June 17: What will classrooms look like this fall?

Classroom and Academic Space Safety Expectations:  

Dear Students,

We are excited to welcome you to campus this fall! As described in the mission at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, we are residential institutions that pride ourselves on a vibrant campus where our community members can learn and interact in person.  As a result, we have designed our campuses, classrooms, and gathering spaces to provide opportunities for socialization, support, discussions, and mentoring between faculty, staff, and students. We intend to return to a vibrant and interactive community. We are writing to encourage faculty, staff, and students to return to campus to rebuild and strengthen our community. Below are Frequently Asked Questions and responses that address how we will maintain a safe, in-person learning environment this fall. 

What will the classroom look like in the fall? 

All classes will be held in person.  Classrooms will safely accommodate the faculty members and all students enrolled in each course. Consequently, hybrid or remote learning may only be used when an individual must quarantine or isolate due to COVID. While those who have been vaccinated will not need to wear a mask, those who have not been vaccinated are expected to wear a mask in the classroom. Seating assignments will be required for any potential close contact tracing.

Campus components such as fine arts, academic & co curricular events, athletics, and social gatherings may have specialized guidelines. More information will be coming at a later date.  

What will meetings with professors and staff look like in the fall? 

While some meetings may occur remotely for convenience, meetings can be held in person. You can expect to find our academic offices open and available to meet with you, and faculty members are able to hold in-person office hours. As in the classroom, if vaccinated, individuals are not required to wear a mask during these meetings. However, if a person is not vaccinatedthey should wear a mask. 

Should I get vaccinated? 

We strongly encourage all faculty, staff, and students to get vaccinated before returning to campus. (Please note Aug. 4 announcement about vaccine requirement for students, faculty and staff) This is the best way to maintain safety on our campus. Students who are not vaccinated may contact CSB and SJU Health Services for assistance with scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals are regarded as fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the final dose of the vaccine, so we encourage students to get vaccinated as soon as possible. 

The CDC recommends that even those individuals who have already had COVID get vaccinated. This is because it’s not clear how long your immunity lasts after having COVID.  

If a student is not vaccinated, any exposure to COVID will require quarantine for 14 days. If possible, students will be asked to quarantine at home and will not be reimbursed for room and board. We will have limited quarantine and isolation space available on campus. Unvaccinated students should also be aware that they might have to isolate or quarantine more than once and that this might negatively influence the academic experience.  

If a student is fully vaccinated and exposed to COVID, they will not have to quarantine unless they are symptomatic.

Will I need to wear a mask on campus? 

Any individual is welcome to wear a mask if they are more comfortable doing so. If you are vaccinated, you do not need to wear a mask on campus. If you are not vaccinated, you are expected to wear a mask indoors and in crowded outdoor settings.  This means unvaccinated individuals should wear a mask in the classroom and when meeting with faculty, staff, or students.  

What if I develop COVID? Can I attend class remotely? 

If a student tests positive for COVID, they will need to isolate. CSB and SJU will have isolation space if a student is not able to isolate at home. If a student receives a positive test, they must work with the COVID coordinator on campus. In addition, students must work with their instructors to determine whether remote participation is possible during isolation. There may be occasions where remote participation is not possible. These will be considered excused absences and students will, to the extent possible determined by the instructor, be allowed to make-up work.  

What if I have been exposed to COVID? Can I attend class remotely? 

If a student is vaccinated and exposed to COVID, they will not have to quarantine unless they are symptomatic. The student can continue to attend class in person. If a student is not vaccinated and is exposed to COVID, they will have to quarantine for 14 days. Those students required to quarantine by our COVID coordinators, should reach out to their instructors to see if remote participation is possible. There may be occasions where remote participation is not possible. Required quarantine will be considered excused absences and students will, to the extent possible as determined by the instructor, be allowed to make-up work.  

What if I am an international student and am struggling to get back to campus?

International students who are having difficulties returning to campus by the start of the semester due to home country or U.S. policies may submit a request for temporary accommodations by August 1, 2021 and should reach out to Alex Schleper ([email protected]) or Qiwei Zhang ([email protected]). It is possible that some classes will be unable to accommodate such learning this year, and the student may need to adjust registration to reflect that. 

Who do I talk to if I have a concern or question? 

If a student, faculty, or staff member has a concern or additional questions regarding our academic policies and procedures, please reach out to the academic dean, Barb May ([email protected]). 

Community Always,

Barb May

Academic Dean

College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University