Community Standards

Community Standards

The Community Standards provide detailed guidance on the measures community members are expected to observe to minimize the incidence and spread of COVID-19 on our campus. Other departments and divisions within the College may adopt additional guidelines consistent with the Community Standards. The Community Standards document is a living document; we expect it will be revised throughout the academic year as understanding of the virus deepens, best practices change, and therapeutic measures become available. Changes made to the document will be announced to the community, and each community member is expected to remain apprised of these changes as they occur.

The guidance provides three important practices everyone on campus must follow:
1. Monitor and Care
2. Prevention
3. Provide Space

Bias Based Discrimination

The current COVID-19 outbreak has provoked cognitive bias and discriminatory behaviors against people of certain ethnic backgrounds as well as anyone perceived to have been in contact with the virus. We know that the virus is not a respecter of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, or physical ability.
St. Olaf College is committed to creating and maintaining an environment in which all members of the community (students, faculty, and staff) are respected and treated with dignity, free from bias and harassment. We encourage victims of hate crimes, harassment, or bias to report the incident to the appropriate authorities. For more information, visit the Bias Reporting web page.

Monitor and Care

Everyone must be proactive and responsible for their own daily health routine for the protection of self and others in this community.

Daily Health Screenings

Each student, staff, and faculty member will receive a kit from the College that includes a thermometer, two face coverings, a face shield, and hand sanitizer. The College is developing a set of health monitoring tools that community members will use to determine whether they are authorized to attend work or classes each day. 

  • Every morning each student, staff, and faculty member will be expected to take their own temperature and, using the health monitoring tools, complete a brief health screening that checks for COVID-19 symptoms by asking questions such as “Do you have a fever?” and “Do you have a cough?” Depending on the answers, the tools will clear them to attend class or work, or will advise them to stay at home or in their room. 
  • It is the responsibility of each community member to utilize the health monitoring tools on a daily basis. 

Participating in this daily screening, and staying home or in your residence hall room, will be key to reducing community exposure to COVID-19 and is expected of each St. Olaf student, staff, and faculty. This daily screening is also required for those faculty and staff who may be working remotely.

Illness, Isolation, and Quarantine Protocols for Students

Isolation and quarantine precautions are used to help stop the spread of disease from one person to another. The College will follow CDC and MDH guidance regarding isolation and quarantine protocols. 

  • It is critical that students who are sick with COVID-19 symptoms stay in their living quarters (i.e., residence hall room).
  • Students seeking medical assistance should, prior to visiting the hospital or clinic, call the Northfield Hospital Triage Line at 507-646-1494 (daytime hours) or 507-646-1100 (Emergency Department). There is also a COVID-19 information line at 507-646-1919.
  • Students must report to the College via the Contact Tracing Team at if they have a positive COVID-19 test result or have been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.
  • Students living on campus who test positive for COVID-19 will be moved to a room or space identified for isolation purposes. 
  • Based on guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health, students may self-isolate or self-quarantine at their family home if they are within regional driving distance (2-3 hour drive) and family composition and home layout are conducive to isolation/quarantine.
  • Processes will be in place to provide those quarantined or in isolation with necessary support, including meals. 
  • Students who have recently had close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with a person with COVID-19 should also stay in their living quarters and monitor their health

Illness, Isolation, and Quarantine Protocols for Faculty and Staff

Isolation and quarantine precautions are used to help stop the spread of disease from one person to another. The College will follow CDC and MDH guidance regarding isolation and quarantine protocols. 

  • It is critical that faculty and staff who are sick with COVID-19 symptoms stay at home. 
  • Faculty and staff must report via the Contact Tracing Team at a positive COVID-19 test result or you have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.
  • Faculty and staff who have recently had close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with a person with COVID-19 should also stay at home and monitor their health for the required 14-day self-quarantine time period.
  • Faculty and staff must report if they will be missing work for a COVID-19 related reason. While maintaining confidentiality to protect the privacy of employees’ health status and health information as much as possible, St. Olaf will then follow up to perform contact tracing and collect other pertinent information to inform individuals of any potential exposure. More information can be found in the updated COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for On-Campus Work.
  • Following the illness/quarantine timeframe, the Return to Work Following COVID-19 Illness/Quarantine Request must be completed prior to returning to work on campus.

Testing and Contact Tracing

Baseline COVID-19 testing for all faculty, staff, and students will be done at the beginning of the fall semester. The initial testing will be done when individuals arrive on campus followed by a second round of testing 15 days later. Costs for this testing will be covered by the College. Employees will be tested in advance of student arrivals, followed by student testing when they are scheduled to arrive.

The purpose of our testing is to establish a baseline at the beginning of the academic year. If any employees are not going to be on campus during this period of time (approximately the first three weeks of the semester), then there isn’t a need for them to undergo testing. If, however, there is a possibility that a staff person who is working remotely will be returning at some point during this period of time then they need to undergo both tests. Also, if someone who is working remotely wishes to have testing done even though they don’t anticipate coming back to campus, then they are welcome to be tested as well. We will ask employees to document that they will not need to participate in St. Olaf College’s testing for COVID-19 because they will not be returning to campus until after September 30, 2020.

Contact tracing is a key strategy for preventing further spread of COVID-19. Contact tracing identifies individuals with whom a confirmed COVID-19 patient has been in close contact during the time the patient may have been infectious. Close contact is defined by the Minnesota Department of Health as contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within six feet for more than 15 minutes. Contacts are only informed that they may have been exposed to a patient with the infection. They are not told the identity of the patient who may have exposed them. Contacts are provided with education, information, and support to understand their risk, what they should do to separate themselves from others who are not exposed, monitor themselves for illness, and the possibility that they could spread the infection to others even if they themselves do not feel ill.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is the primary source of contact tracing for the state. St. Olaf will also have its own ability to contact trace cases within the College community (students, faculty, and staff) in collaboration with the MDH. We will have a team of trained St. Olaf staff members whose top priority will be the confidentiality of students, faculty, and staff as they work with those who test positive (or who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive) and guide them through the process of isolation and/or quarantine.

Employees who are isolated or quarantined may return back to work if they meet the criteria laid out by the CDC. A contact tracer will be in daily communication with each person in isolation/quarantine. At this moment, those criteria include:


  • Symptom-free for at least 24 hours
  • At least 10 days in isolation
  • Fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medication for at least 24 hours
  • Written approval from


  • 14 days of quarantine
  • Symptom-free

Required Training

St. Olaf’s Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) department has developed training modules on health safety principles to stay safe on campus during the pandemic, and how-to instructions on proper personal protective equipment (PPE) usage and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. This training will be mandatory for students, faculty, and staff and is available through an online training course. Additional communication and training will be ongoing and provided to all students and employees as they transition to being back on campus. 

Individuals experiencing difficulty in accessing the training materials should contact the Moodle Support Team at These difficulties may be the result of individual machine settings, current individual Moodle account settings, or the device used to access the materials.

Monitor Mental Health

Students, faculty, and staff should be taking steps to manage mental health, including: 

  • Acknowledging reactions and allowing yourself time to reflect, stay virtually connected with others, and create and follow a daily routine.
  • Practicing grounding techniques and breathing exercises, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle (eating right, getting enough sleep, etc.)
  • Recognizing distress and knowing when you need to get help. Increased anxiety, inability to focus, feeling of hopelessness, sudden anger or disruptive behavior, difficulty sleeping, excessive crying, and unhealthy coping (increased alcohol or drug use) are all signs that you need to seek help.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and in need of immediate assistance, the following are local and national resources that can help:

South Central Mobile Crisis Team
Local off-campus crisis support
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
English 1-800-273-8255
Spanish 1-888-628-9454
Northfield Hospital
Emergency 507-646-1100
Crisis Text Line
Text CONNECT to 741741
St. Olaf Public Safety
The Trevor Project
Support for LGBTQIA+ students
Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline
Trans Peer Support Lifeline
All operators are transgender
MN adult mental health crisis response phone numbers by county The Steve Fund
Access a culturally trained Crisis Text Line counselor
Text STEVE to 741741


Everyone must take active prevention measures. Even though you may not be at high risk, there are others around you who are.

Wear Face Coverings

The College will provide two face coverings for each faculty, staff, and student; if you feel you need additional face coverings, you will be expected to bring those to campus with you. Face shields are an alternative to face masks for people who cannot wear masks due to medical or other conditions.

  • Faculty, staff, and students are required to wear face coverings in common building areas or when physical distancing is not an option.
  • Faculty and students will be required to wear face coverings in classrooms. Some classes may require face shields (labs, for example). The College will provide face shields for each student, faculty, and staff member.
  • Students will be required to wear their face covering when retrieving food items in Stav Hall, removing it to eat only once they are seated in the dining area.
  • Students are not required to wear a face covering in their own room except when interacting with individuals other than their roommate.
  • Faculty and staff are not obligated to wear a facing covering while alone in their office.
  • Faculty and staff are expected to wear a face covering in their office when other individuals are present in the office.

Practice Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

  • Everyone should practice proper handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • It is important to wash your hands at the beginning and end of a work shift, prior to any mealtimes, after using the toilet, and before/after removing gloves.
    • Avoid unnecessary touching of objects such as door handles, countertops, vending machine buttons, etc.
    • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes with your hands.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer will be available in every building on campus.
  • Everyone must cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of their elbow. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use of hand sanitizer when necessary. The Minnesota Department of Health “Cover Your Cough” posters are displayed prominently across campus to remind everyone of the importance of this behavior.

Cleaning and Disinfection Guidelines

  • The College will take the necessary steps to establish the appropriate standards and protocols for cleaning and disinfecting based on recommendations from the CDC and MDH.
  • Custodial practices are detailed in the COVID-19 Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols document. Priority spaces and objects have been identified and will be cleaned and disinfected more frequently due to their location in high-traffic areas. Custodial staff will provide daily cleaning and disinfecting services to high-touch objects such as door handles, elevator panels, and railings as well as common areas in the work environment including restrooms, break rooms, lounges, kitchens, utility rooms, laundry rooms, learning spaces, and meeting rooms. The document also includes enhanced disinfection procedures should a College employee, student, or visitor be diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • We encourage students, faculty, and staff to keep personal items (e.g., cell phones and other electronics) and personal work and living spaces clean. The College will provide hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipe supplies for cleaning of personal work spaces and shared equipment and/or resource usage.

Larger Group Gatherings and Visitors to Campus will be Restricted

  • The College recommends the continued use of virtual group events, gatherings, or meetings to the extent possible.
  • For fall 2020, external groups and organizations will not be allowed to reserve or use campus facilities. 
  • Consistent with the MN Stay Safe Plan and MDH guidelines for institutions of higher education, social gatherings not associated with a class or structured event/meeting must not exceed 10 indoors or 25 outdoors. All events on campus must be pre-approved through the appropriate channels. Outdoor events must not exceed 250 people and indoor events need to operate at 25% capacity with no more than 250 people in one area. Facial coverings must be worn and 6 feet of physical distancing must be followed for social gatherings, classrooms, and events.
  • Campus vendors necessary to support campus operations are expected to follow the College’s guidelines regarding physical distancing, wearing of masks, and handwashing/use of hand sanitizer. 
  • The Admissions Office will coordinate all prospective student campus visits following the College’s guidelines regarding physical distancing, wearing of masks, and handwashing/use of hand sanitizer.
  • For fall 2020, students may not have visitors come to campus. This is an added precaution that we are taking to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

Off-Campus Activities

  • During the College’s initial COVID-19 baseline testing period, all students will be expected to quarantine on campus.
      • From the time students arrive on campus through Wednesday, September 2:
        • Classes for all students will be online 
        • Non-essential campus facilities will have restricted access and there will be no extracurricular activities, such as athletics and music rehearsals.
        • Students living off campus will need to limit their activities to their residence and campus.
        • It is critical that students adhere strictly to the prevention measures (e.g., physical distancing, face coverings, etc.) outlined in our Community Standards. We expect that we will have some positive test results in our baseline testing; until those cases are identified and the student moves to isolation to recover, we need to take reasonable steps to mitigate the transmission of the virus on campus.
  • In-person classes and activities that are planned for the fall semester will commence on September 3, and all campus facilities will open and students will be allowed off campus.
  • After the initial baseline testing period, the College is not restricting attendance at off-campus events as long as they continue to adhere to the Community Standards. While we are not prohibiting students from leaving campus on the weekends, it is our preference for students to stay on campus. As with attendance at off-campus activities, we are encouraging members of the community to avoid activities that will put them at greater risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19. Students, faculty, and staff should adhere to the same physical distancing, group activity, hand hygiene, and face covering expectations when off campus.
  • Students will be allowed to complete off-campus academic practicums and internships and are expected to practice the same precautions they will observe when leaving campus to work or socialize.

All Non-Essential College Business Travel will be Restricted

Through the fall, the college is limiting all nonessential College business travel for faculty, staff, and students. This will be evaluated on an ongoing basis based on guidance from the CDC and other government agencies. Staff and faculty who have essential business travel requests should work with the appropriate PLT member for approval. Students are discouraged from traveling. We ask that you remain on or close to campus. If you must travel, consult with your class dean well before you would have to leave campus.

Provide Space

For students, faculty and staff to be together on campus, we need everyone to be mindful and respectful of personal space. 

Follow Physical Distancing Rules

Students, faculty, and staff will be required to observe six (6) feet of physical distance from other people, especially when face masks are not being worn. This expectation exists in all buildings with common area spaces such as the library, chapel, lunchrooms, lounges, lobbies, etc. For those higher-concentration areas such as Buntrock Commons, there will be directional signage provided to encourage physical distancing protection.

Athletics, Music Organizations, and other Groups

The College will be evaluating the needs of athletics, music organizations, and other groups and providing additional guidance and protocols based on local, state and federal guidelines.