Coronavirus (COVID 19) Student Update – March 18, 2020

Letter to Students

Dear St. Kate’s Students:

I hope you feel a big hug for you coming through this note.  We are providing this update in response to some of your most pressing questions. We will still provide an update to you next week, March 25, but wanted to get you this information as soon as possible to allow you to plan accordingly. 

St. Kate’s is open and functioning, albeit in a different way than when you left. Our top priority is the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. As we navigate this situation, we are committed to helping you complete your educational goals this semester.

This is, and will continue to be, a fluid situation with new experiences, information, and guidance coming from multiple sources on a daily and sometimes hourly basis. We are grateful that we have an intelligent student body who can handle volumes of information and are mature enough to understand this situation is rapidly changing. 

One result of this rapid change is the significant increase in both the frequency and comprehensive nature of long communications coming from St. Kate’s sources (president, Student Affairs, provost, deans, faculty, employers). We are operating under the assumption that transparency and information will be key to our shared success and maintaining the strength of our community. 

We have tried to outline the following, by topic for ease of reading, however we ask that everyone read everything. It may not apply to your concerns now, but may soon. And always know, you can turn to your faculty and University leaders with any questions you may have.

Based on the current executive orders from Governor Walz and recommendations from MDH, and our best thinking on what meets most needs, we are taking the steps listed below. 

Academics and Classes

  • All courses will move fully online as of Monday, March 30 through the remainder of the semester. 
  • Clinical experiences and simulations that need to be completed on campus due to equipment in nursing and health sciences are suspended until further notice.
  • External clinical placements, preceptorships, and field work in Henrietta Schmoll School of Health programs, as well as student teaching for our programs in Education, have been affected significantly. In addition to the closure of Minnesota public schools, many clinical sites have cancelled clinicals and are not allowing students on site.
    • We are beginning to receive guidance from our professional accrediting bodies and schools about what options are available for programs relative to meeting clinical education and fieldwork requirements.
    • With this input, we are evaluating alternative options for students (e.g., in-person and virtual simulations/labs) to meet accreditation/licensure requirements and keep students on track.
    • We are prioritizing seniors and those students scheduled to graduate this spring.
    • We will be communicating additional details directly with students, faculty, and staff in these programs.
  • Community Work and Learning (CWL) service-learning in direct community-facing formats are suspended until further notice. CWL will work with faculty and students to determine how to best adjust the service-learning experience to meet student learning objectives and course goals.
  • For students engaged in internships, Career Development recommends you move to working remotely if your organization allows you to do so. If working remotely is not an option, students are to suspend their internship for the semester and work with their faculty advisor and Career Development. Each situation will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Please consult with CWL, Career Development, and your faculty advisor.
  • The OTA Online program didactic content is continuing as usual. At this time, the next on-site lab session has been tentatively re-scheduled for a weekend after April 15. If conditions do not allow for face-to-face labs in April, contingency plans are being developed.

Meeting Student Needs

We are committed to allowing as many students as possible access to complete their courses for this term. We know and understand this may not be feasible for all students due to lack of access to technology to participate remotely, illness, and other circumstances. We will not require any student to participate in spring semester online courses, but will provide it as an option for all those who are able to participate and choose to do so to complete the course. For those who are unable to participate or choose not to, we will give students an incomplete and offer an alternative way to complete their course to the extent possible. 

Residence Halls and Campus Housing

While many of our students have been able to return home or go to another safe place during spring break, there are a small number of students for whom St. Kate’s is legitimately their only home. We are working with these students to make provisions for them to remain on campus in the safest and most efficient way during the spring semester.

For students who have left for the extended spring break and for the good of everyone’s health, you need to remain at your alternative location for the remainder of the spring term. We will be following up with all students who have a residential housing agreement for spring 2020 with specific next steps. 

If you have questions about campus housing or need support in making alternative arrangements, please contact Student Affairs at studentaffairs@stkate.edu or Residence Life at reslife@stkate.edu.   

Student Workers

We recognize the loss of student work hours can pose a financial hardship for many students. For departments with student worker positions that can be done remotely, we are implementing a temporary policy to allow student workers to work remotely during the spring semester to ease the financial burden on students and support critical areas of University operations. 

Supervisors will be in contact with their student workers directly to assess this option with students. We know that not all student worker positions can be done remotely because of the nature of the work. We will work specifically with those students to understand the situation, and how we can best help them if this causes a financial hardship. Please contact us at Student Affairs at studentaffairs@stkate.edu.  

Campus and Student Services

For your convenience, we have consolidated all of the hours and details for campus and student services in one place, which you can view here.

We promise to keep in good communication with you if these directions or recommendations change, and they could if the situation changes in Minnesota. We also continue to update our coronavirus information page with the latest information.

Dr. Tarshia Stanley, dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Scientists, shared a wonderful connection from our learnings from Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower to our situation today.  She reminds us….

All you touch you change — wash your hands often.

Take good care,

President Roloff