St. Thomas will require face coverings in indoor public spaces when others are present, beginning Monday, Aug. 23.
The recent surge of the COVID-19 delta variant in Minnesota unfortunately means campus life cannot be quite as normal as hoped at St. Thomas. The university's campuswide vaccination rate continues rising – 83% as of Aug. 19 – but health and safety protocols are still needed.
Based on new Minnesota Department of Health guidance to take extra safety measures as the university begins fall semester, St. Thomas will require face coverings in indoor public spaces when others are present, beginning Monday, Aug. 23. This applies to all community members and visitors regardless of vaccination status.
Where Face Coverings Are Required
The university hopes this temporary, universitywide requirement can be lifted this semester as conditions improve. In the meantime, face coverings are required in campus spaces such as:
- Classrooms, labs and meeting rooms
- Residence hall common areas, including lobbies and dining halls (unless eating)
- Anderson Student Center
- Reception and common areas in all university buildings
- Campus shuttles
- Center for Well-Being
In other words: if one is in a common area with other people, wear a face covering.
Where Face Coverings Are Optional
Fully vaccinated individuals do not have to wear a face covering when in resident-only areas of a residence hall, when alone in an office or study space, or if no one else is present in a room. Additionally, face coverings will not be required for fully vaccinated individuals while they are:
- Teaching a class or speaking at an event where they can maintain at least six feet from their students or audience
- Exercising in the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex or McCarthy Gymnasium (although they must wear a face covering when moving through these buildings)
St. Thomas continues to strongly encourage face coverings outdoors for large gatherings and in situations where social distancing is not possible, and they may be required at specific outdoor opening events. All unvaccinated community members approved for exemptions to the university's vaccine requirement must wear face coverings indoors at all times unless alone in offices or residence hall rooms.
Finally, as a reminder, St. Thomas requires all students, faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated before returning to campus for the fall semester. Learn more online.
St. Thomas remains committed to in-person classes and events and hopes taking this extra measure early will help set the university community up for a safe semester.