St. Olaf College | COVID-19

April 30, 2021 at 3:16 p.m.

COVID-19 Campus Update

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

Dear Oles,

With less than a month left in the semester, things look like they are beginning to turn in a positive direction. We need to continue to remain vigilant against the COVID-19 pandemic and practice our Community Standards, but it looks like our efforts are paying off.

Case Counts
This week’s COVID-19 testing continues. Of the 1,356 test results received so far, 4 were positive. Last week we conducted 1,454 tests and 11 were positive, so our case counts are trending in the right direction. Rice County’s 14-day case rate per 10,000 people also decreased this week, and is currently at 48.51.

Yellow Campus Alert Level Remains in Place
Although we are moving in the right direction, the continued prevalence of COVID-19 cases on campus and the elevated Rice County case rate means we will remain in our Yellow Campus Alert Level. We will continue to monitor conditions on campus to see if the cases on campus and the surrounding community continue to moderate, and will adjust the Alert Levels appropriately in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the Yellow Campus Alert Level restrictions I’ve mentioned over the past few weeks remain in place.

Over the last several weeks, many of you have taken advantage of the on-campus vaccination clinics or have been able to find vaccines elsewhere, thanks to an increase in supply. We continue to encourage all Oles — faculty, staff, and students — to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.

If you have not yet reported your vaccination status, please do so now.
While we all wish to return to our pre-pandemic way of life, it is not prudent to change community mitigation and social gathering protocols until at least 80% of the campus population is fully vaccinated. Self-reporting your vaccination status through the Student Health Portal is our best tool to move toward resuming traditional academic, athletic, and social activities. All information will be maintained by St. Olaf Student Health Services in the same way as all other confidential records.

Vaccinations and Mitigation Measures
Those who are fully vaccinated (two weeks past their final vaccine dose) do not need to quarantine if they have been in close contact with someone who tests positive. This week the CDC updated its mask guidelines for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Our Community Standards remain in place and are still applicable given this guidance. Because of abundant airflow, physically distanced activities outside are very low risks. We will continue to require fully vaccinated individuals to wear a mask outside when you can’t physically distance and/or when you are in a large group.

An increasing number of summer jobs, internships, and programs require staff and participants to be vaccinated. Getting the vaccine now is a good way to be prepared for your post-college experience. For returning students, getting vaccinated will also help ensure a smoother, more robust return to campus in the fall.

Community Vaccination Rate
At this point, 410 faculty and staff (51%) have reported that they are completely vaccinated, and 111 reported that they have had the first shot of their vaccine — for a total of 521 faculty and staff (65%) reporting that they are fully vaccinated or in the process of receiving a vaccine.

So far 651 students (23%) have reported that they are completely vaccinated, and 1,137 students reported that they have had the first shot of their vaccine — for a total of 1,788 students (62%) reporting that they are fully vaccinated or in the process of receiving a vaccine.

This is great progress, especially since we know many of you only recently became eligible for the vaccine. We need everyone in the community to continue getting vaccinated as soon as possible and report your vaccination status to the college.

Thank you for your continued commitment to our proactive health and safety precautions. By working together as one campus community, we can continue to curb COVID-19.

— Enoch