March 18 Update on St. Thomas' Response to COVID-19

Thank you all for your continued cooperation during these challenging and unpredictable times. I know Monday’s announcement of transitioning to online learning for the remainder of the semester (and its resulting implications) was incredibly difficult and disappointing for many of us. While this is not the path any of us wanted or ever could have envisioned when we started this semester, it’s important to remember we all have a role to play in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our surrounding community.

Please see below for some important updates about our university’s response:

Refunds for Room and Board

We have received many questions over the last few days since announcing that students living on campus who can return home must move out of their residence halls by March 29 or before traveling for spring break unless they receive an exemption (see below). We have heard your concerns and have continued to review and reflect upon the complexity of this situation and the refunds for our room and board. An error was also brought to our attention regarding a discrepancy between the Residence Life cancellation policy and the university’s published refund policy. An older version of our Residence Life agreement was mistakenly provided to students who elected to live on campus this year. I wholeheartedly apologize for this mistake.

Based on these factors, we have decided to provide prorated refunds for room from the date of our announcement (March 16). All adjustments will be made for students who cancel by March 29. Students will also receive a prorated refund on unutilized portions of their meal plan. In order to plan for the living and dining needs of our students, we ask you to please complete your housing cancellation by March 23. We are in the process of calculating those refunds and will notify you of the details as soon as they are ready.

Exemptions for Staying on Campus

All resident students should complete a housing cancellation by March 23 and plan to move out by March 29. We will, however, consider exemptions for extenuating circumstances such as:

  • Student is unable to return home due to travel restrictions or extenuating circumstances
  • A family member being immunocompromised (living in the same residence)
  • International students
  • Personal reasons why home is not an option

If you are a student requesting an exemption to remain living on campus, you must let us know by Monday, March 23. You may request an exemption using this link.

New Buildings Hours

New building hours will be in effect starting Saturday and continuing through the rest of the semester. Here is a summary:

  • Buildings that house student services will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. during weekdays for any students that will remain living on campus this semester.
  • Administrative offices and academic buildings that do not house student resource centers will be locked and accessible only by card. Faculty and staff will still be able to access their offices.
  • As announced Tuesday, the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex (AARC) will be closed to comply with Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order.
  • If additional card access is required, please fill out a Request for Service in OneStThomas.

You can find a list of special hours for all buildings here.

Catholic Mass Services

Daily Mass at the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas will continue at 12:10 p.m., as well as Sunday Mass at 11 a.m. All other Masses are canceled. This is subject to change as the situation evolves. Anyone who attends Mass at the chapel will find social distancing restrictions to reduce the spread of germs, and attendance may be limited.

Dining Services

Please see the following updates:

  • Effective immediately, dining service on campus will be restricted to students and employees only in accordance with the executive order from Gov. Walz. All patrons will be asked to show their St. Thomas identification cards to enter.
  • Please note that dining options during spring break will be limited to T’s and Summit Marketplace. All other locations will be closed.
  • Please check the Dining Services website for additional changes.

Parking Pass Refunds

Students living in the residence halls who complete a housing cancellation by March 23 will have their parking passes refunded from their cancellation form. Commuter students who will no longer be coming to campus may request a refund on parking passes on the Parking Services website.

Shuttle Schedule

Shuttle schedules will continue as normal through Saturday, March 21. Beginning next week, the shuttle will run on the Summer and J-Term schedule through the remainder of the academic year. See here for additional details.

Thank you for your attention. I am grateful to everyone who is working long hours and making difficult decisions to bring our university to the other side of this unprecedented situation. More information will continue to be shared as it is available.