Campus COVID update, vaccines, testing and spring break

Minnesota State University Mankato remains in yellow status as of March 10 as efforts to keep the number of COVID-19 cases as low as possible. 

Guided by the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota State Colleges and University System MNSU has maintained yellow status regarding COVID-19 for the majority of the academic year. 

Some indicators include having less than 1% of campus students infected within a 14-day period, isolation and quarantine is 50-70% full, number of infections are increasing over a 7-day period in the county, more than 5% of campus cases have unknown links to another case over a 7-day period, K-12 indicators show that there are 10-30 cases per 10,000 over a 14-day period according to the MNSU website. 

If two or more indicators are reached then this will determine yellow status for the University.

Other efforts such as canceling campus events and limiting social gatherings, reinforcing health awareness, and holding classes at partial capacity for social distancing may occur in order to protect the health of all MNSU students and faculty. 

Other factors in place is the daily self-screening tool has been implemented this year for students and faculty to use and record their daily health status. The screening tool is part of a system-wide initiative by the Minnesota State System office that helps reduce COVID-19 transmissions.

COVID-19 vaccination sites have now opened as Gov. Tim Walz issued guidance to vaccinate 70% of adults 65 years of age and older before expanding eligibility to others as he aims to reach this goal by the end of March according to the governor’s statement made in February. 

About eight vaccination sites are in the city of Mankato according to the Minnesota COVID-19 Response website although the main focus is to vaccinate health care workers, those who work in long-term care facilities, and the elderly. 

“I just recently got the COVID-19 vaccine since I work for Pathstone Assisted Living in Mankato. I got my first dose of the Moderna vaccine in January and then the second dose in February, ” freshman Carlie Chabot said. 

The Mayo Clinic is distributing vaccines as well as Walmart, Cub, and Hy-Vee which are some of the local grocery stores that have pharmacies within them. 

“We are working with the County and MDH to be able to distribute the vaccine on campus to students. Plans are still being built as we get closer to the next phases of the vaccination distribution plan put forth by the Governor,” said David Jones, MNSU’s Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. “President Davenport is really proud of the way our campus has responded to this challenge and knows that these efforts will enable us to return to a normal fall semester.”

As students are coming back to campus post spring break there will be a COVID-19 testing event from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom for students and faculty next Monday. 

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