Chaifetz Arena new COVID policy raises graduation concerns


Jack Weaver

The Class of 2018-2019 graduated at the Chaifetz Arena on May 22, 2019. In 2020 and 2021, Graduation was at the POWERplex.

Caoimhe Farris, Staff Reporter

The Chaifetz Arena, part of the St. Louis University (SLU) campus, has hosted Lafayette graduations since 2009.

Chaifetz’s new COVID-19 safety policy, implemented on Dec. 18, 2021, is requiring any attendees to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. This introduces concerns over the location of Rockwood high schools’ Graduation ceremony locations, along with other events that initially were to take place in the arena.

“To gain admission to any external event held indoors on our St. Louis campuses, all attendees will be required to either show proof of being fully vaccinated or proof of a negative COVID-19 test. This includes all members of our SLU community who have submitted proof of vaccination or have an approved exemption from our vaccination policy,” According to SLU’s Safe Arena Policy.

The policy also said that members of  St. Louis University and guests must provide a negative COVID test within 72 hours of attending. Rapid or PCR tests from a healthcare or pharmacy provider are accepted as of Dec. 18.

“You may bring a copy of your negative test result or a picture of it on your phone. Self-administered tests will not be accepted,” according to SLU’s Safe Arena Policy.

While attending any event at the arena, face masks are still required for people who are vaccinated and not vaccinated.

“The district is currently reviewing the policy changes issued at Chaifetz Arena as to how it may affect our graduation ceremonies. In the meantime, no changes have been made regarding the location of graduation at this time,” Director of Communications Mary LaPak said.
Interim Superintendent Tim Ricker addressed at the Jan. 11 Board of Education meeting that several events occur at the arena district-wide and the district has to carefully decide whether or not Chaifetz is still going to be used by Rockwood schools.
“We’ve booked Chaifetz for all of our graduations, and Chaifetz has a vaccination proof policy. So we gotta see how that works, and whether we’re gonna continue to have it at Chaifetz,” Ricker said. “There are talent shows, not only sporting events but there are plays, there are all of the concerts. We have to look at those and make sure we’re consistent across the board where one school doesn’t say ‘well we’re gonna do it our way, and we don’t care what anybody else does.’ We have to be very consistent with this.”
The possibility of the ceremony location being moved is in the air as of now, but Ricker has noted that consistency across the district is key in making these decisions.
“We wanna give people hope too, that this dissipates, that we can do the things that we need to do between now and the end of the year, and that this isn’t just forever, this is for this period of time,” Ricker said.