Fall 2021 Protocols

As we begin the Fall 2021 semester, Wake Forest has united in our collaborative efforts to have a fully operational campus. From listening to faculty, staff and students, we are aware of various concerns regarding the emergence of the Delta variant of COVID-19. We have created a set of guidelines regarding public health expectations and our approach to the fall semester in response to the ongoing pandemic and concerns regarding the Delta variant. The following protocols are implemented in support of the University COVID-19 Policy.

Protocols for the Fall 2021 Semester

Last Updated: August 19, 2021 (faculty, staff and students will be notified of changes by email)

COVID-19 Vaccinations

  • FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be highly effective in protecting against severe illness and hospitalization caused by all known variants of COVID-19 and is the best way to resume a sense of normalcy. As of August 16, more than 90% of faculty and staff and more than 97% of students submitted proof of vaccination or indicated the intent to get vaccinated upon arrival if unable to do so in their home country.

Indoor Masks to Begin the Semester

  • Beginning August 16, masks are required indoors, regardless of vaccination status, except as provided below. We anticipate this will be a temporary measure, subject to the mayor’s order and our campus conditions.
  • The following exceptions are currently in effect regarding indoor masking:
    • Masks may be removed while actively eating and drinking.
    • Masks may be removed when in private individual offices or in one’s own residence hall room.
    • While masks are required in all classrooms, faculty who provided proof of vaccination may opt to remove their masks when teaching or presenting if they are able to remain at least 10 feet from the audience. Classrooms will not be set up or assigned to accommodate any further distancing from the presenter than currently exists in the assigned space. The Provost’s Office and/or Deans will provide further information about classroom guidelines.
  • Masks are not required for anyone in outdoor settings.
  • Individuals may choose to wear masks for a variety of personal reasons. Please respect their privacy regarding these choices.

COVID-19 Testing

  • Reporting Positive Tests
    • Students who receive a positive COVID-19 test result off campus must notify Student Health Service by sending positive test results to  wfuwellness@nullwakehealth.edu.
    • Faculty and staff who receive a positive COVID-19 test result off campus must notify their supervisor and the Faculty and Staff Clinic.
  • Asymptomatic Testing (for individuals who have not provided proof of vaccination, who are not fully vaccinated, or who have received an exemption to a University vaccination requirement) 
    • Asymptomatic weekly testing will begin August 24 for students and August 16 for faculty and staff. Testing, managed by WF BestHealth, will be held in Room B274 of the Wellbeing Center. 
    • Faculty and staff failing to participate in asymptomatic testing may be subject to corrective action up to and including suspension or termination. 
    • Students failing to participate in asymptomatic testing may be subject to the appropriate student conduct process. 
  • Diagnostic Testing (for individuals exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19)
    • Diagnostic testing for students is available at the Student Health Service.
    • Diagnostic testing for faculty and staff is available through the Faculty and Staff Clinic.
  • Post-Exposure Testing (for individuals who may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19)
    • Students, faculty and staff must comply with University directives for COVID-19 testing after an exposure to COVID-19, as guided by public health recommendations.

Quarantine and Isolation

  • Isolation:
    • Students, faculty and staff who have been confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 will be required to follow CDC guidelines for isolation.
    • Residential students who receive a positive test, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, may isolate in designated rooms. Students may also choose to isolate at another location, such as their permanent home address, while following CDC guidance.
    • Faculty and staff will receive guidance on isolation protocols from the Faculty and Staff Clinic.
  • Quarantine:
    • Students, faculty and staff who have been exposed to COVID-19 through close contact with an infected individual will be required to remain in quarantine based on CDC and University guidelines.
    • Vaccinated, asymptomatic faculty, staff and students exposed to COVID-19 do not have to be quarantined, but will be advised to wear a mask, monitor symptoms and receive a test 3-5 days after exposure. 
    • Faculty and staff will receive guidance on quarantine protocols from the Faculty and Staff Clinic.
  • Unvaccinated residential students exposed to COVID-19 must quarantine for 10 days and may do so in designated rooms. Students may also choose to quarantine at another location, such as their permanent home address, while following CDC guidance.
    • Unvaccinated students who receive a negative test 3-5 days after exposure will still need to quarantine for the full 10-day period.
    • Unvaccinated faculty and staff will receive guidance protocols from the Faculty and Staff Clinic. 
  • Resources:


  • All undergraduate (99%) and most professional school classes will be taught in person.
  • Classrooms will not be set up or assigned to accommodate any more social distancing than exists in a space.
  • For guidance about or assistance with acoustics and speech reinforcement in classrooms, please call 336-758-4357 (HELP) or send an email to the Help Desk (help@nullwfu.edu) for consultation.

Campus Life

  • There are no COVID-19 related requirements for gathering size limits, social distancing or additional masking requirements other than those addressed in the masking section for events, performances and organizational meetings.
  • Consistent with prevailing public health protocols, most University facilities — including classrooms, teaching and research laboratories, libraries, common spaces and administrative spaces — will operate at full capacity.
  • Campus housing will operate at normal occupancy.
  • Dining halls and campus retail dining outlets will operate at reduced capacities while taking advantage of increased outdoor seating areas.

Events and Large Gatherings

  • Event venues may be utilized, using the usual EMS reservations system, subject to public health protocols in effect at the time of the event. 
  • Event venues can be used at full capacity.
  • Visitors (anyone other than students, faculty and staff) must wear a mask when attending indoor gatherings on campus. Organizers of events should convey this expectation to attendees.
  • Catered events are allowed at this time however masks must be worn when not actively eating or drinking.


  • Spectators will be permitted to attend athletic competitions on campus.  
  • For volleyball competitions in Reynolds Gym, all spectators, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear masks. 
  • Masks are not required at outdoor competitions for men’s and women’s soccer and field hockey.
  • Protocols for football games at Truist Field will be announced closer to the date of the first game, which is September 3, 2021.

Medical Accommodations

Visitor Guidelines

  • Visitors are welcome on campus, subject to any public health protocols in effect at the time of their visit (e.g., indoor masking at present).
  • University academic and residential buildings will be accessible by key card access only.
  • University administrative buildings, including Reynolda Hall, ZSR Library, Benson Center, Wellbeing Center, Wait Chapel and Davis Chapel and certain athletics buildings are accessible to visitors, subject to the current visitor mask policy and restrictions specific to particular buildings.
  • Resources


  • University-sponsored domestic travel has resumed, subject to normal departmental budgetary approval.
  • All Wake Forest-sponsored/funded international travel for faculty, staff and students requires pre-authorization from the University’s Travel Authorization Team. Prior to undertaking or committing to any Wake Forest-sponsored international travel, all individuals/groups are required to complete the Wake Forest-Sponsored International Travel Pre-Authorization Form.

Study Abroad/Away

  • Study abroad programs have been confirmed for the fall semester, with nearly 350 students planning to be away. Protocols are in place to align with Wake Forest expectations and any local overseas requirements. By requiring vaccines for our Wake Forest programs, student entry into their host countries is easier and less restrictive. 
  • Students on Wake Forest study abroad programs are discouraged from traveling outside their host country. The Personal/Independent Travel Policy for Wake Forest Study Abroad Programs outlines limitations on university support and additional requirements for those who engage in cross-border travel.  
  • The Wake Washington study away program will operate at full capacity, adhering to Wake Forest and local requirements/protocols. 

Decision Tree for student COVID-19 exposure

COVID-19 Exposure

If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, these decision-tree diagrams will help you understand what to do next.

Students »
Faculty / Staff »