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Q and A

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces reduces the germs in an area and possible spread of COVID-19. Custodial Services is cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces throughout each day. Some areas across campus have cleaning materials that individuals may use before and after spending time in an area. Please put in a custodial request to refill hand sanitizer in building dispensers if they’re empty as well as for more disinfectant wipes, towels, and spray for cleaning up common spaces in offices and similar shared spaces after use.

The best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before using an area and afterward. Carry hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes so you may clean an area before (for your health) and after (for the next person’s health) use. 

COVID-19 Testing

  • Testing is available at several locations for no cost.
  • The most effective time to get a test is 5-7 days after exposure.
  • When transmission rates are high, individuals should consider periodic testing (e.g., weekly) even if there is no known exposure.
  • Hourly employees and student workers may use accrued and available sick leave if they must be absent from work for COVID-19 testing. If they do not have accrued and available sick leave, testing should be done outside of scheduled work hours.

The most effective time to get a test is 5-7 days after exposure. The incubation period for COVID-19 is two to 14 days. If you get tested immediately after an exposure, the virus level may still be too low to be detected, resulting in a negative test result even though you may still develop COVID-19.

Regular testing. When transmission levels are high in the area, many people report getting COVID-19 without knowing where or how they were exposed. Getting tested on a regular basis (e.g., every 5-7 days) even if you don’t have symptoms can help identify people who are infected even before they have symptoms and ensure they isolate early to avoid spreading the virus to others.

Testing locations in the area:

  • COVID-19 testing is available by appointment at the People’s Center across the street from campus; people without an appointment may or may not be seen during testing hours. Testing is available whether or not you have health insurance. Please fill out this form once to be tested as many times as you need.
  • Additional easy-to-access testing is available at the Minneapolis Convention Center, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on weekdays. Walk-ins are welcome, but you are encouraged to make an appointment if possible. You can schedule an appointment online.
  • The Minnesota Department of Health also operates community testing centers across the state. These are saliva tests and require no identification or insurance. Appointments are recommended, but they accommodate walk-ins as well.
  • Several area pharmacies, clinics, and hospitals also offer tests. For more information, see this searchable map with locations, hours, and eligibility requirements.
  • Minnesotans are able to order two test kits (for a total of four tests) per home or campus mail address through an online ordering system. Minnesota has secured 500,000 test kits (for a total of 1 million at-home tests), and the program will be available until all the test kits are ordered.
  • In addition, every home in the United States is eligible to order two sets of four free at-home tests.

COVID-19 Vaccines

The COVID-19 vaccine is required for all students, staff, and faculty. Documented medical and non-medical exceptions will apply. You can find free COVID-19 vaccines, including walk-in clinics, throughout the metropolitan area.

On August 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fully approved the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for those 16 and up. The Moderna vaccine was fully approved for those 18 and up on January 31, 2022. This means that these vaccines are not considered experimental and that they meet the high standards the FDA requires for approval.

The CDC has authorized boosters of the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines at least six months after receiving the second dose (or two months after receiving the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine) for certain eligible groups, including educators and education staff. Adults ages 50 years and older, people ages 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, and people who got two doses (one primary dose and one booster) of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are also eligible for a second booster. The CDC has also authorized mix and match dosing for booster shots, allowing people to choose to stay with the same vaccine type that they originally received or to get a different booster. Learn more about vaccination from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Dining

Designated dining spaces

Several spaces on campus have been designated for indoor dining. Current dining spaces include:

  • The Commons and Einstein’s in the Christensen Center
  • Nabo and the lobby of the Oren Gateway Center
  • Kafe Kafeega and the surrounding area on the second floor of Hagfors Center
  • The Hagfors Center main level lobby and third floor balcony

Dining is also permitted:

  • In closed rooms hosting meetings or events catered by Augsburg Dining Services
  • Alone in individual offices or meeting spaces with the door closed
  • In residence hall units

Frontline Worker Pay

To thank those Minnesotans who worked on the frontlines during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency, Gov. Tim Walz signed a law April 29, 2022, enabling those workers to apply for Frontline Worker Pay. Certain Augsburg employees may be eligible to apply for up to $1,500 through this program. 

Eligibility requirements:

  • Must have been employed at least 120 hours in Minnesota in one or more frontline sectors between March 15, 2020, and June 30, 2021.
  • For hours worked during that time period, the applicant was not able to telework due to the nature of their work and worked in close proximity to people outside their household.
  • Must meet income requirements for at least one of the 2020 or 2021 tax years.
  • Did not collect more than 20 total weeks of unemployment benefits between March 15, 2020, and June 26, 2021.

Applications are open between June 8 and July 22, 2022. Please note that you may apply at any time during the application window. All applications will be processed at the same time and payments will not be made to any eligible frontline workers until after all applications are processed. 

See if you qualify and apply at frontlinepay.mn.gov. You may also wish to review application basics and frequently asked questions

Supervisors with questions about whether their employees are eligible for Frontline Worker Pay should contact Human Resources. 

Hand Hygiene

Frequent hand washing is critical throughout the day. The recommended length of time to wash hands is a minimum of 20 seconds with soap and water. Hand sanitizer is available at the entrances of buildings on campus and may be used as a supplement when using soap and water is not possible. Augsburg provided a portable, refillable bottle of hand sanitizer to each employee at the beginning of the semester. These bottles can be refilled at hand sanitizing stations around campus.   

When you use a tissue, promptly throw it away and wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

HINT: Use the mantra: BEFORE AND AFTER. Wash your hands (or use hand sanitizer) before and after every activity – class, eating, using the restroom, etc. Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you for easy access. 

Helpline

The Augsburg University Helpline is available to handle questions from faculty, staff, and students.

Email: helpline@augsburg.edu

Phone: 612-474-3100

Submit a question using the online form

Information Technology

LFCs and User Support staff are available and their contact info is listed below.  

Masks

Unvaccinated students, staff, and faculty are required to wear masks in indoor campus spaces, except when eating in dining areas or when in one’s own residential unit or individual office with the door closed. This applies to all U.S. Augsburg locations. (International Augsburg locations are following local protocols.) Masks or face coverings are not required outdoors or for vaccinated individuals, except at specific events or in the classroom at the request of a faculty member. Of course, anyone who wishes to continue wearing a mask for any reason is free to do so.

Medical experts recommend N95 or KN95 masks because, with the omicron variant, cloth masks alone do not provide sufficient protection. The second-best option is to double mask by wearing a surgical mask along with a multi-layer cloth mask. Beginning in late January, many pharmacies and grocery stores across the United States will distribute free N95 masks.

Mental Health

This is a stressful time. As such, it can raise or increase stress, feelings of isolation or fear, anxiety, sadness, and loneliness. When we’re stressed or anxious, we can experience changes in sleep or eating patterns, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, and/or increase our use of tobacco and/or other substances. 

Here are some links to the Center for Wellness and Counseling website for information that may assist you and others. 

Manage Health and Stress Management Apps and Podcasts 

Coping with COVID resources 

Physical Distancing

Physical distancing is a crucial part of monitoring your own health and safety. The recommended distance between two individuals is 6 feet away, approximately two arm lengths away from each other indoors and outdoors. Physical distancing reduces the spread of COVID-19. 

Physical Health

The gymnasium and athletics fitness centers will be open to all students, staff, and faculty (no guests).

Augsburg University Athletics provides several links to at-home workouts that can be done with minimal or no equipment. 

Quarantine and Isolation

You will need to isolate yourself if you test positive for COVID-19 and, in some cases, quarantine if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Because the guidance changes and can be confusing, we ask you to inform Augsburg of your status depending on these circumstances so we can advise you on the appropriate next steps for your situation.

Reporting a Diagnosis, Exposure, or Symptoms

Please visit Tested Positive or Exposed to COVID-19? to determine when to report your own status regarding a positive test or confirmed exposure. As a faculty or staff member, you also may be informed by a student that they have symptoms of, have been exposed to, or have been diagnosed with COVID-19. If that happens, please provide the information you received to the Dean of Students at studentaffairs@augsburg.edu.

Signage

Do your part to keep the Augsburg community healthy. Use COVID-19 sign templates to provide clear instructions and practices to minimize potential virus transmission. Visit the COVID-19 signage page to view designs that are available for download, place an order for floor markers, request a new signage template, or inquire about a custom graphic.

Communications to Faculty and Staff