Dear College Community,
I have two time-sensitive items of importance to share with you regarding our Alert Level and our planning for the spring semester.
1. Today we will be moving our Alert Dashboard level to "Yellow" in one data point, our 14-day rolling count, due to the increase of positive COVID-19 tests. The Alert Dashboard, which is modeled on guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health, has many elements to it and helps us to evaluate the current state of our COVID-19 environment in order for us to take actions necessary to keep our community as safe as possible.
One data element of the Dashboard is a 14-day rolling count of COVID-19 positive tests relative to our population (employees and students) on the Duluth campuses. This week the percentage moved from under 1% (Green Level) to slightly over 1%, which moves us to the "Yellow" Level for this particular data point. When this occurs, the College makes modifications to mitigate the situation.
As you can see in our Alert Level Matrix, this won't have a significant impact on campus operations at this time. We know from our tracing efforts that positive test results are tied nearly entirely to social interactions rather than classroom/academic interactions. Therefore, modifications will primarily impact Student Life activities. For both indoor and outdoor events, attendance will be limited to ten people. Over the next few days, program directors responsible for these activities will take measures to shift these events to comply with our new alert level.
The uptick in positive cases is not unique to St. Scholastica, as we are seeing increased cases across northern Minnesota and in St. Louis County in particular. This shift in status serves as a strong reminder to adhere to our Community Pledge and protocols of face coverings, physical distancing and hand washing.2. The second item concerns our planning for spring semester. With no indication of a shift in the pandemic environment anytime soon, we have made the decision to extend our current methods for delivering our curriculum into the spring semester. This decision is being made now as students will begin registering for spring classes next week, and we want to provide them with the most accurate information on scheduling and what they can expect.
Thank you for your attention to this important update. You can expect additional communications from your supervisors. Please reach out to them if you have any further questions.A big shout out to our great Saints Rise Up Steering Committee, our Student Health Service team, Facilities, Student Life and Residence Life staff, and many others who are assisting in navigating our changing circumstances.