St. Olaf College | COVID-19

June 17, 2021 at 9:16 a.m.

COVID Campus Response Summer Update

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

Dear St. Olaf Community,

Your hard work and diligence this year, combined with statewide and national public health efforts, have enabled us to transition from a pandemic response phase to a recovery phase. With the loosening of state restrictions and a significantly depopulated campus, the summer months provide a perfect opportunity to begin transitioning to this new phase.

As we do so, I want to draw your attention to a number of important updates:

Updated Community Standards

The St. Olaf Community Standards have been updated to reflect that:

  • St. Olaf will require all new and returning faculty, staff, and students to be fully vaccinated by the start of the fall 2021 semester.

  • Members of our campus community who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear a mask on campus (indoors or outdoors). Members of the campus community who are not fully vaccinated should wear a mask indoors or in college-owned vehicles.

  • Social and physical distancing is no longer required.

  • Campus is open to all students, faculty, and staff.

  • Visitors with a business purpose are allowed on campus. Students, faculty, and staff who host visitors are responsible for ensuring that they adhere to our Community Standards.

Vaccine Requirement

As President Anderson communicated yesterday, we are requiring the vaccine for all new and returning students, faculty, and staff. We arrived at this decision after lengthy consideration and significant consultation with experts.

  • Our epidemiologist consultant engaged with two St. Olaf alumni — one a catastrophe risk consultant and the other a mathematics professor — to model different vaccination rates for a college our size. The mathematical modeling showed that a vaccination rate of 90% or better — and, even more optimal, a vaccination rate of 95% or better —  will be effective at limiting the spread of illness on campus this coming fall and into the future.

  • Even if new variants reduce current vaccine efficacy, this level of vaccination should help protect our campus community. This is especially important in light of the new variants we’re seeing emerge, such as the more contagious and severe Delta virus written about in this recent New York Times article.

  • If you have not already done so, please report your vaccination status through the Health Reporting Form by August 1.

  • Exceptions to the vaccine requirement will be considered when needed to accommodate individuals with disabilities or to accommodate individuals with sincerely held religious beliefs. To request an accommodation, please select the appropriate button on the Health Reporting Form.

Campus Alert Level and Dashboard

  • We will remain in a Green Campus Alert Level, and the COVID-19 campus dashboard will continue to be updated over the summer.

Health Reporting and Contact Tracing

  • The St. Olaf Contact Tracing Team and Case Managers will remain in place throughout the summer.

  • Campus isolation and quarantine spaces will be maintained throughout the summer.

  • Students, faculty, and staff on campus need to continue to report COVID-19 symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to a positive individual through the Health Reporting Form.

We will continue to monitor campus conditions, Minnesota Department of Health and CDC guidance, and the general pandemic situation and update you when necessary.  In the meantime, I hope that you have a safe, productive, and restful summer.

— Enoch