Dear St. Catherine Community,
It’s been a year since the University sent its first COVID-related email to the campus community. To say that the virus has — and continues to — impact our lives in ways that we may have never expected is perhaps an understatement, but it has also shown us the ways in which we can come together as a community (even if we can’t actually be together). We know that at times it may all seem overwhelming, particularly during these winter months, so please continue to use good self-care strategies and show support for others.
On-campus saliva PCR tests remain available to faculty, staff, and students, however the location has changed. Testing is now being conducted in the ballroom in Coeur de Catherine. Appointments can be scheduled via the link below, and insurance information will continue to be collected.
In the coming week, we will be providing information about ongoing surveillance testing for members of our community who are regularly on campus.
We continue to work closely with Ramsey County and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to determine when the vaccine may be available more broadly. We will continue to keep you updated as we learn more.
For those who have been vaccinated, we hope that you’ll let us know once you’ve received your second dose by completing the COVID-19 Vaccination Reporting Form. While not required, this information will help as we plan for the months ahead.
After suspending activities as case numbers rose late last fall, varsity athletic practices have resumed for winter and spring sports, with practices in fall sports to follow in mid-March. Taking a conservative approach, St. Kate’s opted out of a full conference schedule for the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) winter seasons and instead plans to participate in a limited number of games and meets in March, adhering to COVID policies and protocols outlined by the MIAC and MDH. Spring sports will also begin their full competitive schedules in March. These schedules will include both home and away competition and will feature live streaming options whenever possible. Information on accessing these live broadcasts can be found on the Wildcats website.
In accordance with public health guidance and in preparation for the start of competition, the Preparedness Plan has been updated as follows:
- The vehicle policy has been adjusted to allow for teams to get to and from practices and competitions.
- The visitor policy now allows for opposing teams to be on campus for athletic competition. Spectators will not be allowed.
Butler Center Access
Beginning February 15, the Butler Center plans to move forward with reopening to students taking Tier One courses. Additional details and information will be provided in the coming days.
Ongoing COVID Guidance
Masks continue to be an important part of limiting the spread of COVID-19. While double-masking is not generally recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or MDH at this time, it’s important to remember that, for maximum protection, masks should:
- Have two or more layers
- Completely cover both your nose and mouth
- Fit snugly against the sides of your face
Per a recent CDC order, masks are required when using public transportation (including planes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and rideshares). Masks must also be worn at transportation hubs (e.g., airports, terminals, stations, seaports) and areas where passengers wait to board transportation.
MDH continues to discourage unnecessary travel to help slow the spread of COVID-19. International travelers are subject to specific requirements when entering or returning to the U.S., and many states have also implemented travel restrictions. If you are planning domestic travel, be sure to check the latest guidance before you go and continue to take precautions, including:
- Wearing a mask
- Maintaining social distance
- Limiting contacts
- Washing hands frequently
- Staying home when sick
As variants of the COVID-19 virus begin to circulate and spread with the state, we continue to monitor the latest information from MDH. Currently, there have been no changes to their guidance for mitigation measures, but we will continue to keep you updated.
Planning for Summer and Fall
While spring semester has just begun, we recognize that many are beginning to wonder about what the summer and fall will look like on campus. While it’s still too early to say, the Safely Returning to Campus committee continues to review the latest data, guidance, and projections as the University works to determine when we can safely begin to expand in-person work and learning opportunities. Be assured that we will continue to keep you updated as the situation evolves and decisions are made.
Thank you for your continued commitment to our community.
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