Coming to campus? Better be vaccinated

The Minnesota State University of Mankato has now implemented policies to monitor staff and students’ vaccination status.

Starting Sept. 8 all Minnesota state employees will be required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination status or participate in weekly testing for COVID-19. All MNSU students who come to campus, live on campus, or participate in campus activities will also be required to submit their vaccination status by Oct. 4 or be subject to weekly testing. 

About 95% of MNSU employees have reported into the system regarding their vaccination status. Of those, about 90% reported being fully vaccinated.

Brian Martensen, interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, shared where MNSU is currently.

“Last time I looked it was six student cases and four employees cases, although we use contact traces from the Minnesota Department of Health so it could be a little behind,” said Brian Martensen, interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

As of Sunday there were no new cases in Blue Earth County, but the county averaged about 23 cases every seven days with a population of about 67,000 people.

The Minnesota State system has announced that certain groups of students may require more frequent testing, such as those participating in sports, music and theater, nursing and some specific health care programs are at a higher risk.

“The reason why we are instituting things like the mask mandate and watching the case counts and social distancing when needed is obviously we have no intention of changing the in-person experience and we know students want to be in person and that is our goal,” Martensen said. “If the situation were to change and have to go back to a distance format we do have the technology in place to make that transition as well as continuing to update our systems.”

Having all of the fall 2020 to spring 2021 MNSU school year being mostly online, students and faculty have proven to be able to learn and teach remotely.

“We’ve also continued to support our faculty, we now have a student worker program where student employees go in the classroom and help watch the chat and make sure everything goes smoothly while professors are teaching as well as extra training for our staff,” said Martensen.

The MNSU website regarding COVID-19 does update every Wednesday and is equipped with many resources that students and faculty can go to for guidance regarding vaccines, testing and vaccination policies, instructions for reporting and support if you do end up testing positive.

Isolation dorms are also still in place if students who do live on campus test positive for COVID-19 as well as a full support system for food and other essential needs such as laundry and mail. 

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