Covid 19 Task Force Update

Dear Colleagues, 

The COVID-19 Task Force had a meeting on Thursday, January 27th. Here are the meeting notes from the Augsburg Staff Union representative.

MDH Updates

  • Situation update: Most cases in MN since 2020
  • For the week of 1/2 (most recent available), 90 percent for sequenced samples in state were Omicron.
  • Hospitalizations overall are very high and increased over last week, but down slightly in our 18-24 age range.
  • Testing availability
  • Vault testing orders are now being fulfilled on schedule and BinaxNow Pro tests are available as well – these must be administered and evaluated by a trained staff member (anyone who has gone through the manufacturers’ training and will perform the tests according to the instructions)
  • If we had testing on campus, we would need trained staff members and they would need to report the testing results. This is still in discussion.
  • Federal testing program for students in residence halls: Enter the University’s main address in Line 1 of the form, enter the name of your residence hall (or apartment building) and room number or apt. number in Line 2 of the form.
  • Residence Life is working on finding a way to get more than 4 tests for an apartment that has more than 4 students in it.
  • Shared data for Delta vs. Omicron on vaccine effectiveness, antibody levels, and UK data. In short: Get a booster. 
  • A COVID Task Force member mentioned that the graphics that they showed in the MDH meeting were really helpful to explain quarantine and isolation guidance. It was suggested that these graphics should be posted on the Augsburg COVID site. Many in the COVID Task Force agreed and Rebecca John mentioned that these would be put on our site. The following site contains the referenced graphics:


  • Week ending 1/22 is still below the 3% (high transmission mark) as of this morning.
  • Extension of temporary mitigations announced last Friday through next week.

Federal distribution of N95s 

  • Free N95 masks are showing up at pharmacies in Minnesota:Free at pharmacies
  • Sample supplies for in-classroom faculty and staff with direct student contact expected this week; coordinating with Provost’s office.

We set up a Google Form so Augsburg Staff Union members could state their questions or concerns to be addressed at the meeting. Here is the question we have received this week: 

  • Q: “It was mentioned that we would be receiving an additional 16 hours of paid sick time, specifically for the Covid vaccine. Have these additional hours been added to our balance yet? (When I last asked in ~November, they had not been added yet.)”
  • A: Dawn Miller emailed me the following: “Yes, the hours were added on November 13, 2021. Staff are able to verify that the hours were added by reviewing their sick leave balance on the pay slips for pay dates immediately prior to and after that date. Staff who had balances of 960 hours did not receive the additional accrual, as the sick leave balance caps at that number (120 days). If members have questions or concerns, please ask them to email, and their HR partner will reach out and provide assistance.”

Please note: Urgent questions related to COVID-19 should not be submitted via the Google Form, those questions should continue to be sent to, calling 612-474-3100, and/or by using the Augsburg self-reporting form.   The staff union representative will continue to send weekly updates based on information gathered in the COVID Task Force meetings and questions asked in the google form.