September 10, 2021 at 9:25 a.m.
COVID Response Update
To St. Olaf College staff and faculty
From Campus Reopening Lead Enoch Blazis
Dear St. Olaf Community,
Welcome to a new year at St. Olaf! We’re excited to begin the academic year, and I’m writing to briefly update you on our COVID-related plans for the year.
We tested all students, faculty, and staff this week and will continue to share the results on our COVID-19 dashboard, which is updated daily. Of the 2,508 test results that we have received as of this morning, 7 were positive. This is a positivity rate of 0.28%. Even in a highly vaccinated campus community, we expected we would have some cases of the virus, including breakthrough cases in those who are fully vaccinated. We will use our isolation housing and contact tracing process to help mitigate further spread of the virus in our campus community, and will continue to carefully monitor the remaining test results from this week.
These test results, combined with what we learn from the second round of COVID-19 testing (September 20-22), will inform our strategy moving forward. It is critically important for you to fill out the Health Reporting Form should you test positive, or if you have been exposed to COVID-19, or if you are experiencing new/worsening symptoms. This helps us make sure you’re getting the care you need, as well as assists us in both tracking and slowing the virus spread on campus. Learn more about the steps you should take here. It’s also important that we all continue to adhere to our Community Standards, which outline important practices that everyone on campus must follow.
Our campuswide COVID-19 test results will also help determine our Campus Alert Level. Currently we’re in Green (or low alert), but we are requiring everyone to mask indoors as part of our initial return to campus strategy. We’ve noticed issues with appropriate mask wearing, especially in Tostrud, and we would hate to have to restrict access to buildings and activities because people are not adhering to the Community Standards. Please make sure to cover your nose and mouth when indoors. At this point in the pandemic, we all know how to properly wear a mask. Let’s all support the Community Standards — and each other — when we need to don masks. One item that has been raised recently by both students and faculty is if we’re allowing eating in the classroom. At this point, while we’re all masked indoors, please refrain from eating in class.
To learn more about the Campus Alert Levels as well as the different measures implemented when a level is changed, please click here. The President’s Leadership Team discussed this and our overall strategy in much more detail at last week’s faculty and staff Town Hall meeting. Please click here to view the recording.
I want to thank you in advance for maintaining our Community Standards, caring for fellow Oles, and taking steps to begin this promising new academic year in as safe a manner as possible.