COVID-19 Updates for Fall 2022
August 10 2022
Dear members of the SLU community,
We are eager to welcome you to campus later this month.
Your health and well-being — and that of other University community members — continue to be a central priority. The student well-being task force has recently updated you on their final recommendations, some of which are already in motion.
The University’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts are part of our plans to support the health and well-being of all Billikens.
This email provides an overview of our COVID-19 safeguards for the fall semester.
Contents of this email include:
- SLU’s approach to COVID-19 mitigation
- Required vaccination
- COVID-19 testing
- If you develop COVID-like symptoms
- Contact tracing
- Recent COVID-19 infection
- Support & isolation for students with COVID-19
- Support & isolation for employees with COVID-19
- Face masks & care for vulnerable community members
- KN95 respirators are available
- Future updates & potential actions
SLU’s approach to managing COVID-19
As a community, we are adjusting to living with the new strains of COVID-19. This fall, our approach to managing COVID-19 seeks to minimize disruptions to our everyday lives, as we take necessary steps to suppress widespread outbreaks on campus, reduce the risk of severe disease, and protect the vulnerable members of our community.
Almost all aspects of campus life have returned to pre-pandemic conditions. We will not be limiting capacity at events, requiring proof of vaccination for campus visitors, implementing physical distancing in our campus spaces, nor restricting university-sponsored travel.
Our layered approach to COVID-19 suppression is described in the remainder of this email.
As President Pestello said in his June 22 message, all employees and students who will be physically present on SLU’s St. Louis campuses this fall semester must have received the primary COVID-19 vaccination series.
- The vast majority of our students, staff and faculty are already vaccinated. Because our University community is highly vaccinated, we can be together in community and reduce the likelihood of serious illness and hospitalization from COVID-19.
- New graduate and undergraduate students, and new employees and contractors must provide documentation of their COVID-19 vaccinations to our online portal.
- Note that the CDC has now added the protein-based Novavax vaccine to its approved list of vaccinations, along with the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine series.
SLU will not be requiring asymptomatic surveillance testing of our residential students when they return to campus this month. However, all students are expected to obtain a COVID-19 test prior to moving into an on-campus residence. You will not be required to submit proof of your test results. We are doing this on the honor system.
- For students who wish to get a test on campus during move-in, COVID-19 testing will be available at the Simon Recreation Center basketball courts on August 18, 19, 20, and 21, from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
- We also encourage you to obtain a supply of at-home tests to have on hand. You can order a number of free tests from the U.S. government or purchase them at local pharmacies.
We will not be conducting any ongoing surveillance testing at this time. If local or campus conditions warrant, we may implement some limited asymptomatic testing for specific periods in the future.
If you develop COVID-like symptoms
All community members should take the following steps if you develop COVID-like symptoms:
- Do not leave your living space or come to campus to work or study.
- Students should contact Student Health (314-977-2323) or your primary care provider so that you may be screened by a health professional to determine if you need to be tested.
- Employees should contact their primary care provider to speak to a health professional about the need to be tested. Employees should contact SLU’s Contact Tracing team at 314-977-7580 or firstname.lastname@example.org for information about when/how to be tested or report a positive test result.
- Wait until you get the okay to return to campus or class before you do so.
It is essential that all members of the SLU community participate in contact tracing processes. This helps us to identify and contain potential campus transmission and disease outbreaks.
- Students who test positive for COVID-19 or who think they have been in close contact with a COVID-positive individual should contact Student Health at 314-977-2323.
- Employees who test positive for COVID-19 or think they have been in close contact with a COVID-positive individual should email email@example.com or call 314-977-7580.
- Contact tracers will reach out to you, ask you questions, and give you instructions that you are required to follow.
You may be notified either by phone or email by our contact tracing team that you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. You are required to respond within 12 hours and to follow their instructions.
- The contact tracer will let you know when to seek required testing.
- On-campus testing will be available to you at no cost, though you can seek testing at a pharmacy or healthcare provider if you prefer to do so.
Quarantine will be required for unvaccinated persons in some circumstances. Your contact tracer will let you know if this applies to your situation.
Recent COVID-19 infection
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You must include proof of your positive test result if you have it.
We will enter the information in our contact tracing database. This may exempt you from required testing and will streamline the contact tracing process if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19.
Support & isolation for students infected with COVID-19
Students who test positive for COVID-19 must contact Student Health at 314-977-2323, and they will receive further instruction and support.
- Our COVID-19 response team will work with each student to determine where and for how long they must remain in isolation. It is essential that students follow their instructions.
- We will follow a shortened isolation protocol, with a negative antigen test required to leave isolation. You must be released from isolation by Student Health.
- Students infected with COVID-19 will receive resources to support their physical, mental, and academic well-being as they recover.
Support & isolation for employees infected with COVID-19
Employees who test positive for COVID-19 must email email@example.com or call 314-977-7580.
- If you have COVID, you should not report to work on campus. You should remain at home, isolate and recover from your COVID infection.
- Since the start of the pandemic, the University has provided employees access to an additional 80 hours of sick leave to ensure individuals have paid time off in the event of a COVID-related absence.
- Our COVID-19 Response Team will provide a timely clearance to return to work once you meet the criteria for ending your isolation period. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange your return to work.
- Employees with clinical responsibilities must also follow the return-to-clinical guidelines from their clinical site. Contact 314-257-8400 for information.
Face masks & care for vulnerable community members
Face masks are only required in healthcare or clinical settings where patient encounters are likely.
- This includes the Student Health Center, University Counseling Center, Center for Counseling and Family Therapy, Psychological Services Center, Interdisciplinary Center for Autism Services, Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic, the Center for Advanced Dental Education, and COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinics.
Face masks are optional in all other campus settings, with the expectation that we will live our Jesuit values as we interact with one another. There are members of our community who are vulnerable to severe COVID-19 infection, or who live with or are caring for vulnerable loved ones.
As a community, we have a shared expectation that we will show care for the well-being of others by putting on a face mask when we interact with someone who is wearing a face mask. This means:
- You should carry a mask with you.
- If you approach someone to have a conversation and they are wearing a mask, please put on your mask.
- If you are just passing someone in the hallway who is masked, you do not need to put on your mask.
- If an instructor chooses to wear a mask while teaching or if a student wears a mask while in class, this does not mean that the entire class must be masked for the length of class. But if you are actively engaging with a masked faculty member or student in a small group or individual interaction, go ahead and put on your mask.
KN95 respirators are available
We will also continue to show care for members of vulnerable groups by providing high-quality respirators to those who request them.
- Evidence tells us that wearing a high-quality respirator can minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19, even in a mask-optional setting.
- SLU has obtained a supply of KN95 respirators to support our community members who wish to have a more protective mask/respirator.
- If you would like to obtain a KN95, please email email@example.com.
Future updates and potential actions
If you have COVID-19-related questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will keep you posted with timely updates and reminders. You can expect that we will make occasional adjustments to our COVID management strategies based on changing circumstances and the latest consensus science. It is possible that we could introduce additional COVID-mitigation practices (e.g., a temporary requirement to wear masks in certain settings) if we encounter an increase in cases on campus or a new virus variant.
Whatever may arise, we can be sure of this: We have a robust toolkit of evidence-based practices, a highly successful record of managing COVID on campus, and a compassionate community that cares for one another.
I look forward to seeing you soon, and I’m excited for the year ahead.
Stay safe and be well.
Terri Rebmann, Ph.D., RN, CIC, FAPIC
Special Assistant to the President
Director, Institute for Biosecurity
Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
College for Public Health and Social Justice