St. Olaf College | COVID-19

March 2, 2022 at 5:55 p.m.

IMPORTANT: Change in Campus Alert Level- Yellow

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

Dear St. Olaf Community,

We are experiencing a significant uptick in COVID-19 cases on campus, and are dialing up some of our safety protocols to try to curb virus transmission as quickly as possible.

Between Monday and Wednesday of this week, we’ve had more than 80 positive cases on campus. This is a major shift from the steady decline we’d experienced over the last several weeks, and is being driven by students who were infected during social gatherings. Virtually all of the people who have tested positive have had symptoms.

The increase in cases is unfortunate. But we believe that if we act swiftly, following our Campus Alert Level guidelines, we can slow transmission and avoid further spread.

Effective Thursday, March 3, we will be at a Yellow (medium) Campus Alert Level. Masks will again be required indoors for students, faculty, staff and visitors at all times, other than for students alone or with roommates in their own residence hall room, or faculty/staff working alone in an enclosed workspace.

We will continue to conduct symptomatic testing and will conduct targeted COVID-19 testing, focusing on clusters discovered through our contact tracing process.

It’s critical that we all do our part to help slow the spread of the virus and allow us to move back to a Green (low) Campus Alert Level as soon as possible. Here’s what you can do:

  1. In addition to wearing a mask indoors, wear a mask if you have ANY symptoms. Stay home or in your residence hall room if you feel sick. Common symptoms are nasal congestion, scratchy throat and fatigue.
  2. Report symptoms, exposures and positive tests using our COVID-19 reporting form and follow directions from the case management team.
  3. If you have access to a COVID-19 test, use it and report a positive result using our COVID-19 reporting form.
  4. While in Yellow, limit your social group on campus to a smaller number of people, particularly for dining or any activities where consistent mask use isn’t possible.

At this alert level, we plan to continue to allow structured campus events with some modifications or postponements, based on level of risk. Gatherings over 100 should be reviewed by supervisors and approved by appropriate PLT members. Students can expect to see additional information and guidance from Student Life.

Visitors will still be allowed on campus if they are up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, including boosters, and will be required to wear a mask indoors.

I know this news is disappointing. But I am grateful for your continued willingness to be adaptable and responsive to the needs of our campus community. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates on our COVID-19 dashboard.