Aug. 19, 2021: New COVID-19 Guidance for Fall

Dear St. Thomas students, faculty and staff,

We are excited to welcome students back to campus. Athletic teams are practicing, resident advisors have moved in, and School of Law classes begin Monday with everyone else following in two weeks.

The recent surge of the COVID-19 delta variant in Minnesota unfortunately means campus life cannot be quite as normal as hoped. Our campus-wide vaccination rate continues rising – 83% as of today – but health and safety protocols are still needed. 

Based on new Minnesota Department of Health guidance to take extra safety measures as we begin fall semester, St. Thomas will require face coverings in indoor public spaces when others are present, beginning Monday, Aug. 23. This applies to all community members and visitors regardless of vaccination status.

Where Face Coverings are Required

We hope this temporary, university-wide requirement can be lifted this semester as conditions improve. In the meantime, face coverings are required in campus spaces such as:

  • Classrooms, labs and meeting rooms
  • Residence hall common areas, including lobbies and dining halls (unless eating)
  • Anderson Student Center
  • Reception and common areas in all university buildings
  • Campus shuttles
  • Center for Well-Being

In other words: if you’re in a common area with other people, wear a face covering.

Where Face Coverings are Optional

Fully vaccinated individuals do not have to wear a face covering when in resident-only areas of a residence hall, when alone in an office or study space, or if no one else is present in a room. Additionally, face coverings will not be required for fully vaccinated individuals while they are:

  • Teaching a class or speaking at an event where they can maintain at least six feet from their students or audience;
  • Exercising in the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Center or McCarthy gym (although they must wear a face covering when moving through these buildings);
We continue to strongly encourage face coverings outdoors for large gatherings and in situations where social distancing is not possible, and they may be required at specific outdoor opening events. All unvaccinated community members approved for exemptions to our vaccine requirement must wear face coverings indoors at all times unless alone in offices or residence hall rooms. 

Finally, as a reminder, St. Thomas requires all students, faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated before returning to campus for the fall semester. Learn more online. 

We remain committed to our in-person classes and events and hope taking this extra measure early will help set us up for a safe semester. Thank you for your attention and support.

The University Action and Response Team