As many of you have heard, Gov. Tim Walz today announced a statewide “stay-at-home” executive order aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The order will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 27, and last through Friday, April 10.

The governor’s order calls for all people to limit movements outside of their homes beyond essential needs (e.g., grocery shopping, necessary medical appointments, etc.) and to perform work deemed essential in critical sectors such as health care, public safety, utilities, and others. We have been quickly reviewing the contents of the order; more-detailed information will be shared as available, but here are the immediately known impacts to St. Thomas:

Education (including higher education) is listed as a critical sector in the order. The order allows employees who work in critical sectors to continue to come to work to the extent that they cannot perform their work from home. Because of the measures we have already taken, we anticipate any additional impact of this order to our university is minimal.

Students:

  • If you are currently living on campus and have not been granted an exemption to stay, please complete your move out by Friday, March 27.
  • If you are currently living off campus, you are allowed to return to campus to complete moving out. We strongly encourage you to do so by Friday, March 27.
  • If you cannot move out by 9 p.m. on Friday, please email Residence Life as soon as possible.
  • Students who have been granted exemptions can continue living on campus while the order is in place.
  • As previously communicated, online instruction will resume on Monday, March 30, and continue through the remainder of the current academic calendar (which concludes May 22).

Employees:

  • Faculty and staff who have been classified on-campus essential employees can continue coming to campus to work. This includes faculty who need to come to campus for the purpose of delivering online instruction. Please visit this link for guidance issued earlier this week regarding employees whose jobs are considered on-campus essential, or speak with your manager for additional information. More information will be provided to employees shortly.
  • As a reminder, all employees who are not classified on-campus essential were expected to work from home starting today.

Additionally, health care and public health workers were specifically called out as essential workers in today’s announcement. Accordingly, we will continue to provide services from the Center for Well-Being. Please see this link for information about how to access these services. Finally, faith leaders and workers also are listed as exempt in the order, and our Campus Ministry team will continue to respond to spiritual care needs. Any community members wishing to speak with a chaplain may leave a message on the Campus Ministry phone line at (651) 962-6560 or contact Public Safety. Please note: The Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas will be closed, although our chapel at Koch Commons (KOC) will remain available to on-campus students.

We will continue to share updates as they are available. Thankfully, many of the measures we have taken in the last week appear to have placed St. Thomas in a good position to comply with Gov. Walz’s order. In the meantime, please continue to visit our COVID-19 resources page on the Center for Well-Being’s website.

Thank you for your hard work and patience as we continue to navigate this unprecedented situation. I continue to hold all of you in my prayers.

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