Campus Reminders — September 20, 2021

Dear St. Catherine Community,

As everyone settles into a new academic year, we wanted to take a moment to remind you of the COVID policies and procedures currently in place to help reduce the spread of the virus on campus and keep everyone as healthy and safe as possible.

When on campus, please remember to:

  • Wear a mask that includes at least two layers, completely covers the nose and mouth, and fits snugly.

    • Those participating in clinical simulation labs are required to wear a medical-grade mask (provided by the University) during lab sessions.

    • Medical-grade masks and face shields are available by request. Departments and/or offices should submit requests for these items to purchasing@stkate.edu

  • Complete the Daily Symptom Screen via the LiveSafe app or online form before coming to campus or leaving your on-campus housing.

In addition:

  • Anyone feeling sick should stay home, and anyone who develops COVID symptoms (regardless of vaccination status) should get tested

  • Eating and drinking is not allowed in classroom and lab settings.

Additional details and information can be found in the current Preparedness Plan.

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness and Breakthrough Cases

Vaccination continues to be the best action we can take to protect ourselves and others, and the University’s vaccination requirement is a key part of our campus mitigation strategy. Vaccines offer protection against infection and serious illness, significantly reducing the likelihood of hospitalization or death, and most people who are currently getting COVID-19 are unvaccinated. However, as with many vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccines are not 100 percent effective and breakthrough cases are expected.

Our campus community has a high vaccination rate — more than 92 percent of students and more than 95 percent of employees are fully vaccinated. In addition, any member of our community (faculty, staff, student) who received an approved exemption from the vaccine requirement is tested weekly, providing our community with a high level of protection. Current data indicates that less than 1 percent of vaccinated persons will experience a breakthrough infection; according to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), 95.02 to 99.93 percent of those hospitalized for COVID-19 in the U.S. are unvaccinated individuals, and 96 to 99 percent of deaths due to COVID have occurred in unvaccinated Americans. In addition, MDH indicates that people who are unvaccinated are twice as likely to be re-infected with COVID-19 than those who have been vaccinated.

 

COVID-19 Notification Process

Any faculty, staff, or student who tests positive for COVID-19 must complete the Diagnosis Notification Form. This information is confidential and goes to the Health and Wellness Clinic and the COVID-19 Response and Management Team, who will then work with the individual to identify any potential close contacts and provide ongoing support. 

If any member of the community has been exposed to a positive case on campus, they will be notified by the University’s COVID Response and Management Team. Vaccinated close contacts do not need to quarantine, but will be required to get tested for COVID three to five days after exposure. Unvaccinated close contacts will be required to quarantine for 10 to 14 days depending on the type of exposure.  If faculty or staff are notified by a student of their close contact or positive case, please direct that student to the resources above.

 

Moving Forward

We continue to monitor data and public health recommendations closely, and will adjust policies and procedures as needed. Current campus case data can be found on the COVID-19 Dashboard, which is updated every Thursday, and we will communicate regularly (and as needed) via email. 

Any changes to campus operations and/or class formats would be made in consultation with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and be based on a variety of factors. While we hope this will not be necessary, know that we are prepared to adapt quickly should the situation require it.

 

Sincerely,

Safely Returning to Campus Committee Co-Chairs
Amy Kelly, MD, MPH, Director, Health and Wellness Clinic
Matt Goodwin, PhD, Associate Provost for Student Affairs
Pat Pratt-Cook, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Equity and Inclusion