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COVID-19 planning and August events

August 10, 2021

Cardinal Update News Newsletters

Saint Mary’s faculty and staff,

We thank you for your flexibility, patience, and support as the university readies for the academic year and plans and adapts as needed. As we have stated throughout the pandemic and in our most recent communications, we continue to closely follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), as well as transmission levels in the communities in which our campuses are located. As fluctuations occur quickly, we appreciate your responsiveness and adaptability.

We will communicate any updates in a timely manner and direct you to our Steadfast and Resilient webpage, which is the best source of up-to-date information. There, we have resumed our COVID-19 tracking dashboard and have added a question-and-answer section that we are updating as new questions arise. We will also be restarting the COVID-19 newsletter Wednesday, Aug. 18, for faculty, staff, students, and undergraduate parents.

One of the questions we have received is about events later this month. We are still planning the picnics on the Twin Cities and Winona campuses, and all attendees will be asked to follow our latest COVID-19 protocols, including wearing a mask indoors or outdoors when physical distancing of 6 feet is not possible.

We also will hold Convocation and are still adjusting plans, which we will communicate. We are planning for a hybrid model meaning limited travel to Winona for those in the Twin Cities, live seating in two locations with capacity guidelines in place and livestreaming available.

The ribbon cutting and blessing of the newly renovated HABC on Tuesday, Aug. 24, will continue as planned. The event will be held outdoors, and attendees are asked to be masked and follow our social distancing guidelines. We will be sending out an RSVP to get an accurate count of attendees to plan accordingly.

The University Faculty Workshop on Wednesday, Aug. 25, will be held hybrid or virtually with more details to come.

Again, updates on these events and other COVID-19 information will be communicated in the Aug. 18 COVID-19 newsletter or, if needed because of urgency, stand-alone notes like this one.

We know it is difficult to return to masking, but we appreciate everyone remembering that masks are required on all our campuses when inside buildings and outside when social distancing is not possible. When you are alone in your office or workspace, mask wearing is encouraged but not required. Please also remember to stay socially distanced (6 feet apart) and wash your hands frequently.

We can hope that as transmission levels decline, we will be able to lift some of our current protocols. It’s important to note that the MDH has asked these measures not be changed until two weeks after transmission rates move to “moderate.”

“Together and by association” we will support each other as we prepare for the fall term. Thank you for remaining steadfast and resilient in the coming weeks and beyond.

Ann Merchlewitz
Senior Vice President and General Counsel

Ben Murray
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer