Dear Macalester Students, Faculty, and Staff, 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fully vaccinated (i.e. two weeks after a final dose) individuals are at very low risk of contracting or transmitting coronavirus. These updates shift the emphasis from risks of rapid community spread to protecting individual health through vaccination.

If you can be vaccinated, please do so! You can use vaccines.gov to locate the vaccine that is waiting for you at a nearby pharmacy or clinic. Employees can affirm their vaccination status at this link; students, provide your vaccine documentation through the student medical portal.

Because we care about our community members, regardless of vaccination status, we affirm the following points:

  • Anyone who wishes to wear a face covering is welcome to do so. (Please read below for our updated policy.)

  • Allowing space and respecting others’ choices about whether or not to wear a face covering when fully vaccinated provides communal support, and acknowledges that some live with individuals who cannot be vaccinated. Recognizing these differences will be important as we get accustomed to sharing work and learning spaces in person.

  • Asking others about their COVID-19 vaccination status can unintentionally be asking about personal health situations or underlying conditions.

  • Although public health measures that restrict group size, require face coverings, or call for physical distancing have been lifted by CDC and MDH, it is important to remember that this pandemic is not yet over.

  • Please stay home when ill, and if you need to venture out to get essential supplies or seek health care resources, please wear a face covering.

Based on updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and the Governor’s executive orders, along with a steady decline in COVID-19 case numbers and a rise in the percentage of those vaccinated in the state and our campus community, the following modifications to campus policy will take effect June 1, 2021.

Face coverings policy: We are updating our on-campus face coverings policy for employees, students, vendors, and other campus visitors.

  • Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear face coverings indoors or outdoors on campus.

    • If you want to wear a face covering, you are encouraged to do so (and many people might, based on personal preference or if they share homes with vulnerable individuals).

  • Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated (i.e. one dose of two-dose regimen, or less than two weeks after the final dose) individuals are expected to wear a well-fitting face covering when inside, or if outside when 6-feet distance cannot be maintained.

In-person gatherings: Layering behaviors that minimize the potential risk of COVID spread is strongly encouraged– when planning, keep in mind that more space is better, masking is better, outdoors is better.

  • Room capacity limits and physical distancing arrangements in classrooms or public spaces on campus will remain in place through at least the end of Module 5. After this time, facilities staff will begin the process of resetting furniture and classrooms.

  • Food is allowed. Use of pre-packaged boxes with compostable utensils eliminates the need for shared items or congregating around serving tables.

Leonard Center, outdoor track, and outdoor tennis courts:

  • In addition to the current access for students, fully vaccinated faculty and staff will be able to use the pool, weight lifting and fitness areas, and gyms starting June 1, 2021.

  • The indoor Leonard Center facilities will continue to be unavailable to neighbors and alumni through at least August 2, 2021.

  • The outdoor track and tennis courts will be available for use by neighbors and alumni.

Building access: Building access will continue to require key card access and the buildings will remain closed to the public through at least the end of Module 5.

Transition for the Infectious Disease Task Force (IDTF): The IDTF will stop meeting on a weekly basis, but will remain ready to respond to any changes in the COVID-19 situation. The two of us will co-chair a Fall 2021 Campus Opening Committee composed of a subset of the IDTF. This group will inform COVID-aware decisions through the summer and coordinate a range of operational issues for the fall such as pre-orientation programing, new student orientation, residence hall move-in, student COVID-19 immunizations, isolation and quarantine planning, etc.

As we have this past year, we continue to trust that each of us wants to keep others safer. During this time each of us have intentionally applied behaviors, such as staying home when ill or practicing good hand hygiene, that promote health. Spurred by the pandemic, these actions and changes in campus culture will serve us well going forward. Thank you for your ongoing engagement.

Wishing you good health and wellbeing,

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

Published: 05/27/2021