St. Olaf College | COVID-19

February 2, 2021 at 12:49 p.m.

Campus Alert Level and Conditions

To St. Olaf College faculty and staffFrom Campus Reopening Lead Enoch Blazis

Dear Colleagues,

We’re looking forward to welcoming students back to campus next week for the beginning of spring semester, and to having many of you return to the Hill as well in the coming weeks to teach and support our students.

Based on current COVID-19 data and conditions for Minnesota, Rice County, and the St. Olaf campus, we will begin the spring semester together in a heightened Yellow Campus Alert Level (medium). This is the same Campus Alert Level that was in place as we ended the fall semester. As a reminder, our Campus Alert Level is defined by a set of indicators that include primarily the cases on campus as well as cases in Rice County and availability of on-campus isolation and quarantine beds.

Student Campus Quarantine
All students will participate in a modified campus quarantine February 9–21 as we conduct two rounds of baseline testing. During this time they will leave their housing only for meal time appointments and individual exercise outdoors, and they will not be allowed to work on or off campus unless the work is virtual. Please be mindful of this and make arrangements with student employees accordingly.

After the quarantine period ends on February 22, all of the Community Standards and heightened Yellow Campus Alert Level conditions will remain in place.

Baseline Testing
As a reminder, the first round of COVID-19 baseline testing for faculty and staff will be February 8 and 9. The second round of testing for faculty and staff will be February 15 and 16. You received an email from the Testing Team yesterday with a form to sign up; please do so at your earliest convenience. This testing is required for all faculty and staff members who will be on campus this spring. Please email with any additional questions about testing.

Surveillance and Targeted Testing
COVID-19 surveillance testing will begin after February 22. Each week students, faculty, and staff will be randomly selected to participate in this testing. You must participate in this testing if you are selected. In addition to random surveillance testing, the college will increase surveillance testing of athletes who are practicing in groups (in accordance with guidance from MDH and the NCAA) and continue to do targeted testing of individuals more likely to have been exposed to COVID-19.

Health Reporting
In the coming weeks you should continue to monitor your health and take appropriate steps if you have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, including reporting your situation to the college. Whether you are on campus or not, you must report to the college if you have a positive COVID-19 test result, have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, or if you have symptoms. Please report using this form. The ProtectWell app will no longer be used, so delete that app from your phone.

Remote Work
At this time we anticipate work arrangements will remain fairly consistent, meaning those employees who worked remotely through the fall will continue working away from campus unless their supervisor indicates to them otherwise.

We remain in contact with public health officials about becoming a closed point of dispensing (CPOD) the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available for our students, faculty, and staff. At this point, health officials still don’t have a clear timeline for us on when this will be possible. As soon as we learn more, we will provide an update to the campus community.

Please note that faculty, staff, and students who have received a vaccine prior to returning to campus will still be required to participate in baseline testing and the campuswide quarantine at the beginning of spring semester. Vaccinated members of the community will also be required to continue to adhere to all Community Standards, including wearing a mask.

If you have any questions, please contact the Campus Reopening Team. Our ability to spend another semester together will once again require hard work, diligence, and a commitment to our Community Standards. I’m grateful for your ongoing support.