Last week, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued an executive order limiting specific activities from November 21 through December 18. Targeted areas include social gatherings, in-person service in bars and restaurants, fitness centers, and youth and adult sports. At the same time, the Minnesota Department of Health recommended that all colleges and universities operation according to the Scenario 4 (sustained transmission) guidelines for the duration of the executive order.
On Friday, the day the governor’s executive order went into effect, President Paul Pribbenow sent an email to all students, staff, and faculty, outlining the actions that Augsburg is taking to align with the public health requirements of the executive order.
The executive order made no changes to residence halls or campus dining services—Augsburg’s residence halls will remain open for resident students—and did not require that classes move online if they can be physically distanced, though some faculty may decide to move face-to-face courses online for the remainder of the semester. For classes that continue to be taught face-to-face, faculty will offer accommodations for students who need to stay away from campus, quarantine, or isolate, or who choose to remain home after leaving campus for the Thanksgiving break.
For Athletics, all in-person intercollegiate athletics—including training, practices, and scrimmages—will be paused through January 4. We recognize that this is a difficult change for our student-athletes, and hope that the action may reduce the overall transmission of the virus in our community and state heading into the spring semester.
While Augsburg is following the Scenario 4 guidelines in accordance with MDH recommendations, the actual on-campus transmission rate remains in the moderate range, although late-reporting cases for prior weeks could potentially move the rate into the high transmission range for those weeks.
With COVID-19 cases climbing across the state and in many regions of the U.S., the most important consideration for the Thanksgiving break is to limit the number of people you are with indoors for an extended period of time—especially without masks or distancing. This is why public health officials recommend people celebrate Thanksgiving only with their immediate household. It also will be important, after returning from the Thanksgiving break, that we all remain diligent about wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, and frequent handwashing/hand sanitization for the final weeks of the semester.