February 24, 2022 at 4:46 p.m.
COVID Response Update
To St. Olaf College staff, faculty, and students
From Campus Reopening Lead Enoch Blazis
Dear St. Olaf Community,
As we end our first week back at a Green (low) Campus Alert Level, I’m writing with some guidance for this new phase of the pandemic and a few updates on how we’re monitoring the situation on campus and in the broader community.
Our 14-day infection rate is currently at 0.9%, reflecting the continuing decline in cases we’ve seen on campus and across Minnesota over the last few weeks. You can continue to check our COVID-19 dashboard for up-to-date information as those numbers change.
We are hopeful that the downward trend in case counts and positivity rates will continue in the coming weeks. But we are aware of, and keeping a close eye on, the news this week about the more transmissible Omicron subvariant recently detected in Minnesota. It’s not clear how this development will impact our community, but we are prepared to adjust our COVID-19 protocols if necessary.
Our shift to a Green Campus Alert Level has provided us with more flexibility as we study, work, recreate and live on campus. But with COVID-19 still with us, this shift also means that we need to lean more on our own good judgment and thoughtful decision making to keep our community safe. In short, use COVID common sense:
- Watch for symptoms, report and get tested. The majority of people testing positive are experiencing symptoms, so it’s critical that you report your symptoms using our COVID-19 reporting form and get a test. Everyone should continue to report symptoms, exposures and positive tests.
- Masking is optional on campus but still a good option in some settings. Wear a mask if you feel sick, and report your symptoms. Take additional precautions, including masking, when gathering with people – especially when you attend large social gatherings and/or leave our campus “bubble.” Mask when requested in the classrooms and individual work spaces. Respect those that still choose to mask.
- Think about the St. Olaf Community. Each of our individual decisions has an impact on the COVID-19 situation on campus and our ability to provide a wide range of in-person experiences on campus. Our community has been tremendous in stepping up and we all need to continue to do our part.
Going forward, if our transmission levels remain stable you may see fewer COVID-19 messages from me. Our COVID-19 dashboard will be regularly updated, and is the best place to find up-to-date information about our current situation.
Thank you for continuing to pay close attention to these updates, and to any additional COVID-19 information shared by Student Life, the Provost, Human Resources or other departments.