St. Olaf College | News

Welcoming the St. Olaf Class of 2024

Welcome to campus, Oles!

Fall semester is starting early this year, before Labor Day, and it will end early as well, just before Thanksgiving.

So right now, in a departure from our normal routine, students from every class year are already migrating back to campus and settling into their dorms.

After an uncertain spring, we’re grateful to have so many students returning to campus life with a new set of rules and parameters. Our college staff and leaders have worked closely all summer long with experts from the Minnesota Department of Health, the health care consulting company BridgeLane Global, and epidemiologists at the Mayo Clinic to ensure the safest possible living and learning environment amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students from the Class of 2024 made their way to campus on Saturday, August 15, 2020, for a newly structured move-in weekend. To help reduce the spread of the virus, new students signed up for one-hour blocks of time and were assisted by up to two people to help move them into their dorm rooms.

All new students moved into their dorms on August 15, 2020.

Traffic was restricted around campus, masks were worn, and many farewells happened on the lawns in front of Hoyme, Kittelsby, Ellingson, Kildahl, and Mohn.

The emotional program “A St. Olaf Welcome” that normally happens in Skoglund, where students and parents learn about each other and the college before parting ways, was delivered online.

PPE for all returning students at St. Olaf.

A gift bag of personal protective equipment awaited each student in their dorm room, and every Ole was tested for COVID-19 within 24 hours of their arrival. Students will remain quarantined in their rooms until the test results come back, and the college will begin contact tracing and continue prevention measures for all students living on campus, with a follow-up COVID-19 test in two weeks, plus random testing throughout the semester. A less restrictive campus-wide quarantine will also be in effect through September 2 as part of our phased approach returning to campus.

712 members of the Class of 2024 will spend their fall semester living in campus dorms while the remainder of the total class of 737 will begin their college careers online from home. Classes for all students will be delivered online through September 2, after which time some hybrid classes will begin to meet in appropriately distanced classrooms on campus.

Here are some fast facts about the St. Olaf Class of 2024!

  • 737 first-year students
  • 22 new transfer students
  • 52 international students
  • 179 domestic multicultural students
  • 146 first generation students
  • 15 students who were admitted last year and deferred enrollment to this fall
  • 492 high schools
  • 43 states
  • 54 unique countries of citizenship
  • 41 different languages
  • 1 horologist

This is not the fall start that any of our first-year students imagined as they were finalizing college applications a year ago, but we are grateful to still be able to offer them an on-campus experience with other unique, creative, and driven Oles, and to spend the next four years together on the Hill.

St. Olaf College believes that opportunities exist when we grow and learn in community with others. As long as we are safely able to do so, we will do all we can to provide this experience for our students. Um! Yah! Yah!