Campus Community

What should I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms or if I am diagnosed with COVID-19?

The CDC has a Coronavirus self-checker. Start here if you think you may be sick.

At this time, the Minnesota Department of Health advises that if you have symptoms and can manage those symptoms at home, you don’t have to seek health care or be tested for COVID-19. The most important thing you can do is stay home while you are ill and follow CDC guidelines on when to discontinue self-isolation.

  • Call 911 or go to the emergency room if you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms.  
  • If you have underlying medical conditions, let your health care provider know you are sick. 
  • Should your symptoms worsen (a description of when to seek care can be found on the What To Do if You Are Sick portion of the CDC’s website), call ahead to your health care provider before going to the clinic. 
  • Using telehealth may be a good option if it is not an emergency. The Hamre Center has listed several telehealth options on our website.
  • The Hamre Center (clinic for students only) does not have the capacity to treat or test for COVID-19. However, we can do a telehealth appointment (via video or phone) to give advice to ill students. Call 651-696-6275. We are currently staffed 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

Now that we have community spread in Minnesota and multiple states, social distancing (described here: Strategies to Slow the Spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota) is more important than ever before. Thank you for all you are doing to protect yourself and others in our community.

If you still need guidance on how to proceed, please call the MDH hotline number below:

MDH COVID-19 Hotlines:

  • For questions about health or medical advice for an ill person:  651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

What should I do if someone I know has COVID-19 symptoms or is diagnosed with COVID-19?

  • If you have been told of a Macalester community member case and are concerned about possible exposure, please consult the MDH website or call the Community Mitigation Hotline phone number below. 
  • MDH will advise Hamre Center staff on what the college’s role is and next steps to take. Any action by the college will be initiated via Hamre Center staff who will coordinate efforts with appropriate college offices.
  • As always, the individual who is diagnosed should follow the advice given to them by a health care provider, and/or consult the MDH hotline for guidance.

Now that we have community spread in Minnesota and multiple states, social distancing (described here: Strategies to Slow the Spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota) is more important than ever before. Thank you for all you are doing to protect yourself and others in our community.

MDH COVID-19 Hotlines:

  • For questions about mitigation in an education setting: 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

What should I do if I suspect I have come in contact with someone with COVID-19?

If you were a close contact of someone diagnosed with COVID-19, you will hear from MDH. MDH reaches out to close contacts of lab-confirmed cases within a day or two of receiving lab results. At this time, per MDH, people considered exposed to COVID-19 are individuals who are in very close contact with the case while they had symptoms.

If you are feeling sick, please follow these steps. If you are concerned about possible exposure, please contact the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) community mitigation hotline (651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.). Please continue to practice social distancing, cover your cough, and wash your hands frequently. 

🆕Where can I find resources and assistance for remote teaching, learning, and working?

In partnership with the Serie Center, the DeWitt Wallace Library, and other departments from around campus, Information Technology Services (ITS) is providing a wide range of resources for remote teaching, learning, and working. The ITS help desk is available remotely via email at or by leaving a voice mail at 651-696-6525.

What are the implications of the Governor’s stay at home order for Macalester and for individuals?

Governor Walz issued an executive order for residents of the state of Minnesota to stay at home effective Friday, March 27 at 11:59 p.m. through Friday, April 10, except when they need to go out for essential needs. The stay at home order is designed to limit, as much as possible, the spread of COVID-19. It does not mean you can never leave your home, apartment, or residence hall room. It means that most businesses and public spaces are closed, but most grocery stores, doctors’ offices, gas stations, and other essential services will remain open. Under the order, it is fine to go outside to exercise or walk a dog while following social distancing guidelines. More details are available in the March 25 email update.

What if students or staff who live on campus need to be isolated? Where would they go?

The college continues to prepare to ensure we have the resources in place to support the health and safety of the small number of students and staff who will continue to live on campus for the remainder of the semester. As part of our preparations, the college is identifying residential space where students or staff who remain on campus can go to self-isolate if they begin exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. Should use of such a location become necessary, we have plans and resources to deliver meals and to monitor the health and wellbeing of individuals using that space. If you live in the residence halls and need to begin self-isolation or quarantine, please reach out to Public Safety at 651-696-6555. 

Will campus buildings be locked? 

We have removed student card access to college buildings except student residences, the Hamre Center for Health & Wellness, and the Campus Center (including the dining hall). Open Pantry will remain open, and has moved to the Campus Center in the former Student Organizations Resource Center (second floor at the north end of the hallway, just past the Office of Student Leadership & Engagement). It will be open on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays from 8 a.m.-9 p.m.

Beginning Friday, March 27, the Chapel is closed and Campus Center 216 is designated as a contemplation, meditation, and prayer space. Students are welcome to use this space and are asked to observe social distancing guidelines. All Leonard Center activity areas including the fitness center are closed indefinitely as of March 17.

For faculty, the Governor’s stay at home order provides an exemption for educators who need to travel to campus to perform aspects of your job that can not be done remotely. Faculty are encouraged to limit those visits to campus for your own safety and that of others.

What college facilities will be staffed? 

The Center for Health & Wellness will have limited in-person access; see the Health & Wellness Center website for details. Public safety, facilities, residential life, and food services will continue to have staff members on campus. The library will have staff on an abbreviated schedule. Office hours may be limited.

How is the college ensuring distance learning is ADA compliant?

Our Disability Services office is working individually with faculty and students to ensure accommodations are made to support student learning. If students or faculty have questions or would like to schedule a gchat or Zoom appointment, they can contact Disability Services via

What should I do if I fall into one of the CDC’s higher risk categories?

If you are concerned because you fall into one of the higher-risk categories, please consult your healthcare provider for specific medical guidance about the potential impact of COVID-19.

  • If you are a Mac student who falls into the higher-risk category and need assistance with course accommodations, please contact Disability Services
  • If you are a staff or faculty member who falls into any of these categories and are concerned about potential exposure, please contact Bob Graf in Employment Services to discuss your situation.

Will college events continue as scheduled? 

Our Impacted Events/Travel Information page includes the latest updates on campus events. All in-person, on-campus Reunion 2020 events (including the James Wallace Society dinner) have been canceled. We are looking at alternate ways of celebrating Reunion and will share details soon. Our traditional, in-person Commencement will not be held; we are exploring other ways to recognize and celebrate our graduating seniors and will share an update soon. 

What should I do as an individual?

The most important thing you can do is to take reasonable measures to limit and slow the spread of disease. The Minnesota Department of Health has issued recommendations for community mitigation strategies designed to slow the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing—limiting your contact with others to help slow the coronavirus spread—is one tool that we can use to prepare and keep our community healthy. Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly; covering coughs and sneezes; and staying at home when you are sick are other key measures.

What can I do to help others?

Support Macalester students in a time of need. We have created a Macalester Student Relief Fund to help support our students with unexpected expenses right now and in the weeks ahead. This fund will help pay for student transportation, housing, distance learning, and support of Open Pantry, the student-run organization to address food insecurity at Mac.  

Where can I find more information about COVID-19?

Our Government Guidance page includes links to information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Minnesota Department of Public Health, and Ramsey County Public Health.



Can students still utilize Hamre Center for Health & Wellness services?

At this time, the Hamre Center is open and taking appointments. However, please note, we are not able to test or treat for COVID-19 at this time. All ill students will be offered phone advice or telehealth appointments to advise on next steps. All counseling appointments will be via telehealth (video or phone).  Medical appointments will be telehealth when possible but limited in-person appointments are still available for students who are on campus or in the area. All students desiring to schedule an appointment should call the Hamre Center: 651-696-6275. Office hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Any students with in-person appointments or who are picking something up should enter the Leonard Center via the south entrance. The Hamre Center door will be locked – ring the doorbell to enter.  Beginning March 30, online requests for safer sex kits, sleep products, menstrual cups, and fentanyl tests will be accepted and pick-up will be from the Hamre Center. Call if you have a question or wish to schedule an appointment to talk to a provider.

🆕What resources are available to support virtual community and wellness?

Recognizing the value and importance of the learning that happens outside of the classroom…even the virtual one, the Division of Student Affairs has created an online hub for student engagement, community, and involvement. Resources are in place for students to connect and find community through student organizations, programming, chat rooms, and other virtual programs. There will be opportunities to engage in wellness activities such as yoga, fitness classes, and guided reflection. The online hub will highlight pathways to a variety of campus resources available to students through remote connections. The Laurie Hamre Center for Health & Wellness is available for students to seek mental health support and make appointments with both counseling (all telehealth) and medical staff (mostly telehealth, limited in-person services still available) by calling the Hamre Center at 651-696-6275. 

🆕 I live off-campus; what should I (and my roommates) be doing? How should we prepare?

  • Public health resources like this CDC resource Preparing for an Outbreak use language for “families,” but the advice still applies to you and the others with whom you share an apartment or house. 
  • The Hamre Center is providing healthcare to Macalester students who are still in the area, using a combination of telehealth and in-person appointments. While they are not able to test or treat for COVID-19, they can answer questions and consult with you about other concerns.  Please call to schedule an appointment and do not simply drop by. The Hamre Center phone number is 651-696-6275.

🆕 What do I do if I have an urgent concern or an emergency? 

  • In case of a life-threatening emergency, call 911.
  • Macalester Public Safety is available 24/7 to provide advice or respond to a concern. Public Safety will also connect with Student Affairs staff who can assist and follow up.

What plans are being made for residence hall room move out?

Currently, students’ items are secured in their rooms. We are working through when and how students will be able to collect belongings they’ve left behind in the residence halls, and expect to share specific guidance as soon as possible. Our current priority is to make it as easy as possible for students to leave campus.

Will the college offer room and board refunds? 

Yes, the college is providing refunds to students who do not remain in the residence halls. Refunds will cover the period from March 30 to the end of the spring semester. The college has begun to issue refunds for students who will not be returning to residence halls. Students who are RAs have had grant funding applied to their student account, equal to the typical housing refund a student would receive.

🆕Will commuter students be eligible for meal plan refunds?

Students who have a commuter meal plan will receive a partial refund of unused meals. The calculation of the refund will be done on a case-by-case basis. All students with an existing commuter meal plan have been notified of the refund calculation and process as of April 1.

What are the next steps for student workers?

There are two elements to our plans for spring semester student employment. They include: 

  1. a special payment program for students who have not yet reached their financial aid student employment award for the spring semester and 
  2. a plan for remote work for the rest of the semester.

For the payment program, eligible students must meet all four of the following criteria:

  • Students enrolled spring semester of 2019-2020
  • Students who have (as of March 23, 2020) a spring semester student employment award as part of their 2019-2020 need-based financial aid package
  • Students who have earned at least $0.01 during spring semester inclusive of March 20, 2020 paychecks
  • Have been paid less than the full amount of their spring semester need-based student employment award as of March 20, 2020 paychecks

 Eligible students will receive an email message during the week of March 23 describing their award and describing the payment process through the payroll system.

For remote work for the rest of the semester, there will be a limited number of opportunities for additional hours for students through remote work study. Students receiving the special payments described above will be eligible to fill these remote work study positions without any reduction in their special payment.

Work study supervisors will identify the positions that could be performed remotely. These roles will be filled as quickly as possible, in many cases being filled by students who currently hold these positions. Supervisors will contact students regarding continuing work as soon as the positions are identified and approved. Unfilled positions will be posted on JobX by April 1.

What support is the college offering for students to move from off-campus housing? 

We are requiring that students who live on campus go home and stay home, unless they have completed a petition request with Residential Life and had that petition approved. Students who live off campus may choose to remain in their current housing or return home. They are encouraged to follow guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for social distancing in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. We are not covering costs for off-campus students to relocate, and are not able to store items for students living off campus.   

🆕 How is Macalester working to support students during this time?

We will ensure that all Macalester students have food and a safe place to live. The college will work with all students to ensure they have the technology they need and are able to fulfill their current academic commitments. We will continue to work individually with students and families if extenuating circumstances arise.

A new Emergency Aid Program is available to help students experiencing financial distress. This program comes in response to a general concern about unexpected expenses that can disrupt a student’s educational trajectory, especially students who have no financial safety net. COVID-19 has underlined the need for such a program. More information about this program, and the form students should use to begin the process, can be found on the Financial Aid website.

We have created a  Macalester Student Relief Fund to help support our students with unexpected expenses right now and in the weeks ahead. This fund will help pay for student transportation, housing, distance learning, and support of Open Pantry, the student-run organization to address food insecurity at Mac.

🆕What are we doing to support social distancing in Café Mac? 

Café Mac has moved to a complete grab and go operation. Students will come to get their meals and take them out of Café Mac. The tables and chairs have been removed in the seating area to allow for social distancing and for grab and go operations.

Will the college offer room and board reimbursements to students who left their spring 2020 study away programs? 

The Center for Study Away is working through details with partner programs and we expect the policy will be similar to the on-campus refunds and will bridge gaps between costs and program refunds (similar to what we’re offering to residence hall residents as of March 30). We are working with students on a program by program basis. Students who did not pay their study away room and board expenses to Macalester College are encouraged to contact their study away program housing office to see if they can reimburse you for the time you did not live in program housing. They should keep the college advised of those discussions.

Are we supplementing incremental travel costs for study away students? 

We are not supplementing the cost of booking new tickets, particularly since airlines are waiving change fees.  If students with a clear financial need want to appeal to financial aid, they may.

What plans are in place for student access to textbooks? 

The library is working to secure and share access to digital content for classes. Library staff members are working with publishers and compiling a list of electronic versions of course-reserve titles. They will share this list with faculty and will update it continually as more content is secured. Questions can be sent via the Library’s Ask Us form.

Barnes & Noble shared with us that Vital Source is providing ebooks at no charge through May 25. While this may not cover all course materials, there are 13 publishers participating. The Vital Source Helps login page and an FAQ and online tutorial are available to help students access these resources.

How is the college working with students who are studying away?

The Center for Study Away staff is monitoring the situation globally and is in close contact with students and programs. On Thursday, March 19, the U.S. Department of State issued an upgraded Global Level 4 Travel Advisory. Many study away programs have suspended their on-site operations and are moving to remote instruction.  

Macalester continues to recommend that all students studying away depart their programs and return home. That being said, some students have opted to remain at their program site. All students choosing to remain at their program site will continue to receive the support of the CSA staff through the completion of their studies.


  • For students or parents of current students: Have a question that isn’t answered in our FAQ or on this site? Please email us at


Faculty and Staff

What are the expectations in terms of staff/faculty being on campus?

  • For staff who currently are working remotely, please continue with your current arrangement and follow guidance from your supervisor. If you can work from home but have not yet begun to do so regularly, you are encouraged to move to remote work as much as possible. 
  • Staff will continue to receive their normal pay through this semester and will not be asked to use sick or personal time if they feel it necessary to remain at home. They should fulfill their work responsibilities to the best of their ability; we will provide the support that we can to help make this remote working arrangement successful. We understand that some positions will require campus presence. Managers will work with their teams to ensure coverage of these important roles.
  • For faculty and some library staff, please note that the Governor’s stay at home order provides an exemption (section 6w) for educators who need to travel to campus to perform aspects of your job that can not be done remotely. As with all other employees, you are encouraged to limit those visits to campus for your own safety and that of others.

🆕What support resources are available for faculty and staff?

Staff and faculty can access support resources through the Employee Assistance Program

Will hiring for open staff and faculty roles move ahead? 

Hiring may proceed on a case by case basis with guidance from the department head. All interviewing will be done remotely.

Will the April performance review process move ahead, as planned?

No. We will delay performance reviews until the summer in order to give employees time to focus on immediate priorities.


What can I do to help?

Many of you in our thoughtful and generous community have asked how you can help. Thank you! Here are some ways to do that: 

  • Support Macalester students in a time of need. We have created a Macalester Student Relief Fund to help support our students with unexpected expenses right now and in the weeks ahead. This fund will help pay for student transportation, housing, distance learning, and support of Open Pantry, the student-run organization to address food insecurity at Mac.
  • Be available to share career advice. During this tumultuous time, students could really use your career advice. Turn on your CareerHelper badge in MacDirect to show students you are open and willing to connect.
  • Hire a Macalester student. Have an opening at your organization, even for part-time work? Fill out this quick Google form and we’ll share it with students.
  • Stay connected and supportive. Show your Macalester pride—in conversations, on social media, wherever you are. Share your love for students and each other. This pride will help bring comfort and will also help prospective students see the community they will be a part of if they choose Mac. Reach out to friends and classmates through your local or class-year social media channels as well as through MacDirect, our online alumni directory.

Will my Reunion registration fees be refunded?
Yes. Anyone who has already registered for Reunion will be contacted regarding their registration fees. You do not need to contact us to request a refund.


Reviewed: 4/02/2020