November 12, 2020: Important COVID-19 Response Updates

Dear St. Thomas students, faculty and staff,

Please see below for important updates related to the increase in COVID-19 cases in the university community and Minnesota. In this note, we will cover:
  • Free on-campus COVID-19 testing next week
  • Implications of Gov. Tim Walz’s new Executive Order
Expanded Testing
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is recommending all students be tested before returning home for Thanksgiving, and we are partnering with MDH to offer expanded testing options to our community.

All students, faculty and staff who wish to be tested on the St. Paul campus can receive a free saliva PCR test on Wednesday, Nov. 18, and Thursday, Nov. 19, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Anderson Athletic & Recreation Complex (AARC) Field House. Community members who participate in this test should expect to receive their test results within 48 hours. Insurance information will be collected, but MDH will cover any costs not covered by insurance, so the tests will be free. This testing event is intended for individuals who are not symptomatic. Students experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should continue to contact the Center for Well-Being at 651-962-6750.

Sign up for specific time slots on the St. Paul campus.

[update made Nov 13] Yesterday, the Minnesota Department of health announced that they were expanding their free, at-home testing program to the entire state. We are encouraging anyone on our Minneapolis campus to either: [end of Nov 13 update]

Important: All individuals who are notified of a positive test result must notify St. Thomas using the self-reporting form on OneStThomas.

Executive Order Implications
Tuesday, Gov. Tim Walz issued new restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota, including new closing times for restaurants and bars, as well as guidance limiting the number of people allowed in indoor and outdoor gatherings. Additionally, MDH has issued new guidance this week advising higher-ed institutions in Minnesota to consider instituting “quiet periods” on campus and cancel or pause any unnecessary activities.

Given these developments, all in-person extra-curricular activities not related to classroom instruction must transition to virtual meetings or be cancelled altogether (with the exceptions of Daily Mass, Prayer Hour and Athletics Department activities, which are following separate MDH guidelines). This guidance will go into effect starting Friday, Nov. 13, and remain in place through the rest of the fall semester.

Additionally, all students – whether living on campus or off campus – are expected to comply with the governor’s order to limit all social gatherings (regardless if they are indoors or outdoors) to 10 people from no more than three separate households (note for resident students: a residence hall room should be considered a household).

We will continue sharing more information as available. Thank you for your attention!

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