Increased Testing, Continued Focus on Public Health Practices for Spring Semester 2021

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As we start the spring semester, it remains true that our best protection to avoid the spread of COVID-19 is to wear a mask, maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from others, regularly wash our hands, and stay home when we feel sick. This is especially important now that the new, more contagious, variant of SARS-CoV-2 has been identified in Minnesota.

Each day when you come to campus or leave your on-campus residence, remember to complete the Campus Clear app. It’s important that you stay home if you have any symptoms, or if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19, and submit the Augsburg self-reporting form so our response team can guide you through the appropriate actions to take.

To support the health of our campus community, Augsburg continues to operate in alignment with guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health, including the January 6 executive order from Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. Below is an update about what to expect in various areas on the Minneapolis campus as we launch the semester. For more details, go to the Auggie Guide Spring 2021, which was emailed last week to all students.

COVID-19 testing. The Minnesota Department of Health strongly recommends more frequent COVID-19 testing this spring. Testing is much more readily available now than last summer or fall, so individuals may consider getting tested regularly, even if you don’t have symptoms or a known exposure. See the updated COVID-19 testing information on Augsburg’s Outbreak Planning site for details about testing timing and resources.

Residence halls. Augsburg’s residence halls remain open for all resident students. The policies and practices that we implemented this fall were effective in mitigating outbreaks in residence halls. Our current guest policy limitations—two guests (who are also Augsburg resident students) per residential unit—will remain in effect.

Dining services. The Commons and Einsteins will remain open for food service for the spring semester. Christensen Center Commons offers grab-and-go items for all meals as well as expanded hot breakfast and lunch service. Einstein’s provides hot sandwiches and coffee drinks along with chilled beverages and grab-and-go items. The Commons accepts all meal plans, including Flex points, and credit/debit cards; payment at Einstein’s is limited to Flex points, meal replacement, and credit/debit cards. There are no cash transactions at either location at this time. Kafe Kafeega in the Hagfors Center and Nabo remain closed for food service.

Classes. As was the case in the fall, in the spring term Augsburg will offer a number of classes with face-to-face components. Across the state, the Minnesota Department of Health did not report transmission in classroom environments when masking and physical distancing were maintained. We will be offering more classes with a face-to-face component this spring. Students can check course modalities in Records and Registration. Any changes that become necessary, owing to our campus transmission levels or official public health requirements, will be announced. Instructors who determine, on the basis of particular issues in a given course, that a change of modality is required must file the change with the Registrar’s Office for it to become official.

Student services. Several student services will continue to be provided virtually—including Academic Advising, the Center for Counseling and Wellness, the CLASS Office, the Enrollment Center (Student Financial Services and Registrar), and Multicultural Student Services. Students may call or email to set up virtual appointments. In specific instances, there are face-to-face meetings available. Please see the Student Services Index for specific hours and contact information.

Events. Campus events will continue to follow the latest recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health and most recent executive order. Please continue to work with the department of university events for proper event execution. External and departmentally hosted events will continue to be paused for the spring semester.

Access to campus buildings. Fob access to campus buildings for students, staff, and faculty will continue through the spring semester. As we return to campus, we ask that students pay particular attention to consistently wearing masks (even when alone) and maintaining distance when using study rooms, remote learning rooms, and common study spaces. In all indoor spaces, it is important that people continue to wear masks, even when alone, in order to protect people who may enter the space after you.

Athletics and fitness center. The gymnasium and athletics fitness centers will be open to all students, staff, and faculty (no guests). The facilities are managed on a first-come-first-served basis, and the number of people will be limited to allow for proper distancing. Those entering the facilities must wear sign in, display their Campus Clear app, and have their temperature taken. Masks are required at all times when using the athletic facilities, including during exercise. The dome and ice rink will have more limited hours and availability; see the Athletics information on the Student Services Index for specific hours and contact information.

For intercollegiate athletic teams, the Athletics Department will adhere to the robust testing protocol outlined by the NCAA and Minnesota Department of Health, which ensures student-athletes and necessary athletics staff are tested frequently and individuals with COVID-19 or exposed to someone with the virus are quickly moved into isolation and quarantine to mitigate spread.

Campus operations. Augsburg’s current modified operations are already in line with the latest recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health following the governor’s January 6 executive order. Augsburg’s Coronavirus Task Force will continue to monitor any changes in public health recommendations and guidelines.