Winter break COVID-19 guidelines shift as the end of fall semester nears

The pandemic continues to present a rapidly evolving challenge to our state, according to MN Governor Tim Walz. In preparation for these challenges, the Gustavus community has adapted its COVID-19 winter break guidelines. With some students returning home and others staying on campus for the remainder of the semester, daily student life looks a bit differently for everyone.
“All students have the choice to live on campus and make use of the Dining Service, wireless network, and academic spaces for the remainder of the semester. That being said, in accordance with MDH guidance, students are asked to either stay on campus for the rest of the semester including Thanksgiving break, or leave and remain away from campus for the rest of the semester,” President Rebecca Bergman said in an email to the college.
The closures of all in-person Lund Center Operations, Fine Arts, Labs and some in-person Student Employment are the most significant new changes that are likely to affect any students who are remaining on campus, according to President Bergman’s most recent statement. Academic halls, dining hall and Jackson Campus Center are to remain open to both on-campus and off-campus residential students, with adjusted daily hours.
In order to ease the transition back to campus for the January Interim Experience and spring term, students and staff are advised to be responsible and mindful during their time off, especially during the holiday season. JoNes VanHecke advises students on the single, most important tip for staying safe during this time.
“The single most helpful thing you can do is to limit your close contacts. Close contacts are defined as anyone with whom you spend a cumulated total 15 minutes in any day less than six feet apart. It is imperative that all of us work hard to reduce the number of people we have as close contacts,” VanHecke said.
The College is also offering two more mass testing events, free of cost and open to all members of the Gustavus Community, to carry the community out until the end of the fall semester.
“These [mass testing] events, held on Thursday, December 3 and Thursday, December 10, will be open to remaining on-campus students, off-campus students residing in Saint Peter and college employees. Students who are no longer on campus and employees who work 100-percent remotely should not travel to campus for mass testing. These new testing events are to provide a convenient location for testing and to help support planning for students who will be leaving campus after the final exam period,” according to an email from the Gustavus COVID-19 Leadership Team.
The college also recognizes and sympathizes with the individual burdens of COVID-19 on individuals within the Gustavus community, listing resources for staff and students who are struggling.
“I especially want to acknowledge those of you who have been directly impacted by COVID-19. Whether you have been sick, spent time in quarantine, or were impacted by the illness or loss of a loved one, please know that my thoughts are with you,” shares President Bergman in her most recent COVID update.
“If you are struggling in any way, help is available through the Counseling Center, the Academic Support Center, and GTS,” Bergman said.


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