COVID-19 Information

 

Updated Masking Guidance

On Friday, February 25, the CDC updated the metrics used to inform their mitigation recommendations, including guidance around wearing masks. Their measure now has three levels for a community: low (green), medium (yellow), and high (orange). These levels are based on a mix of case rates, total new COVID-19 admissions over 7 days, and the 7-day average of percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied.

Masks are not required if your community is at the low or medium level. And at the high level, the recommendation is to "wear a mask indoors in public." At all levels, people can wear a mask based on personal preference, informed by personal level of risk. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask. In addition to masking, the CDC provides guidance on additional measures, find these on the CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels page.

Check with your college or university on how they have implemented this guidance. Find campus COVID-19 websites below.

Resources

"Minnesota State remains committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all stakeholders throughout the response to COVID-19. We recognize that the diversity of our student body and employees is one of our greatest strengths. While fear, concern, and anxiety are normal reactions to this public health challenge, we cannot let such feelings cloud our judgment, or lead us to target, stigmatize or discriminate against any individual or group. We must be aware that certain employee and student populations, especially those of Asian-descent, may experience xenophobia, racism or be treated differently on our campuses or in the surrounding community because of fears related to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Stigma, bias and misinformation hurt all of us, create mistrust and shift attention away from the critical effort to prevent and contain COVID-19. There is no excuse for xenophobia or discrimination and it will not be tolerated on our campuses." To read our official statement in its entirety, please click: Minnesota State COVID-19 Statement.

Minnesota State is committed to maintaining an environment that prioritizes dignity and respect free from discrimination and is supportive of all members of our community affected by this global health crisis. Bias, discrimination, and harassment are against our values and violate Minnesota State policies. For more information, please visit the Board Policy.

For more information, please visit the Office of Equity and Inclusion.

Do I need to wear a mask in Minnesota State college and university buildings, or the system office?
The updated CDC community levels, released on February 25, 2022, recommend masking when the community level is high. At low or medium levels, masks are not required. Given the continuing decline in cases in the spring of 2022, colleges and universities are able to lift any masking requirements even if the community level is high. There may be specific contexts such as healthcare settings on campuses where masks may still be required.

Are employees and students subject to proof of vaccination or testing requirements?
MMB Policy 1446, which requires proof of vaccination or testing, is still in effect for all employees, including student employees. We will notify colleges and universities if the policy is updated or rescinded. Students may be subject to the vaccination and/or testing requirements for participation in athletics or at clinical placement sites, which are determined by the host organization. The previous guidelines on proof of vaccination and testing for students in residence halls have been rescinded.

Who is responsible for the costs associated with testing? Will insurance be billed for testing even if college or university pays for it? 
Colleges and universities are responsible for covering the cost of testing. Test providers will bill insurance where allowable, but any uncovered cost will be billed to the college or university. In general, insurance will not cover testing that is conducted for surveillance purposes.

If someone has tested positive for COVID-19 within the prior 90 days, are they subject to mandatory COVID-19 testing during that period? 
Because individuals can test positive, persistently or intermittently, following a recent COVID-19 infection, the CDC recommends asymptomatic individuals be excluded from routine screening for a period of 90 days after initially testing positive by PCR test. Anyone with proof of a positive PCR test that occurred within the prior 90 days does not need to undergo mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing during the 90-day period beginning with the date of their initial positive PCR test.

What are the recommendations for physical distancing in campus spaces?
There are no requirements for physical distancing. MDH guidance for higher education and the updated CDC guidance recommends reviewing spaces based on a number of factors, including community levels and ventilation.

Can I travel out-of-state or internationally? 
Given the various changes, we wanted to provide a summary of the requirements for out of state and international travel. In general, we have returned to normal operating procedure for the review and approval of travel, as outlined below.

Out-of-state Travel
For domestic travel, approval of college/university sponsored domestic travel requests by students, faculty, or staff will revert to the existing campus process. All travel should continue to adhere to MDH and CDC guidance and local travel advisories, and approval to travel is applicable at the time of actual travel.

International Travel and Education Abroad Programs
For international travel for employees, campus presidents can continue to approve international travel to countries under a level 1 or level 2 travel advisory from the US Department of State. Travel to level 3 or level 4 countries will continue to require prior approval from the system office (System Procedure 5.19.3). Requests for employee travel to level 3 or level 4 countries should be submitted to Eric Davis, Vice Chancellor for Human Resources (eric.davis@minnstate.edu), along with a presidential endorsement of the request. For international student travel commencing on or after May 1, 2022, campus presidents have the authority to review and approve travel to destinations listed at a level 1 or level 2 travel advisory from the US Department of State.

For destinations listed at a level 3 or above, system procedures 3.41.1 and 5.19.3 continue to apply: requests for international student travel must be submitted for review by the chancellor. Those requests should be submitted to Nate Hallanger (nathan.hallanger@minnstate.edu). Requests for travel to countries at level 3 or above will be expected to demonstrate that a thorough risk assessment has been undertaken for the program prior to and during the travel period of the program, in addition to providing standard information about the proposed travel (dates, numbers of travelers, academic requirements that the travel might fulfill, etc.).

Where can I get a vaccine?
The Minnesota Covid-19 Vaccine Connector can help you find a vaccination site near you.

Additional Information:

Subject to revision. Check back often for updates.