COVID-19 Update March 18
Dear members of the Saint Louis University community,
Last night, I shared my hope for us to move toward remote working wherever possible. I am grateful to all who have shared that you are already working remotely and following all guidance on how to protect yourself and others during this global pandemic.
Today, I want to offer additional information about how we will handle in-person meetings until further notice. I know this may inconvenience some. I ask you to remember that our Jesuit mission calls those who are able to put the greater good over our own preferences to do so in order to help those who do not have a choice. As I said yesterday – and as I will continue to say – each of us must do our part to help flatten the curve.
Guidance for in-person gatherings
- If your job requires you to continue coming to campus, do not report to work if you are sick. If you are working remotely and need to take time off because you are not feeling
well, record that as sick leave. Please remember that Employee Health (314-268-5499)
is still available for everyone, whether or not they are working remotely.
- 10-people or less: Federal and local guidance suggests a limit of 10-people or less for all in-person
gatherings. I am requiring that all University gatherings abide by that guidance effective immediately.
- I also implore you to actively practice the public health concept of social distancing in on- and off-campus gatherings. That means minimizing any in-person interactions,
and keeping at least 6 feet between you and others while meeting face-to-face. I know this is hard for many of
us to do. But we must remind ourselves to be intentional.
- Any in-person meetings must take place in rooms that can accommodate at least three times the number of people who are meeting in person so that participants can spread out
per the above guidance.
- Students: We understand there are students who continue to live on campus this semester for various, necessary reasons. I remind all of us that these students will need to be in community with one another, and virtual interactions alone are not sufficient for that. Interim VP for Student Development Debie Lohe will soon email our students with ideas on how to maintain community as we move through this crisis together.
Many of you have shared questions related to academic changes in response to COVID-19. The deans and our academic staff have been collaborating on the changes I’m sharing with you today.
Asynchronous v. synchronous instruction
- We have encouraged our faculty to remain as flexible as possible in their course delivery for the remainder of the Spring 2020 term.
- Therefore, faculty have been encouraged to conduct their courses asynchronously for the remainder of the semester. This means that the instructor and the students do not meet simultaneously. However, students and instructors will interact regularly, and students are required to complete coursework at set intervals, including participating in class activities, online discussions/chats, group projects, quizzes, exams, etc.
- We understand many faculty members have decided to conduct their courses synchronously. In these cases, faculty members must hold class during their regularly-scheduled class meeting time to avoid conflicts.
Course withdrawal deadline extension, grading policies
- The deadline by which students may withdraw from a Spring 2020 course, with a “W” on their transcripts, has been extended to May 15. This is just after the end of the final exam period, but before students' final grades will be published by the University Registrar. (Note: This does not apply to the School of Medicine, School of Law, School for Professional Studies, or any other SLU courses originally established as fully online.) All other published policies related to withdrawal and enrollment changes still apply.
- SLU’s grading system has not changed.
Student academic support
- Academic support will continue for the rest of the semester. Students can use EAB Navigate to schedule online or telephone appointments with our various academic support offices, or contact specific offices directly via email. These offices stand ready to meet student needs and provide expertise during this transition. Please see the Academic Services and Career Services websites for more information.
Financial hardship resources
Students: We recognize that the current public health crisis may bring unexpected financial hardships to students and their families. We want students who have changing financial circumstances to be aware that there are resources and options that may be available to help those in need of financial assistance, from emergency loans and grants to appealing financial aid eligibility. We encourage students facing financial hardships to contact the Office of Student Financial Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Employees: Just as this is a challenging time for students, we also recognize this is a challenging time financially for our employees. We are committed to compensating those employees who cannot continue to work on campus, but also cannot perform their regular duties from home, as we have outlined on our Human Resources Information page. Additionally, we must acknowledge that every individual’s circumstances may differ. I would like to remind you of SLU’s “Helping Our Own” program, which was established to offer that assistance. This program provides a one-time monetary gift to any full-time or part-time permanent SLU employee experiencing a valid financial crisis. Please visit the program’s website for more information.
Student reminder: Storage options for move out
We know that the circumstances are changing rapidly. Some parts of the country have moved toward shelter-in-place policies. The Housing & Residence Life team would like to remind you that there are storage options available if you cannot come to pick up your belongings before the March 22 deadline. Many local vendors are providing free or reduced-price storage units for students. The Housing team will handle these requests on a case-by-case basis. Email email@example.com with additional questions.
Closing Simon Recreation Center
Out of an abundance of caution, the Simon Recreation Center has closed until further notice. We know this is inconvenient to many who use the facilities regularly, including those students who will remain on campus during the remainder of the term. The Simon Rec. Center team will evaluate new public health guidance as it becomes available, and determine when is an appropriate time to reopen the facility.
Thank you for your continued support and prayers. Tonight, I ask you to join me in praying for health care workers at SLUCare, and those across the region, nation and world. They are on the front lines to stem this pandemic. The burden on them is great. May they find the continued strength to carry through this difficult time.
Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.