July 31, 2020: Return to Campus Update

Dear St. Thomas students, faculty and staff,

It’s hard to believe we’re a little more than a month away from the beginning of fall semester. We have gradually seen more activity on campus in the last few weeks, but it still feels empty in some places on campus, and we’re looking forward to seeing your faces again.

Please see below for some important updates on our plans for a safe return to campus this fall:

Target Reopening Date: Aug. 17
Earlier this week, the MIAC officially postponed most fall sports competition to the spring (golf and tennis teams will compete). Because our student-athletes will no longer need to arrive on campus early, we are targeting Aug. 17 as the official date for all campus facilities to move to Level-3 readiness, which means normal hours of operations will be back in effect, and staff should check with their supervisor about their required presence on campus. List of current campus building hours.

Preparedness Plan Updates
Updates have been made to our Campus Preparedness Plan; to summarize the changes:
  • Language has been added regarding the use of spaces for in-person (non-class) meetings. Specifically, to maintain social distancing guidelines, in-person meetings will be limited to either a room’s displayed Common Good Capacity, or no more than 25 participants (whichever is fewer).
  • The plan has been updated to reflect Gov. Tim Walz’s recently announced statewide mandate to wear face coverings indoors in businesses and public settings. New language has been added regarding acceptable face coverings that may be used on campus.
  • The Recreational Facilities and Activities section has been updated with new hours for Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex (AARC), as well as capacity guidelines, processes for reserving court times, and guidelines for using face coverings.
Please see the plan for specific details – it can be viewed in its entirety here.

Implications of the Governor’s K-12 Announcement
On Thursday, Gov. Walz announced Minnesota will take a “localized, data-driven approach” to reopening schools, setting thresholds that must be met if schools are going to open their doors to students. This means every school could have a slightly different approach to teaching this fall with in-person, hybrid and online learning all potential options. We realize yesterday’s news will have varying impacts on our employees with school age children. St. Thomas will continue being flexible as this situation evolves; please alert your manager and HR business partner as soon as possible if you are considered an on-campus essential employee and foresee childcare issues.
Transportation Updates

Faculty/staff parking permit sales will begin Monday, Aug. 3. Please visit the Parking Services website for instructions and links to the St. Thomas Parking Portal.
The St. Thomas shuttle service will resume its regular schedule on Aug. 24. Rider capacity will be reduced by 50%. Please be sure to plan ahead!

Business Operations Reopening
  • The Campus Card office will return to Murray-Herrick Campus Center (MHC) on Monday, Aug. 3, to accommodate requests for replacement cards and mask pickups.
  • The Minneapolis Campus Bookstore will re-open on Monday, Aug. 3. Additionally, all orders for fall books will be 5% off for orders placed online, and curbside pickup will be available on the St. Paul campus. Additionally, the Tommie Shop will re-open Aug. 10. See store hours.
  • The Print Shop will re-open in its new location in MHC on Monday, Aug. 10. Contact the Print Shop via OneStThomas (note: a stthomas.edu email address is required to access).
  • 25Live will open on Monday, Aug. 17 to allow community members to reserve spaces for fall events. Please note: all meetings currently in the system will be cancelled by administrators. All community members who currently have reservations and wish to rebook are encouraged to review reservations following Common Good Capacity guidelines. Events of more than 25 will be allowed in a limited manner following current MDH and CDC guidelines. This will be limited to select spaces; event planners can find more information on the Campus Scheduling website.
  • The View will begin serving breakfast on Monday, Aug. 24. Early meal plans can be purchased for all students who will be on campus after that date. Fall meal plans will start for dinner on Saturday, Sept. 5.
A Final Note
Many of you have seen reports from across the country of universities and colleges that have reversed their plans to reopen for the fall in response to COVID-19 outbreaks in their communities. You undoubtedly are wondering if the same may happen at St. Thomas.

As stated earlier this summer, we fully intend to welcome as many students this fall as we can safely accommodate because we believe our mission to educate morally responsible students who advance the common good is essential. We recognize, however, that the current situation regarding COVID-19 is tenuous and volatile. While we are proceeding with plans to reopen, we must remain flexible and ready to respond if the situation calls on us to change plans. In the meantime, we must all do our part to improve our chances to successfully reopen (and remain open) by staying vigilant, following the guidelines laid out in our Preparedness Plan and creating the culture of care outlined by President Sullivan.

Thank you for your attention. Please stay safe and healthy.
Karen Lange
Vice President for Student Affairs

Wendy Wyatt
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs