Returning for Spring Semester — January 31, 2022

Dear St. Catherine Community,

The start of spring semester has arrived and we are excited to welcome many of you back on campus for the first time in 2022. Recognizing that we sent a lot of information out over J-term as public health guidance was updated, we wanted to provide a recap along with some general reminders. Full details can be found in the latest Preparedness Plan.

 

Booster Requirement

By February 15, all faculty, staff, and students, will need to have a COVID-19 vaccine booster as part of the University’s vaccine requirement. Additional information can be found here.

 

Booster Effectiveness

According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), COVID-19 vaccines are effective, especially at preventing serious illness and death, and evidence is showing that boosters can help extend the protection and keep it at a higher level. 

  • Recent information from MDH indicates that individuals who receive a booster dose have 25 times more protection against Omicron than those who are vaccinated but not boosted.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also indicates that a third dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (either as a primary additional dose for immunocompromised individuals or as a booster dose) has been highly effective in preventing emergency department and urgent care visits and hospitalizations during Delta and Omicron surges when compared to those who received two vaccine doses.

Individuals who have had COVID-19 should still get their booster dose, and can do so as soon as they are out of isolation and feeling better.

 

On-Campus Booster Clinics

The Health and Wellness Clinic will be holding on-campus booster clinics (Moderna vaccine) for students, faculty, and staff as follows; appointments can be made through the patient portal

  • Wednesday, February 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the CDC ballroom

  • Monday, February 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the CDC ballroom

Booster doses are also available at a variety of off-campus locations, including community vaccination program sites and local pharmacies. Visit the Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Connector to find and schedule an appointment. 

Individuals have the option to receive the same vaccine type or choose one of the other available. Additional details can be found here.

 

Isolation and Quarantine

Isolation and quarantine requirements have been updated to reflect the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Full details are available in the Preparedness Plan.

 

Masking

Masking continues to be an important mitigation strategy, and the University will continue to require masks, regardless of vaccination status, in all indoor shared and common areas on campus. At a minimum, masks should have two or more layers of tightly woven fabric and fit well.

The University will continue to provide medical-grade masks to all faculty, staff, or students who need or want them. N95 masks will be provided as required by clinical rotations, as well as to other previously identified areas of campus. 

 

On-Campus Testing

Curative is on campus (Room 5 of CdC) to provide COVID-19 testing for students, faculty, and staff most Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays by appointment. Additional details can be found here; appointments may be scheduled here

The Health and Wellness Clinic also continues to offer testing for students who have COVID symptoms. These appointments, which include an office visit with a provider, can be scheduled via the patient portal and will be billed to insurance.

 

Case Reporting 

Faculty, staff, and students are required to self-report if they test positive for COVID-19 and should continue using the Diagnosis Notification Form to do so. The COVID Response Team will then connect with the individual to provide support and next steps.

The COVID-19 Dashboard will continue to be updated weekly, however updates will now be made on Wednesday for the week prior.

 

Contact Tracing

We remain committed to protecting the health and safety of our campus community while adjusting and adapting our processes and procedures as needed to best utilize resources. The COVID Response Team continues to manage contact tracing and mitigation efforts in areas with a higher risk of transmission (e.g., residence halls, athletics, etc.) and if a cluster (generally three or more linked cases) is identified on campus. 

To help create efficiencies in the contact tracing process for the spring, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 may be instructed by the COVID Response Team to notify their close contacts on campus and share a new form (which can also be used by anyone who was exposed off campus and/or believes they have a potential exposure to determine next steps) that helps them determine next steps. The COVID Response Team is available to provide suggestions and information about navigating contact tracing conversations to anyone who needs assistance.

This change is in line with recent guidance from the American College Health Association (ACHA) and similar to what is being done at MDH and other institutions.

 

Moving Forward

As we have throughout the pandemic, we remain in regular contact with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), staying up-to-date with the latest public health recommendations and information, and continue to monitor campus data and trends. Any updates to policies and procedures will continue to be shared as they are made. 

 

Thank you for your ongoing partnership and support as we continue to navigate this pandemic. 

 

Sincerely,

Safely Returning to Campus Committee Co-Chairs
Lauren Peterson, MS, MPAS, PA-C, Director, Health & Wellness Clinic
Matt Goodwin, PhD, Associate Provost for Student Affairs
Pat Pratt-Cook, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Equity and Inclusion