Dear Macalester community:

I’m writing to update you on the steps the college is taking to prepare the campus for the fall semester and share our return to campus plan. This supplements the fall planning update I shared at the end of June. In addition to adjusting the academic calendar, Residential Life housing plans, and co-curricular programs, the college is adopting a set of public health practices and community norms, and making a number of physical and policy modifications. We are also working on contingency plans should we need to shift to fully remote delivery, and will share those plans once we’ve finalized them. 

Before I share the return to campus plan, I want to reiterate the need for flexibility. Like other colleges and universities, we are paying close attention to the rate of infection among young adults and following public health guidance. It is possible that, despite our best attempts to welcome people back to campus in person, evolving circumstances may necessitate that we change course. 

Our return to campus plan summarizes the specific steps that are being implemented based on the recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control, the Minnesota Department of Health, the Infectious Disease Task Force and other campus working groups.

As a result of these physical and social changes, the campus will look and feel different when we return. We recognize that each of us will bring to the upcoming year a unique combination of hopes and dreams, as well as concerns and needs. This moment calls us to work together as a community in new ways. 

Our collective well-being, now as ever, relies on our willingness to take care of one another. One aspect of our back-to-campus plan is our Mac Stays Safer community commitment to mutual care and accountability. This commitment will be central to our lives together on campus and establishes a framework for the ways that individual behavior will help reduce the community risk of viral transmission. While we won’t require people to sign it, just as we do not require signatures to affirm our tobacco-free policy, we expect that every member of our community will uphold the elements in this document. Adjustments to the student and employee handbooks will reflect these expectations and the consequences for non-compliance.

For those returning to campus, we want to assure you that we are implementing as many elements as possible to minimize risks and to promote healthy interactions in our community.  Thank you for your patience, your partnership, and your feedback. 


Dr. Suzanne M. Rivera

Published: 7/22/20