Changes to mask mandate based on successful vaccination rate

Posted By: Ann Merchlewitz On: 2021-11-08
Posted On: 2021-11-08

We are writing to update you on the Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota masking policy moving forward. We thank you for your compliance with our universal masking mandate the first two months of the academic year. We know that this has been difficult for you, but your commitment to the safety and well-being of one another and of the university community as a whole during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic is greatly appreciated.

We have calculated  the current vaccination rates for our campuses based on reporting to date. We are pleased to report that the Winona Campus has a vaccination rate of 87.5% and the Minneapolis and Rochester campuses have vaccination rates of  88.1%.  We hope those rates will continue to increase. Also, as you know,  our positive COVID-19 cases remain low on all of our campuses. This is a significant community accomplishment.   

Consistent with Minnesota Department of Health guidance, we will use a phased approach when removing masking requirements. Beginning Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, masks are required in the areas noted below and strongly encouraged, but not required, elsewhere on campus.

Students, faculty, and staff must wear masks: 

  • In classrooms and labs.

  • On buses for any university activity, in university cars and vans, and in counseling and health services.

  • At large indoor events where visitors are present.

  • At indoor sporting events.

  • In faculty or staff offices if requested by the person who occupies the office.

By way of example, masks are not required in our libraries, chapels, dining hall, residence halls, or the Gostomski Fieldhouse.

This phased approach will allow us to monitor the impact of any changes to our positive COVID-19 case rate. While we are seeing low COVID-19 transmission on our campuses right now, we want to ensure that COVID-19 transmission does not occur in the classroom.

We remind you that Hennepin, Olmsted, and Winona counties remain at high transmission levels  for COVID-19 with vaccination rates lower than our campuses. Thus, we are asking you to follow CDC guidance while state and local transmission rates are elevated and take extra precautions whenever you are off campus.  What you do off-campus can directly impact COVID-19 transmission on our campuses.

As a Lasallian Catholic institution of higher learning, we respect the human dignity of all persons on our campuses. Mask wearing is fully supported and encouraged for any individuals who choose to do so, and especially for those who are immuno-compromised in any way.

Together we are Saint Mary’s. Together we are stronger.

Ann Merchlewitz, Senior Vice President and General Counsel

Ben Murray, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Brian Schmisek, Provost and Dean of Faculties