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Guidance on Student Activities, Meetings and Events

Following Saint Louis University's successful fall and spring semesters of 2020-21, guidance for student activities, meetings and events during the COVID-19 pandemic has been updated by a working group composed of students, faculty and staff. 

This guidance applies to all activities, meetings and events which affect SLU’s student body, faculty and staff on the St. Louis campuses, and to all SLU’s divisions, departments and/or units that want to sponsor student-facing programs.

The information below assumes all required public health safeguards are followed at all times. Failure to comply with our public health safeguards and/or campus restrictions will result in Community Standards violations for students, and disciplinary actions for staff and faculty. Disregard for campus restrictions and/or repeated non-compliance at in-person gatherings, dining halls, and other community spaces will result in the suspension of allowed in-person activities.  

Please Note: SLU's COVID-based policies and guidance is based upon consensus science and data-driven recommendations from public health officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County and the state of Missouri. If, at any time, consensus science dictates that any of these authorities modify the restrictions, this guidance is subject to change. 

Updates at a Glance

  • Reservation of Spaces: As regular academic classroom use has resumed, most campus event spaces will again be available for reservation and use. Sponsoring organizations/departments/units will use “25Live!” and the Event Services staff to make space requests. The Designated Event Review committee will review only those activities, meetings and events defined as “external” by this updated guidance. 
  • Travel: An updated Interim Travel Policy is in effect for the fall semester. All members of the campus community are expected to review and comply with its guidance. (Learn about expectations for student travel this year.)
  • Face Masks: Regardless of vaccination status, SLU community members and visitors are still required to wear a face mask in most locations. (Learn more.) This includes large, indoor events that are open to visitors, guests, or ticket holders.
  • Events with Guests: Activities, meetings, and/or events which invite a large number of guests to any of our St. Louis campuses may have additional expectations and approvals to obtain. Some of SLU’s pre-COVID request and reservation forms or processes may be slightly modified to include this distinction. 
  • Food and Beverage: In accordance and compliance with current CDC, city and state guidance, most restrictions regarding food and beverage services have been lifted. However, external events should avoid the use of buffets in order to prevent lines, crowding, and congregating around the food.
  • Alternative Arrangements: Some individuals may remain apprehensive of gathering in person and/or large crowds. The University encourages all potential activity/meeting/event sponsors to consider COVID-19 anxieties while planning for in-person community engagement. Where possible, it is recommended that sponsors offer alternative arrangements for these people to remain connected to the University community.  
Defining “Internal” and “External” Campus Gatherings

During the fall 2021 term, the University will define activities/meetings/events as either an Internal or External event: 

  • Internal Activity/Meeting/Event: Examples include but are not limited to departments/units sponsoring a speaker/artist/researcher/entertainer for a campus community event where the intended audience is members of the campus community; inviting community vendors to campus for tabling; or guests coming to campus to meet with members of the SLU community. See our full definition of an internal event.
  • External Activity/Meeting/Event: Examples include but are not limited to: external vendors who want to use University facilities for their own activities/meetings/events (i.e. members of the campus community are not the intended audience); programs where a large number of guests are invited to campus for activities/meetings/events. See our full definition of an external event.

    University departments/units interested in hosting an external event should review the following additional considerations for inviting guests to campus:

    • Guests will be permitted on campus to participate in activities/meetings/events when they are deemed central to the University’s mission, academically focused, and/or student-facing.
    • Unvaccinated guests are expected to comply with guidances for unvaccinated individuals, both indoors and outdoors, issued by the CDC, the City of St. Louis Health Department and Saint Louis University.
    • University departments/units may host guests on campus, with the intent of direct interaction with members of the campus community.
    • Host departments/units have the agency to inquire about vaccination status on any of their individual registration forms, if deemed essential to the purpose of their event.
    • Public health circumstances may require attendees to be screened for their vaccination status.

Meeting and event sponsors are responsible for ensuring that attendees abide by all of SLU's COVID-prevention safeguards. They will be called upon to help our contact tracing team identify potential close contacts should a COVID-positive person have attended their meeting or event.

Role of Designated Event Review Committee

During the 2020-21 academic year, the University established a Designated Event Review Committee (DER) to review all proposals for in-person gatherings. This group’s purpose was to provide a single, fair and consistent review of the health and safety protocols of every in-person gathering. 

As COVID restrictions continue to be eased across our region and on campus, the need for monitoring the health and safety protocols of all campus events becomes less necessary. And, with academic instruction returning to regular classroom spaces and more event spaces being available for reservations, many elements of event planning have returned to pre-COVID operations and processes.  

However, the DER will continue to exist for selective review of activities, meetings and events which are deemed external events. This may include but is not limited to campus departments/units who wish to host a large number of guests on campus; vendors from outside the campus community who wish to contract our facilities for an activity, meeting or event which is independent of any University operations or sponsorship. External events, as defined within this guidance, must submit the DER form and gain approval from the DER before proceeding with their planned event. The DER will review submissions on a weekly basis throughout the semester. 

The DER includes representatives and/or designees from the vice president for student development, the provost’s leadership team, and facilities. As needed, they will also consult with SLU’s epidemiology experts when reviewing submissions. The DER will be provided administrative support from the Office of the Vice President for Student Development.   

Clarifying Guidelines of Shared University Spaces

The University owns and/or manages some facilities which are either shared community spaces (i.e. St. Francis Xavier College Church) or are located outside of our immediate campus geography.  

University departments/units who want to reserve College Church are expected to comply with SLU's permanent and temporary policies related to gatherings, activities/events/meetings, etc. Non-University organizations are bound by the guidelines of the Archdiocese and/or St. Francis Xavier College Church. 

Informal Activities (a.k.a., Hanging Out with Others) 

Members of the SLU community who are fully vaccinated or have obtained a University-approved COVID-vaccination exemption are invited and encouraged to gather with one another in-person without social distancing, both indoors and outdoors.  

In addition, all campus residents (those who reside in University housing) are expected to comply with the visitor policy from the Department of Housing and Residence Life. The University's current policy permits guests in all campus housing areas, pending they are checked in through the community hall desk areas. However, this is something which may be modified or restricted by the University if the city or county’s COVID infection rates rise.  

Events, Meetings and Tabling

Organizations, departments and/or units who want to sponsor campus events or meetings are welcome to do so. Student organizations should continue to use SLU Groups to submit an event for review and approval. Upon receiving approval, the organization will receive the necessary documentation to continue with a space reservation via “25Live!”  

As a reminder, in some cases it may remain necessary to continue to host virtual meetings. 

Tabling

At Saint Louis University, “tabling” is defined as an organization/department/unit reserving a table to distribute goods, information, sales and/or services. While tabling was prohibited last year, with the University’s vaccine requirement in place both indoor and outdoor tabling will now be permitted. 

Interim Travel Policy and Procedures

The University has approved an Interim Travel Policy for the fall 2021 semester. 

Student Travel

To assist with tracking of University-sponsored travel, students are required to submit a Travel Request Form. Not only does this form assist with the University’s compliance with other mandated policies (i.e. The Clery Act), it also helps us remain better informed of who is traveling, and where they are visiting. This form will be reviewed by a staff member in the Student Involvement Center, who will contact the sponsoring student organization to assist with booking and/or reserving travel accommodations.  This is especially imperative if the student organization wishes to utilize their Student Activity Fee allocation to finance their travel.

Students should keep in mind the following key items when planning University-related travel: 

  • It may take several days to collect necessary travel details and confirm arrangements. Students should submit the Travel Request form a minimum of 45 days in advance to permit all processes to occur. 
  • When submitting a travel request, the form will ask for the following information for each student:
     
    • Full legal name
    • Date of Birth
    • Banner ID Number
  • Each approved travel request will receive a “Trip ID,” a tracking number which will accompany all transactions associated with the travel. These IDs can only be issued by a member of SLU’s faculty or staff. 
  • Travel requests should include the following: the start and end date of the trip; the purpose of the travel; and the full name and address of any facility where the group will be residing.  
  • For organizations who wish to use Student Activity Fee funding, their trip expenses will be computed with the same formula and guidance as set forth in the funding directives. 
  • By submitting a travel request and using a Trip ID, a student is confirming that they are fully vaccinated or will comply with the 10-day quarantine requirement upon return from University-sponsored travel.

Possible Changes to Campus Restrictions 

Students frequently ask what conditions might lead to changes in campus restrictions. 

Unless there is a drastic change in the pandemic epidemiology, SLU should not need to implement additional restrictions on campus for vaccinated individuals. However, the Delta variant or any new SARS-CoV-2 variant could force us to implement new restrictions on campus, even among vaccinated students.

Possible examples of increased restrictions, especially for unvaccinated students, could include: 

  • Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing on a one-time or ongoing basis
  • Switching to pick up/carry out meals only
  • Other possible restrictions

Note: the Student Involvement Center will continue to provide updates to Frequently Asked Questions related to campus activities/meetings/events. 

Definitions 

Campus Community Member

Defined as students, faculty, staff and/or employees (including contract employees) who fall under the University’s Vaccine Requirement, requiring vaccine attestation or approved exemption by August, 1, 2021.

Event

Under the University’s interim policies, an event is defined as “a gathering hosted by a recognized department, unit, or organization with an open invitation and advertisement to interested attendees.” 

In the context of student organizations, it’s important to note that an event may sometimes be limited to a subset of the student population (those “interested attendees”). Events typically are structured, planned, advertised experiences that rely on a space reservation; rent or borrow tables, tents, chairs, and other furniture; distribute food and/or other items; and/or feature a formal program of speakers, performers, etc.   

  • Internal Event: Fewer than 10% of the attendees are classified as guests,  meaning that more than 90% of attendees will be in compliance with the University’s vaccine requirement. This event can be held without social distancing requirements.
  • External Event: Greater than 10% of the attendees are considered guests from outside the Saint Louis University campus community. These activities/events may have modified or more restrictive public health guidelines, depending upon the extent of disease transmission in St. Louis.
Guest

Any non-SLU community member who is not covered under the University’s Vaccine Requirement. This may include but is not limited to families of campus community members, contracted speakers/educators/researchers/performers invited to campus, or individuals invited to participate in University sponsored activities.  

Meeting

Under the University’s interim policies, a meeting is defined as “a gathering hosted by a recognized department, unit or organization with an invited and closed list of attendees.” For the purposes of student groups, it might be helpful to think of meetings as structured, formal sessions where business or other work is conducted. In the case of CSOs, formal meetings also may include a more open invitation for interested attendees (e.g., a general body organization meeting). 

Tabling

At Saint Louis University, “tabling” is defined as an organization/department/unit reserving a table to distribute goods, information, sales and/or services. During the 20-21 academic year, this was prohibited due to the concerns regarding distribution, and the inability to provide accurate contact tracing should someone become infected. However, with the University’s decision on mandatory vaccine status for fall 2021, and changes in the CDC/city guidance, tabling would be permitted during the fall semester, both in/outdoors and following the University’s pre-COVID process to request space. 

Travel

Travel, which falls under the University’s Interim Travel Policy, is considered any University-sponsored trip where at least one night (minimum) will be spent away from campus.