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Answers to your questions

August 20, 2020


What happens if the state goes into another stay-at-home order while we are on campus? Will we be allowed to stay on campus or asked to go home?
If another stay-at-home order is announced, the process will be similar to last spring. Students will be asked to go home within a reasonably quick time frame and should plan accordingly. With a stay-at-home order, we would not have the staff or ability to care for students on campus.

Do you have a list of building names and abbreviations to know where classes will be held?
Building abbreviations:

  • FH — Fieldhouse (lower level of the gym)
  • Fig — Figliulo (inside the Page Theater building)
  • GR — Griffin Hall
  • Gym — Gymnasium
  • HC — Hendrickson Center
  • HT — Heights
  • LS — LaSalle Hall
  • MCE — McEnery Center (attached to the library)
  • Page — Page Theater (main theater)
  • SJ — Saint Joseph’s Hall
  • SLC — Science & Learning Center
  • SM — Saint Mary’s Hall
  • SY — Saint Yon’s Hall
  • TSC — Toner Student Center

Will there be any extra measures for community showers and bathrooms in the residence halls?
Yes, we are cleaning them according to guidelines specified by the Minnesota Department of Health.

If I don’t feel safe using community showers and bathrooms, and there are other rooms available with a private bathroom, can I seek to have a room change?
At this time, there are no spare rooms available. But you are welcome to be put on a waitlist by emailing

Will I be able to fly to another state to pick up my car while at school?
We’re strongly discouraging travel. If you do need to travel, you will need to fill out the travel notification form, and depending on where you are traveling, you may need to quarantine for 14 days.

Can you give more specific direction on how to find the risk level the CDC associates with a location?
We recommend viewing the CDC Cases in the U.S. webpage. This interactive map has been helpful for us and is updated frequently.

The travel form says it needs to be submitted 24 hours ahead of time. What if it is not? What if people lie about where they are going on this form? Will there be consequences?
We are encouraging students to adhere to all COVID-19 guidelines. If students choose not to adhere to these guidelines, we have the option of engaging in the judicial process. However, we are hoping students understand they are living within a community, need to be respectful of others, and need to be our partner in keeping the university open and keeping education on ground.

Will we get a refund if we are sent home for room and board like last year?
Should we need to send students home early for online learning, we would review the situation and make an appropriate determination about room and board reimbursement largely based on how much time is left in the semester.

Is there a filter in the purification unit in each dorm room that needs to be changed or cleaned? If so, who would change or clean it, and how often would it be changed or cleaned?
The units must be cleaned monthly, and we are determining how to best accomplish this. Students will receive more direction when they get on campus. Filters must be replaced every six months, and our maintenance workers will take care of this. The first filter change will occur late fall while our students are on break.

Why are the tables in the cafeteria socially distanced from one another, yet the chairs for sitting are not? If students are not socially distanced at the tables, and masks are off while eating, then what is the need to socially distance the tables themselves?
With our current cafeteria setup, we are obeying Minnesota Department of Health guidelines for bars and restaurants. Additionally a Minnesota Department of Health senior epidemiologist, approved our set up last week. We are encouraging students to continue gathering in their “pods.” Pods are like your family at Saint Mary’s, the people you potentially room with and are your best friends. This group would sit together at a table and though relatively close (with reduced chairs per table), would be limiting exposure to others by remaining together and eating together most days.

I’m concerned about the amount of styrofoam waste created through the use of the current disposable method in food service. Could paper products be looked at in terms of being more eco-friendly as well as being recyclable?
We agree with your environmental concerns about the styrofoam, and we continue to give this thought. There isn’t another alternative at this point. We can’t use reusable containers because they may not be sanitized properly. It’s also a matter of being cost effective and readily available. Paper products are difficult to come by, much like other items in this pandemic. The product would also have to meet a certain caliber to be used in our to-go situation (sturdy, as well as completely covered).

Do masks need to be worn outside? Could you provide clarification to when/where/how masks need to be worn?
We will be putting up more details about mask wearing on soon. Masks need to be worn indoors at all times (unless a student is entirely by themselves or are in their sleeping space). Masks need to be worn outside when social distancing may not be possible. For example, if walking on the trails alone, a mask is not needed, but students should bring it along in case they run into a group of friends.

There are concerns in regard to the guest policy and how that will be enforced. Will there be an increase in sanctions to further discourage students from breaching this policy?
Overnight guests are not permitted. Like other policies, a student will be documented if they have a guest over, and we have the option of engaging in the judicial process. However, we are hoping students understand they are living within a community, need to be respectful of others, and need to be our partner in keeping the university open and keeping education on ground.

Will students have to wear masks while cooking in kitchen spaces if they are the only individual there? Some areas, like Brother William Hall, have large gathering spaces connected to the kitchens. In locking this area, there will be an estimated 10-12 seating spaces lost for student use. Is there another system that could be set up so these valuable seating spaces are not lost to things such as locking the kitchen for reservations?
When students are alone in the kitchen, they will not need to wear a mask. We’ll take your thoughts under consideration. If we require reservations, the good news is we know who is in there and when, so proper cleaning can occur. We are also erring on the side of caution as these are mass gathering spaces, and we are trying to help students to stay socially distanced.

Will cafeteria hours be extended in order to accommodate new schedules?
We are encouraging students to stagger their meal time so not everyone comes at the start of the meal time. That said, we know our safety processes will take additional time. We’ll see how things work once everyone is on campus. This fall will be a learning process for all of us, and we will make adjustments as necessary.

Will the college be doing any COVID-19 testing on campus? If not, can you recommend someplace in Winona where students could get tested?
Students who are feeling ill or believe they have been exposed can be tested on campus at our Wellness Center; tests are available through a collaboration with Mayo Clinic. Students should call 507-457-1492 to make an appointment. They can also be tested at Winona Health. At this point, in following CDC recommendations, we are not doing mass testing.

Have an additional question or concern? Fill out the form and let us know.