ATTENTION: Student clubs and organizations are student-led and operated. Students are responsible for planning and organizing all club activities in accordance with applicable University policies and the University’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Student clubs and their members that violate health and safety protocols or other applicable policies may be subject to individual and club discipline.
In-Person Health & Safety Protocols
Now more than ever, the university needs its entire community to adhere to best practices for protecting their own health and the health of others. As such, all faculty, staff and students on campus will be expected to follow health and safety protocols. Managers will be responsible for implementing these protocols in their areas.
Per the CDC, social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. To practice social or physical distancing:
- Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms' length) from others (per current guidelines)
- Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings
Limiting face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. To the greatest extent possible, St. Thomas activities must be in accordance with social distancing directives: maintaining a full six (6) feet of space between you and another person whenever feasible. Faculty, staff and student workers may not use another person's personal protective equipment, phone, computer equipment, desks, cubicles, workstations, offices or other personal work tools and equipment. Shared equipment, such as copiers and vacuums, should be properly disinfected between uses.
Social distancing is being implemented on campus through the following methods:
- Meetings will be conducted electronically when it is feasible to do so; if meetings need to be held in person, participation will be limited to 10 participants and social distancing will be maintained.
- Plexiglass or other barriers will be placed in high-traffic service areas.
- Masks will be required indoors in common areas.
- Revised capacity limits for rooms will be developed and posted.
- 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 will 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.
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. On May 21, 2020, the city of Minneapolis began requiring the use of non-medical face masks indoors in public spaces, including educational institutions. On June 1, a mask ordinance also went into effect in the city of St. Paul. The state of Minnesota strongly encourages mask use in any public setting where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. St. Thomas will promote mask use through:
- Requiring use of masks or cloth face coverings that cover the nose and mouth in indoor areas of campus where others are present, including classrooms, labs and bathrooms; face coverings will not be required by employees when they are alone in their offices or for a student in their residence hall room if guests are not present. Appropriate and limited exceptions may be made, for example while eating in dining halls and while using cardio equipment when the level of exertion makes it difficult to wear a face covering, or when swimming in the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex (AARC).
- Consistent with the Minnesota law, the mask or cloth face covering must be worn to cover the nose and mouth completely, and can include a paper or disposable face mask, a cloth face mask, a scarf, a bandanna, a neck gaiter, or a religious face covering. Masks that incorporate a valve designed to facilitate easy exhaling, mesh masks, or masks with openings, holes, visible gaps in the design or material, or vents are not sufficient face coverings because they allow exhaled droplets to be released into the air.
- Promoting mask use consistent with CDC and MDH guidance
- Reminding community members that mask use does not replace the need for social distancing
- Development of Health etiquette training (including masks and other essential measures) provided in orientations and marketed online
- Distributing 10,000 cloth, non-medical masks to community members
St. Thomas will consider reasonable accommodations for individuals who cannot medically tolerate masks or other cloth face coverings. Reasonable accommodations may include taking classes online and working remotely and in some cases, the use of face shields. Students should contact Disability Resources, and faculty and staff should contact the Benefits Office.
Consistent with Minnesota law, the University may permit face shields to be worn as an alternative to face coverings in limited circumstances, including when faculty are teaching a class or giving a lecture and it is important that their face be seen. Guidance will be provided to faculty on face shields.
Per the CDC, hand hygiene is an integral part of the COVID-19 pandemic response. Practicing hand hygiene, which includes the use of alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR, i.e., hand sanitizer) or hand-washing, is a simple yet effective way to prevent the spread of pathogens. All community members are expected to wash or sanitize their hands regularly in accordance with public health guidance.
Hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds with soap when visibly soiled, before eating and after using the restroom. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC also recommends washing hands after you have been in a public place and touched an item or surface that may be frequently touched by others, such as door handles or tables. Per the FDA, there is currently no evidence that consumer antiseptic wash products (i.e., antibacterial soaps) are more effective than plain soap and water.
St. Thomas is encouraging hand-washing through the following measures:
- Approximately 630 hand sanitizer stations are being 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 will encourage “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 will promote hand-washing. Educational messages will also encourage community members to avoid touching their face.
Regarding hand sanitizer, the CDC recommends using products with greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol. Campus hand sanitizers meet CDC recommendations.
To prevent the transmission of all respiratory infections (including COVID-19 and influenza), we expect community members to implement appropriate respiratory/cough etiquette as a standard precaution. Per the CDC, the following measures to contain respiratory secretions are recommended for all individuals:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Use the nearest waste receptacle to dispose of the tissue after use.
- If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
- Perform hand hygiene (e.g., hand-washing with non-antimicrobial soap and water, alcohol-based hand rub, or antiseptic handwash) after having contact with respiratory secretions and contaminated objects/materials.
St. Thomas is encouraging respiratory etiquette through the following strategies:
- Visuals and instructions will be placed on website and a social media campaign.
- Educational posters will be displayed on campus.
- Training on health and safety protocols will include information on respiratory etiquette.
Cleaning surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice for preventing COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in community settings. The university has established cleaning protocols consistent with CDC and MDH guidance, which include measures such as:
- 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. Disinfection cleaning by Facilities Management will be done with EPA-registered disinfectants approved for use against the virus.
- Frequently touched surfaces in high-traffic common areas will be cleaned at least twice daily by the Facilities Department (e.g.. ASC, ARC, TMH, etc.). Frequently touched surfaces in areas with less traffic will be cleaned once daily. Please note: This change will limit other work and services performed by custodial staff. For example, private office areas may be vacuumed less. Staff can assist by moving waste to hallway receptacles and by utilizing the self-use cleaning station supplies to clean personal spaces. Resident students are responsible for cleaning their personal spaces.
- Community members will be asked to assist with additional cleaning in areas they use with provided cleaning supplies, such as classroom desks, seats and podiums. Approximately 730 self-use cleaning stations will be added around campus in areas of classrooms, labs, common gathering spaces, hallways and large office suites. They include paper towels and disinfection solution that does not require the use of gloves, although hand-washing after chemical usage is recommended. Instructions on using these supplies will be clearly posted. Community members may use the Request for Services (RFS) system to request additional supplies.
- 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 that has been assessed as a higher risk exposure area.
Before Level Three of reopening, common area traffic flow will be evaluated and policies will be developed where feasible to reduce interactions and promote social distancing. Anticipated measures will include:
- Physical barriers or visual indicators will be used where appropriate (e.g., six-foot floor markings).
- Clear signage to facilitate changes to entrances, exits, occupancy limits or direction of visitor flow.
- Maximum occupancy for classrooms will be clearly posted to support physical distancing.
Student clubs and organizations will be encouraged to engage online through virtual fairs and meetings. Clubs will continue to manage club rosters, communication and marketing through Tommie Link.
Any in-person meetings will be required to follow university guidance and policies, including use of masks. We strongly encourage you to hold virtual meetings with your Executive Board, General Body, specific committees, or just as a way to connect socially with your members. Some members might appreciate continuing to meet at the “normal” time, but that time may no longer be convenient for everyone. Ask your members if that time and day of the week is still the best rather than assuming it will still work. Meetings will be conducted electronically when it is feasible to do so; if meetings need to be held in person, participation will be limited to either a room’s displayed Common Good Capacity, or no more than 25 participants (whichever is fewer).
Tips For Hosting Effective Virtual Meetings
- For general meetings, hold a test run beforehand with your executive board to practice the meeting format, test PowerPoint presentations, as well as the audio and video in the location they plan to be for the meeting.
- Send agenda ahead of time to members along with instructions on how to log into the meeting, meeting expectations, and procedure for speaking.
- Welcome all members as they enter the virtual meeting
- Start your meetings by Introducing your group’s leadership, acknowledging new members or guests, and go over your meeting expectation and procedures before proceeding with your agenda items.
- Create opportunities within your agenda for members to participate, provide their comments, or stay engaged.
- End the meeting with a clear action plan or summary of what was discussed.
To further promote the health of our campus community, all campus-wide or club member specific events will also be encouraged to engage online, with some events having the potential for in-person components (e.g., using multiple rooms with streaming for events or trainings, shifting in-person games to larger halls, etc.). In-person events and programs must follow university guidelines such as social distancing, cleaning processes and others.
It is important to think collaboratively and creatively about ways to connect with each other and build community from a distance. During this time especially, it’s important to keep morale high among the organization and keep members (new and returning) engaged and feeling connected.
Virtual Events & Other Ways To Stay Connected
There are many free resources to support virtual events. Take time this semester to brainstorm with your club’s leadership or send out a survey to your members to find out what fun and engaging activities they want to do. Feel free to use any of the ideas below to engage with your club.
- Group Projects - A fantastic way to delegate club tasks and keep members engage. This can also help general member prepare for leadership roles within the club. Group projects could be presentations at club meetings that members feel are relevant to share with other members.
- Newsletter - Clubs can create newsletters that they can send out to members. It can be about current events, upcoming gathers, or guest speakers etc. The idea of the newsletter is sending out a publication that students can be inspired by within their club or the passions their club pursues.
- Instagram Story Challenges - challenge your members (or other organizations) to draw something or do a dance and post it to their story tagging others to do the same.
- Tik Tok Competitions - Make a dance video and challenge other orgs to do the same.
- Question of the Day - Ask your members an icebreaker question each day in a group chat
- Shared Spotify Playlist - Have your members submit their favorite songs and add it to a shared playlist.
- Celebrate A National Recognition Day - National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day (April 12), National Ice Cream Day (July 19), Star Wars Day (May 4), National Tell A Joke Day (August 16)
- Kahoot! Trivia Night - Is a fun and very interactive way to utilize group participation.
- NetflixParty - offers people a way to watch a movie together.
View more virtual activities here:
If your club is having a guest speaker at an event, meeting, or virtual space, you will need to notify Jeff Holstein in Campus Life via email 2 weeks before the event regardless if they have agreed to speak for free. In most cases, a speaker agreement form or other documents need to be signed before the event.
Provide the following information on each speaker:
- Start & end date, times, and locations (if applicable) for event
- Speaker name, email, & online information (business website or social media)
- Payment amount (if applicable)
- How long will their presentation be?
- Topic name & brief description or presentation outline
- Other terms agreed on
Off-campus programming/experiences will require approvals from Campus Life and must follow university guidelines for transportation, site expectations, setup and waivers. Community members who are considering personal travel should read the CDC’s travel health notices and be prepared for isolation or quarantine before returning to campus. St. Thomas may impose travel-based quarantines based on public health guidance and information on community transmission.
While your organization may not have the same in-person End-of-Year event as in previous years, we encourage you to think about how your organization can still celebrate, honor, and recognize members and accomplishments of the organization.
There are many ways groups can celebrate their accomplishments. Here are a few things to consider to highlight your members accomplishments or hold celebrations virtually:
- Host a virtual banquet or ceremony: Consider live-streaming a virtual version of the event on social media or on a web-based video conferencing platform. Mail out any recognition items your organization planned to distribute
- Shout out accomplishments on social media platforms: Throughout the year, recognize large or small accomplishments from your members to keep members engage and to show how you appreciate your members.
- Recap some of your accomplishments & activities: Make a picture collage, infographic, or post a video on your social media. Find creative ways to recap the year and share out all the great things your organization did through the year.
- Have fun! We are all adapting right now, so try not to put too much pressure on yourself to create the perfect virtual event or activity. Simply providing an opportunity for your organization to stay connected to each other this semester can be a great benefit to the organization.
The volunteer requirement will be suspended for Fall 2020 for all student clubs & organizations. We will continue to monitor the situation and will notify all club leaders regarding any alternatives for this semester or in the spring. Although the volunteer requirement has been suspended this semester, we highly encourage your groups to support our community partners that still need assistance.
If your club would like to do a project with one of our community partners in need or would like to volunteer with another organization, please contact Dustin Killpack (email@example.com). All volunteer projects must follow the university's health & safety protocols and must be approved by Dustin and his staff from the Tommie Together Volunteer Center. Their staff will also provide assistance in the planning of your project to help mitigate any risks.
Communication & Promotions Resources
As the university will have a mixture of online and in-person education in the fall, it will be important to maintain good communication with your leadership and membership to stay connected and grow your club. Here are resources to help you maintain good communication with your membership.
All St. Thomas faculty, staff and students have access to Zoom Pro accounts and may host Zoom meetings for internal and/or external participants. It allows users to record meetings, use breakout rooms, share documents, and other chat features. Zoom is able to support meetings with up to 100 participants.
CAUTION: ITS has brought to our attention of the threat of “Zoombombing” that is happening globally where intruders can come in and share inappropriate content by taking control of "screen share" or into the chat box. They are concerned about listing your events publicly on Tommie Link (accessible to those outside the St Thomas community) with Zoom links for anyone to access. We want to ensure our events and meetings are safe for our community.
Please review your current (and future) events' VISIBILTY and consider changing the audience to "Students & staff at University of St Thomas" if possible. This will require our students, staff and faculty to log into Tommie Link to see the events but will also prevent others from just accessing them.
Use this link for support and general information:
Teams are ideal for project teams and groups working together on a regular basis. Teams allow you to have chat-based discussions with groups, or direct message individuals. You can also plug in other Office 365 products (such as OneNote, SharePoint, Microsoft Forms, Planner, Word, Excel and PowerPoint). Watch this video to learn more about Microsoft Teams: Click Here
Use this link to request access to Teams:
Social media is a great way to express yourself or what group you participate in. Using different services can help develop your creative side. Remember to have fun! Take a look at different digital icebreakers (google is great for inspiration) to help team bonding over a digital space.
All members of recognized student clubs and organizations at St Thomas are expected to represent their club or organization and the University of St. Thomas through social media positively and in accordance with the University’s policies and procedures.
Recognized student clubs and organizations are responsible for all social media content that utilizes the student club or organization’s group name and University of St. Thomas identity. Each group must designate its University faculty/staff advisor as one of the site administrators to help ensure consistency from year to year. Use a general St. Thomas email address so access to the site will continue regardless of student status.(ie. Campuslife@stthomas.edu)
All material or information posted on recognized student club or organization social media sites must be relevant to the activities of each club or organization. These sites are not to be used to advertise or promote external groups or organizations.