Macalester Students:

Most of you are not on campus this summer, but we wanted to share with all of you the guidance we’re sharing with faculty and staff to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our community this summer as we prepare for the fall.

Please note that the college’s working groups continue to work with senior staff to develop comprehensive and coordinated processes for the beginning of the academic year, and more specific plans will soon follow. As our understanding of coronavirus evolves, so will our policies and approaches. Throughout it all, we must be transparent about our uncertainty, share dilemmas, and work together to choose between options that are far from ideal. Until we have more comprehensive policies and procedures, this memo serves as initial guidance for the summer months.

The way we will be most successful in preventing the spread of COVID-19, protecting our most vulnerable community members, and slowing the impact on our health care system will be to work together. Until we have herd immunity or a vaccine, carefully following common sense public health practices is the best prevention tool we have to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Following are the college’s expectations for the summer:

  • Most employees will continue to work from home, and are available via email. Those who have been working from home, but need to return to campus, will consult with their supervisor or department chair to coordinate the number of individuals in a space.

  • All members of the campus community will wear a mask when they are in indoor shared spaces (such as hallways, bathrooms, common areas) and/or if they are outdoors within 6 feet of people who are not already an intimate or household contact.  For examples of when a mask is indicated, please visit Protect Yourself & Others: COVID-19.

  • Students who are living on or near campus this summer, if you need a mask, please request one here.

  • Observe social distancing guidelines by staying at least six feet apart.

  • Only two people should be in any small, confined space (such as an elevator) at a time unless they are in each other’s shelter group (meaning they live together or are regularly sharing space).

  • Buildings that are closed will remain closed for the summer.  For example, if you come to campus, the Leonard Center facilities remain closed. Additional information about the library will arrive in a future message.

  • Everyone is expected to stay home when they are ill. Minnesota currently has the capacity to COVID test all symptomatic persons. Please do seek out testing if you have any of the symptoms listed by the CDC.

  • If a healthcare worker or public health professional advised you to self-isolate or self-quarantine please follow their advice. If you are a student currently living on campus and need support in self-isolating or self-quarantining, please contact Public Safety at 651-696-6555.

  • Employees may not travel for work unless the trip is deemed essential.

We will continue to work closely with, and follow guidance from, the Minnesota Department of Health as it is released. Note that the college’s working groups and the Infectious Disease Task Force are integrating these guidelines into Macalester’s plans.

We continue to update the COVID-19 website, which you can access here. If you have specific questions or suggestions, please share them at

Steph Walters, MD, MPH
Chair, Macalester College Infectious Disease Task Force

Published: 6/5/2020