Dear St. Scholastica Family,
Since last Friday our world has moved in directions that we have not experienced in living memory. The COVID-19 outbreak is occupying much of our daily routines, whether that is at work or in our personal lives.I am proud of how Minnesota is working quickly to contain and minimize the threat of COVID-19 during these unprecedented times, but we also understand that extraordinary measures put in place will affect many of our families, neighbors, and communities.
As a learning community we will lead with our Benedictine Values, support one another, show compassion, kindness, and understanding, and lend help where we can.
A few updates for you:
Academic Affairs: Faculty, along with support staff and Academic Council, are working diligently to move our academic offerings into virtual learning space with online training and consultation now ongoing. This is a large lift and we appreciate all the efforts of the Center for Teaching and Learning, IT Staff, support staff and others who are helping to move this forward. As with any change, we have experienced challenges, but these are being resolved as best as we can.
Our Ireland Study Abroad students and accompanying faculty have returned home after a very grueling trip back. Our Scholastica students studying under second party arrangements have also been called back from a number of places around the world. All of these individuals will be under the 14-day self-quarantine upon return.
Athletics: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Council of Presidents and Chancellors announced this afternoon, Monday, March 16, that they have unanimously voted to cancel all remaining regular season conference contests for the 2020 spring sports season including the sports of baseball, softball, men's tennis and women's tennis. In addition, the Council unanimously voted to cancel the postseason tournaments and championship events for 2020 spring sports including baseball, softball, men's tennis, women's tennis, men's outdoor track and field and women's outdoor track and field. We anticipate that the NCAA may allow an additional year of eligibility given the circumstances and we'll be looking forward to that news. St. Scholastica has also canceled all non-conference competitions as well. Please know this is a big blow to our student athletes, our wonderful coaching staff and the athletic department as a whole. I thank all the assistant directors and coaches, Franco Bari our Athletic Director, and those support staff in the athletic department for caring for our student athletes at this difficult time.
Payroll: The finance team has been working to ensure a seamless process for payroll and have tested the process thoroughly. We believe things should move forward smoothly on Friday. If any employee experiences issues regarding their paychecks, please contact Marty Parsons firstname.lastname@example.org or Jill Larson email@example.com immediately.
Mail Services on the Duluth campus: Mailroom and Receiving services will continue normal operations at this time during the hours of 8am to 4pm Monday thru Friday. Employees and Departments may pick up their mail as usual and make arrangements with the mail room for any package deliveries or invoices they are expecting.Students that are remaining on campus may pick up their mail from their mailbox. Those students not on campus but are expecting mail may request their mail to be forwarded to them by emailing Keith Haugen firstname.lastname@example.orgAs for first class mail, if students have bills, paychecks or other important mail delivered to their CSS Box, they can email Thomas Brekke email@example.com to have their mail forwarded. If students do not have automatic or online payments set up for their monthly bills, this would be the perfect time to consider this option. This option also applies to direct deposit for payroll and refund checks.We will continue to process outgoing mail on campus. For those working from home and do a number of first-class mailings, you can charge stamps (rolls of 100 or sheets of 20) out from the mailroom to have on hand at home. Employees can also order stamps directly on the USPS website using their p-card and have the postage order delivered to their home.Any special delivery instructions departments have they may contact Keith Haugen directly.
HR Pandemic Policy: The Cabinet will be approving the final version of the HR Pandemic Policy this week. It will be sent out and posted to our HR homepage and at css.edu/coronavirus. I would ask that you read this policy carefully, consult with your supervisor and/or send any questions you have to Rachelle Wakefield (firstname.lastname@example.org). We have had a lot of questions about working from home, especially in light of the K-12 and charter schools closing, and other issues that might emerge as COVID-19 unfolds. We understand that our college community is experiencing extraordinary circumstances, and our goal is to work together to the best of our ability and in the spirit of our Benedictine Values to find flexible solutions to individual circumstances.
Mental Health and Well Being: During this stressful time, we are working to ensure mental health services are available for our students. IT has secured HIPPA compliant Zoom software to be used by our counseling staff. This is a big improvement!
Student health services on the Duluth campus are open regular hours however, the staff is awaiting proper personal equipment to arrive that will allow them to see individuals in person who are ill. They are triaging by phone until then.
IT: IT has purchased a number of "mobile hotspots" for employees working off campus who have limited or no internet access. Please contact Ben Adams if you have any issues related to internet connectivity at home email@example.com
The Help Desk is virtual available from 7 am to 9 pm. If employees working off campus need equipment, such as webcams, laptops and headsets, they can contact the Help Desk and make an appointment to have the equipment delivered. IT is also working on placement of VPN phones at home locations for employees whose jobs require a high volume of outgoing/long distance calls.
Duluth Campus Events and Student Visit Days: Enrollment Management will be moving Accepted Student Days to virtual events. In addition, our April 19 Open House will be also be a virtual experience. Individual campus visits will transition to virtual options over the next week or so.
Extended sites: Our St. Cloud Campus will be closed and employees will be working from home. These employees have access to the building if needed. St. Paul site will also be closed, with key access available for employees. Our embedded sites at community colleges will follow the protocol of the Minnesota State system. For any questions, please contact Ellen Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Facilities/Security: The College began locking down all buildings at Noon on Monday March 16th, and all visitors will need to pass through a check in procedure. The only check in location will be Tower Hall Union next to the Security office and those will be the only unlocked doors. This is to keep our campus safe!
Staff and Faculty who come on campus will not be required to pass thru this sign in procedure; however, they are expected to send an email to Securitycheckin@css.edu to notify us that they are on campus each day. This will allow us to track who is coming into campus on any given day and contact those on campus if there a need arises.
If Staff or Faculty are expecting or bringing any visitors to campus they will need to have them come to the check in point for pre-screening. Visitors should be met by the employee they are here to see at the check in location.BEFORE any employee comes to campus he/she/they should conduct this self-screening procedure.
Do not come to campus:·
If you've traveled internationally in the last 14 days·
If you have a fever or any flu like symptoms·
If you have had confirmed contact with anyone suspected of having COVID-19·
If you travelled domestically to any locations that have wide spread COVID-19
NOTE: All employees who are volunteer emergency responders (EMT, Volunteer Firemen, etc.) should not come to work if they have been exposed to persons with COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms. Please consult with your supervisor if you have questions or concerns about this.This is a time when all of us at St. Scholastica are creating new expressions of our Benedictine value of community. I thank you sincerely for the ways in which you share in supporting others, and ask that you pay special attention to your own health and well-being. Let us know how we can help.
Barbara McDonald, Ed.D