Oct. 7, 2021: Face Coverings Update

Dear St. Thomas community,

Thanks to those who joined yesterday morning’s UART Office Hours over Zoom for updates regarding our COVID-19 response. One of the topics discussed was the future of our indoor face covering requirement; we know many of you are wondering about this.

In summary – our current requirement to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces will remain in place for now due to rising case rates in Minnesota, and while we await more clarity about federal requirements.

Although our overall confirmed vaccination rate is high (88.5% as of this morning) and case numbers on campus have been significantly lower compared to a year ago, test positivity rates and numbers in the surrounding area are still rising; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for example, currently rates Hennepin and Ramsey counties as areas of high transmission. This is important because our campus is very porous, with students and employees coming and going every day. Given this, we will continue our mitigation efforts and follow CDC guidance for high transmission areas.

Additionally, we are awaiting more clarity on whether additional masking requirements may apply to St. Thomas under the federal government’s vaccine mandate executive orders.

Please watch for additional communications as soon as these details are confirmed. Thank you for your attention, and your continued commitment to a culture of care at St. Thomas as we continue to navigate COVID-19.

The University Action and Response Team