SLU Suspends In-Person Classes in Reaction to COVID-19 Outbreak in St. Louis

13 March 1 p.m.

An email from Fred Pestello, Ph.D. on Friday, March 13 at 12:34 p.m. informed students that remote learning will be extended through the end of the spring semester, including final exams.

The email also included more information for students who live in on-campus residences, making clear that, excluding exceptions, students will have to be moved out of their on-campus residences by March 22.

The university is also asking for volunteers to help students move out and asks anyone interested to fill out this sign-up form.

The email also acknowledged the concerns regarding refunds for housing, dining and parking. Although a decision has not been made yet on how this will be handled, the email read, “a team, including student representation, is working on this. We will inform you as soon as decisions are made.” The university is also not prepared to make a decisions about commencement or summer classes.


12 March 12 p.m.

An email from Fred Pestello, Ph.D. on Thursday, March 12, 12 p.m. announced that SLU will be suspending in-person courses until at least April 30, 2020. This suspension excludes the School of Medicine, specific programs in the Doisy College of Health Sciences and the Center of Advanced Dental Education. The transition to remote instruction will begin on Monday, March 23 to give faculty time for planning. Dr. Pestello also emphasized the need for students to continuously be checking their email and indicated that a follow-up email with more information will be sent out Thursday evening. 

For immediate questions related to COVID-19, contact [email protected] or check SLU’s COVID-19 website, which is updated regularly.” 

Since WHO announced the novel coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic and the U.S. government announced its travel ban from EU countries Wednesday night, Paul Vita, Director and Academic Dean, sent an email to SLU-Madrid students recommending that U.S. students return home to complete classes remotely. The CDC also raised its warning for Spain to the Level 3: Avoid Non-essential Travel. The Madrid Province’s precautionary measures recommend avoiding all non-essential travel from March 11 to March 26. “Students who travel outside of the Madrid region will be asked to leave their host families, withdraw from their classes, and return home,” said the email. Remote classes begin Monday, March 16. The email included an attachment for SLU-Madrid students to fill out for those returning to their home country. 

SLU-Madrid contact information for assistance:

Phone: +34 915 54 58 58

Email: [email protected]

Another email was sent to all SLU students on Thursday March 12 at 10 a.m. updating the community about the state of ITS for online classes. Kyle Collins, Interim Vice President, CIO and Chief Innovation Officer, emphasized that while no determination has been made about remote class instruction for the remainder of the semester, ITS has been working with faculty to access the online video conferencing system, Zoom. This system is available for faculty to use for “remote real-time lectures, discussions, meetings, and office hours, among other things.”

“Please know that ITS is here to help as you face the challenges of this rapidly evolving situation,” said Collins at the closing of the email. 

This is a developing story, and updates will be provided as more information is released to the SLU community. 



10 March 8 p.m.

An email was sent out by President Fred Pestello, Ph.D at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10 announcing a decision made by the university to suspend all in-person classes for the week of March 15 in reaction to the first case of COVID-19 in St. Louis County.

This decision was made in order to give faculty the opportunity to develop a plan to carry out the remainder of the term remotely if necessary. While no decision has been made regarding the rest of the semester yet, a decision will be made next week about when or whether SLU will resume in-person classes.

During this time of suspension, the university will remain open and will continue as regular “to the extent possible.” While students are not expected to return to campus the weekend after spring break, if they need to return to on campus residences, they must fill out the form sent out by Dr. Pestello for communication purposes. Students are also strongly encouraged to suspend all personal travel if possible but are encouraged to report any travel plans to the university through the travel form.

For all updates from the university, visit SLU’s COVID-19 website.