With COVID-19 hospitalizations in Minnesota increasing 90% in the past 10 days, state health officials on Monday urged Minnesotans to reconsider their Thanksgiving plans and to have no gatherings beyond their immediate household (i.e., the people you are currently living with).
For students living on campus, Augsburg’s residence halls will be open for resident students who choose remain on campus over the Thanksgiving break.
For those planning to travel to visit family, the Minnesota Department of Health recommends you reduce your risk of carrying the virus to your family by interacting only with people in your immediate household or residential unit for 14 days before you go. (One of the reasons MDH is recommending limited travel and virtual gatherings for Thanksgiving is because there are fewer than 14 days remaining before the Thanksgiving holiday, so this mitigation strategy can be only partially achieved before the Thanksgiving break.)
Getting tested several days before you go is also recommended. Augsburg is offering another free, state-sponsored COVID-19 testing event on Wednesday, November 18, from noon to 6 p.m. in Hoversten Chapel. Test results are typically delivered within two to three days.
For more additional guidance about how to make Thanksgiving safer, see the recommendations on the Center for Disease Control web site.
Augsburg’s on-campus student case rate continues to increase but, to date, remains in the moderate transmission range. We will continue to track the on-campus case rate and communicate if the rate reaches 3%, which indicates a move to the Scenario 3 Actions outlined in the Minnesota Department of Health transmission levels recommendations. In the high transmission scenario (Scenario 3), some courses (particularly those where physical distancing cannot be maintained), but not all courses, may move to virtual modalities for a time.
It is also possible that state health officials may initiate additional, more restrictive recommendations given the extremely high case and hospitalization rates across the state. In that case, Augsburg will, of course, adjust its operations in alignment with the additional recommendations. The Minnesota Department of Health hosts a weekly call with institutions of higher education on Wednesday afternoons, which is where we would expect to learn whether additional recommendations are being considered for colleges and universities.