Stone sign for the University of St. Thomas

St. Thomas Health and Safety Protocols

To help ensure as safe an environment as possible for all community members, the University of St. Thomas implemented a phased approach (defined as levels) to reopening individual buildings. 

These adjustments included reduced capacity in rooms, floor markings to indicate 6-foot distances, plexiglass barriers, and to-go items in dining facilities. All buildings are currently operating at Level III. (Find details of the phased reopening and different levels in the PDF of the Preparedness Plan.)

It's important to note that while St. Thomas has made changes to physical spaces, each member of campus should be embracing the individual health and safety protocols. You can also read more about the St. Thomas protocols for testing for COVID-19 and responding to confirmed cases.

Important Health & Safety Protocols

  • Cleaning and Sanitization
  • Traffic Flow
  • Supporting Social Distancing
  • Hand-washing
  • Cleaning and Sanitization

    Cleaning surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice for preventing COVID-19. The university has established cleaning protocols consistent with CDC and MDH guidance:

    • Routinely cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects in common areas. This includes cleaning objects and surfaces such as tables, desks, countertops, common area furniture, handrails, elevator buttons, doorknobs, light switches, computers, vending/ATM machines, toilets, faucets and sinks. 
    • Frequently touched surfaces in high-traffic common areas will be cleaned at least twice daily by the Facilities Department (e.g.. ASC, AARC, TMH, etc.). Frequently touched surfaces in areas with less traffic will be cleaned once daily. 
    • Facilities staff will use various combinations of engineering controls, administrative controls, safe work practices and additional personal protective equipment when working or cleaning in an area that has been assessed as a higher risk exposure area.

    Traffic Flow

    Common area traffic flow has been evaluated, and practices have been developed to reduce interactions and promote social distancing where feasible. Measures implemented include:

    • Installed physical barriers or visual indicators where appropriate (e.g., six-foot floor markings).
    • Installed wayfinding signage to facilitate changes to entrances, exits, occupancy limits or direction of visitor flow.
    • Maximum occupancies for classrooms are clearly posted to support physical distancing.

    Supporting Social Distancing

    Social distancing is being implemented on campus through the following methods:

    • The Common Good Commitment requires students to maintain social distancing whenever feasible
    • St. Thomas has determined a "Common Good Capacity" for classrooms and meeting rooms
    • Faculty and staff meetings will be conducted electronically whenever it is feasible to do so. More details are on the For Faculty & Staff page, under "Faculty and Staff Meetings"
    • Officially recognized student clubs and organization meetings are strongly encouraged to hold meetings virtually whenever possible. More details are on the For Students page, under "Student Meetings and Events"
    • Extracurricular student meetings or activities sponsored by a St. Thomas department (e.g., STAR events) must follow a set of guidelines; see the PDF of the Preparedness Plan for details on "Department-Sponsored Events"
    • In accordance with the Governor’s March 12, 2021 Executive Order, social gatherings with individuals outside of a person’s immediate household are limited to no more than 15 people from indoors and are limited to no more than 50 people outdoors
    • Floor markings will indicate social distancing in areas where lines frequently form
    • Table markings will remind community members of social distancing when seated at a shared or common table
    • Plexiglass or other barriers will be placed in high-traffic service areas
    • Masks or cloth face coverings will be required indoors in common areas where others are present and outdoors in groups or when distancing is difficult to maintain
    • Revised capacity limits for rooms will be developed and posted
    • Faculty and staff will be advised to avoid work kitchens or lunchrooms when possible. Departments should establish self-cleaning protocols for any shared spaces
    • Individuals who wish to use single-user restrooms may refer to this list for locations of single-user restrooms
    • Furniture in some areas will be removed or relocated
    • Trainings, educational programming, marketing campaigns and signage will be used to reinforce social distancing practices
    • When feasible, services may be provided on a grab-and-go or curbside basis
    • Technology for remote work and virtual events will be used more frequently than is typical with on-campus operations

    Hand-washing

    St. Thomas encourages hand-washing through the following measures:

    • Approximately 630 hand sanitizer stations have been added around campus at building entrances, elevator lobbies, outside of restrooms, dining and retail areas, large open commons and lounges and other high-traffic areas. St. Thomas encourages “sanitize in and sanitize out” practices for community members when using common spaces.
    • Hand-washing guidelines are posted in all restrooms.
    • Campus signage and online marketing/educational campaigns promote hand-washing. Educational messages also encourage community members to avoid touching their face.
    • Paper towels are available in restrooms.

    Regarding hand sanitizer, the CDC recommends using products with greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol. Campus hand sanitizers meet CDC recommendations.

    Cleaning and Sanitization

    Cleaning and Sanitization

    Cleaning surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice for preventing COVID-19. The university has established cleaning protocols consistent with CDC and MDH guidance:

    • Routinely cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects in common areas. This includes cleaning objects and surfaces such as tables, desks, countertops, common area furniture, handrails, elevator buttons, doorknobs, light switches, computers, vending/ATM machines, toilets, faucets and sinks. 
    • Frequently touched surfaces in high-traffic common areas will be cleaned at least twice daily by the Facilities Department (e.g.. ASC, AARC, TMH, etc.). Frequently touched surfaces in areas with less traffic will be cleaned once daily. 
    • Facilities staff will use various combinations of engineering controls, administrative controls, safe work practices and additional personal protective equipment when working or cleaning in an area that has been assessed as a higher risk exposure area.

    Traffic Flow

    Traffic Flow

    Common area traffic flow has been evaluated, and practices have been developed to reduce interactions and promote social distancing where feasible. Measures implemented include:

    • Installed physical barriers or visual indicators where appropriate (e.g., six-foot floor markings).
    • Installed wayfinding signage to facilitate changes to entrances, exits, occupancy limits or direction of visitor flow.
    • Maximum occupancies for classrooms are clearly posted to support physical distancing.

    Supporting Social Distancing

    Supporting Social Distancing

    Social distancing is being implemented on campus through the following methods:

    • The Common Good Commitment requires students to maintain social distancing whenever feasible
    • St. Thomas has determined a "Common Good Capacity" for classrooms and meeting rooms
    • Faculty and staff meetings will be conducted electronically whenever it is feasible to do so. More details are on the For Faculty & Staff page, under "Faculty and Staff Meetings"
    • Officially recognized student clubs and organization meetings are strongly encouraged to hold meetings virtually whenever possible. More details are on the For Students page, under "Student Meetings and Events"
    • Extracurricular student meetings or activities sponsored by a St. Thomas department (e.g., STAR events) must follow a set of guidelines; see the PDF of the Preparedness Plan for details on "Department-Sponsored Events"
    • In accordance with the Governor’s March 12, 2021 Executive Order, social gatherings with individuals outside of a person’s immediate household are limited to no more than 15 people from indoors and are limited to no more than 50 people outdoors
    • Floor markings will indicate social distancing in areas where lines frequently form
    • Table markings will remind community members of social distancing when seated at a shared or common table
    • Plexiglass or other barriers will be placed in high-traffic service areas
    • Masks or cloth face coverings will be required indoors in common areas where others are present and outdoors in groups or when distancing is difficult to maintain
    • Revised capacity limits for rooms will be developed and posted
    • Faculty and staff will be advised to avoid work kitchens or lunchrooms when possible. Departments should establish self-cleaning protocols for any shared spaces
    • Individuals who wish to use single-user restrooms may refer to this list for locations of single-user restrooms
    • Furniture in some areas will be removed or relocated
    • Trainings, educational programming, marketing campaigns and signage will be used to reinforce social distancing practices
    • When feasible, services may be provided on a grab-and-go or curbside basis
    • Technology for remote work and virtual events will be used more frequently than is typical with on-campus operations

    Hand-washing

    Hand-washing

    St. Thomas encourages hand-washing through the following measures:

    • Approximately 630 hand sanitizer stations have been added around campus at building entrances, elevator lobbies, outside of restrooms, dining and retail areas, large open commons and lounges and other high-traffic areas. St. Thomas encourages “sanitize in and sanitize out” practices for community members when using common spaces.
    • Hand-washing guidelines are posted in all restrooms.
    • Campus signage and online marketing/educational campaigns promote hand-washing. Educational messages also encourage community members to avoid touching their face.
    • Paper towels are available in restrooms.

    Regarding hand sanitizer, the CDC recommends using products with greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol. Campus hand sanitizers meet CDC recommendations.

    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.