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Answers to your COVID-19 questions

January 27, 2021

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Is there any update on commencement?
Plans for May commencement are being discussed. We are bringing together a group of senior students to provide additional input. Additionally, Ann Merchlewitz, Pandemic Assessment and Coordinating Team chair, is one of the co-governors for the Minnesota Department of Health work group on commencement. Although we are living in an ever-changing environment, we plan to share information with the Saint Mary’s community as soon as possible.

What are you doing to help students and faculty avoid burnout?
Wellness or pause days have been created for students and faculty throughout the semester. We are also compiling a list of resources to assist all Saint Mary’s community members with health and well-being.

Why are we coming back at an orange level if we have been off campus for so long?
The Minnesota Department of Health is strongly encouraging all institutions of higher education to start the semester at the orange level. We will continue to assess and change levels when appropriate.

Why are we starting in person when we’re starting at an orange level? Orange level places restrictions on activities, and as you said: “Extracurricular activities/clubs/organizations should be significantly scaled back in terms of attendance, frequency of meeting, and moved to virtual wherever possible; consider postponing or canceling where feasible.” Wouldn’t starting in person for classes be treated the same as other activities on campus?
We are following guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health. At level orange, there is no requirement to move classes online, and the guidance for co-curricular activities is to be scaled back (i.e., moved to online).

Are we able to travel home this semester?
Yes. Students are expected to adhere to our COVID-19 guidelines on and off campus. If you’re planning to travel, we ask you to fill out the travel request form. The information will be reviewed, and we’ll contact you if we have questions or concerns prior to your travel. Students may have to quarantine after traveling, depending on their travel destination.

Do we have an anonymous reporting form? It would be useful to have the option to report those who are violating protocols, especially during higher risk levels.
Yes. All Saint Mary’s community members are invited to use our anonymous incident reporting form.

What is the plan if we are mandated to go into a state/national lockdown this semester?
We continue to review all state and federal guidance and are confident we would have sufficient time to plan for implementation should this occur.

If I am not comfortable being on campus because of COVID-19 (stress, concern, mental/physical health, etc.), why do I need to have a doctor’s note or proof of an illness?
We understand your concerns and want to work with you. Please connect with the Jay Johnson Wellness Center at for assistance.