August 10: Student Development Message for Parents and Students

Dear CSB/SJU students and families:

We are so excited as we gear up for your safe return to campus in a few short weeks. We hope you are as excited as we are for your arrival/return to campus this fall. We have been thinking of you and doing everything we can, despite the pandemic’s disruptions, to ensure you have the best Bennie and Johnnie experience. Campus life will look very different, but we are committed to the same sense of Benedictine community and we know if we work hard together to abide by the new protocols, we can all be successful with an in-person experience. 

This email contains important information you need to know to ensure we all have a successful experience on campus this fall. You will also find more information at We encourage you to check that page often for the latest updates. 

Personal Responsibility for Community Health

All campus residents, employees and visitors must commit to practices that will protect other students, faculty, staff, the monastic communities and our own families. As the Rule of Benedict reminds us, “We are not to pursue our own self-interests, but rather what would benefit another” (RB 72.7). This teaching has become an urgent obligation to do our part for the sake of the broader community.  

Before returning to campus, all students are required to submit the Personal Responsibility Statement – Commitment to Community form in the forms portal. This statement acknowledges understanding and acceptance of the following:

  • Follow physical/social distancing guidelines, maintaining a minimum of 6 feet between myself and others with whom I do not live, both on and off campus.
  • Wear a mask at all times when I am outside of my place of residence, both on and off campus.
  • Avoid activities that put myself or others at greater risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19.
  • Abide by all seating, sanitation, hygiene, disinfection and occupancy limits in all public and personal spaces.
  • Abide by all expectations and restrictions on the LINK Bus.
  • Complete my daily health screening honestly and accurately.
  • Not attend in-person classes when I am not feeling well and communicate this situation to my professors in a timely fashion.
  • Report to my resident/community assistant, residence director, area coordinator, faculty resident, and/or a campus health professional, that I am not feeling well or experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and abide by the directives provided by those officials for caring for my health and the health and welfare of others. 

Students must return to CSB/SJU with the following health related items:  

  • 7 reusable face coverings (masks) Note: Masks are required on campus
  • Thermometer Note: Students must check and submit their temperature at the start of each day
  • Hand sanitizer – with an alcohol solution of at least 70% alcohol
  • Disinfectant/disinfecting wipes – the most common EPA registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.
  • Hand soap
  • Insurance cards
  • First-aid kit
  • Prescribed medication
  • Over the counter fever reducing medications (acetaminophen and ibuprofen) and cold medicines (decongestant and cough suppressant) 

In preparation for the hybrid learning environment, we recommend all students have access to a personal laptop computer and headphones with a microphone. Those for whom obtaining a laptop would present a financial hardship can check out one out from the libraries. 

Due to the longer class periods this semester, please also consider your devices and their battery life. To ensure your cell phone, tablet or laptop can last the full 3 hours of your class period, plan to bring back up power banks or extension cords (recommended length of 25 feet).  

Protocols Leading up to Quarantine or Isolation:

  • Students must complete the Daily Health Screening via forms manager. These will be reviewed each day by a Registered Nurse (RN).
  • Students who have COVID-19 symptoms must stay in their living quarters until their symptoms are triaged. Students are expected to follow the directives received.
  • Students who are experiencing symptoms should first call CSB Health Services at 320-363-5370 to speak with an RN to have their symptoms triaged. Note to Johnnies: CSB Health Services will be providing COVID-19 student care for ALL CSB and SJU students. After hours and on the weekends, students should call CentraCare Connect at 320-200-3200 to triage their symptoms.
  • If a student tests positive for COVID-19 at an off-campus testing location, they must notify the Student COVID-19 Coordinator, Lori Klapperich, at 320-363-5753 or [email protected].
  • Students who test positive for COVID-19 are required to isolate at their permanent residence. If unable to isolate at permanent residence, students will be moved into isolation space on campus.
  • Students who have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19 must quarantine at their permanent residence. If unable to quarantine at permanent residence, students will be moved into quarantine space on campus.
  • Students in quarantine or isolation who remain on campus will receive necessary support, including meals. 


COVID-19 testing will be provided by CSB Health Services and available for all CSB and SJU students. Testing will be available by appointment on the SJU campus in the mornings and CSB campus in the afternoons. Current testing criteria will follow guidance from MDH and CDC. At this time, the criteria for COVID-19 test includes testing anyone that is symptomatic or who has had a known close contact with a positive COVID-19 case. The CDC and MDH do not recommend widespread surveillance testing of students as they return to campus.  

On campus, we will have two COVID-19 tests available. For our symptomatic students, we will have a rapid diagnostic test that can be processed onsite with results within 30 minutes. Students will be charged $45 to their student account and given a receipt to submit to insurance for reimbursement. For students who have been exposed but have no symptoms, we will use a test that will be sent to University of MN/Mayo testing labs to be processed. Mayo Clinic will bill student’s insurance directly and results should be reported in 1-4 days. 

At time of testing, all students will be asked to complete a HIPAA form that allows us to release test results to the Student COVID-19 Coordinator. Our Student COVID-19 Coordinator will initiate contact tracing and facilitate services for our students (isolation, food, garbage, etc.). If the student being tested is a student-athlete, the form will also allow us to notify the head athletic trainer. If possible, please complete the HIPPA form prior to arriving on campus. Once complete, you can fax to 320-363-6396 or email [email protected]

Quarantine/Isolation Expectations

CSB/SJU requires anyone who tests positive to return home, to their permanent residence, and isolate for the appropriate period. Isolation separates people who are infected with the virus away from people who are not infected. If the student’s living situation is such that they cannot return to their permanent residence to self-isolate, students will be moved into isolation space on campus. These spaces are limited to those who cannot travel home. This will include procedures for health checks, emotional support, meal delivery and other support services. 

CSB/SJU requires anyone who needs to be quarantined to return home, to their permanent residence to quarantine for 14 days from exposure. Quarantine separates students who have been exposed to COVID-19 to see if they develop symptoms and prevent spread of the virus. The incubation period of COVID-19 is 14 days, thus students will need to quarantine for 14 days following exposure, even with a negative test result while in quarantine. If the student’s living situation is such that they cannot return to their permanent residence to quarantine, students will be moved into quarantine spaces on campus. These spaces are limited to those who cannot travel home. This will include procedures for health checks, emotional support, meal delivery and other support services. 

Isolation is defined as separating students who have tested positive for COVID-19 into designated housing which includes their permanent residence. 

Quarantine is defined as separating and restricting the movement of students who were exposed to COVID-19 to see if they develop symptoms and prevent the spread of the virus.  


Students are always expected to comply with CSB/SJU COVID-19 guidelines and the commitment made in the Personal Responsibility Statement – Commitment to Community. When necessary, students will be reminded to wear their mask (properly), maintain social distance and practice good hand hygiene. This applies to all students on and off campus. 

If a student fails to comply after a warning, if their behavior is belligerent or their infraction egregious to the point it could put others at risk, that student will be asked to move off-campus immediately. Students will complete the academic year virtually and will not be permitted on-campus. We hope it does not come to this, but we want students to understand that due to the serious nature of COVID-19, irresponsible or reckless behavior, on or off campus, that endangers the health of others will not be tolerated. 

Surge Planning

If CSB/SJU has a surge of cases, the Minnesota Department of Health will guide us in how to handle the situation. The Student COVID-19 Coordinator has an MDH liaison and they will be in touch daily. 

Mitigation Efforts

A growing body of research is indicating that masking and social distancing are two behavioral changes that can significantly curb transmission of COVID-19. Please abide by these mitigation efforts both on and off campus when in public.  

Consider creating a “Pod,” a small group outside of class with whom you exclusively socialize. Once you know these groups are safe, you can start to combine with other safe pods, slowly expanding your social group over time. 

Concerns About Living on Campus

We know each student, and each family, will have their own unique situation and needs to consider. We want to encourage you to make the best decisions for yourself and your family, and please know we will work hard to support you. As such, due to the circumstances, some students may need to remain home and participate in their courses online. If you have not done so already, please contact residence life and fill out the proper forms for an exemption to live off campus.  

For CSB students: 

For SJU students:

If you have questions regarding living on-campus during the ongoing pandemic, please reach out at [email protected] or call our office at 320-363-3512. 

Off-Campus Bars/House Parties

Despite our best efforts, if students comply for a period of time and then head to the bars or house parties where mitigation efforts are disregarded, we could quickly find ourselves with high numbers of students either infected or needing to quarantine. We understand the natural desire for students who want to gather, relax and have fun. This is a very difficult issue to address and all we can do is appeal to students’ good will to be careful wherever they are. We know that bars have become super spreaders for this age group. MDH is working with bars/restaurants and creating messaging specifically aimed at the 18-24 age group. Students, we are appealing to you as Bennies and Johnnies to do all you can to slow the spread of the virus and abide by health guidelines and the Governor’s Orders. 

Campus Activities

We are grateful for our beautiful outdoor spaces on campus and intend to fully utilize them as long as the weather permits. Tents on the SJU tundra and the CSB mall will provide outdoor spaces for programming. Residence life and other staff are busy planning small group programs and, of course, there will be many opportunities for online programming. 

While social distancing practices and other public health guidelines will affect campus routines, you will be able to eat in the dining areas on both campuses, and students will be able to use the fitness centers, libraries, and other spaces while adhering to social distancing guidelines. As health permits, we intend to slowly phase back into the programming you have come to know and expect. Our Student Development staff are working hard to continue to provide a robust, engaged campus life for all. So, if you are on campus, bring appropriate outdoor clothing, and if you are not on campus, know there will be many opportunities for you to engage in programs online. This is the part of our work that brings us the most joy as we plan for a robust fall. 

We want to thank you for your patience and in advance for your full cooperation. We are navigating unknown paths and mapping as we go. We are all in this together and we know that above all, we are called to live in community and to care for each other. This is our purpose and this is our plan. 

Mary Geller, Vice President for CSB Student Development

 Michael P. Connolly, Interim Vice President for SJU Student Development