March 20, 2020
Dear Parents & Families,
I wanted to pass along an email I sent this afternoon to students living with Residential Life. We so very much appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding with this difficult situation. We hope to have more information about next steps related to student belongings after April 6th.
We continue to send you our good thoughts and gratitude for the commitment and sacrifice you and your students are making to help keep our community safe. Please take good care of yourselves.
Rob Wild, Dean of Students
Dear Residential Students:
The past week has been filled with great uncertainty and anxiety for many of you. We know this is an extremely challenging time and we continue to think of you as you settle into your “new normal” for the time being. Your patience and understanding has been greatly appreciated as we work through the significant challenges we are facing together. We are writing today to provide an update on the communication from last week about student belongings that were left in our University residential buildings.
As of today, we have been able to identify, collect, and ship nearly all of the priority items that were identified that you need by next week to resume classes. These have been delivered to FedEx and you should be receiving them very soon, if you haven’t already.
The mailroom has also started the process of forwarding nearly 5,000 student packages and letters to you at your permanent home address listed in WebStac. Items will be consolidated into larger boxes and shipped by the U.S. Postal Service to your permanent home address listed in WebStac at the expense of the University. If you need your items sent to a different location other than your home address, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the address where you would like your packages to be sent. Also, if you have any high-value items (over $200), please send the tracking number of the package and the value of its contents to email@example.com for insurance purposes. Please understand that it will take time to get everyone’s packages sent home. If you need something urgently, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the tracking number of the package, and we will do our best to get that sent out as soon as possible.
The packing and shipping process of your priority items was managed and facilitated by over 100 employee volunteers who worked alongside a team of professional packers and movers starting this past Monday at 8 a.m.
Due to the need to “flatten the curve” and slow the spread of the COVID-19, our medical experts have made recommendations regarding the health and safety of our employees that have led us to shift our plans for the packing, shipping and/or storage of the remainder of your belongings. There is an urgent need to slow the transmission of COVID-19 through social distancing. We have decided to suspend all packing and shipping operations effective today through at least Monday, April 6.
We are confident there will be a time in the future when we can reunite all our students with their personal belongings. For now, all of our buildings will be locked down and belongings will be left in student rooms until further notice. We have staff on and off campus who will be monitoring our properties to provide additional security for our buildings.
We need your help. First, please do not attempt to return to campus or St. Louis to pick up your belongings. Our residential buildings are all locked and card access has been turned off for students not currently staying in Residential Life housing. We will notify you when it is safe to return. We want you and our community to stay safe. Second, please do not contact us about your belongings that are here unless it is extremely urgent. We know this is a frustrating situation, but our staff won’t have the ability to handle individual calls or shipping requests during the next two weeks. Nearly all of our employees, including most Residential Life staff, will be working from home beginning Monday and will not be coming to campus. If you have an urgent request or a specific concern related to the items that were shipped to you (i.e., critical medicine that you cannot get a prescription for elsewhere), please call the Call Center at 314-935-8300 or 888-234-2863. We know many of you requested that we ship valuables, but we were not able to send those in most cases. All packages shipped were insured by FedEx up to $2,500.
We will be back in touch with an update the week of April 6. Again, we very much appreciate your patience and understanding with this difficult and unexpected situation. We hope you are managing as well as you possibly can be under the circumstances.
Executive Director of Residential Life
Dean of Students