Scaling Back Our COVID-19 Response
April 3, 2023
Dear members of the SLU community:
It has been three long years since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Three years!
The SLU community sacrificed, adapted, and acted in ways that prioritize care for one another – and we became a stronger University because of your incredible efforts. I will forever be grateful to each of you.
I am also grateful that we have moved into much brighter days. Thankfully, COVID infections on campus have been very low this spring. Student infections are at about 20 percent of what we experienced a year ago.
The federal government has recently announced that the public health emergency declaration will end on May 11, 2023. As we look toward that date, we continue to review the most recent science, as well as consult with faculty, staff and students.
We have started to take steady and substantive steps to scale back our COVID-19 mitigation measures.
Changes effective immediately
The University will no longer require COVID-19 vaccination for students or employees on our St. Louis campuses.
Be aware that we may, in the future, reinstate COVID-19 vaccine requirements to protect the well-being of our campus community. We continue to highly recommend that everyone stay up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccination, which has been shown to reduce the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.
We are closing our testing clinic on the ground floor of DuBourg Hall. The Student Health Center will take on all COVID-19 testing for students. Employees who need testing will be directed to local pharmacies, where testing is readily available.
Further, we will no longer require testing of close contacts (i.e., those who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19) as part of our contact tracing process. We encourage those who have been exposed to get tested on the timeline recommended by our contact tracing team. If a potential cluster of cases is identified, testing may be required for that specific group in order to reduce the likelihood of a widespread outbreak on campus.
Continued mitigation efforts
For now, we will maintain reporting and contact tracing processes intended to prevent widespread COVID-19 outbreaks and protect the most vulnerable in our community.
If you test positive for COVID-19, continue to follow the University’s required reporting steps and the instructions you receive from our contact tracing team. Our contact tracing team will advise you on isolation procedures. Do not return to work or classes until you are cleared to do so.
Members of the SLU community may continue to choose to wear face masks, in order to protect their own well-being and the health of their loved ones. In alignment with our values, we will continue to show respect and support for this choice.
We will continue to update our mitigation measures over the next few months, and we will keep you informed.
We are entering a new season. As the signs of spring emerge around us, I am filled with both hope and relief.
But even as our COVID response efforts fade into the background of campus life, we honor what we have learned and experienced over the last three years. We grieve for loved ones and lost moments. We remember the care and courage we brought to one another. We sacrificed and struggled, felt despair and found hope. We met unimaginable challenges as a community, and together we created our way forward.
I am proud of the SLU community, and I remain deeply grateful for the countless ways you sustained our shared mission.
May God continue to bless and watch over you and the entire SLU community.
Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.