December 18, 2020: COVID-19 Response Update

Dear St. Thomas students, faculty and staff,
Thank you all for your tremendous efforts over the past several months; your cooperation has allowed us to remain open, and we are just a few days away from completing the fall semester. This is an accomplishment in which all of St. Thomas can take pride. As we prepare for some much-needed and deserved time off to celebrate the holidays, please see below for the latest updates regarding our COVID-19 response:
  • Spring Mitigation Measures – Recent vaccine news looks promising, but health experts warn we aren’t in the clear yet. The protocols in place for Fall will remain when students return to campus for J-Term and Spring semester classes. All community members are still expected to adhere to the Campus Preparedness Plan; we are currently updating the plan and the accompanying website, so please continue to check for updates.
  • Testing Update –
    • We ask all students leaving campus over the holidays to get tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus for classes (whether J-Term or Spring semester classes). The Minnesota Department of Health recently announced plans for free at-home testing. Please consider taking advantage. Or locate in-person testing centers near your home.
    • We are currently making plans for additional mass testing events for the Spring semester. Stay tuned for more information; we anticipate holding our first event in February when classes resume for spring.
  • The Governor's Order - On Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz extended and slightly modified his November Executive Order. Here’s what it means for St. Thomas:
    • All employees who are able to work from home should continue doing so until the current order is modified. We recognize that certain departments and offices must be staffed to meet business needs. Please consult with your manager or HR Partner if you have questions.
    • All students are expected to comply with the limitations on social gatherings as well as other campus health and safety protocols. The Executive Order limits indoor social gatherings to no more than 10 people and no more than two households, and it limits outdoor social gatherings to no more than 15 people and three households. In addition, social distancing must be maintained at any social gathering. Residence Life will communicate with residents about how this change impacts them. In the meantime, current residence hall policies restricting guests remain in place.
    • Because fitness facilities can now re-open at 25% capacity with 12-foot social distancing, our current plan is to re-open the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex on Jan. 4.
  • On-Campus Events – As a continued precaution, all on-campus events during J-Term have been cancelled. The events staff will follow up with organizations that have requested spaces.The Governor’s Order - On Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz extended and slightly modified his November Executive Order. Here’s what it means for St. Thomas.
Finally, the University Action and Response Team (UART) will hold a virtual “office hours” event in January to provide further updates and field questions regarding St. Thomas’ pandemic response. Please be on the lookout for information regarding the date and time.

Thank you for your attention!

Karen M. Lange, Ed.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs
Co-chair, Campus Preparedness Plan

Wendy N. Wyatt, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Co-chair, Campus Preparedness Plan