February 28, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.
To St. Olaf College students, faculty, and staffFrom David R. Anderson, President Of The College
Dear Colleagues and Oles,
St. Olaf College is closely monitoring the COVID-19 (often called the “coronavirus”) outbreak, and is actively preparing to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of our students, employees, and visitors. While there are currently no confirmed cases in Minnesota, the World Health Organization has confirmed cases in more than 50 countries around the world.
The college is actively reviewing information from the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of State, and the Minnesota Department of Health.
I formed a Coronavirus Response Team to coordinate the college’s response should there be an outbreak of the virus on campus, to stay abreast of developments with the virus, and to provide updates to the campus community. These updates will contain specific action steps that community members should take if there are confirmed cases in Minnesota or on our campus.
While the college’s goal is to provide timely information to keep the community informed, it’s also important to balance this preparedness and vigilance with concern for each other — especially for members of our campus community who are from, or have family members who live in, countries that have been impacted. The college will work directly with students who may have concerns about returning home for break or this summer.
Please review the information and guidelines below.
Knowing that many community members may have travel plans, particularly as spring break draws near, we urge you to check the CDC and the U.S. Department of State guidelines for the latest developments and know that these guidelines are subject to change. We advise that all travel to CDC Warning Level 3 countries should be canceled or deferred to a later date.
The spread of COVID-19 may impact our International and Off-Campus Study programs. We are reviewing our off-campus offerings carefully for this summer and beyond, and the college will contact those directly impacted.
We have not made any changes to our current St. Olaf programs, and we are assisting students enrolled or planning to enroll in programs offered by other institutions.
The college’s International and Off-Campus Studies Office regularly monitors a variety of international events (disease, natural disasters, political upheaval, etc.) and has procedures in place to protect the health and well-being of our students off campus. The office is also in regular contact with international government officials and the college’s partners and universities around the world.
CDC prevention steps, including frequent hand washing and covering coughs, are important precautions for all of us to take. Faculty and staff are encouraged to make adjustments for students and colleagues who are sick to help prevent the spread of all viruses.
If you develop symptoms associated with COVID-19 (fever, cough, and other signs of respiratory illness), you should be evaluated by local resources as listed on the Health Services website. Public Safety can transport students who are ill to the Northfield ER.
If you have health-related or general questions about COVID-19, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have questions about how this impacts off-campus study, contact Jodi Malmgren at email@example.com.