Campus COVID Update — November 6, 2020

Dear St. Catherine Community,

Throughout the semester, the Safely Returning to Campus (SRC) Committee has continued to monitor guidance and case data, adjusting policies and processes as needed, to help keep our community healthy and safe. Minnesota has had a significant increase in cases and increased positivity rate, and, over the course of the last week, we have also seen a larger number of cases on campus and increases in our testing positivity rate. 

 

Case Update

Some of these increases have been among students living on campus and, out of an abundance of caution, we are requiring all those living in one of our residence halls to quarantine for the next 14 days. It is possible that we may do the same with another hall in the coming days in order to limit spread to the wider community. The COVID Support Team is connecting with impacted individuals to ensure they have the support they need during this time, and all have the option to move off campus for their quarantine if they choose.

It is important to emphasize that while most of our cases are linked to activity outside of the classroom, they still impact our classroom environments. As COVID-19 continues to spread, it is even more important that we all limit close contact with others and ensure we are following recommended health practices. 

In order to further protect our campus community and in hopes that those taking courses that can only be completed in person have the opportunity to do so, we are also implementing some changes for the remainder of the semester. 

 

Policy and Format Updates

Additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
In consultation with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), we are providing additional personal protective equipment (PPE) — including face shields and medical grade/surgical masks — to faculty and students in all Tier One courses. Once additional PPE is distributed early next week, all students and staff in these courses will be required to wear a face shield and medical mask during class.

In anticipation of increased risk as we move into the winter months, we will also be providing students and faculty in Tier One courses with an N95 mask. While we are not currently recommending N95 use, fit testing these masks takes time. By taking this proactive measure now, our hope is that there will be little to no interruption in class schedules if they become necessary in the future.

Tier One faculty have received an email about picking up these supplies, and they will distribute them to Tier One students during class/lab next week. Information about N95 fit-testing will be provided soon. 

Class Formats
Beginning Monday, November 9, classes will meet as follows for the remainder of the semester:

  • Tier One sections will continue to be offered in face-to-face format. 

  • Tier Two sections will move to fully online formats.

  • Tier Three sections, including hybrid TRW/GSJ, will be online.

  • Tier Four sections will continue online.

  • Tier Five sections will be evaluated by program directors/chairs on a case-by-case basis in conjunction with external partners (e.g., clinical/internship site).

Butler Center and Athletics
The Butler Center will be closed beginning November 7, and all varsity athletic in-person team activities have been stopped until further notice. We will continue to monitor campus case numbers and provide an update when we are able to reopen to resident students.

 

General Information and Reminders

Residence Halls
Residence halls, including any in quarantine, will remain open and we will continue to provide services for those on campus. Residents wishing to complete the semester at home are encouraged to do so.

COVID-19 Testing
Testing is available Monday – Friday in the Health and Wellness Clinic for students, faculty, and staff. If you have ANY new symptoms even if they are mild — we recommend being tested for COVID-19. To schedule an appointment, call 651-690-6714. MDH also has a list of testing resources on their website, including: 

If you test positive, be sure to complete the Diagnosis Notification Form.

Our COVID response teams continue to work quickly and efficiently to track potential exposures, implement isolation and quarantine protocols, and provide ongoing support. If you receive a call from a St. Kate’s number (651-690-xxxx), be sure to answer. If it’s a member of the response team, the sooner they can get in touch with you the better they can support you and continue to protect the campus community.

Additional Resources
We know that physical, mental, and emotional health are all connected, and right now, many of us are dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety. Please continue to take care of yourself and ask for support when needed. The resources below are great places to start.

Wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, washing hands, and staying home when sick remain the best ways for us to continue limiting any spread throughout the wider campus community. Please remain diligent in your efforts to keep yourself and others healthy and safe.

 

Sincerely,

Safely Returning to Campus Committee Co-Chairs

Amy Kelly, MD, MPH, Director, Health and Wellness Clinic
Ann Garvey, Interim Assistant Provost for Student Affairs
Pat Pratt-Cook, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Equity and Inclusion
Lynda Szymanski, PhD, Associate Provost