Saint Mary’s community,

We want to share two important announcements. First, Saint Mary’s University will require all students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fully approves COVID-19 vaccinations. This decision is based on the most current information we have about the increase in cases, hospitalization rates and transmission statistics, including that those individuals already vaccinated can spread the COVID-19 variant.

Please be aware that this decision may change as conditions change. We will continue to closely monitor the latest news and guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). We will also continue to monitor other universities and track current case levels in and around our surrounding campus communities. As was the case last year, we continue to plan but will adjust those plans as needed given the evolving situation.

We continue to encourage all members of our community to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect yourself and others, particularly children under the age of 12 who are not yet eligible for the vaccine and those with certain medical conditions. As Pope Francis said earlier this year, “I believe that morally everyone must take the vaccine. It is the moral choice because it is about your life but also the lives of others.” At the same time, as a Catholic university, we recognize the statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops that “we affirm again that being vaccinated can be an act of charity that serves the common good” while also affirming the moral acceptability of certain vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) over others.

Our second announcement is about our most current campus COVID-19 protocols, effective tomorrow and until further notice, include:

  • Masks must be worn by all (vaccinated AND unvaccinated) when indoors, and at all times, and outside when physical distancing is not possible given that Winona, Olmsted, and Hennepin Counties now have a ‘substantial’ level of COVID-19 transmission. This protocol is consistent with the new CDC guidance on masking.
  • Physical distancing of 6 feet should be observed.
  • Wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer.
  • Self-screen for symptoms on a daily basis.
  • Show respect and kindness for one another.

As for events scheduled in the coming weeks, we will ensure all current protocols are followed. We will look ahead several weeks and adjust plans as needed based on the current information. Additional communication on upcoming events including Convocation and the University Faculty Workshop will be shared in the near future.

Your best source of information is the COVID-19 planning webpage, Steadfast and Resilient, which will be updated regularly, including the dashboard. Once FDA approves a vaccine(s) and the requirement begins, individuals will also be able to file a medical exemption or a non-medical exemption from this COVID-19 vaccination requirement. This is everyone’s right and there will be no reprisal.

We have been enormously proud of the strength of character our students, faculty, and staff have shown throughout this time at Saint Mary’s University. Our community is being called upon once again to care for one another. We have tremendous confidence that our community will continue to inspire us. We thank you for your continued support and your commitment to one another and will communicate regularly. We remain steadfast and resilient.

Ann Merchlewitz
Senior Vice President and General Counsel

Ben Murray
Executive Vice President and CFO

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