March 12, 2021: New Campus COVID-19 Updates

Dear St. Thomas students, faculty and staff,

It truly has been a long time since we've felt this collective optimism! Recent vaccine developments and falling case counts on campus and elsewhere have us feeling hopeful that normal campus life is within reach. Based on Minnesota's plan to accelerate vaccine distributions and our success in mitigating COVID-19 on campus, St. Thomas is making plans to resume normal campus operations before the fall 2021 semester.

Please understand, however, that the pandemic isn't over yet.

We need all community members to continue upholding the protocols that have helped us remain open for in-person instruction. Please practice social distancing, wash your hands and continue wearing face coverings indoors on campus (and outdoors when social distancing isn't possible).

These protocols have largely been successful so far -- let's make it to the end!

Here are this month's updates:

Sign Up for Free Testing
  • Our next free mass-testing event will be 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 25. The Minnesota Department of Health is recommending that all students be tested before leaving for spring break and upon returning to campus. Community members are encouraged to sign up online.
  • We expect you to also get tested after spring break. On Thursday, April 8, from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., we will offer a free saliva PCR test at the Andersen Athletic & Recreation Complex (AARC) Field House. Community members who participate in this test should expect to receive their test results within 48 hours. Please sign up online.

Spring Break Begins March 29 - Stay Safe!
  • With warmer temperatures and more people getting vaccinated, it will be tempting to let your guard down - but we ask everyone to remember that our largest spike in cases this academic year occurred in November after fall break due, in-part, to off-campus gatherings, which forced us to implement a two-week quiet period. Please help us avoid a repeat of that situation.
  • Please avoid unnecessary travel. If you do travel, please don't needlessly put yourself and the health of your fellow community members at risk: avoid large gatherings (do not travel to party), stay with members of your immediate household, and follow health and safety protocols.

Vaccine Distribution Update
  • St. Thomas has not yet received an official response to our request to become a vaccine distribution center. We will provide information as soon as there is an update to share.
  • Members of UART and the Center for Well-Being are working behind the scenes to prepare plans and logistics; we will put these plans into action if or when our request is approved.
  • Some members of the community already may be eligible for a vaccine based on their age, health conditions or job responsibilities. We encourage community members to get the vaccine as soon as they are eligible. Please see the state's Vaccine Connector website for additional information. In addition, some members of our community have reported that the website is helpful in finding appointments.

Note, Gov. Walz released new Minnesota guidelines today, March 12, regarding gatherings and events. UART is reviewing these guidelines. We'll send updates early next week regarding St. Thomas guidelines. In the meantime, our current guidelines can be found here.

Thank you for your cooperation. Stay safe and healthy!

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