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No immediate change in mask mandate

October 7, 2021

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Dear students,

As you are all aware, our Oct. 8 deadline for filing proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or uploading an exemption form is fast approaching. I am writing to let you know what will transpire after that date.

A small number of staff in the Wellness Center and Human Resources will review the data uploaded to the health portal for two purposes:

  • First, they will determine who has failed to comply with the requirement. Those individuals will then be contacted, and further lack of compliance will result in actions including fines of $100 per week as well as other disciplinary action.
  • Second, they will determine the percentage of our students, faculty, and staff who are fully vaccinated. That percentage will factor into our future COVID-19 protocols. Hopefully, we can reassess some of these protocols, with guidance, as always, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and with information on the transmission levels of COVID-19 in the state of Minnesota and Winona County. Any decision to remove our universal masking mandate will be based on all information from all those sources, not just our percentage of fully vaccinated individuals. To dispel any and all rumors, there will be no immediate removal of our universal masking mandate this Friday.

We firmly believe that the masking, in addition to our other COVID-19 protocols, have kept our COVID-19 positive cases low to date. So, thank you for your compliance with those protocols. We know it has not been easy. However, as many of you know from Fall 2020, those positive case numbers can also change very quickly. We ask for your continued cooperation as we assess our path forward with the ultimate goal of keeping our community safe from COVID-19.

Together, we are stronger. Together, we are Saint Mary’s.

Ann Merchlewitz
Senior Vice President and General Counsel