Throughout this semester, we have been so inspired by your commitment to our COVID-19 protocols, to each other, and to the broader Saint Mary’s community. We fully understand that we were able to remain on-ground and continue in-person in classes this semester because of your hard work and sacrifices — despite significant COVID-19 transmission in the State of Minnesota and Winona County. We hope that you will have a restful and relaxing semester break.
As you know, the Delta variant has driven positive COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths to staggering numbers in the U.S. and beyond. We are monitoring closely all information on the new Omicron variant. Like you, we wonder when this pandemic will end.
Christmas Break and Spring 2022 Semester
We must continue to be diligent to protect our university community, especially as we plan for our return this Spring semester. We want to make sure you are aware of a few things to anticipate as you return in January:
Holiday Safety: Many of you will be traveling this holiday season. To keep you and others healthy and safe, we encourage you to wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, stay 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds and poorly ventilated areas, and isolate and test if you feel sick. See the CDC guidance on holidays.
Holiday Travel: Visit the CDC Travel guidance webpage and CDC International Requirements for ideas on how to travel safely this holiday season.
Vaccine Booster Shots: Everyone 18 years and older who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is eligible for a booster shot. While you are on break, if your last vaccination occurred six months or more ago (Moderna and Pfizer) or two months ago (Johnson & Johnson), we strongly recommend that you schedule/receive a booster shot appointment to provide continued protection against COVID-19. To learn more about the COVID-19 booster and eligibility, click here.
Surveillance Testing: This spring, we will continue with surveillance testing for undergraduate students on the Winona Campus.
Additional Resources: We anticipate that the spring semester will look very similar to fall. Masks will continue to be required in classrooms and at athletic contests. We may begin the semester with a “lay low” period, so watch your emails for more information. We are monitoring and will continue to monitor levels in Minnesota as we look at our other COVID-19 protocols. We will make adjustments as necessary to address any increased risk of COVID-19 transmission.
We ask that you remain diligent this coming spring semester so we can finish the 2021-2022 academic year in as safe and healthy a manner as possible.
We wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.
Ann Merchlewitz, Chair, Pandemic Assessment and Coordinating Team