COVID-19 Update: Guidance for the Fall Semester
August 17, 2021
To members of the Saint Louis University community:
Beginning tomorrow, the Fall Semester COVID-19-prevention guidance goes into effect.
Our “COVID-19-Prevention Guidance When Out and About on Our St. Louis Campuses” accounts for near-universal vaccination participation among our students, staff and faculty who live, learn, work, teach, research and mission on the North and South Campuses and at our Law School.
The guidance relies upon four critical COVID-19-prevention safeguards:
- Being fully vaccinated or having a University-approved vaccine exemption.
- Wearing face masks when indoors.
- Health monitoring through daily symptom checks and periodic COVID-19 testing.
- Assisting our Contact Tracing Team.
All University Community members, as well as contractors who work on campus, must abide by the same COVID-19-prevention safeguards — regardless of whether they are vaccinated or unvaccinated. As with all things COVID-19, there are some exceptions noted in the guidance.
Our campuses are under the jurisdiction of the City Health Commissioner and the City’s reinstituted face mask mandate. Our Fall Semester Guidance includes the following COVID-19-prevention safeguards:
- Everyone must wear a face mask when inside any of our University buildings. These
include Pius Library, BSC, Boileau Hall, Schwitalla Hall, Learning Resources Center,
the common areas of all buildings, in classrooms, laboratories, performance spaces,
Simon Recreation Center, and athletics training and practice areas.
We understand the frustration of having to wear face masks while teaching, participating in classes, and gathering in study spaces together. However, this is a City requirement, and we must follow it — as good City neighbors and to control transmission of the COVID-19 Delta variant on and off campus.
- You don’t need to wear your face mask in your on-campus living space, your private
office space with the door closed, or while eating at a campus dining facility.
- You don’t need to wear your face mask outdoors, except in crowded outdoor settings.
- You are not required to be 6 feet apart from other persons, no matter if they are vaccinated or not.
- You are expected to conduct self-checks of your personal health every day, prior to
leaving your residence hall or on-campus apartment, or traveling to on-campus work.
Please be alert for symptoms similar to those of a cold, no matter how minor they may appear — again, regardless of whether you are vaccinated or not vaccinated. One or more of these symptoms may indicate a possible COVID-19 infection:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Low-grade fever
- Body aches
- If you have one or more symptoms, please immediately report your symptom(s) to the
Student Health Center [314-977-2323], Employee Health [314-257-8400] or your personal
physician. You should not leave your on-campus residence or travel to work on campus
until you have been cleared to do so.
- Face mask use, in and of itself, will help limit disease transmission. And potential
close contacts who are vaccinated or unvaccinated and wearing face masks will not
be quarantined. But they still will need to be tested.
- With the elimination of social distancing in our classrooms and labs, the Contact
Tracing Team will employ tools that permit speedier and more accurate understanding
of potential masked contacts in those spaces, while still maintaining the confidentiality
of their tracking and tracing, as best they can.
- Contact Tracers will need to be able to quickly obtain accurate information about
who was sitting/working together in our classrooms and other learning spaces on a
given day. Typically, students provide this information to our Contact Tracers, but
faculty will need to be prepared to share seating charts (or something similar) to
help our Contact Tracers easily identify close contacts.
Because different courses and pedagogies will require different approaches to this, the Provost's Office is working with deans, associate deans and the Reinert Center to develop guidance that balances instructional needs with Contact Tracing needs as efficiently as possible. That guidance is forthcoming this week.
- For the time being, access to Pius XII Memorial Library will remain by key card. No non-SLU persons will be permitted in the Pius Library without the escort of a SLU community member.
Through much of the last academic year, COVID-19 spread was very low on our St. Louis campuses. In fact, it was safer to be on our campuses than in our surrounding City neighborhoods and suburbs where disease transmission was much higher.
Let’s all work together to continue that extraordinary success this academic year.
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