FAQ Index

Are masks required on campus?
All students, faculty, and staff are required to mask indoors on campus. All campus visitors must mask indoors as well, and we strongly encourage masking outdoors in crowded settings and for activities with close contact with others who may not be fully vaccinated. We will reassess this masking requirement once we have completed the two rounds of return-to-campus COVID-19 testing and have an understanding of the prevalence of the virus on campus.

How do I wear my face mask properly?
The mask needs to (as much as possible) tightly enclose the area around the nose and mouth, from the bridge of the nose down to the chin, and extend onto the cheeks beyond the corners of the mouth so that there are no gaps when talking or moving one’s head. Single-use disposable face masks are acceptable, but please ensure that they fit properly. Consult the CDC masking guide for more information on how to wear a mask and what types of masks are best to use.

Are visitors allowed on campus?
Our campus is open, and visitors are welcome so long as they are following our protocols for our Campus Alert Level. We strongly encourage all visitors to be fully vaccinated.

If you are planning to attend an event on campus (athletic, music, art, etc.), please check the information provided by the event organizer for details about any additional precautions. Please also review our Campus Alert Level for additional guidelines and information.

In a highly vaccinated community like St. Olaf, why do we still need to take COVID-19 precautions?
St. Olaf required all students, faculty, and staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine. As of the beginning of fall semester, 96.7 percent of our employees and 97.3 percent of students were fully vaccinated. This level of community vaccination means that we may be on track to offer a less restrictive experience both in and outside the classroom this fall.

However, the Delta variant of COVID-19 poses several challenges:

  • It is significantly more infectious because it takes less time to infect those within close proximity who are unmasked and indoors.
  • There is evidence that it spreads among both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
  • Nationally, the rate of hospitalizations in younger unvaccinated people is higher than with previous variants, and there are more severe health outcomes among young people who are unvaccinated.

Because of these factors, we have taken steps — including masking on campus — to continue our efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Where can I find information about the college’s vaccination rate or COVID-19 cases on campus?
The COVID-19 Campus Data dashboard is updated daily to provide current information about cases on campus and our vaccination rates.

I don’t feel well. How do I know if I have COVID-19 symptoms?
If you are experiencing cold, flu, or COVID-19 symptoms, we encourage you to mask. With cold and flu season fast approaching, masking is a respectful choice that helps to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses. We also encourage you to report your symptoms and get tested if needed. This chart provides a helpful resource for understanding what steps to take if you have symptoms, have been exposed to COVID-19, or test positive.

Students on campus who need emergency medical assistance related to COVID-19 should call Northfield Hospital + Clinics at 507-646-1494 or go to the Emergency Department if it is an emergency.

I may have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19. What should I do?
The definition of a close contact is still anyone who has been within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more, cumulative throughout a day, regardless of whether you were masked or not. If you were a close contact to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, stay in your room or at home. Don’t attend class or participate in activities. Monitor your temperature and other symptoms, and fill out the Health Reporting Form. A member of the college’s Contact Tracing Team will follow up with you. This chart provides a helpful resource for understanding what steps to take if you have symptoms, have been exposed to COVID-19, or test positive.

I was in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, but I’m fully vaccinated. What will I need to do?
Start by filling out the Health Reporting Form. If you are identified as a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19 and you are fully vaccinated, you will need to test 3 to 5 days after your exposure and again 7 to 10 days after your exposure. During the intervening time, you need to mask but may attend classes, go to work, and move around campus. If the second test is negative, you’ll resume your normal routine. If either test is positive, you will be isolated for 10 days.

If you are not fully vaccinated and are a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19, you will need to quarantine for 14 days, and get tested as soon as possible and again 5 days after exposure.

This chart provides a helpful resource for understanding what steps to take if you have symptoms, have been exposed to COVID-19, or test positive.

I tested positive for COVID-19, but I’m fully vaccinated. Do I still need to isolate?
Yes. If you test positive for COVID-19 — regardless of your vaccination status — you will need to isolate for 10 days at home. This chart provides a helpful resource for understanding what steps to take if you have symptoms, have been exposed to COVID-19, or test positive.

If a student in my class tests positive for COVID-19, does the class need to quarantine?
No. The Contact Tracing Team will identify and follow up with close contacts, but our campus vaccination policy means that the entire class will not need to quarantine.

My roommate/classmate/colleague seems sick — what should I do?
Please remember that many faculty, staff, and students may be experiencing common illnesses, like seasonal allergies or a common cold. Do not assume that someone who is ill has COVID-19. Be mindful about spreading fear or anxiety and making assumptions about faculty, staff, or students. If someone has symptoms, encourage them to seek medical advice, and to fill out the Health Reporting Form.

Will St. Olaf continue to provide COVID-19 testing throughout the semester?
We will continue to provide on-campus testing for symptomatic students and for faculty and staff who are in close contact with students or whose employment requires them to work on campus. Based on conditions within the community, we may do random surveillance testing or targeted testing for specific  groups. Because we have a highly vaccinated campus community, we do not anticipate this being a regular occurrence like it was last year. 

I lost my COVID-19 vaccination card. Can I get a new one?
Unfortunately, the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health do not give out replacement COVID-19 vaccination cards if one is lost after the second dose. If the person has had only their first dose, they can obtain a replacement card when they receive their second dose. If a person needs information from the card about the first dose to make an appointment to receive the second dose, contact the Minnesota Department of Health (or the Department of Health in the state where they received the COVID-19 vaccine) to obtain a copy of their immunization records, which will show their date of vaccination and which vaccine they received.

If a person who has lost their card has already had their second dose, the best course of action is to contact the pharmacy or health department where they got their vaccine via phone or through their website and request a copy of their immunization records. Some pharmacies, such as CVS, have vaccination records available online where a patient can get a digital copy of their vaccination record or print out a physical copy. All immunizations, such as COVID-19 vaccines, are reported to the CDC’s Immunization Information System (IIS), and every state has one. A person without a COVID-19 vaccine card can contact the health department of the state in which they received their vaccine and obtain a copy of their immunization record if they are unable to obtain one through the pharmacy.