October 28, 2021 at 11:30 a.m.
COVID Response Update
To St. Olaf College staff and faculty
From Campus Reopening Lead Enoch Blazis
Dear St. Olaf Community,
As we enter into the busy season of holidays, gatherings and travel, I am grateful that there are once again so many special events on the calendar. Your efforts to look out for yourselves and your fellow members of this community have allowed us to have the most robust campus experience possible as we continue to make our way through this pandemic.
We remain at Green (low) Campus Alert Level, with a 14-day infection rate of 0.08% as of this writing. You can find more information on our COVID-19 dashboard.
While transmission of the virus remains low on campus due to our high vaccination rates and other safety measures, COVID-19 is still circulating widely in our community and across the country. With many campus activities and gatherings expected this weekend, Dean Roz will be communicating with students about how to keep health and safety in mind. I would ask that we all continue to take precautions as you gather with others this holiday weekend and in the weeks to come.
This week, we began conducting weekly surveillance testing, building on our ongoing practice of testing people who report symptoms and those who are identified as close contacts of someone with COVID-19.
Each week, we will test 300 students, faculty and staff selected at random. That number represents approximately 10% of our campus community and will reveal more about whether, and how, the virus is circulating on campus. A reminder: if you are selected for testing you will be notified by email, and your participation is mandatory.
In addition, we have implemented new requirements for the small number of campus community members who have an approved vaccine exemption. Starting this week, individuals who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19 must get tested weekly. They are also required to wear a mask at all times while on campus, with one exception: unvaccinated students are not required to mask while in their own residence hall rooms.
Both the new surveillance testing and increased safety protocols for unvaccinated people are prompted by the continuing spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota and in consultation with our epidemiologist.
Thanks for your continued attention and care for one another. Happy Halloween!