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The University of Minnesota currently requires all students, staff, and faculty to wear masks when indoors regardless of vaccination status. On August 24, 2021, the University launched a vaccine attestation process for faculty and staff, and on August 27, 2021, launched a vaccine requirement process for students - see the Get the Vax 2.0 initiative. Please stay at home if you experience symptoms of COVID-19 or have a positive COVID-19 test result and consult with your healthcare provider about an appropriate course of action. For COVID-19 excused absences, I will work with you to find the best course of action for missed work and/or class experiences.
Please see below for additional details:
People who are not vaccinated are at high risk for getting and spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. New variants of the virus spread more easily and quickly, particularly among young adults, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19 among college students this fall. An increase in the number of COVID-19 cases will strain healthcare resources and lead to more hospitalizations and potentially deaths.
The best defenses against contracting COVID-19 and spreading the virus to others are vaccination and masking. On August 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. This means that the University of Minnesota requires students to be vaccinated for COVID-19 and students must complete this Student COVID-19 Immunization Vaccination Form by Oct. 8, 2021. Exemptions may be requested for religious or medical reasons. For resources about the vaccination and how to schedule an appointment, please refer to the University's Get the Vax 2.0 initiative.
When indoors, you are currently required to wear a face covering (mask) to protect the entire community of students, faculty members, and staff. Please wear your mask so that it covers both your nose and mouth. This will maintain a culture of safety to help protect all members of the community, and especially those who are immunocompromised and/or who are caretakers of others (e.g., young children) who are not yet vaccinated. Even though vaccinations are highly protective and required on campus, breakthrough infections do occur; therefore, indoor masking continues to be an important part of our layers of safeguard to keep the community safe and is one of our most important tools for ensuring sustained in-person learning.
Both the CDC and MDH recommend that we ask ourselves every day if we have any COVID symptoms (including fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell, muscle aches or sore throat) and that if so we stay home and get tested, even if we're already vaccinated. I commit to doing my part to keep you and your colleagues safe by doing this, and I expect that you will too. If you experience COVID-19 symptoms or symptoms of any potentially infectious respiratory illness, you should stay home or in your residence hall room and not come to class or to campus. Please consult your healthcare provider about an appropriate course of action, and consult the M-test program for COVID testing resources. Absences related to COVID-19 symptoms, testing, or exposure, for yourself or your dependents, are excused absences and I will work with you to find the best course of action for missed work and course content.
The above policies and guidelines are subject to change, since the University regularly updates pandemic guidelines in response to guidance from health professionals and in relation to the prevalence of the virus in our community.