St. Louis-area universities add new COVID rules amid surge

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ST. LOUIS — The spring semester is fast approaching, and universities are taking new steps to keep everyone safe amid the rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the St. Louis area.

On Thursday, Washington University announced it will switch to virtual learning for two weeks when classes resume on Jan. 18. The university is also requiring students to get tested for COVID before returning to campus. Plus, there will be no crowds allowed at sporting events.

WashU will be mailing kits that include two self-tests to each Danforth Campus student who has a U.S. address listed in official university records.

Saint Louis University also tightened its COVID-19 rules this week. It’s requiring all students and SLU Care employees to get a booster shot by Jan. 31. All other staff members will have until Feb. 28 to get a booster.

However, the university is urging everyone to get the shot as soon as possible, preferably over winter break.

“I’m all for it, anything to get life back to normal on campus,” said SLU student Kiyan Haiter. “I got mine a few days ago actually.”

SLU plans to start the spring semester in person, but it’s prepared to consider other options if needed.

“We have contingency plans that we are discussing that we might have to implement if we see a large number of cases on campus,” said Terri Rebmann, professor and special assistant to the president at SLU. “So, in other words, we have backup plans, and we’re ready to pivot quickly.”

Though not a requirement, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is “strongly urging” students and staff to get a COVID booster as soon as they are eligible.

For the spring semester, SIUE is requiring unvaccinated students and staff to complete a weekly, mandatory COVID test on campus. Fully online students who are learning remotely are exempt.

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