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COVID-19 Update March 23

Dear members of the Saint Louis University community, 

I want to start with great news: Our colleague who works in Wuller Hall has tested negative for COVID-19 (see our March 16 campus update for background). We are relieved and thankful.  

Unfortunately, at least two more students – neither of whom have been on campus – have tested positive during the past several days. These students had traveled abroad and all are isolating at their respective off-campus residences (both in and outside of Missouri). 

Thank you for your patience and prayers for the Billiken community. You prove that we truly are OneSLU. 

St. Louis’ “stay at home” order 

As you know, at 6 p.m. today, the City of St. Louis’ “stay at home” order goes into effect. This severely restricts all movement about the city. The intent is to curb the continued spread of COVID-19. There are exceptions, such as visiting the doctor, and going to get food and other essentials, like prescription drugs.  

What this means for SLU 

Saint Louis University made a formal request of the City of St. Louis to receive an exemption so we can continue to keep some core functions open for students who are still living on campus, such as the library.  

Unfortunately, until (or unless) we receive that exemption, Pius Library will close at 6 p.m. today until further notice. Those students living on campus who have immediate technology needs should email

While there is no clear education exemption in the city’s order, we are confident that there are several key areas we can and must continue to operate for those students who are still living on campus, and for the greater community. Those include:  

We want to remind everyone that while you may fall into one of the exception categories, and thus be able to work on campus, it is required that you maintain appropriate social distancing. Per previous guidance, those who can work remotely should do so. 

Deans and vice presidents are able to give a letter of exception to those employees who are deemed essential. If the need arises, consult with your dean or vice president. 

What this means for SLU’s research operations 

We ask that you limit laboratory work to essential personnel and essential functions only, this would include maintenance of critical reagents, animals, and equipment; and development of vaccines and treatments directly connected to the current pandemic. Personnel responsible for those functions should be on campus solely for the time necessary to perform those essential functions, and then return to their homes.  

Supervisors may update their list of essential laboratory personnel and justifications here. Please contact Matthew Christian ( with questions. Vice President for Research, Ken Olliff, and Dean of Medicine/Vice President for Medical Affairs, Bob Wilmott, will evaluate additional essential personnel requests. 

South campus moves to card-access only 

Similar to yesterday’s announcement about north campus, I have accepted a recommendation to move SLU’s south campus to card-access only for the following buildings.  This is effective immediately. 

As a reminder, faculty and staff will retain access to buildings they are currently approved to access for the purpose of delivering remote education only. For any additional authorization, faculty, staff and students must contact their unit leader who should email DPS ( and request to add the building to their card access privilege. (Note: This is a different email address than what we shared with you yesterday. Please use this one going forward for any card authorization exceptions.) 

This south campus building change does not impact the Learning Resources Center, Monteleone Hall, Doctor’s Office Building, Drummond Hall and the Salus Center.  

I also want to note that Scott Hall, the home of SLU’s School of Law, has transitioned to card-access per communications from SLU Law leaders.  

In closing, I want to share a thoughtful column from assistant professor Michael Rozier, SJ, from SLU’s College for Public Health and Social Justice. The piece ran last week in America: The Jesuit Review, and it focuses on how we can preserve humanity amid the pandemic. You can read it in its entirety here, but for now, I leave you with this excerpt:  

“The virus is simply doing what viruses do. It is time for us to do what we do. That is, to be more human than before –” 

God bless you, your families, and Saint Louis University. 

Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.

Previous Updates to the SLU Community