About the Preparedness Plan
The University of St. Thomas’ COVID-19 Preparedness Plan was drafted by the University Action and Response Team (UART) in consultation with:
- the Scenario Planning Steering Committee,
- the President’s Cabinet,
- the Faculty Affairs Committee,
- student government executive board,
- and other members of the St. Thomas community.
Additionally, the plan was reviewed by external public health experts, including leaders of major health systems in Minnesota. Open forums were held to solicit additional input from faculty, staff and students. The plan was approved by St. Thomas President Julie H. Sullivan on June 23, 2020, after initial community feedback was obtained. The plan has been updated periodically based on public health guidance.
Continuous Review and Updates
Because of the changing conditions related to COVID-19, the university takes an adaptive approach to this plan and its implementation. The plan and its implementation is reviewed regularly and updated based on current conditions, public health guidance and community feedback.
We employed the following principles in crafting and implementing this plan:
- The University of St. Thomas is committed to providing a safe and healthy campus for all students, faculty, staff and visitors.
- University decisions will be guided by standards and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the American College Health Association (ACHA). St. Thomas will follow the law, including all public health directives.
- We will actively encourage each other to adopt a culture of care for others. We will practice health and safety measures to protect ourselves, our families and the wider community.
- We will promote a culture of respect and sensitivity. We recognize that this pandemic impacts community members differently based on socioeconomic status, health, geography, race, age and culture. We will be sensitive to and support all members of our community.
- We will prioritize providing a personalized and holistic student learning experience and caring for the whole person. Real-time interaction is important in allowing students to be creative, innovative and entrepreneurial. We will strive to prioritize the richness and robustness in learning that in-person interaction and communication brings while using virtual platforms as necessary and when they enhance learning.
- We will support community members from diverse backgrounds in these policies and practices. As this is a time for unity, we cannot let the COVID-19 pandemic drive us apart by sowing fear and discrimination. We can never allow our fears to assign blame for this – or any – situation to any individual or group of people based on their skin color, race, ethnicity or country of origin.
- We will seek to accommodate students, faculty and staff who are in high-risk groups or whose households include members of high-risk groups.
- We will communicate openly, compassionately and in a timely manner to the community and break down communication barriers that have existed. We will seek to make messages simple, clear and easy to follow.
- We recognize the mental health toll that the pandemic has on our community members and will respond to these needs.
- We will seek input from members of our community as we develop and improve our policies and procedures.
- Campus leaders will follow all best practices and participate fully in our campus initiatives that promote health and safety. All students, faculty and staff will be expected to participate in our culture of care and practices that help us maintain healthy conditions.
Communications and Training
The Preparedness Plan has been shared with the St. Thomas community via email and website postings. Additional communication and training regarding COVID-19 prevention and mitigation measures continue via:
- Campus signage
- Social media
- The St. Thomas website and OneStThomas
- Direct communication from St. Thomas leaders and managers
- Leadership Academy and safety skills training opportunities
- Communication with students as they prepare to move to campus and start classes
- New employee and new student orientation
- Ongoing communications to the community as circumstances and regulations related to COVID-19 and this plan change
The health of our community is paramount. St. Thomas students, faculty and staff are expected to comply with this plan and all accompanying policies and procedures.
The first step in creating a community that adheres to these policies is education. The University continues to provide education for all students, faculty and staff about the spread of COVID-19, mitigation strategies, and the rationale for campus policies and procedures related to COVID-19.
Building a culture takes time. It is important that ALL members of our community take personal responsibility for their actions, follow their own personal safety plans, and remind each other of the importance of protocols such as wearing masks or other face coverings, and health and safety practices such as hand-washing and social distancing.
NOTE: All information on these Campus Preparedness Plan webpages comes from the Preparedness Plan document. If you have questions about what you read on this website, please refer to the latest version of that document.