COVID-19 Student Update: Preparing for the Fall
July 31, 2020
Dear students of Saint Louis University,
We have heard from many of you about how excited you are to come to or return to campus. We, the faculty and staff, are eager to see you again.
All of us knew months ago that the journey to this fall’s start would be different than previous years. Like you, we are watching the recent and sustained spike in COVID-19 cases in the nation and in the St. Louis region. We must live and work differently this fall.
When you reach campus, you will see that we have reconfigured classrooms, updated technology, instituted public health protocols and addressed the needs of students, faculty and staff who could most severely be affected by a COVID-19.
We still plan to bring students who have opted for an on-campus experience to our lower-density residence halls and classrooms. Of course, as I have said before, our decisions are subject to change based on new data and the guidance we receive from our public health experts.
If we are to make any changes to our plans, we will communicate them with you swiftly. That has been a priority for us since COVID-19 first challenged our operations months ago.
What You Need to Know Right Now
- Staff and faculty return to work: Our faculty and staff will continue to work from home in preparation for the start of the fall semester. We will soon share guidance for chairs, supervisors, staff and faculty on what to consider when returning to work on campus.
- Opting for online classes: You can still switch to online classes, with the exception of labs and other experiential
courses, as outlined by the Provost last week. Roughly 10 percent of students have chosen to take all of their classes online.
Additionally, 27 percent of all course sections are currently scheduled to be online
for other reasons.
Students who want to take their courses online should fill out this academic survey. We are tracking updated responses and will make the necessary changes as soon as possible on your course schedule in Banner
- Being public health vigilant before returning to campus: We strongly encourage all students to limit your exposure to others outside your
immediate family as much as possible, for two weeks before coming to campus. This
helps ensure you are coming to SLU healthy and ready for the fall term.
That two-week clock for some of you starts now. When considering this recommendation, I call on you to remember why you chose SLU over other college options. Our Jesuit mission requires us to be people who are for and with others. That sometimes –– particularly during a pandemic –– means sacrifices for the greater good.
- Our commitment to one another: You will soon hear about efforts to better demonstrate our shared commitment to
each other during this time of need. These efforts include our “Campus Commitment,”
which will require you to affirm your commitment to protecting the public health of
our community, including wearing a mask, adhering to social distance requirements
and following the other public health practices that are necessary for us to be in
community with one another. These practices are consistent with the City’s health
orders and guidelines.
All students, faculty and staff are required to sign this commitment before the start of the semester. More information on this is forthcoming.
As I have said before, this fall will not be business as usual. But we are committed to making this the best possible educational and residential experience for you Billikens, despite the restrictions presented by COVID-19. In addition to your education, your safety is always a priority.
I look forward to seeing you. It’s been too long.
Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.