Campus Preparedness Plan Update

Dear St. Thomas students, faculty and staff,

We are writing to share an update to the Campus Preparedness Plan and information about personal travel.

We also want to say thank you. Thank you for the great work you are doing complying with social distancing, face covering and other health and safety protocols. Our community continues to demonstrate how to act wisely for the common good. Transmission of the virus on campus and in the greater community persists, but so far, it has remained at a manageable level at St. Thomas. Most cases can be traced to situations where individuals live together or small gatherings without face coverings or distancing. Please continue to stay vigilant and show care for one another.

Department-Sponsored Student Activities

We know that students want to see more of each other, and we have been reviewing ways to safely incorporate more in-person activities for students. Based on the results we have seen from contact tracing, which has not shown any transmission in classrooms or structured activities where social distancing was maintained, St. Thomas plans to increase the maximum size of certain well-structured and well-monitored student events.

Starting on Oct. 12, university departments that sponsor student meetings or activities, such as Campus Life, Campus Ministry, Student Diversity and Inclusion Services, or academic departments, may host in-person student events and activities with more than 25 attendees subject to requirements in the Campus Preparedness Plan, which include:

  • Attendance may not exceed the common good capacity of the room in which the event is being held, up to a maximum attendance of 75 (the common good capacity is the capacity at which 6 feet of distancing can be maintained; most meeting and event spaces have a common good capacity of much lower than 75); the maximum capacity for outdoor events is 150 and social distancing must be maintained.
  • Social distancing must be maintained and all other health and safety protocols, including face coverings, must be followed.
  • There must be at least one faculty or staff member present to monitor distancing and other health and safety protocols; additional faculty and staff monitors are required for events with more than 50.
  • Organizers must have an event plan for conducting the event consistent with health and safety protocols.
  • Attendance must be recorded for contract tracing purposes.

We are hopeful that this change will allow for meaningful connections and opportunities for students while minimizing virus transmission risks. We know students want to be together, and we want to provide safe ways for that interaction to take place.

The change above applies to department-sponsored student events. Student clubs and organizations initially held meetings and activities virtually. Campus Life is working with clubs and organizations to gradually provide more in-person opportunities while maintaining virtual participation opportunities as well. Student clubs and organizations that meet in person must cap attendance at the common good capacity for the space or 25 (whichever is less).

Consistent with state guidance and the current Campus Preparedness Plan, faculty and staff meetings should continue to be held virtually or remotely whenever possible. If a manager determines there is a legitimate need to hold a meeting in person, the meeting size must be limited to the common good capacity or 25, whichever is less, and social distancing must be maintained. External in-person events remain canceled through the fall semester.

Under the governor’s executive order, social gatherings that are not part of an official university activity are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, and social distancing must be maintained.

While this change opens up certain well-monitored events, we remain flexible and can scale back if necessary based on health and safety needs. This change requires that community members continue to adhere to distancing, face covering and other health and safety protocols.

Travel

We know many students may be considering travel to see family over the upcoming fall and Thanksgiving breaks. The university advises students who will be traveling to follow health and safety protocols (particularly distancing and face coverings) and to review and follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on travel and on holiday celebrations. In addition, please be aware that some states have imposed or may impose quarantine requirements. Please consider how travel restrictions may impact your ability to travel to and from the Twin Cities as you make plans for these break periods.

We have fielded several questions about the academic calendar. With the exception of the School of Law, which has made a small shift to its academic calendar, we are following our traditional fall academic calendar.

Testing

We have continued to receive questions on testing. St. Thomas is following public health guidance on testing and continues to monitor developments in testing recommendations and availability. Additional information is available on OneStThomas here.

Again, thank you all for your attention, cooperation and ongoing good work. We can do this!

 

Warm regards,

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