Dear Macalester Community,

At this time we continue to have 38 students in isolation housing (11 on-campus, 27 off-campus). Based on what we can learn from contact tracing data, these cases are primarily linked to social gatherings and off-campus housing situations. The arrival of seasonal allergies and other respiratory viruses delayed testing by some. Updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Health also provide evidence of increased coronavirus spread in Minnesota and the Twin Cities area.

The current COVID-19 surge in Minnesota and other parts of the U.S. creates a familiar, but uncomfortable, environment to gather and celebrate. The COVID-19 Task Force continues to need your partnership to keep each other safer. As our community commitment states, “Our individual and community health depends on our choices and actions. Our ability to stay safer is only as strong as our shared commitment to each other.”

Your willingness to follow public health guidelines, even when inconvenient, has been a key to a successful in-person academic year. Wearing a high quality (i.e. N95, KN95) mask consistent with our mask policy along with the layered use of other public health measures minimizes the potential spread of coronavirus. We affirm the decision to wear a mask in any setting to prevent becoming infected or to keep from spreading respiratory viruses to others. COVID-19 testing for students continues to be available in the atrium of the Leonard Center and the Hamre Center. We urge anyone who tests positive, whether through on-campus venues or other testing resources, and who should be in isolation to follow this public health guidance. Finally, whether a student or employee, please continue to notify the college of positive COVID-19 tests by emailing contacttracing@macalester.edu.

If you are a senior with COVID-19, please stay home and participate in Commencement virtually. If you complete this form, your name can be read during the commencement ceremony and you and your guests will be invited to a reception at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 20, in the Weyerhaeuser Boardroom with President Rivera. We will have a photographer present for the first 30 minutes.

As we approach Commencement weekend, we offer the community the following reminders.

  • Share with guests that when indoors (i.e. department receptions, using the restroom, etc.) they are expected to wear a high quality mask.

  • Academic department receptions on Friday have been modified to include grab-and-go food options and efforts have been made to minimize the density of gatherings, in some instances by changing locations to tents outside.

  • Since outdoor gatherings present lower risks of coronavirus transmission, even in the event of light rain, we will lean toward an outdoor celebration. If you are participating, please plan for the weather. A decision on location will be shared no later than 1 p.m. on Friday, May 13.

  • If the weather looks severe and we need to move Commencement indoors, masks will be expected for participants, attendees, and volunteers. Each seat will contain a high-quality mask.

  • The Commencement website contains links and information about the live streaming options for the graduation ceremony.

If you have a question that is not addressed on our COVID-19 FAQ page, please contact healthresponse@macalester.edu.

Paul Overvoorde, PhD, Director of COVID Operations
Steph Walters, MD, MPH, Medical Director of the Hamre Center

Published: May 11, 2022