St. Olaf College | COVID-19

May 15, 2020 at 9:59 a.m.

To St. Olaf College faculty and staffFrom David R. Anderson, President Of The College

Dear Colleagues,

On Wednesday Governor Walz loosened the state’s stay-at-home order, replacing it with a “stay safe” plan that has fewer restrictions. Although this plan allows more businesses to open, it still emphasizes the need for protocols to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19. The order notes that anyone who can work from home still should do so, and in-person gatherings must not exceed 10 people.

Given this guidance from the governor and Minnesota Department of Health officials, St. Olaf employees who can work remotely should continue to do so. 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.

We have said this before, but it bears repeating: the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff are 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.); it minimizes the potential exposure for students remaining on campus; and it allows us to better focus our attention on the plans for returning students, faculty, and staff to campus this fall. 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 continue to support their health and safety. Everyone working on campus must follow the protocols required by the State of Minnesota outlined in the COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for On-Campus Work, complete safety training, and complete a daily health questionnaire immediately before returning to work on campus.

Students will begin returning to campus this Monday, May 18, in small, controlled numbers to retrieve their belongings. Each student will be allowed to return during one 3-hour time slot that they have signed up for, and each may bring one person to help pack and retrieve their belongings. 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 face covering while on campus, and students will have access only to their residence hall. Residence Life staff members have worked with other offices on campus to coordinate the safe return of other College property, including books and music equipment. Please do not make your own arrangements to meet with students and families.

We learned that the Minnesota Department of Health plans to release by the end of May its guidance for opening colleges and universities in the fall as well as recommended strategies for doing so. That will be important input as we continue to plan for a fall opening.

Thank you for your efforts to keep our campus community safe and healthy.