campus and the broader community. American University will require regular COVID-19 (PCR) testing for all students, faculty, and staff with a presence on campus. Testing frequency will be determined by how often an individual comes to campus; please review the testing procedure information on the website to determine your individual requirements. Asymptomatic testing will not be required for community members who do not have a campus presence. More details about the COVID-19 testing procedures can be found on the website.

There will be no charge for COVID-19 tests and the time spent getting tested will be treated as compensated work time for employees. Testing locations will be different for asymptomatic students, asymptomatic employees, and symptomatic students. Results will be emailed and if you test positive, you will be contacted by AU’s COVID case coordinator.

This testing approach will identify asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic students and employees and mitigate health risks to our community. You can find more information about testing requirements in the Mandatory COVID-19 Testing Directive in the University Policy Library.

Any students who demonstrate COVID-19 symptoms should make an appointment with the Student Health Center online or by calling 202-885-3380. You can also test through your health care provider or at local testing sites in Washington, DCMaryland, or Virginia. Any faculty or staff member who demonstrate COVID-19 symptoms should undergo testing with your health care provider or at local testing sites. AU will not provide testing for symptomatic faculty or staff. You must quarantine while awaiting test results.

Students with questions about testing can contact the Student Health Center at 202-885-3380 and faculty and staff can contact Human Resources at

Affiliate Notification and DC Contact Tracing

In coordination with the DC Department of Health, American University will utilize an Affiliate Notification Program to ensure the timely identification of community member contacts when there is a confirmed COVID-19 case within the AU community. Students, faculty, and staff with a physical presence on campus and potential contact with other AU community members will be part of this program. These efforts do not replace contact tracing by DC Health officials, who remain responsible for complete contact tracing efforts throughout the DC community at-large.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and have had a physical presence on campus, you will be contacted by an AU COVID case coordinator to help connect you with any AU resources you may need. The coordinator will work with you to determine whether you had close contact with any AU community members. Once identified, the coordinator will notify these close contacts and provide them with preliminary quarantine guidelines and support resources. The date of potential exposure will be shared with close contacts, but generally no additional identifying information about you will be disclosed with other AU community members. Select information will be shared with DC Health to assist their contact tracing efforts. Questions regarding the Affiliate Notification Program can be sent to

COVID-19 Vaccinations

The COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed in different formats across different jurisdictions. States and localities established their own criteria, eligibility categories, and timelines. We recommend you sign up for vaccination updates from the health department in your local community–DCMarylandVirginia.

American University will not administer vaccines at this time. Please follow guidance from your local health department and/or health care provider about obtaining the vaccine when you become eligible. After you have been vaccinated, you still need to follow AU’s COVID-19 testing procedures.

Some state eligibility criteria are based on occupation and definitions of essential workers. Human Resources is working on a process for those employees who may need employment verification to qualify in certain categories. If you have specific questions about employment verification, please contact

Thank you for reviewing and complying with these critical health and safety measures. They are the foundation of our activity ramp up this spring, the mid-semester residential experience, and robust in-person opportunities throughout the summer and fall.

Be safe and be well.