Fall preparation update, August 4, 2021

Welcome back, Dragons! 

We all are excited to be back to campus and ready for a new academic year! While we find ourselves continuing to respond to an ever-changing environment, the work we’ve done over the past 18 months has us well-prepared.  

There’s been a lot about COVID-19 in the news again lately, so we wanted to answer some of your questions. 

How are we preparing campus for a safe return of students? 

Monitoring transmission and working with public health. The MSUM Emergency Management Team (EMT) meets regularly to monitor on-campus and community transmission. We also meet regularly with state and local health officials. 
Campus preparation. Several COVID-19 mitigation efforts remain in place such as disinfectant stations around campus, on-campus vaccine clinics, and both quarantine and isolation housing available for students living on campus.
Dragons Care practices. We encourage you to continue following Dragons Care practices: 
* Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer stations located around campus 
* Cover your cough 
* Self-monitor for symptoms 
* Stay home when you are sick If you’re not vaccinated, wearing a mask and physical distancing is strongly encouraged 
Report active cases of COVID-19. We will continue to ask employees and students to report positive cases of COVID-19 or close contacts using the reporting forms on our website. We will continue to report active cases on this same site, updated weekly.

Will we require masks? 
Not right now. We will be prepared to move to a mask requirement according to guidance from the CDC and Minnesota State system office. Here’s what that looks like on our campus: 

Wear a mask if that makes you comfortable. Please support your fellow Dragons who feel most comfortable wearing masks. We also encourage the use of clear masks when possible in consideration of those with hearing loss or other reasons that may prohibit clear communication while wearing a cloth or other mask.   
Mask requirements will return if our community transmission is considered substantial or high risk. Clay county is currently not in the substantial or high-risk category and we will continue to monitor the transmission levels. If we reach that threshold, MSUM will communicate and implement a mask requirement for indoor, public settings.  
Some areas of campus will require masks due to licensing or other regulatory requirements. Some departments on campus such as MSUM Counseling Services, Speech Language Hearing Clinic, and Athletic Training are considered healthcare settings and are required to mask.  Athletics will continue to follow the Sports Science Institute and NCAA rules for masking pertaining to athletes.

If a campus-wide mask requirement is implemented, it will be in effect until further notice. The EMT will confer with our local public health officials to determine confidence that lower transmission levels will be sustained.  Class delivery will not change if a mask requirement is implemented.   

Are vaccinations required? What are the benefits of vaccination?
While we are not requiring vaccination to return to campus, we strongly encourage you to get vaccinated to stop the spread of COVID-19. Please note that vaccines are highly effective against the Delta variant. 

Join MSUM in the College Vaccine Challenge. MSUM is participating in the White House’s COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge. Tell us why you’re vaccinated and get registered to win. 
$100 Vaccine Incentive from the State of Minnesota.  Minnesotans who receive their first dose between 07/30/21 and 08/15/21 will be eligible for a $100 Visa gift card.  100 Dollar Vaccine Incentive / COVID-19 Updates and Information – State of Minnesota (mn.gov)
Vaccinated individuals won’t have to quarantine. New guidance says that if you’ve been vaccinated, you no longer need to quarantine after exposure to COVID-19.  
Need a vaccine?  MSUM will be hosting vaccine clinics open to students and employees: 
* Sunday, August 8 | 10 a.m. – 5 p.m | Outside Dahl Hall near the sand volleyball courts 
* Thursday, August 12 | 3-7 p.m. | Outside Dahl Hall near the sand volleyball courts 
* Saturday, August 21 | 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Outside Dahl or Holmquist Hall  

We ask that students and staff respect the choices of our Dragon Family and understand the decision on vaccination is a personal and private healthcare decision.  

We are committed to protecting the health of our community and to adjusting as new information becomes available. Thank you for your commitment to keeping our campus safe! 

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