Minnesota State Coronavirus (COVID 19) Communications

Revised March 12, 2020

Minnesota State is continuously reviewing a range of strategies to limit the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on our campuses and the communities in which we live and serve.  I am committed to taking all steps necessary to protect the health and safety of our students, our faculty, and our staff.

All faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to heed the guidance of the Minnesota Department of Health, and in particular, staying home when sick, covering your cough, and practicing good hand hygiene.

Today, I am announcing that the 32 Minnesota State colleges and universities that are currently on Spring Break will suspend classes March 16-22, with classes resuming March 23. 

The five Minnesota State colleges that have Spring Break scheduled the week of March 16-20 will suspend classes March 23-29, with classes resuming March 30.

While there will be no classes during each campuses’ extra week, administrators, faculty, and staff will spend that week exploring alternative modes of delivery and adjust campus learning spaces to ensure the safety of our communities.  All campuses, including residence halls, dining facilities, and student support services will remain open and appropriately staffed, including student workers.

Minnesota State-Related Travel

Minnesota State suspended all school and business-related international travel effective February 28.

In addition, we are now suspending all out-of-state business travel for students, faculty, and staff, effective March 16. For in-state travel or other events, please carefully assess, along with supervisors, the conditions of destination communities to carefully consider the potential risks to yourself, participants, fellow students, families, and friends.  Event hosts and coordinators should also be engaged in this assessment. If you choose to travel, ensure you have essential items you might need if you are not able to return immediately, such as medications, laptops, or other items needed to continue your studies.

Campus Cleanliness

The cleanliness of our campuses is a key element in keeping our faculty, staff, and students healthy. The facilities and maintenance teams at all the campuses are adhering to updated guidance from the CDC to ensure comfortable and safe campuses within which to learn.

Large Events

All events or other gatherings totaling more than 100 attendees are cancelled until May 1, and the situation will be re-evaluated.

Minnesota Department of Health

Should a case of COVID-19 occur on a campus, the Minnesota Department of Health will confirm the case and lead efforts to identify all those who were in contact with the ill person and give further instructions. If you are concerned that you have been exposed, please self-quarantine and contact your doctor, your campus’s student services to alert them, as well as your faculty to ensure you are able to keep up with class assignments.

The diversity of our student body and employees is one of our greatest strengths. As such, we are committed to ensuring welcoming and supportive campus environments for all of our students, faculty, and staff. It is vitally important we work together, follow the practices recommended by public health officials, and proceed with preparedness, calm, and understanding.

I recognize that these are stressful times and want to reassure you that the faculty and staff at your college/university are available to assist you through this time.

For more information, continue to visit: https://minnstate.edu/coronavirus/index.html and your college/university website

Devinder Malhotra
Chancellor Minnesota State

Revised March 11, 2020

LATEST UPDATES:

02-28-2020:     Chancellor Malhotra suspended all international travel related to Minnesota State including study abroad programs and any other activities involving faculty, staff, and students.

03-05-2020:     Minnesota Statte established its COVID-19 web presence and provided guidance to institutions for individual pages.

03-11-2020:     Language added regarding planning for disruptions to campus operations, domestic travel, and mitigation of bias.

KEY MESSAGES:

  • At this time, all operations at Minnesota State colleges and universities are continuing. We are closely monitoring the developing situation related to COVID-19  and are committed to taking steps necessary to protect the health and safety of our faculty, our staff, and our students.
  • We are working closely with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and are conveying their information and guidance related to COVID-19 to our colleges and universities. MDH and Minnesota State are working to develop regular communication channels to proactively address school-related topics with regard to COVID.
  • Information that MDH is making available for schools, colleges and universities is available at https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/schools.html.
  • The latest information on the Minnesota State response to the COVID-19 outbreak is available at https://minnstate.edu/coronavirus/. Information specific to each of the 30 colleges and seven universities of Minnesota State is also being published on their websites.
  • To date, there have been no positive cases of COVID-19 reported at any Minnesota State college or university or at the system office.
  • Although we currently have no plans to cancel classes or close campuses, we are working with faculty to develop options should circumstances warrant this action. For example, some classes or programs may be moved to alternate means so that teaching may continue through a COVID-19-related interruption. Our goal will be to accommodate students and help them continue their education despite interruptions caused by COVID-19.
  • We are encouraging students and employees to practice respiratory (coughing and sneezing) etiquette and hand hygiene, and to stay at home when sick. We are also encouraging supervisors and faculty to be flexible with employees and students who are sick, expressing symptoms of respiratory issues, or caring for family members to the maximum extent possible.
  • Chancellor Malhotra has suspended all international travel related to Minnesota State including study abroad programs and any other activities involving faculty, staff, and students. Campus leaders have been directed to mitigate the cost attributed to the suspension of international travel and work to ease the impact of this decision on our students.
  • Students, faculty, and staff who have domestic travel plans for Minnesota State-related business or studies should carefully assess, along with supervisors, the conditions of destination communities and travel hubs to carefully consider the potential risks to themselves, participants, co-workers, families, and friends.  Event hosts and coordinators should also be engaged in this assessment. If you choose to travel, ensure you have essential items you might need if you are not able to return immediately such as medications, laptops, or other items related to your coursework or job duties.
  • Students and employees have been cautioned to avoid actions and language directed against anyone based on race, ethnicity, or religion based on the origins of COVID-19. As higher education leaders, we do not tolerate xenophobia, racism, or other bias, including bias related to the COVID-19 virus. We strongly encourage reporting of these incidents using established procedures under System Procedure 1B.1.
  • Employees may wish to consider taking advantage of the state’s Employee Assistance Program at https://mn.gov/mmb/segip/health-and-wellbeing/eap/. Participation in the program is voluntary and confidential within the boundaries of the provider’s professional obligations.

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