May 1, 2020 at 10:19 a.m.
I am writing to you today with important information for faculty and staff based on current guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health and state officials. Governor Walz has extended the statewide stay-at-home order until May 18, but he has increased flexibility for some businesses so long as protocols are in place to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19.
Even though Governor Walz has relaxed restrictions, St. Olaf employees who can work remotely should continue to do so for the time being. If you have a compelling need to return to campus, you must seek approval from the PLT member your team reports to in order to do so.
The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff are always the College’s primary concern. Having a limited number of employees on campus better enables the College to support the health and safety protocols that need to be in place for essential on-campus employees (i.e., Facilities, Public Safety, etc.), and it minimizes the potential exposure for students remaining on campus. We deeply appreciate the essential on-campus employees who are on the Hill supporting our students and caring for campus, and we need to take measures to support their health and safety.
The Coronavirus Response Team is working on a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan to create health and safety protocols for all employees to follow as they transition back to working on campus. This plan, which follows the state guidelines outlined by Governor Walz, will be used first by Facilities employees and other on-campus essential employees as they more fully return to on-campus work in the coming week to tend to the campus. When it becomes necessary for other faculty and/or staff to come to campus to work, the COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for On-Campus Work will be updated and shared directly with all employees.
The College is also working on a process for students and their families to begin returning to campus in small, controlled numbers after May 18 to retrieve their belongings. Each student will sign up for a 3-hour appointment slot to return to campus to pack and retrieve their belongings. Each student will be allowed only one time slot and may bring one person to help pack. A maximum of 20 people will be in each residence hall at a time, which enables us to ensure appropriate social distancing. Everyone returning to campus will be expected to wear a mask and gloves while on campus, and students will only have access to their residence hall.
As stated by Governor Walz, the transition from the stay-at-home order to being back on campus will be a marathon that will require moderate changes over an extended period of time. We will continue to keep you updated as Governor Walz and the Minnesota Department of Health provide further direction and guidance.