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 important practices everyone on campus must follow:

  1. Health Reporting 
  2. Isolation, Quarantine, Testing, and Contact Tracing
  3. Prevention Practices
  4. Campus Guidelines 
  5. Staff and Faculty Guidelines
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 or through the college’s Bias Incident Reporting Form.


The College has resources that community members can use to determine whether they are authorized to attend work or classes and whether they need to seek COVID-19 testing, self-quarantine, or go into isolation. Please refer to this Minnesota Department of Health reference page for definitions of key COVID-19 terms.

If you have symptoms OR have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 OR tested positive for COVID-19, you must report the following:

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported — ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

Fever or chills
New or worsening cough
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
New loss of taste or smell
Excessive fatigue
Unexplained muscle pain or body aches
Unexplained severe headache
Unexplained sore throat
New nasal congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting

Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
Trouble breathing
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
New confusion
Inability to wake or stay awake
Bluish lips or face

*This list does not include all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you. Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility; notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19. 

Sources: CDC and Minnesota Department of Health, Updated December 2020

Close Contact

The CDC has expanded how it defines close contacts of someone with COVID-19. According to the new definition, “A close contact is someone who spends 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 over a period of 24 hours.” Based on the new definition, more people will now be considered close contacts. (Previously, the CDC had defined a close contact as someone who spent 15 or more consecutive minutes within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19, even if that someone was wearing a mask.)

Health Reporting Requirements


Keeping someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 away from others.

  • Faculty and staff that test positive must remain at home and not travel to campus.
  • 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 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 on campus with necessary support, including meals.
  • Students with symptoms will self isolate until:

    They get test results back and discuss with the St. Olaf Contact Tracing Team.
    They feel better and cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms are better.
    It has been 10 days since they first felt sick.
    They have had no fever for at least 24 hours, without using medicine that lowers fevers.

    The St. Olaf Contact Tracing Team will establish your status and clear you from isolation.

  • Students without symptoms who have tested positive:
  • If you continue to have no symptoms, you can be with others after: 10 days have passed since the date you had your positive test. 
  • The St. Olaf Contact Tracing Team will establish your status and clear you from isolation.


Quarantine — or separating oneself from others — is recommended for people who have been close to a person with COVID-19 (an exposure). Since people with COVID-19 become contagious before symptoms start or may have no symptoms at all, quarantine is an important way to keep COVID-19 from spreading. 

  • Students, faculty, and staff who have self-identified or been identified through contact tracing as close contacts of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 will be required to quarantine for 14 days. We are aware of some guidance indicating a shorter 7-10 day quarantine period. We will continue to follow a 14-day period based upon guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health for Minnesota college campuses because we are a highly residential community.
Who Needs to Quarantine?
  • Those who were within 6 feet of someone contagious with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more over the course of a day (24 hours) even if that person was wearing a mask.
  • Those who live in the same household as someone with COVID-19.
  • Those who had direct physical or intimate contact (e.g., kissing, hugging, other types of physical contact) with a person who is sick with COVID-19.
  • Those who provide care for a person who is sick with COVID-19 at home.
  • Those with direct exposure to respiratory droplets from a person contagious with COVID-19 


Surveillance Testing

The College will conduct weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing on a select number of randomly chosen, on-campus community members (students, faculty, and staff) who are asymptomatic. The goal of surveillance testing is to identify evidence of transmission in our campus community. 

Faculty, staff and students on campus will be notified if they are selected to be tested. This testing is not optional; anyone contacted must participate.

Contact Tracing 

Contact Tracing is the process of identifying and working with those who have been infected with COVID-19 to take quick action toward preventing the virus from spreading to others. We have a team of St. Olaf staff members who are trained in contact tracing and ready to provide support when infections and exposures happen.

When you are contacted by the St. Olaf Contact Tracing Team, it is critical that you provide them with complete information and follow their instructions.

Testing Requirements


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

Faculty, staff, and students are required to wear face coverings in common building areas. Even when outside, face coverings should be worn while in areas of high congestion of people or where social distancing of 6 feet or more cannot be maintained.

  • Faculty and students will be required to wear face coverings in classrooms. Some classes may require face shields (labs, for example). 
  • 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.
  • Face shields are an alternative to face masks for people who cannot wear masks due to medical or other conditions.
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 for use 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.
Physical Distancing

Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay at least 6 feet away from others when possible, even if you — or they — do not have any symptoms.

  • Students, faculty, and staff will be required to observe 6 feet of physical distance from other people. 
  • 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, follow directional signage to encourage physical distancing protection.
  • Students are discouraged from traveling. We ask that you remain on or close to campus. Students must seek approval from student life to leave campus by filling in this form. Additional restrictions will depend on our current campus alert level.


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
Mental Health Resources

There are several mental health resources available for students, staff, and faculty. Students can also visit the St. Olaf Counseling Center website for more information.

Wellness Center

The Wellness Center offers several resources and programs to support the health and safety of students. The Wellness Center also has a supply of masks for any student who needs a replacement mask.

Student Life

Students should visit the current students web page for quick links to various offices and resources within Student Life.

If students have specific questions, concerns, or issues related to personal or academic matters they should contact the Dean of Students office by calling 507-786-3615. 


Staff and faculty who have specific questions or concerns can talk to the immediate supervisor and refer to the HR website for access to a variety of reporting and resources tools including:

  • The online training course is required training for faculty and staff. St. Olaf’s Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) department developed the 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. 

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.


Outlined below are the mitigation efforts in place for various areas on campus as well as guidelines for visitors and events. These guidelines are subject to change based on guidelines provided by the Minnesota Department of Health and mandated executive orders from the Governor of Minnesota. Refer to our current campus alert level for additional restrictions

Residence Halls, Honor Houses, Off-Campus Living
  • It is important that beds be on walls opposite one another so that the head of your bed has 6 feet of distance from your roommate’s bed.
  • Students must wear face coverings in all public areas. This expectation includes hall lobbies, lounges, restrooms, computer areas, and hallways. 
  • In residence hall bathrooms, students will only use sinks that have not been closed off in an effort to ensure appropriate physical distancing. 
  • Face coverings may be removed in bathrooms to shower, shave, apply make-up and to brush teeth.
  • Maximum occupancy of a residence room is double the number of residents. For example, a quad room may have up to eight (8) people in it at one time.
  • The common area in a pod may have the same number as occupants of the pod. In most cases this is ten (10). 
  • When students are socializing, whether outside or sitting in chairs and on couches within buildings, appropriate physical distancing is expected. 
  • Students who live off campus will be expected to know and follow Minnesota’s physical distancing guidelines.
Stav Hall and other Buntrock Dining Spaces
  • Students are expected to follow the direction of flow as they move through the servery. Direction of flow is indicated on the floors, which are marked to indicate safe distancing while waiting to be served. 
  • Trays are not available for general use. Anyone with circumstances that require use of a tray may request one from Bon Appetit staff. 
  • Almost all food will be served by the Bon Appetit staff. 
  • Drinks remain self-served.
  • Desserts remain self-served.
  • No more than 4 people are allowed per table, maintaining 6 feet of distance. When possible, try to dine with people you are already in close contact with (hallmates, roommates, etc.)
  • Chairs and tables should not be moved from their designated places to maintain 6 feet of distance.
  • Desks and chairs will be marked to indicate where students may and may not sit. 
  • Chairs, desks, and tables must not be moved without specific approval by the professor.
  • Students must wear a face covering and/or face shield to class. Anyone who arrives without a mask will be asked to leave the classroom and get a face covering before returning.
  • Students must use hand sanitizer on entering and exiting a classroom. Hand sanitizer will be available so everyone can “sanitize-in” and “sanitize out” of classrooms.
Skoglund/Tostrud (WHEN OPEN FOR USE)
  • The number of workout machines available for use will be reduced to allow for physical distancing. 
  • A reservation system will be implemented to limit the number of people in workout areas at any one time. 
  • Workout machines will be cleaned and disinfected every hour and fully cleaned at the end of the day. 
  • Students will be able to check out equipment for outside use.
  • The gym and fieldhouse will be available for activities adhering to the proper distancing guidelines and could include: shooting basketball, singles tennis or badminton, running, throwing a frisbee, etc.
  • Group fitness classes can be conducted in spaces that allow physical distancing.

Cleaning and Disinfection Guidelines For All Spaces

  • 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 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.
Visiting Campus, Events and Gatherings

Large group gatherings and visitors to campus will be restricted. These guidelines are subject to change based on guidelines provided by the Minnesota Department of Health and mandated executive orders from the Governor of Minnesota. Refer to our current campus alert level for additional restrictions.

  • The College recommends the continued use of virtual group events, gatherings, or meetings to the extent possible.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Faculty and Staff Guidelines