COVID-19 Update: Guidance as Some Return to Campus
May 15, 2020
Dear members of our Saint Louis University community,
Earlier this week, city officials outlined COVID-19 infection-prevention procedures that must be in place Monday, May 18, to protect the health of our students, staff and faculty whenever they are on our St. Louis campuses.
We are preparing plans to slowly and deliberately reopen our campus for work. All of you who are working from home, please keep at it, as trying as that may be for many of us.
In a University community where we live for and with others, each of us must abide by several critical public health protocols for the foreseeable future. Though you or I may not be part of an at-risk population, many who we know and care about are. The following public health practices apply any time, indoors and outdoors, whether we are working, studying, living, relaxing at or visiting North Campus, South Campus, the Law School and non-clinical settings of SLUCare. They also must be utilized in all common areas of our residence halls, including hallways, restrooms and dining facilities, and on our shuttles.
- Stay at least 6 feet apart from other people.
- Wear a face mask.
Exceptions: Employees who are working alone in enclosed, private workspaces — not cubicles or shared workspaces — and students who are alone in their University-assigned housing units are free to remove their face masks. A mask is not required when you are outdoors and 6 feet of social distancing can be maintained with reasonable assurance or predictability. Of course, a mask may be removed when you are eating in a campus dining facility or restaurant.
An emergency University policy regarding face masks will be issued soon. It will provide
more details about when and where face masks are required.
All units and divisions will be providing cloth face masks to their essential, non-clinical staff who are working on campus. Other staff, faculty and students who are visiting campus (picking up a delivery, for example), and students who are living on campus should wear a cloth face mask of their own, provided it meets CDC standards. As plans are implemented to gradually return staff and faculty to campus, more cloth face masks will be made available.
- Keep group activities in which you are participating to no more than 10 persons. Group members must still remain physically distant from one another by at least 6 feet and wear face masks.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use a hand sanitizing solution.
Facilities Management is installing some 800 touchless hand sanitizer dispensers in buildings throughout the campus. As plans are implemented to gradually reopen campus for work, Facilities Management will supply bottles of sanitizers for work, research and classroom spaces.
- Call Employee Health at 314-268-5499 or the Student Health Center at 314-977-2323, if you are experiencing any one of the following symptoms. And, please, do not report to work if you have:
- Fever at or above 100.4 degrees
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle pain
- Loss of taste or smell
- Other less common symptoms including gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Inform your supervisor if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. It’s important
that none of us risk spreading the virus to others on- and off-campus.
Each workday, all supervisors will be required to conduct a simple health screening of their essential staff. Initially, the screening will be in the form of a questionnaire. Temperature checks will be a key part of daily health assessments.
Depending upon the work unit, employees may be required to take their own temperature at home before coming to work and reporting their temperature to their supervisor. It’s also possible that temperature checks may be performed at work using infrared thermometers. We recognize that there are a lot of complexities when it comes to temperature taking. For now, this will be a work in progress.
Currently, fewer than 500 essential, non-clinical staff are working on campus each day. They include staff in DPS, Facilities Management, Student Development, HR, and ITS. We are expecting that about 50 students will live in our residence halls over the summer. All must abide by these practices. SLUCare and School of Medicine faculty and staff may be directed to adhere to other public health protocols unique to the delivery of healthcare.
I want to underscore our appreciation for our local governmental officials. The City’s order provided much-needed clarity to the University’s responsibilities as the St. Louis area begins reopening the local economy while remaining vigilant to prevent disease spread.
We understand that some staff and faculty are itching to return to their workspaces, but the fact is that may not occur for several weeks. Reopening guidance will be distributed to VPs and Deans next week. They will need time to prepare their reopening plans and submit them for review.
We must go about reopening our campus with thought and care. We cannot risk creating our own COVID-19 hot spot. That would put lives at risk and set back our reopening by months. We must do all we can to protect those essential employees who have been keeping our campus safe, clean and ready for our eventual return. So, please be patient.
Those who live through historical events are seldom aware of it in the moment. It is only years after the fact upon further reflection that we realize we were part of a once-in-a-generation event.
When historians inquire how SLU responded to this pandemic, I hope that they will discover what I have witnessed in all of us — a community that, when faced with endless opportunities to turn inward and allow fear to consume us, chose a different path. We chose the path of kinship, generosity, and service. Upon hearing the boundless uncertainty, suffering, and moments of joy, they will see that we chose the path of responding with a resounding, “we feel that too.”
They will not have to look long to understand the meaning of OneSLU.
May God bless you and Saint Louis University.
Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.
Previous Updates to the SLU Community
- May 14 (Test-Optional Admission)
- May 12 (Fall 2020 Planning)
- May 4 (Budget Next Steps)
- April 23 (Budget)
- April 16 (Extension of Stay-at-Home Orders)
- April 14 (Summer Courses and Camps)
- April 10 (Video/The Light of SLU Shines Bright)
- April 7 (Tradition and Opportunity for this Holy Week)
- April 5 (Taking Care of Our Own)
- April 3 (Heading into the Weekend)
- April 3 (Grading Policy Changes)
- April 2 (Commencement)
- March 30
- March 27
- March 26
- March 25
- March 24
- March 23
- March 22
- March 21
- March 20
- March 19
- March 18
- March 17
- March 16 (Evening)
- March 16
- March 15
- March 14
- March 13 (Evening)
- March 13
- March 12 (Evening)
- March 12
- March 11
- March 10
- March 3
- March 3 (Parents)
- February 4
- January 30
- January 27