COVID-19 Update: Testing, Events and Upcoming Information
Aug. 7, 2020
Dear Saint Louis University students and parents,
Thank you for your continued patience with us as we prepare for the fall semester. With just 9 days until the new term begins, I write to share a few important updates. We have been working on most of these items for weeks, and are eager to share this preliminary information with you — even as we work toward finalizing the details you are eager to know.
- Testing residential students for COVID-19: With the recent increases in COVID-19-positive cases in many areas across the country,
including St. Louis, and the sudden availability of testing options, we will expand
our student testing protocols.
We intend to test all residential students at move-in. We plan to use a nasal swab test that provides results within 15 minutes. If a student tests positive upon arrival to campus, they can choose to return home for 10 days with their family and start the semester remotely, or move immediately into alternative, isolation housing on campus for 10 days.
We expect this information will raise many questions for those moving in next week. We will send more information about testing locations and details in the next few days.
We are still considering the extent to which we can test students who live off campus and exploring ways to conduct regular testing of asymptomatic students on campus during the semester. As soon as we have more information to share, we will do so.
- In-person events this fall: We have decided to cancel all in-person events this fall. We know this is incredibly
This decision is based on public health guidance about social gatherings and our need to repurpose event spaces as classrooms this fall. The Wool Ballrooms, for example, will host some introductory science courses.
Small group meetings of 10 people or fewer will be possible, assuming public health protocols are followed. Student organizations will soon receive more information that will specify what this means for this fall.
Our connection to each other remains paramount. Group meetings larger than 10 will have to be held virtually. Creativity and innovation are key this fall.
Please stay tuned for more information on how we will host some of our traditional fall events online.
- Symptom-tracking app: We are finalizing plans to launch a smartphone app and web link for daily health
checks consisting of symptom and temperature screening. As we have said before, daily
symptom checks are mandatory for everyone who is living, working and learning on campus.
Once the system is completed, we will share information about how to download and
use the new tool.
- Contact tracing: We are adding an internal contact tracing team, in partnership with the city’s public health authorities. This will allow us to rapidly identify potentially exposed individuals who need to be placed into quarantine and thus limit spread of the disease on campus. This team will include public health and medical school faculty and students.
I appreciate your continued patience and understanding. Though we do not have all of the answers, in this quickly shifting environment, we are working hard to get you as much information as we can.
The past few months have been incredibly intense for all of us as we plan for the fall. Please join me in thanking the faculty, staff, and administrators at SLU for their unwavering dedication to you, our students, and to our noble mission.
We are OneSLU.
Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.