Covid 19 Task Force Update

Dear Colleagues,

The COVID-19 Task Force had a meeting on Thursday, January 13th. Here are the meeting notes from the Augsburg Staff Union representative.

MDH Updates

  • Seeing large numbers of new cases in Minnesota; test positivity rate has jumped up to the highest level of the pandemic, but hospitalization rate has not followed suit (though it is still in the high risk range).
  • Still seeing significant increase in clusters on campuses.
  • Quarantine and isolation
  • MDH has adopted the new CDC guidance and applied it to higher education
  • Isolation: If you test positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, stay home for at least 5 days. If you do not have symptoms or symptoms are resolving, and are fever free without fever-reducing medication, you can leave your home after 5 days, but continue to wear masks whenever you’re around others for the next 5 days
  • Quarantine: If you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 and you are up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccination, you do not need to stay home. Wear a mask for 10 days and test on day 5 if possible. If you develop symptoms, get tested and stay home.
    • Up-to-date means: You have been boosted, received your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna within the last 5 months, or had the J&J vaccine within the last 2 months.
  • Quarantine: If you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 and you are not up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccination, stay home for 5 days and wear a mask around others for another 5 days. Test on day 5 if possible. If you develop symptoms, get tested and stay home.
    • Not up-to-date means: You had your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna more than 5 months ago and are not boosted, you had only one dose of Pfizer or Moderna, you had the J&J vaccine more than 2 months ago and are not boosted, or you are unvaccinated.
  • Travel guidelines for quarantine and isolation
    • Do not travel if you are sick or in isolation.
    • After isolation, avoid travel until a full 10 days after your symptoms started (or after positive test if you had none).
    • Do not travel when in quarantine unless you get a negative test on day 5 and remain symptom free. If you travel when awaiting test results and test positive after reaching your destination, you will need to isolate and postpone your return.
  • Training for COVID coordinators today
    • Guidance on reporting cases and case follow-up
    • Guidance for athletics and dining
    • The goal is to have a communication with these updates sent on Monday
  • COVID testing supply chain issues continue
  • Updated masking recommendation: Wear a high-quality (N95 or KN95) mask whenever possible. If that’s not possible, wear a well-fitting mask with at least two layers of tightly woven cloth. You can layer a disposable mask and a cloth mask to increase effectiveness.
    • Don’t wear face coverings made of thinner, looser, of single layer fabric
  • Question asked in the meeting by COVID Task Force Member: “Will we discuss how this will affect remote work for student workers? HR sent a notice out before break making sure students work ON campus.”
    • Dawn responded by stating that there is no answer right now, but if we do move toward remote work, we will have to come up with guidelines.
  • Sarah Griesse mentioned in the meeting that they are concerned that they won’t be able to move students to isolation housing on campus due to not having enough space. If that occurs, they may need to update guidance on how students can quarantine in their own space.
  • Guidance for international students who completed their primary vaccine series using WHO-approved vaccines not approved in the U.S. and are now seeking a booster.
  • Athletics guidance for omicron
    • 2 or more cases on a team, recommend a 5 day pause, unless the 2 cases are connected elsewhere (i.e. roommates)
    • Ideally, test those exposed every day for 5 days (other options given the lack of supply of tests)
  • $200 vaccine incentive for families who get all kids 5-11 fully vaccinated between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28.

Dashboard and current actions underway

  • Rebecca John stated that there is a good amount of information that still needs to be updated on the Augsburg COVID site. They are going to try to get it updated as soon as possible and hopefully no later than Monday.
  • Henn/Ramsey: now at 1000+/100,000 cases and 25%+ percent positivity
  • New mitigations on campus announced via email Tuesday
  • Need to confirm guidelines for the 5 “masked” days (esp. for isolation) in terms of residence halls, dining, other campus activities
  • Will update Outbreak Planning website to include new isolation guidelines (for all) and new quarantine guidelines for unvaccinated/partially and previously vaccinated individuals.
  • Recommendations for response to COVID-19 transmission in higher education is taken from MDH:
    • As of right now, the guidance is stating to put additional mitigation measures in effect which were announced on Tuesday.
    • If we enter into sustained transmission the guidance will continue to be adjusted and reevaluated.
    • At this time, there isn’t a plan for moving all classes online. The plan right now is to work with faculty members on a case by case basis.

Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul new requirements

Full Emergency Order 2022-4 (Minneapolis)

Star Tribune summary

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, 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.