Dear Macalester Community,

High vaccination rates have formed a cornerstone of our public health approach this fall. As of October 10, over 99% of our students and employees are fully vaccinated. Again, thank you for your efforts to maintain our Mac Stays Safer 2.0 Community Commitment and to keep each other safer!

The shortening of the days has many of us considering plans for fall break (October 21-24), Thanksgiving break (November 24-28), and winter break (starting December 18). The following outlines our current COVID-aware expectations leading into and out of these periods. 

  • At this time, we do not plan to host pre-break or post-break return-to-campus COVID-19 testing. We will notify you if circumstances or recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) change our approach.
  • For domestic trips, if you are fully vaccinated and do not have symptoms, you do NOT need to quarantine after traveling. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and MDH provide additional recommendations on what you can do to protect yourself, your family, and the communities you visit during either domestic or international travel. 
  • While planning travel or activities, we encourage you to include COVID-aware approaches:

    • Lay low and minimize the number of new close contacts during the 7 days prior to the travel or activity.
    • Make a plan for a free COVID-19 test if you develop symptoms or are identified as a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Remember that testing is most effective in minimizing coronavirus spread when done 3-5 days after an exposure.

      • Option #1: Order a free “at home” COVID-19 test kit from the Minnesota Department of Health. The kit is mailed to the address you indicate and the sample you provide is sent to the lab via a prepaid UPS envelope. 
      • Option #2: Incorporate a stop at one of the MDH COVID-19 testing sites into your plans. The state continues to maintain the free testing site at MSP airport and has re-opened testing sites at Roy Wilkins in downtown St. Paul and the Convention Center in Minneapolis.
    • Monitor yourself for symptoms and stay away from others if you develop a fever, runny nose, cough, loss of taste or smell, or begin frequent sneezing. We recognize the strong desire to “push through,” but not passing on what you have, whether COVID or another respiratory virus, helps keep each other safer.
    • Continue to wear a well-fitted mask and when possible practice physical distancing.

In advance of each break, residential students will receive detailed information by email from their Residence Hall Directors about safety and dining arrangements. An overview of this information can also be found on the Residential Life seasonal housing webpage.

Finally, we share with you two resources:

Wishing each of you good health.

Paul Overvoorde, PhD, Director of COVID Operations, Professor of Biology

Steph Walters, MD, MPH, Interim Executive Director of the Hamre Center for Health and Wellness

Published: 10/12/2021