To undergraduate students,

Welcome to Wake Forest to all first-year students, and welcome home to our sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Your presence in the community has brought our campus to life again, and we are all very happy you are here. I recognize you have arrived on campus in a world that is vastly different than last fall, and all the fall semesters that came before. The global pandemic has changed life as we knew it to be. And though we long for “normalcy,” there is a new “normal” we must accept in order to stay at Wake Forest, stay healthy, and protect vulnerable people on campus and in your families.

You will have seen a message from President Hatch about the stakes being high for this semester. I write you now to clarify some of our COVID policies and compliance measures that will help us have a safe semester and campus experience that we all want to last until Thanksgiving.

What Do I Need to Do COVID-wise?

We want to be sure you know in practical terms what we need you to do. We all know by now that protecting ourselves and others from COVID requires masking, physical distancing, handwashing, and good sneeze/cough etiquette. Here are the things in greater detail that we ask of all students (and faculty and staff too):

  • If indoors, wear a mask. The exceptions would be in your residence hall room (alone) or if you are showering or eating. You are expected to wear a mask when leaving your room and when in any campus building. It is that simple.
  • If outdoors, wear a mask if you are in a group of people and/or cannot maintain six feet of distance between you and the next person. Pro tip: much of the time when you are just walking around campus, you might not know when you are going to run into other people and want to talk to them, so it is highly recommended to wear your mask when walking around campus.
  • If outdoors and you are in a group activity that involves elevated breathing (e.g., “Spikeball”, soccer, etc.), both masks and 10 feet of distance are required.
  • Whether indoors or outdoors, always maintain six feet of distance between you and another person.

The simplest rule to go by is to wear a mask all the time. We know this isn’t ideal. All of us wish we did not have to observe this rule. But in this global pandemic, wearing a mask is a necessity whenever you might have contact with others. Consider it a part of an outfit you wear every day, like shoes or pants. And maintain six feet of distance from other people all the time, both outdoors and indoors. Wash your hands frequently and for 20 seconds or more (or use hand sanitizer) and cover coughs and sneezes. You are also expected to monitor and report symptoms with SneezSafe every day (including weekends).

What’s the Bottom Line?

We need every student’s help to ensure that our community members are not acting in a way that could endanger our ability to have a successful semester. We must be sure we don’t negatively impact the health of our front-line staff, faculty, and students, and we don’t want to close campus and go home. If we all work together, we can meet our goal of having a successful semester on campus.

Thank you for doing your part for the good of our whole community.


Adam Goldstein, Ph.D.
Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students