Thanksgiving Travel and Covid-19 Testing Update
Dear students, staff and faculty,
After all we have endured since March 2020 — the loss of 5.1 million people worldwide, 766,000 right here in the U.S. — it is so deflating to see that COVID-19 cases are once again increasing across the country, Missouri, the greater St. Louis region, and to a lesser extent, on our St. Louis campuses.
It appears we may be entering a new pandemic wave.
This is not a trend we wish to see right now. Not before the winter holidays when friends and family are counting on gathering in celebration, unlike last year.
With that in mind, we write to provide some guidance and expectations for our University community members.
Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year. If you are traveling by public transportation, including by air, train or bus, your risk of exposure to COVID-19 can be high, especially when infection rates are rising.
General guidelines for everyone, regardless of your vaccination status:
- Do not travel if you have been exposed to COVID-19 and are awaiting test results, you are sick, or if you have tested positive for COVID-19.
- Wear a mask when taking public transportation.
- Perform hand hygiene frequently.
For those with a vaccine exemption:
- The CDC recommends that you delay travel until you are fully vaccinated.
- If you must travel, get tested before and after your trip.
After your travel
Upon returning home, we strongly encourage you to self-screen daily for symptoms of COVID-19. We expect you to report any symptoms that might be COVID-19 to Student Health (314-977-2323), Employee Health (314-257-8400), or to your primary care provider so that you may be screened by a health professional to see if you need to be tested before coming to campus or class.
For those with a vaccine exemption:
- We expect you to be tested 3 to 5 days after your travel.
For those who are fully vaccinated:
- We expect you will get tested if you develop symptoms or if you have been exposed to an infected person.
COVID-19 testing after Thanksgiving travel
Due to the rising infection rates regionally and on our St. Louis campuses, we are expanding our COVID-19 testing availability during the weeks of and after Thanksgiving. We have a testing clinic scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Simon Rec Center. We also are adding a testing clinic on Monday, Nov. 29 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. You do not need an appointment.
There also are other options available for you to obtain a COVID test, including at your local CVS and Walgreens. A full list of free COVID-19 community-based testing clinic options can be found here.
The state of Missouri offers free at-home COVID-19 testing. You can order a free test here. The kit is shipped to your address, instructions are provided for completing the test, and a free FedEx return label is provided to return your sample. Students living on campus may have the test kit shipped to their residence. If you lack transportation, you may bring your boxed sample to one of our on-campus testing or vaccination clinics, and we will take the sample to FedEx for you.
Flu season has begun and it is coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic. Flu infection rates are currently low across the U.S., but the rates have been increasing in recent weeks. We highly encourage our community members to get vaccinated.
Students may register for a flu shot through Student Health.
Flu shots also are available in retail pharmacies across the greater St. Louis region. You may find an appointment for a flu shot here.
Booster dose update
Today, the FDA approved a booster dose for all adults over the age of 18 years who completed their vaccine series with Pfizer or Moderna at least six months ago. Those who received the J & J vaccine at least two months ago were already eligible for a booster dose.
As soon as the CDC approves boosters for all adults and Missouri adds it to their standing orders, we will provide those booster doses through our vaccination clinics on campus. We expect this to happen by early next week. Stay tuned for more details.
As always, please email email@example.com if you can’t find the answer to your question on SLU’s website.
Thanks so much for your commitment to OneSLU and protecting the public health on our St. Louis campuses and in our city.
Stay safe and be well.
Terri Rebmann, Ph.D., RN, CIC, FAPIC
Special Assistant to the President
Director, Institute for Biosecurity
Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
College for Public Health and Social Justice