COVID-19 Update March 15
Dear members of the Saint Louis University community,
Yesterday, I shared with you that two SLU students who live off-campus are being tested for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Their results are still pending, but I want to briefly share my vision for transparency as we move forward.
Since yesterday’s update, we have received information about two more members of the Saint Louis University community who await test results, one in St. Louis and one out of state. Unfortunately, I expect these won't be the last, for us or for most institutions of higher education.
And I remind you, there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Saint Louis University. Missouri’s Department of Health & Senior Services is also sharing statewide testing information.
Moving forward, I hope to share only the major updates so as not to add unnecessary fear to our community. Fear will never play a role in the considerations and decisions we make about our health and the health of our community. Instead, we will focus on critical and actionable information.
I have faith in the public health officials who are guiding us through this and I ask that you do, too. I also have faith in those who are making sure these Billikens are cared for with the kind of compassion that is emblematic of SLU.
- Student move-out process: While it is difficult to watch our students leave campus under these circumstances,
I am eager to share that the logistics of the move-out process are going exceptionally
well. I implore you to give kudos and thanks to our colleagues in Student Development,
Facilities and DPS. They are navigating truly unprecedented territory.
About 1,500 students successfully moved out over this weekend. More are planning to collect their things over the course of the week and the coming weekend. Our move-out policies were reviewed by public health officials. You can read more about this process on our COVID-19 website. Our amazing move-out volunteers have proved instrumental to our success. They continue to be a key part of our move-out operation. Those interested in volunteering can sign up here.
- Students who are isolating off campus: We know there are many students who traveled to parts of the world with significant community spread, and those students are now isolating themselves out of an abundance of caution, per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. First, thank you. Additionally, we ask that you contact the Student Health Center and let them know your circumstances so we can make sure to connect you with additional resources, especially if you are in the St. Louis area. The Student Health Center number is 314-977-2323 (a nurse is available on-call after normal business hours).
- I encourage all faculty, staff and students to access Zoom on laptops, tablets, and phones, if you haven’t already, and begin to familiarize yourself with it. Recall that ITS is prepared to help you if you have any challenges. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We are now live streaming 10:30 a.m. Sunday Masses from St. Francis Xavier College Church to wherever you can watch it. Subscribe to the Church’s new YouTube channel and tune in every Sunday. It’s possible other Masses may be livestreamed in the future. For the members of our community who may have had to leave St. Louis physically, this is a great opportunity for you to remain united in prayer with our campus.
I am inspired by the outpouring of support from members of the Billiken community. Whether it’s three generations of a family helping distribute packages in the mailroom to students as they move out, or the families offering to contribute to help other students in need. I am deeply touched. My heart may be heavy as we face these difficulties, but it remains full of the love you show Saint Louis University.
Thank you for your continued support and prayers, and please keep monitoring SLU’s COVID-19 website for more information and updates.
Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.