January 22, 2021: COVID-19 Response Updates

In this note, we’ll cover several updates regarding:

  • Vaccine distribution
  • Two-week quiet period
  • Testing plans – including our first mass testing event on Feb. 4
  • Athletics
  • Quarantine guidelines
  • Our new COVID-19 website
  • Single-use masks supply
  • Next week’s UART Office Hours event

Dear St. Thomas community,

It’s hard to believe we’re almost through January and that our full student body will be back to class in a matter of days. We want you to know the University Action and Response Team (UART) is updating the Campus Preparedness Plan, which guides our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are subtle changes, but the plan and protocols are very similar to last fall’s. Please see below for important updates that will be in place for the spring.

  • Vaccine Update
    • St. Thomas is awaiting word on whether our request to be a vaccine distribution site for our community will be granted. Vaccine distribution priorities and processes are being determined at the federal, state and county levels.
    • In the meantime, some university community members may be eligible to receive a vaccine through their health care providers or other sources; we encourage them to get the vaccine when and where they are able.
  • Two-Week Quiet Period
    • Similar to fall semester, we’re implementing a minimum two-week “quiet period” at the start of the spring semester to reduce infection risks. All non-classroom activities during this time must be virtual, and we ask students to limit any nonessential activities outside of their residences.
    • During this quiet period, students may participate in essential activities such as class, essential academic activities, work, medical appointments, athletics practices, exercise and religious services.
  • Testing Plans
    • We ask all students to get tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) offers free at-home testing. Please consider taking advantage of this option or locate in-person testing centers near your home.
    • St. Thomas will hold three, free mass-testing events throughout the semester at the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex (AARC) field house:
      • Our first event will be held Thursday, Feb. 4. Click here to sign up.
      • We will also hold events both before and after spring break in March.
  • Athletics Update
    • The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (MIAC) is allowing winter sports competition to resume next weekend. Per MIAC rules, no spectators will be allowed at athletics events, but you can show your Tommie spirit by attending the events virtually.
    • In accordance with NCAA rules and MDH guidelines, athletes participating in high-risk transmission sports will participate in a weekly testing program.
  • Quarantine Guidelines
    • We are updating our quarantine guidelines to reflect Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and MDH guidance:
      • 10-day quarantine: Students who are quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19 may be permitted to leave quarantine after 10 days if they:
        • Get tested on day 7 and
        • The result is negative and
        • Have remained symptom free
        • Do not live with someone diagnosed with COVID-19
      • 14-day quarantine: Students who do not test on day 7 must continue to quarantine for 14 days.
      • Any students in isolation or quarantine will receive specific guidance from our contact tracing and personal care team.
  • New COVID-19 Website
    • We are currently updating our COVID-19 website, which includes our Preparedness Plan and COVID-19 Dashboard. Be on the lookout for our new site in the next week!
  • Need Single-Use Masks? Contact Auxiliary Services
    • Auxiliary Services has extra single-use masks left over from the fall semester. Any departments or service desks in need of these masks should contact Mitch Karstens at (651) 962-6061 or mkarstens@stthomas.edu.
  • Got More Questions? Come to UART Office Hours
    • All students, faculty and staff are invited to attend an Office Hours event hosted by UART on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 8:30 a.m. UART members will offer brief updates and then take questions regarding the Preparedness Plan, testing, vaccines, spring semester and anything else related to campus pandemic management.

Thank you for taking the time to read these important updates.

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