Dear Macalester Community:

Echoing the positive update Governor Walz provided earlier today, we approach the beginning of Module 5 and the summer research period with optimism. Because the density on campus will be significantly reduced, many will have received at least one vaccine dose(s), and there are increased opportunities to be outdoors, we are able to open with fewer public health limitations.

Module 5 and Summer Research Opening Period (May 18- May 28)

  • We will observe a 10-day (May 18 – May 28) opening period at the start of Module 5/summer research. Similar to previous quiet periods, this time allows those arriving on campus to adjust to campus COVID precautions.

  • At the discretion of the instructor, Module 5 classes can be held in person, and the same is true of co-curricular programming and activities. As detailed below, classroom seating will remain at 6-feet distancing and face coverings will be required indoors.

  • There will be a round of welcome-to-campus COVID-19 surveillance testing on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Students who are not fully vaccinated upon arriving in the Twin Cities or moving into residence halls are expected to participate. Staff or faculty who are not fully vaccinated are welcome to sign-up for a COVID-19 test. Testing will take place in the Weyerhaeuser Boardroom between 10 am and 2 pm on May 18. Sign-up for a testing time using this link.

  • Off-campus students who are not fully vaccinated are asked to minimize their time on campus during this opening period.

Continued Expectations and Guidelines

These elements of campus operations will remain in place at least through the end of Module 5:

  • Campus buildings will remain closed to the public and will be accessible to the Macalester community by key card. Outside guests, research participants, or speakers for classes must be hosted on-line or in outdoor spaces where physical distancing can be maintained.

  • All members of our community are expected to uphold the Mac Stays Safer Community Commitment, which has been updated to reflect the modifications listed below.

  • The COVID Case Management (CCM) team will continue to provide support for students who experience COVID-like symptoms, who test positive, or who are required to quarantine.

  • The Macalester Contact Tracing team will continue partnering with the Minnesota Department of Health.

  • Food will not be allowed at indoor gatherings or meetings.

  • Furniture in classrooms and around campus will be maintained at 6-feet distancing.

Module 5 and Summer Research Updates

  • The auxiliary dining area in the LC will be closed after May 10 and all students with meal plans may dine in Cafe Mac starting Tuesday, May 11.

  • The Leonard Center will be open to all Macalester students (not faculty, staff or community members) starting May 7. Through at least May 28, students must sign-up to reserve workout equipment and additional information about the use of sign-ups will be shared in the Mac Daily.

  • Our face coverings policy has been updated. Additional modifications to this policy are likely in the coming weeks to reflect changes that Governor Walz announced at noon today. Keep an eye out for updates in the Mac Daily.

  • The following practices and policies will go into effect on May 18 and will remain in place as long as our community COVID case rates remain low and those currently unvaccinated take advantage of increased vaccine supply and access.

    • Individually packaged food (e.g. box lunches, individual serving beverages, etc.) will be allowed at outdoor gatherings where 6-feet physical distance can be maintained.

    • More indoor meeting spaces and some outdoor spaces will become available for reservation through EMS.

    • Throughout Module 5, the facilities staff will adjust cleaning schedules and decrease supplies in public spaces to reflect updated CDC guidelines on cleaning surfaces. Current guidance from CDC clearly states that surface transmission of COVID-19 is highly unlikely.

    • Macalester student and faculty research projects, student employment, and staff support can be conducted in person.

      • Until August 2, in-person activities should be conducted as if others are not vaccinated and include adherence to wearing a face covering and maintaining 6-feet of physical distance when possible.

      • After August 2, only fully vaccinated individuals will be allowed to work or study on-campus unless they have filed for an exemption with the Hamre Center (students) or Employment Services (staff and faculty).

  • Our college-supported travel policy has been updated. Starting June 1, 2021, college-supported domestic travel will be allowed for fully vaccinated faculty, staff, or students. College-supported international travel by employees will continue to require approval by the VP in their line or the Provost. The only college-supported international travel for students will be for transportation to or from approved study away sites.

Get a Permanent “opt-out” of COVID-19 Surveillance Testing and Quarantine Expectations

  • The modification of state-wide public health measures announced earlier today by Governor Walz reinforce the role of vaccination in curbing the impact of COVID-19.

  • Once employees have affirmed that they are fully vaccinated using this form or students have uploaded their COVID-19 vaccination documents through the Hamre Center’s patient portal, they will be placed on a list for a permanent “opt-out” of COVID-19 surveillance testing and will not be required to quarantine if they are a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

  • As President Rivera noted in her April 23 message, Macalester will require all students and employees who will work or study on campus to either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit required exemption requests by August 2, 2021. If you can, get this taken care of now.

Thank you for the continued efforts to keep yourself and our community safer.

Wishing you well.

Paul Overvoorde, PhD
Steph Walters, MD, MPH
co-chairs of the Infectious Disease Task Force

Published: 05/06/2021