With the threat of COVID-19 looming over college campuses, many schools are taking extraordinary measures to keep students safe and the virus in check. SLU has seen success in the first five weeks on campus, with the infection rate holding steady at 0.5 percent. This is highly encouraging compared to the infection rates of other colleges, both private and public, who, due to going overcapacity in designated quarantine housing, are having to quarantine large groups of students in hotels.
One facet of SLU’s plan is to provide the students, parents, faculty and staff with updated testing statistics on it’s new interactive dashboard. This site, which is updated every Monday and Thursday, displays the number of tests administered since Aug. 10 (when move-in began), in the last 10 days, and how many of these tests came back positive. The dashboard goes further in detail, breaking down the tests administered into the categories of “diagnostic” and “surveillance.” All the information is presented as a table and bar graph, making it easy to understand and quick to navigate.
According to the site, the number of students in isolation and quarantine is currently very low, and only five cases have been reported amongst the faculty and staff. Past the informational graphics, SLU has provided links to their policies on masks, the return of faculty/staff and the plan to increase asymptomatic testing. There is also an attached article highlighting the work happening on SLU’s medical campus and how they are contributing to the hunt for a vaccine.
In addition to the dashboard, SLU has begun cracking down on students who have not been using the Campus Clear app, where students input any symptoms and receive immediate feedback on whether or not it is safe for them to go out on campus. While it was highly encouraged when classes bagan, the student body has become lax, and daily activity has gone down significantly.
After a seemingly unsuccessful social media campaign, which promised the possibility of winning a Starbucks gift card for using the app regularly, the administration has set literal boundaries in campus facilities. As of Friday, Sept. 11, both the Simon Rec Center and Pius Memorial Library have begun requiring students to show their open Campus Clear app with the “Good to Go!” message displayed in order to enter.
The response from students has been somewhat dismal, as this provides an obstacle for them to pass during their busy days—however, adherence to this system could very well be the difference between SLU’s doors remaining open for the semester or not.