St. Olaf College | COVID-19

February 15, 2022 at 1:27 p.m.

Important Update on Campus COVID Alert Level

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

Dear St. Olaf Community,

I’m writing to share the results of our first week of baseline testing, along with an important update about our plans to dial back some of our COVID-19 protocols.

Of the 2,833 tests conducted last week, 53 were positive, for a test positivity rate of 1.84%. We believe those numbers are a good indicator of what we’re likely to see as results come in from this week’s testing.

These results, along with the continued decline of the Omicron surge in the broader community, are encouraging and indicate that we are in a position to adjust our approach on campus. Effective Wednesday, February 16, we will shift to a Yellow (medium) Campus Alert Level.

With this change, many of our key COVID-19 mitigation strategies will remain in place, including mandatory indoor mask wearing in almost all situations and vaccine and booster requirements for campus community members and visitors. But this change will open up more opportunities for us to learn, work, socialize and recreate on campus and resume some of the activities we know are central to the St. Olaf experience. Here’s what you should know:

Yellow Campus Alert Level Conditions

  • Masks are required indoors at all times, other than for students alone or with roommates in their own residence hall room, or for faculty and staff working alone in an enclosed office.

  • All campus visitors, including admissions visitors, are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and boosted, if eligible. It is the responsibility of groups or individuals inviting visitors to campus to ensure that those visitors understand and comply with the college’s COVID-19 protocols, including vaccination status.

  • In-person meetings are permitted, but organizers should use caution in incorporating dining or other situations where consistent mask use is not possible.

  • Events are allowed with masks.  Organizers should use caution in incorporating dining or other situations where consistent mask use is not possible. Gatherings over 100 should be reviewed by supervisors and approved by appropriate PLT members.

  • Students may come and go from campus without requesting permission, but should take precautions while off campus, including masking in public spaces or when gathering with others.

  • Students may visit residence halls other than their own, and socialize in groups, but masking is required while indoors.

Testing and COVID-19 reporting

Testing will continue for anyone who is experiencing symptoms or is identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19. All members of our campus community should continue to report positive tests, exposures and symptoms by using our COVID-19 reporting form. As we move forward, we may implement additional testing, including surveillance testing, depending on the level of virus transmission on campus.

Once we get the results of this week’s all campus testing, we will assess them – as well as the situation on campus and in the broader community – to see if we can further adjust campus protocols and mitigation measures.  The results of this week’s baseline testing will help inform our next moves. More information about the factors that influence our Campus Alert Level can be found here.

Please continue to use good judgment in your activities both on and off campus. Each individual decision impacts our community and our ability to provide a robust in-person campus experience this semester.

Best,

Enoch