Dear St. Catherine Community,
As you have likely heard, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently provided updated masking guidance for vaccinated individuals as COVID-19 cases across the country increase and the Delta variant spreads. They now recommend that vaccinated individuals also wear a mask indoors in public if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission. Ramsey County is one of those areas, and as case numbers in Minnesota continue to increase, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is recommending that institutes of higher education consider implementing mask requirements on campus to begin the fall semester.
The health and safety of our community remains our top priority; therefore, based on the latest guidance and as an added precaution, the University will be requiring everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask indoors in common or shared spaces while on campus beginning Wednesday, August 4. We will continue to monitor the Delta variant’s impact and review this policy as we move into the fall. Our hope is that this will be a short-term measure as our vaccination requirement takes effect.
Students and faculty participating in clinical simulation labs will need to wear medical-grade masks in the lab setting, and these will be provided. Additional information will be provided to faculty soon.
Individuals working in a private office or in a residence hall room do not need to wear a mask when alone in that space.
Masks may be removed for eating and drinking, however must be replaced once finished.
Cloth masks will be available from Public Safety. Medical masks were distributed to departments for use as we began our phased return to campus last spring; supervisors may request replacements by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Signage around campus will be updated in the coming days.
Vaccination continues to be one of the best ways to protect ourselves and each other. Between the University’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement and the addition of masks, we believe we can move forward with our current plans for in-person work and learning. During this process, we will continue to monitor data and public health recommendations, as we have throughout the pandemic, adding to and/or scaling back our mitigation efforts as needed.
If you haven’t already, be sure you submit verification of COVID-19 vaccination to the patient portal OR have an approved accommodation/exemption on file with Student Affairs (students) or Human Resources (faculty and staff) by August 16.
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
Matt Goodwin, PhD, Associate Provost for Student Affairs
Pat Pratt-Cook, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Equity and Inclusion