Help Please!

I’m working on this pattern from a book (Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel). It’s a pattern for a “textured tunic” and I’ve almost finished the body. My problem is that the next step is to make slits on both sides. The book says

SIDE SLITS: set-up rnd: [knit to marked st, purl to marked st] X2.

I’m confused because I’m working on the round, and if I “purl to marked st” I’ll mess up the Stockinette st.

Should I just put half of the sts on a holder and work the front and back separately?

It sounds like you’re to do this part flat, purl on the wrong side. You’d have to stop working in the round and do the front and back separately to make slits anyway.