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  • Covid 19 TF Updates

    Dear Colleagues,

    The COVID-19 Task Force had a meeting on Thursday, November 11th. Here are the meeting notes from the Augsburg Staff Union representative.

    Minnesota Department of Health Updates:

    • Cases remain “high” in nearly all MN counties. Campuses are continuing to do well, but the concern is about a large uptick in hospitalization and the 9% statewide positivity rate (substantial per CDC definitions).
    • MDH recommends institutions of higher education continue with the mitigation practices they have in place during this time.
    • MDH also suggested encouraging:
    • Masking/distancing off campus.
    • Promoting boosters (everyone in higher education is eligible).
      • Six months after Pfizer or Moderna.
      • Two months after J&J (booster for J&J is recommended).
      • Providing recommendations for Thanksgiving:
      • Layers of mitigation (vaccination, distance, testing, masks) are important.
      • If anyone has symptoms, they should stay away from gatherings.
      • Keep the gathering small (less than 5) – Any gathering increases the risk of infection for everyone.
      • Space out the furniture to encourage distancing.
      • If high-risk people are in attendance, consider getting others tested.
      • Lay low before you go.
      • Unvaccinated people should test before they go home and/or before they visit vulnerable people.
    • CDC has no recommendation for additional dose if the original vaccination was a non-FDA approved type (e.g., for international students). CDC and FDA are working on this.
    • MDH expects to shift how it partners with Institutions of Higher Education for contact tracing (focusing on clusters and surges vs individual cases) – Updates and training planned for December.
    • Assessment of classroom transmission – only 1 secondary infection confirmed.
    • Vaccine 101 training Nov. 23, 1 hour, 9am and 3pm.
    • New event guidance is expected to be published by the end of the week.

    Dashboard Update:

    Campus Operations:

    • Expanding designated dining spaces in Hagfors — an announcement will be sent before Saturday for classes on the weekend.
    • There are still COVID Policy holds that are preventing students from registering for classes. Working with students to reduce that number.

    Covid-19 Task Force Elections

    • Later this month, we will open nominations to run for the permanent Augsburg Staff Union position on the Covid-19 Task Force.
    • Please join us at the November 17th Town Hall at Noon to learn more about this position. Register for the Town Hall here.

    We set up a Google Form so Augsburg Staff Union members could state their questions or concerns to be addressed at the meeting.

    Please note: Urgent questions related to COVID-19 should not be submitted via the Google Form, those questions should continue to be sent to helpline@augsburg.edu, calling 612-474-3100, and/or by using the Augsburg self-reporting form.

    The interim 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.

  • Covid 19 TF Update

    Dear Colleagues, The COVID-19 Task Force had a meeting on Thursday, November 4th. Here are the meeting notes from the Augsburg Staff Union representative. Minnesota Department of Health Updates:

    • Cases remain “high” in nearly all MN counties – significant recent increases in regional rates.
    • Vaccination now available for children ages 5-11.
    • Updated CDC guidance for higher education
    • Vaccine 101 Training will be on Nov. 23rd, 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
    • COVID coordinators, residential staff, campus life, student leaders, athletics, faculty, etc. are welcome to join.
    • The COVID Task Force is working on gathering more information on how to join for those interested.
    • This will be shared with potentially RAs, student government, and other student organization leaders.
    • Discussion of boosters for those in higher education settings. Getting a booster is recommended for higher education.
    • MDH will consult on whether/how they would advise us to track boosters. 
    • Anyone who is living in a residence hall can get a booster.

    Dashboard Update: 

    • For comparison: less than 60% of all Minnesotans 18-24 have at least one dose. 
    • Last week’s on campus cases of COVID was 5. 

    Campus Clear Stats: 

    • Much like September, half as many reports in the Campus Clear app overall vs a year ago (this Oct 4,966 vs last Oct 10,739). 
    • Higher percentage of that 4966 total is faculty reporting (14%) vs last Oct (6%). More faculty are participating this year. 

    Campus Operations: 

    • Exploring expanded dining areas in Hagfors. The Mpls Operations team to discuss further at their meeting on 11/4. 
    • Continuing indoor mask mandate. 

    We set up a Google Form so Augsburg Staff Union members could state their questions or concerns to be addressed at the meeting. The following question was requested in advance of the meeting: 

    • Q: Explain more please … “During the MDH meeting, there was a discussion of what not to use antibody testing for.”
    • A: Here’s more detail on what MDH said about not using antibody tests:
    • Antibody tests are not to be used to diagnose acute COVID 19 infection. 
    • Antibody tests are not recommended to assess for immunity after infection or after vaccination. 
    • Not recommended to determine the need for quarantine after exposure. 
    • There is no identified correlation between antibody levels and immunity.

    Please note: Urgent questions related to COVID-19 should not be submitted via the Google Form, those questions should continue to be sent to helpline@augsburg.edu, calling 612-474-3100, and/or by using the Augsburg self-reporting form.   The interim 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. 

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