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Update on COVID-19 Testing for Students

Aug. 11, 2020

Dear Billiken Companions,  

I write at the end of a long first official day of Fall Welcome/Move-In to provide you with a few reminders as we continue testing this week. 

Overall, the process has gone pretty well. We are learning a lot and want to provide you with some reminders and information that could help to reduce wait times in the testing line. We know the testing line can take a while to move through (as much as two hours during peak times), but we also know there are periods in the day when there is no waiting at all. We apologize for the wait — believe me, if we could test more of you at once or make the process go faster, we absolutely would! 

Here are some key reminders and other information that will help you get through this process as efficiently as possible.

Testing Center Arrival and Wait Times

Wait times in the testing center vary depending on a number of factors. One thing to know: unless you were originally assigned the first move-in slot of the day, arriving early to “beat the line” will only make your wait time longer, since the assigned blocks are staggered.

And just a reminder: Families won’t enter the Simon Recreation Center when students go inside for their test; they can meet their student at the south entrance to the building on Laclede Avenue, where students will exit.

Don’t Forget to Conduct Symptom Self-Check before You Arrive to Campus

As we mentioned on Monday, if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms (fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of smell or taste, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea) that cannot be explained by another condition, contact the Student Health Center (SHC) immediately at 314-977-2323. Do not come to campus or enter campus buildings until you have talked with a nurse at the SHC. (You heard earlier this afternoon about the CampusClear Symptom Checking App we’ll all be using this fall. It is a great tool to help you assess whether you have symptoms of COVID-19.)

Early-Arrival Residents Who Have Not Yet Been Tested

If you had an early arrival and moved in last week, you do need to be tested. We are recommending that you plan to come on Thursday afternoon before 3 p.m. If that doesn’t work for you, you can always be tested during the time block assigned to your floor. Please note: if you receive a negative test result, you should take the testing information sheet you receive with that result to the check-in desk at your building or give it to your Residence Hall Coordinator, so that we know you’ve been tested.

Students Who Have Recovered from COVID-19 Previously

We’re making one adjustment to our testing procedure for students who have previously contracted COVID-19 AND who have documentation that indicates they are cleared from isolation. In these instances, students may continue to test positive for some time, even though they no longer need to be in isolation. Rather than starting at the testing center, these students are encouraged to contact the Student Health Center (SHC) at 314-977-2323 between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. and speak with a nurse about whether they need to be tested. If the SHC determines a student does not need to be tested, the student will receive an email confirmation they can show at the check-in for their assigned housing unit. If the SHC determines a student does need to be tested, the student can make their way to Simon Recreation Center. 

Off-Campus Students

We know students who live near or off campus want to know if asymptomatic testing will be available for them. At this time, we are still working to determine whether it is feasible to provide some testing to off-campus students once we have tested all residential students. We hope to have additional information for you about this later in the week.

Students Who Are Currently in Quarantine or Isolation

We also want to give a shout out to Billikens who may currently be in quarantine (because they had a close contact who tested positive for COVID-19) or in isolation (because they themselves tested positive). We know it’s disappointing and frustrating not to be able to move in this week or to start classes in person next Monday. But please know you’re with us in spirit, and we can’t wait for you to move in when you are able to do so. We’ll have more information to share soon on how we’ll approach move-in for students who will be arriving to campus late.

Thanks for your patience during this process — and thanks for the amazing energy you are bringing back to campus. SLU feels truly alive for the first time in months. I know the testing line can be long at times. Please know that we are grateful for your patience, and grateful to be able to bring you to campus.

Looking forward to seeing those who can be here safely this fall -- and looking forward to connecting virtually for those who will be learning from a distance!

Debra Rudder Lohe, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)
Interim Vice President for Student Development