St. Olaf College | COVID-19

November 9, 2021 at 12:35 p.m.

COVID Response Update

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

Dear St. Olaf Community,

I’m writing with some important updates and reminders as we approach Thanksgiving break and seek to keep our campus community safe during this season of travel and gatherings.

This week marks our third week of surveillance testing and we are pleased to report that transmission on campus remains low. As of this writing, our 14-day infection rate stands at 0.18% and we continue to be at a Green (low) Campus Alert Level. (More information is available on our COVID-19 dashboard.)

That’s good news, and a credit to your continued cooperation and commitment to looking out for yourselves and others. But as COVID-19 continues to circulate widely in our broader community, across Minnesota and beyond, we must remain vigilant — especially as many of us prepare to travel and gather with friends and family.

Thanksgiving precautions and testing
In your travel and celebrations in the coming weeks, please take added precautions:

  • Wear a mask, especially when you are with a large group or spending time with people who may not be vaccinated.
  • Stay home if you feel sick. If you are on campus, fill out the reporting form to report your symptoms.
  • Consider getting a COVID-19 booster as soon as possible in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

A reminder: All students, faculty and staff will be tested when classes resume after Thanksgiving break. More information about campus-wide testing will be coming soon via email.

COVID-19 boosters
In line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Health, we are strongly encouraging COVID-19 booster shots for those who are eligible. The criteria for the boosters are broad, and include people who live in congregate housing — including campus residence halls — and those who work in high-risk environments, including education. More information on boosters is available here.

Of particular note: the CDC says all people 18+ who received a single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine should get either a Pfizer or Moderna booster at least two months after the Johnson & Johnson dose.

Booster shots are now widely available, including at several stores and pharmacies in Northfield. That includes Target and Cub, where we provide regular transportation. Both of those locations, as well as Walgreens, require you to make an appointment online in advance of your visit.

Another option for those able to make the trip to Faribault are two upcoming clinics hosted by Rice County. The first, offering Moderna boosters, is happening this week: tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov. 10) from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Rice County Government Services Building. A second Moderna vaccine clinic is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 22. More information and links to sign up for an appointment at these clinics is available here.

Bring your vaccine record card with you to any booster shot appointment.

One final note on boosters: We are exploring the possibility of holding a booster shot clinic on campus sometime in the coming weeks. But because that event has not been finalized, we encourage eligible members of our community to seek out boosters on their own sooner.

As always, thank you for reading, understanding and sharing in the work of keeping our community safe. Happy (early) Thanksgiving!

Enoch