COVID-19 Update: Summer Courses and Camps
April 14, 2020
Dear members of our Saint Louis University community,
It is with a heavy heart that I share our decision to move our summer 2020 courses to online delivery – with some exceptions that I will discuss below – and to cancel June summer camps and academies.
This is a disappointment to many of you. Having students of all ages come to our campus during the summer brings such a welcome light to all of our lives. Please know that this was not an easy decision to make, but one that we believe is in the best interests of the public health on our campus and in local communities.
Academic areas that are exempt
SLU’s School of Medicine, School of Law, and Center for Advanced Dental Education are exempt from these decisions. Those students enrolled in summer courses should expect to hear from their deans/directors soon.
Similarly, there will be exceptions granted for some critical labs that require in-person meetings. See the next section for more information.
Students scheduled to participate in summer clinical practicums will also learn about these efforts from their individual deans/directors.
Online summer coursework and labs
One week from today, April 21, the courses you see available in Banner will be our final summer offerings. That gives our faculty members and deans time to prioritize those offerings with an eye toward minimizing disruption for our students and their path to degree completion.
Courses that require extensive hands-on lab efforts will likely be cancelled, with some exceptions. We know that there are critical labs, such as gross anatomy, that our students rely on taking during the summer to proceed in programs. Solutions for these pivotal courses are being considered on a case-by-case basis and will be communicated directly to the students in those various cohorts. We recognize that participating in an in-person lab may not be feasible for every student and will be navigating solutions for students who might struggle with this decision on a case-by-case basis.
Please hear me when I say that we are working extremely hard to identify what those courses are and how we will proceed, potentially in-person with smaller lab sizes. We have an exemption process in place for deans to request specific in-person labs to proceed. (Note: At this time, the University cannot guarantee summer housing will be available for students who enroll in courses approved to continue in person.) Those exemptions will come to me for approval. Again, we expect those will be finalized in Banner by April 21.
These are difficult decisions and we understand they impact students, faculty members, and departments in multiple ways. I have asked each dean to send a communication to their own school/college within the next 24 hours that provides more details that their faculty, staff and students expect to know.
We also recognize that housing is an issue for many as they plan for the summer. Please understand that on-campus housing this summer may not be possible for those who aren’t already living on campus this spring. The Office of Housing and Residence Life is assessing this issue.
I have asked the deans to factor the housing issue into their decisions as we assess in-person course offerings.
SLU’s K-12 camps/academies, athletic camps, pre-college, access and TRIO programs, and our international immersion programs are also all cancelled at least through June. We will reevaluate programming for July and August before the end of May. Refund information will be provided shortly from the Summer-Winter Office.
We know this complicates the lives of many families who rely on summer camps. We also recognize how difficult this might feel, one week after Missouri schools announced closure through the academic year.
Families are longing for normalcy. We are, too. We are heartbroken that we cannot be part of your lives this summer, creating lifelong memories for future Billikens.
We also know that our students rely on working at these camps for summer jobs. To you, we also apologize.
Summer conferences, SLU 101
I expect you have more questions about topics such as SLU 101, summer conferences that we host at SLU, and, frankly, whether this suspension of in-person courses will continue into the Fall semester.
President Pestello has prioritized transparency with you, our faculty, staff, students and parents, any time a decision is made. Please know that we are committed to continuing that. When we have answers to these questions, we will share them. In the meantime, thank you for your patience.
Your continued grace and prayers make me confident that I am in the right place for this challenging moment in time.
Thank you, and God bless.
Chet Gillis, Ph.D.