With mask mandate ending, COVID-19 fight continues

In an email sent on March 7, Minnesota State University, Mankato President Edward Inch announced the end of the campus-wide mask mandate. This announcement was in accordance with the Minnesota State office system guidelines due to falling COVID numbers.

“Regardless of county-level data, individuals may choose to continue wearing masks, and we should respect and support those choices,” Inch said in the email.

In spite of the dropping of the mask, mandates COVID-19 continues to remain a concern, and thus MSU has other ways of mitigating the spread.

“Look at getting the vaccine, or talk about it with your healthcare provider. Feel free to mask wherever you would like and continue to test regularly,” said Natalie Schuette, the COVID-19 Case manager at MSU.

The college still offers free rapid testing to students regularly in Carkoski Commons on Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 3 p.m. Free test kits can also be picked up at Student Health Services, Carkoski Commons 100, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The school recommends that anyone who was exposed to an individual with COVID-19 in the past five days be tested.

“If you’re concerned or just want to be sure, test. We have plenty of tests, they’re free,” Schuette said.

Students who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 can make an appointment to get tested through student health services. For anyone entering the building, they are required to wear a mask. 

According to the University website, tests through Student Health Services are by appointment only and clinic and lab charges may apply.

MSU no longer requires any faculty or students living in the dorms to be vaccinated or go through weekly COVID testing. 

MSU also offers vaccine clinics, with the next clinic open this Friday through Student Health Services. The first dose, second dose, and booster shots of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will be available at the clinic for those eligible.

At this time, professors cannot require students to wear masks in their classrooms. 

“Because it’s a university policy, there can’t be a separate policy in individual classrooms,” explained Shuette.

Those who wish to can reach Student Health Services at 507-389-6276 for more information on testing.

(File photo)

Write to Jeremy Redlien at Jeremy.Redlien@mnsu.edu

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