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Return to Campus: Morris

Updated 8/5/2020

As UMN Morris welcomes students, faculty, and staff back to our campus, safety is our top priority. University of Minnesota leaders have developed a flexible framework to resume in-person instruction – with options for robust remote learning – and re-open residence halls, dining facilities, and other campus services, in a manner consistent with public health guidelines. 

  • The Fall 2020 semester includes adjusted capacities and multi-modal instruction in which courses can be delivered in-person, remotely or through other alternative formats.
  • The academic calendar has been adjusted to conclude all in-person instruction by the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Fall term starts August 19 at UMN Morris.
  • The Stop the Spread of COVID-19 initiative is our shared commitment to protect one another with daily individual health monitoring, proper handwashing, physical distancing, and wearing masks.
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing practices throughout all University facilities will be implemented.
  • The University will be ready to pivot to alternative learning formats if the pandemic and state or local public health guidelines require it.

Sunrise plan information for employees

COVID-19 Health Protocols for Students

What are the expectations, resources, and contact information for students?

Click here for COVID-19 health protocols for Morris students.

COVID-19 Exposure and Illness

What if a student is sick or has been exposed to COVID-19?

Here are instructions for faculty and staff concerning what to do if a student is sick or has been exposed to COVID-19 in a classroom, advising, or other learning or student life setting.

Academic Calendar

When will the fall 2020 semester take place?

UMN Morris classes will begin a week earlier than originally planned.

Fall Semester 2020 (70 class days)

  • August 15-18 Sat.-Tues. New Student Orientation
  • August 17 Monday Faculty return
  • August 19 Wednesday Classes begin
  • September 7 Monday Labor Day holiday
  • October 6 Tuesday First half semester Classes end
  • October 7 Wednesday Second half semester Classes begin
  • November 25 Wednesday Last day of instruction / Students depart for remote finals and break
  • November 26-27 Thurs.-Fri. Thanksgiving Holiday and floating holiday
  • November 28-30 Sat.-Mon. Study days
  • December 1-4 Tue.-Fri. Final examinations (online or remote)

Are there any other changes to the academic calendar?

UMN Morris will not have a fall break this year. Campus community members preferred a condensed schedule rather than the option of more night and Saturday classes. 

Spring semester remains for now as scheduled with classes beginning on January 19, 2021.

Fall 2020 Courses

Will classes be in person or remote learning?

Instruction this fall will be delivered by one of these four modes:

  1. Online Class (fully online with no set meeting pattern): Instructors provide materials and assignments that students access online at any time or within a given time frame (such as one week), rather than instructors and students meeting together as a class on a regular schedule. Exams are also all online.
  2. Remote-Instruction Class (fully online with set meeting patterns): Students and instructors must be online at the same time, at scheduled days and times. 100% of instruction is online with no in-person meetings. Exams are also all online.
  3. Blended Class (both in person and online or remote): Students can expect a combination of delivery methods: in person, online, or remote. 
  4. In-Person Class (in-person): Students and instructors meet in person for class at regularly scheduled days and times.

In-person instruction will conform with physical distancing based on recommendations from public health guidance. Classes may also be offered as online or hybrid allowing students to fill out their schedules with in-person or distanced instruction, or a combination.

Students will have choices as they review course offerings. Some students may choose courses which are all offered in person on campus. Others may choose courses which are offered fully through on-line/remote modalities. And some may choose a combination of courses and hybrid options. The University of Minnesota Morris is committed to helping students to advance in their degree programs, and we will provide a clear process for helping you take the courses you need.

How will I know how a specific class will be taught?

The course schedule has been updated to reflect the anticipated fall delivery mode of each class, and Schedule Builder provides the easiest way to see that information, in “view details” or in your weekly schedule view. Please note that one of the headings in Schedule Builder currently refers to “independent study, online/distance learning, and unscheduled classes,” and “unscheduled” here simply means a confirmed class has no assigned meeting time (this is the “Online Class” mode noted above). 

The delivery mode information is also in the course registration system in MyU, although  the correct information may not be obvious immediately. See the class attributes heading for each class to determine the delivery method of that course. 

You also can expect to get an email from each of your instructors providing more detail about the delivery method of each of your courses. If you do not receive an email from your instructor by July 24, please email ummvcaa@morris.umn.edu.

Will my class schedule for Fall 2020 be changed?

As we learn more about classroom capacity with physical distancing, course meeting times may be changed and the delivery method may change. We will notify students before the start of the fall semester with enough time to allow them to adjust their schedules if needed.

What will happen to the UMN Morris Summer Sessions?

Summer Session is not affected by these changes.

If classes are held via remote instruction again, will they be Pass/NoPass?

When students register, they will see, as usual, if the course is offered A-F, S-N, or with the student option to choose between those two grading systems. In accordance with University policy, we do not anticipate changes to the grading system that would take place after registration.

What if I can’t attend UMN Morris in person this fall? Can I still take all of my classes?

The University of Minnesota Morris is committed to helping students advance in their degree programs, and we will provide a clear process for helping you take the courses you need. 

What about registration for Fall 2020?

Once the updated modes of course delivery are determined for fall, students will be notified and will have the opportunity to adjust their schedules, if needed. Incoming students will continue to participate in the registration process as planned.

Why do instructors get to make the decision about the delivery format of their course?

At their June meeting, the Board of Regents approved a framework for resuming in-person instruction this fall in ways that are consistent with public health guidance and provide flexibility for students, staff, and faculty.

A key component of this is faculty and instructor flexibility in deciding the preferred modality of their course, subject to capacity constraints on classrooms in accord with physical distancing guidance. Instructors are best positioned to understand the learning objectives of their courses and whether and how they might be best achieved via different modalities. This approach is consistent with the faculty's express authority over the curriculum.

I want to be able to take my classes at a distance. What are my options?

We will be offering education in four modalities; in-person, blended (hybrid), remote (distanced synchronous), and online (distanced asynchronous). Not every class will be offered in every modality, but UMN Morris is committed to finding ways for all students to continue to make progress toward their degree this fall. Students can review the modality of the courses that they're currently enrolled in and have the opportunity to drop/add. We encourage students to contact the course instructor for information on potential flexibility in the scheduled delivery mode and to their advisor (or success coach, for first-year students) if they need assistance in revising their schedule to meet their needs.

I want to be able to take my classes in person. When will we know what courses will be offered in this format?

We will be offering education in four modalities; in-person, blended (hybrid), remote (distanced synchronous) and online (distanced asynchronous). Not every class will be offered in every modality, but UMN Morris is committed to finding ways for all students to continue to make progress toward their degree this fall. Students can review the modality of the courses that they're currently enrolled in and have the opportunity to drop/add. We encourage students to contact the course instructor for information on potential flexibility in the scheduled delivery mode and to their advisor (or success coach, for first-year students) if they need assistance in revising their schedule to meet their needs.

What are my options if I have reviewed my updated fall schedule and a course for which I have registered no longer fits my schedule or meets my health requirements?

First, check Schedule Builder for alternative courses. If you don’t find what you need:

  1. Contact the course instructor. There may be alternative ways for you to participate in the class (e.g., by Zoom during in-person regular course meetings). The instructor may also be able to suggest another class that the discipline has agreed on as a substitution because of the pandemic.
  2. If the course instructor has no other options, you should contact your success coach (first-year students) or advisor. Or you may contact the Office of Academic Success. Success coaches and advisors can help you determine other options, including:
    1. Other UMN Morris classes (advisors may need to contact a discipline coordinator to ask about any pandemic-related exceptions to major requirements that the discipline might have agreed upon)
    2. Multi-I classes (online options at other UMN campuses)
    3. Transfer classes from outside the UMN System (again, online options)

New Students

When will orientation take place for new students?

New Student Orientation will begin on Saturday, August 15, and continue through Tuesday, August 18.

Orientation components will be offered through in person, online, and hybrid options to meet students' varied needs and reflect current public health guidance.

How will these changes affect new first-year students and transfer students?

Student move-in to campus residence halls will be extended to provide for physical distancing. Orientation programs will be offered in varied formats to meet student needs.

Health & Safety

How will physical distancing in classes be managed?

Physical spaces will be adjusted to meet distancing recommendations, including by having furniture reconfigured as necessary or spacing marked.

What if the pandemic dissipates over the summer only to return in the fall?

We will adjust as necessary and in keeping with University, Minnesota Department of Health, and CDC guidance.

Testing and Tracing

Will UMN Morris offer COVID-19 virus testing?

UMN Morris is working with Stevens Community Medical Center (SCMC)  to provide COVID-19 testing for students who are showing symptoms or have been in close contact (fewer than 6’) for 15 minutes or longer with someone diagnosed with COVID-19. Faculty and staff should seek medical resources from their regular healthcare providers.

How is the University handling positive cases?

If a member of the University community tests positive for COVID-19, they will be instructed by public health officials to isolate themselves for 10 days after symptoms first appear. For those who have been notified of their exposure to COVID-19, they may be instructed to remain in quarantine for at least 14 days or until directed otherwise by health care or public health professionals.

While it may be concerning to learn of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases on campus, it is up to everyone to respect their privacy and HIPAA regulations. Students, faculty, or staff members – or others – who may have been exposed to a confirmed positive case (in close proximity for 15 minutes or more) will be notified by health care or public health officials. Names of those positive or exposed will be not released, per HIPAA and FERPA rules.

What if my professor or someone in my in-person class tests positive for COVID-19?

The University’s Safe Campus site instructs anyone with symptoms to contact their health care provider immediately. Students should contact Health Services with concerns about significant exposure. If someone tests positive with COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health will contact the patient with additional information. We are developing plans in the event that one or more individuals become sick, which will include options like moving courses to remote learning environments.

How will the university track positive COVID-19 cases and exposure?

We will work with the Minnesota Department of Health, which will conduct COVID-19 tracing and necessary investigations related to a positive COVID case.

Our campus continues to practice health and safety guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), including working with local health care systems to provide access to COVID-19 testing for our campus community. This testing is part of the state’s response to the pandemic. MDH collects and compiles statewide testing data. 

It is impossible for the University to comprehensively and accurately collect or track aggregate testing data on our campus for a variety of reasons; MDH is the best resource for requesting COVID-19 testing data.

Residential Life & Housing

Are residence halls open for fall 2020?

University Housing will be available this fall.

Living on campus is a core part of the University of Minnesota Morris experience, and we are committed to fostering a safe, diverse, and inclusive housing experience for all students this academic year. That said, things will look different. Each of us has a responsibility to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, from staying home if we don’t feel well to limiting large gatherings and respecting physical distancing guidelines.

This continues to be a dynamic, rapidly evolving situation as well as a stressful time for many members of our community. We are all in this together. Be respectful and kind to one another. The Office of Residential Life is working closely with University leadership and partners across campus and across the system and in the surrounding community to manage COVID-19 response and preparations. Visit the Safe Campus website for the latest information.

 

Community safety for residents and staff is a top priority.

Residential health and safety efforts are rooted in the most current science and based on guidance from federal, state, and local health authorities. Measures will include a combination of the use of physical distancing, hand washing hygiene, limited density in indoor spaces, appropriate face coverings when distancing is challenging, and other support resources. 

Below are several frequently asked questions. University leadership is working through these and other important questions. We will share information as it becomes available by updating this page and direct email as necessary. If you have a specific concern, contact us at housing2@morris.umn.edu

Who can live on campus this fall?

We have planned for multiple scenarios and contingencies with recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health and CDC. Whether you are a new or returning student, you are guaranteed on-campus housing when you complete your housing contract by July 1. To complete the process, fill out your online housing application. You may still apply for housing after July 1 but options may be more limited.

Applying for housing is low-risk, and we are here to support you.

Students may cancel their housing application with no penalty by August 14.

We intend to keep returning students as close to their original assignment requests as possible. In some cases, we may be unable to guarantee your original room, roommate(s), and/or building assignment. We will notify you if we need to make changes to your original room, roommate and/or building assignment.

Will my medical/dietary accommodations be supported?

The University of Minnesota is committed to providing equitable access for all students. The Disability Resource Center is the campus office that collaborates with students who have disabilities to provide and/or arrange reasonable accommodations.

Housing accommodations: If you have a disability or health condition that requires a specific housing accommodation, such as a certain room type, accessible room, single user bathroom, etc., contact the Disability Resource Center at 320-589-6178.

Dietary needs: If you are a student living in a residence hall, you are required to have a meal plan. Dining Services will work with you individually in regard to your special dietary needs. Visit morris.sodexomyway.com for more information on special diets. If you have a condition that requires health-related dietary accommodations, please work with the Disability Resource Center in addition to Dining Services.

Returning students: If you are a returning student with a housing contract who may need medical accommodations, we will still work with you to accommodate your needs. Please contact the Disability Resource Center. We may be unable to guarantee your original room, roommate(s) and/or building assignment.

What happens to my housing contract if I can’t move into campus housing?

Housing contracts will be cancelled without penalty for students who are unable to move into campus housing due to COVID-19 related concerns.

What is being done to prepare on-campus housing for fall semester residents?

The Office of Residential Life and Facilities Management have been working to thoroughly clean all housing over the summer and will be implementing safety measures for the arrival of students following guidelines from public health officials. We are following guidance from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will continue to adjust as new information emerges.

We are cleaning high-traffic points (door handles, handrails, water filling stations, elevators, dining locations, laundry facilities, etc.) even more frequently than usual.

 

This is a shared responsibility. Please do your part to keep your spaces clean and to avoid sharing spaces and/or equipment.

When will I learn more about my housing assignment?

 

The Office of Residential Life began assigning rooms in May for students with completed housing contracts. If you have already completed the housing application, you can log into the housing application portal using your University username and password to see if your room has been assigned. The Office of Residential Life will mail your room assignments and other important information for Fall 2020 to you at your home address in July. If you have any questions about your housing assignment, please email us at housing2@morris.umn.edu. 

Will I have roommates this year?

 

In order to support physical distancing, some rooms will be assigned fewer occupants. No more than two people will occupy rooms in residence halls.

Will international students be able to access campus housing this fall?

 

We recognize there may be travel or other challenges for international students this fall, and we are working to help students address any issues. We will share more information as it is available. The International Students Program (ISP) can provide additional information to support international students. You can contact ISP online or by phone at 320-589-6094.

When will students be able to move in?

 

The official move-in day will be Saturday August 15. We are planning to assign time slots for you to move in throughout the day to support physical distancing. More information about move-in times will be shared in the coming weeks. 

Some of you may need to move in early for athletics or academic programs, and we are working with coaches and program coordinators on these early move-ins. Please check with your coach or program coordinators about early move-in dates. 

Can I tour the building and see my room before I move in?

Unfortunately, we are unable to support in-person tours this summer. Additional information about individual halls is available online. 

What should I bring and what items are not permitted?

This year, more than ever, maintaining clean spaces is a shared responsibility. Please do your part to keep your personal spaces and surfaces clean. We recommend keeping a supply of hand sanitizer and antibacterial surface cleaner (as you are able).

The University is working to make two cloth masks available to each of you at no cost. You may want to bring additional masks if available.

Each student room comes equipped with the following: 

  • -twin-size bed frames
  • -mattresses measuring 36" x 80" (twin long)
  • -drapes
  • -desk
  • -desk chairs
  • -dresser
  • -closet or wardrobe

Other items students may want to consider bringing include: 

  • -surge protectors
  • -shower caddy shower shoes
  • -a television
  • a futon
  • a bike

Items that students should not bring to campus include: 

  • -candles or any item with an open flame
  • -halogen lights
  • -pets (not permitted for health and safety reasons) 

Reminder: check your family's homeowner’s insurance information in advance to see if your personal property is covered. If not, you may want to speak with your insurance provider about purchasing renter’s insurance.

Will face coverings (masks) be required in my building?

Effective July 1 and continuing until rescinded, all University of Minnesota students, faculty, staff, and visitors (including contractors, service providers, vendors, and suppliers) are required to use a face covering at all times when in any enclosed or indoor space on University campuses and properties with the following exceptions:

  • -When eating or drinking; however, physical distancing must be practiced.
  • -In your assigned on-campus apartment or residence hall room.
  • -When you are alone in a room or where a posted and official University notice indicates masks are not needed.
  • -When you are alone in a motor vehicle.
  • -If you are unable to wear a face covering while exercising at the Cougar Sports Center or Regional Fitness Center.
  • In labs or other places that instead require use of a respirator.
  • -If you require accommodations for health or disability reasons. On the Morris campus, the Disability Resource Center and Human Resources can help identify needed accommodations.

In addition to wearing a mask or other face covering in applicable situations, it is vital that we all continue other basic, but critically important, prevention measures. These include frequently washing our hands with soap and water, minimizing how often we touch our faces, monitoring our health and, above all else, staying home if we feel sick. These simple actions are some of the best tools we have to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on our campus and in our community.

How will we practice distancing in my building?

To slow the spread of COVID-19, it is critical that we all do our part to keep physically apart from each other, or “socially distance.” This means staying at least six feet away from individuals with whom you do not share a room or apartment.

We know that you may still want to connect with others living in your building, but remember to maintain appropriate social distancing at all times. Be mindful and use good judgement for you and your neighbor’s benefit. If you have any cold-like or COVID-19 symptoms, do not use the community spaces.

What happens if a resident becomes ill?

The Office of Residential Life works in close partnership with Health Services to address cases of COVID-19 that may arise in our residential communities.

 

If you feel ill or are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness of any kind — with fever and cough — the Minnesota Department of Health recommends you remain as isolated as possible in your room to prevent spreading it to others.

 

Our residents should contact Health Services at 320-589-6070. Staff may follow up with you to be sure you are receiving the support, medical attention, and resources needed.

 

If someone tests positive with COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health will contact the patient with additional information.

We will also have isolation and quarantine space set aside to support our residents should the need arise.

What support will be available to students?

We recognize this time of social isolation and heightened health fears can take a toll. Community Advisors on each floor and other dedicated building staff in each building are an email, phone call, Google hangout, or Zoom meeting away.

 

Students can contact Student Counseling at 320-589-6060 for additional support. 

Xenophobia and Bias

Disease does not discriminate, and racist behavior or stereotyping is not tolerated on our campus.

 

If you experience harassment or discrimination, reach out to your Community Advisor or your building’s Residence Director. You can also report to the Bias Response and Referral Network.

 

Our Community Behavioral Standards reflect a respect for the rights and responsibilities needed to foster engaged and inclusive community living experiences. We encourage all students to know their rights and what is expected of them as residents. Learn more about policies, regulations, and more.

Residence Halls and Dining

How will campus housing work this year? Will students have roommates?

Living on campus is a core part of the University of Minnesota Morris experience, and we are committed to fostering a safe, diverse, and inclusive housing experience.  At the same time,

residential life will look a little different this year.

In order to support physical distancing, some rooms will be assigned fewer occupants. No more than two people will occupy a room in the residence halls. Students may elect to have roommates, or to occupy a single room. However, no triples will be allowed.

Students living in residence halls have been assigned time slots for move-in to support maintaining physical distancing. The official move-in days will be Friday and Saturday, August 14 and 15.

What about cleaning?

The Office of Residential Life and Facilities Management have been working to thoroughly clean all housing over the summer and will be implementing safety measures for the arrival of students following guidelines from Minnesota Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We will continue cleaning high-traffic points (door handles, handrails, water filling stations, elevators, dining locations, laundry facilities, etc.) even more frequently than usual.

How will safety be handled in the dining hall?

The Dining Hall has been rearranged to ensure physical distancing between tables. Seating will be reduced.

Our dining staff will be serving more foods directly to students rather than having self-serve options for the  salad bar, desserts, or beverages. We have enhanced food preparation, serving, and cleaning protocols to meet and exceed current public health guidelines. Grab and Go containers will be free this fall for those who would like to take out their meals.  

Students will be required to wear masks while moving through the dining hall (getting food, travelling to restrooms, returning trays). Masks will not be required while eating seated at tables.

What can I do to help suppress the spread of COVID-19 in my residence hall?

Measures that you can take include a combination of the use of physical distancing (staying at least six feet away from individuals with whom you do not share a room or apartment), practicing hand washing hygiene, ensuring limited density in indoor spaces, and wearing appropriate face coverings.

Be mindful and use good judgement for you and your neighbors’ benefit. If you have any cold-like or COVID-19 symptoms, do not use the community spaces. Each of us has a responsibility to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We are all in this together. Be respectful and kind to one another.

What will happen if I become sick or believe I have been exposed to COVID-19?

The Office of Residential Life will work in close partnership with Health Services to address cases of COVID-19 that may arise in our residential communities.

If you feel ill or are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness of any kind — with fever and cough — the Minnesota Department of Health recommends you remain as isolated as possible in your room to prevent spreading it to others. You should contact Health Services at 320-589-6070. Staff will follow up with you to be sure you are receiving the support, medical attention, and resources needed.

SCMC will provide tests for COVID-19 as deemed necessary by a medical provider. If a positive result is obtained, the Minnesota Department of Health will be notified. MDH will contact the patient with additional information.

UMN Morris has isolation and quarantine space set aside to support our residents should the need arise. Before any housing decisions are made, please seek medical care and COVID-19 testing from Stevens Community Medical Center or a trusted medical professional. UMN Morris will work with you to determine the best housing option for any necessary quarantine or isolation period. The best solution will depend on many factors. For some students, going to their family residence off campus may be the best and safest location for them to isolate themselves and receive any necessary care. For other students who may be from out of town or for whom on-campus housing is their safest residence, you may be asked to isolate in your room. UMN Morris may also find you a different on-campus or near campus housing option during your isolation period so you can avoid spreading COVID-19 to others.

Studying Abroad

What is the status of planned study abroad programming?

Individual study abroad and exchanges for fall and spring are a case-by-case basis and dependent on the partner or host institution. We are working closely with students who wish to participate in these programs to make sure that they have the most accurate information.

When will I be able to register for future study abroad?

Faculty-led study abroad for the spring and summer of 2021 are currently going forward as planned. Registration for these programs will open during the fall semester based on guidance from the GPS Alliance office. 

Campus Events, Facilities, and Athletics

How will UMN Morris safely host gatherings, clubs and events on campus? Will there still be events?

The University of Minnesota is following MDH guidelines for all gatherings on campus. Where possible, on campus events and activities will also be offered with a remote option. 

In line with the MDH guidance, occupancy capacities for campus performance spaces have been adjusted and attendance limits will be managed through advanced ticketing (even for free events).

Will places like the library and Regional Fitness Center be open?

These places will be open in the fall to students, faculty, staff, and visitors in a modified way. Units are currently developing individualized plans in compliance with Minnesota Department of Health guidelines. Services for those students who are enrolled but not in residence will be provided to ensure that all students are able to access services. To find out about the status of a specific unit, please check their webpage or contact them directly.

Will there be fall athletics?

The University of Minnesota Morris will postpone Cougar Athletics fall competitions in football, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball, following the announcement from the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC). Conference members voted to modify the timing of conference competition and championships for fall sports classified as high‐risk by the NCAA Sports Science Institute (SSI). UMN Morris hopes to pursue competition in these sports during spring semester. 

Cougar men’s and women’s golf, classified as low‐risk sports by NCAA SSI, will continue to compete this fall, with conference championships conducted as planned. Men’s and women’s cross country may compete in regular season competition and conference championships as planned, provided accommodations and modifications can be made to move all regular season and conference championship events to low‐risk classification per the adjustments outlined by the NCAA SSI. Competition for golf and cross country will be limited to conference members only, per an earlier decision by the UMAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors.

The health and safety of Cougar student‐athletes, coaches, program staff, officials, and the greater Morris community has been paramount in making these difficult decisions.       

Decisions regarding UMAC and Cougar winter sports including men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor track and field, and women’s swimming and diving will be made at a later date. Any further decisions regarding Cougar athletics in the upcoming academic year will continue to be driven by available guidance from local and state health officials and the NCAA SSI, and are subject to change.  

Masks and other Protocols

Where can I find the full face covering protocol?

It is posted on the Return to Campus website.

Is it appropriate for me to remind someone in an indoor space with me of the face covering requirement? To politely ask them to put a face covering on?

In some instances, it may be appropriate to politely ask others to observe the face covering protocol. However, be careful to avoid stigmatizing other members of the community. Recognize that some members of our community may be exempt from the face coverings requirement or may be utilizing accommodations. Above all, be patient and kind with others as we work together to keep our campus community safe and healthy.

What will happen in situations where people are not compliant with wearing masks?

Compliance with the face covering protocol is expected on campus. Our first preference is to handle lack of compliance with a conversation and encouraging social enforcement. University community members who disregard this expectation will be referred to Human Resources or to offices that engage in student conduct for follow up.

As is the case with other University regulations, failure to comply may result in disciplinary action through the Office of Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean (faculty), Human Resources (staff), and Student Affairs / the Student Behavior Committee (students).

Questions regarding exceptions to the face covering directive may be directed to Human Resources (faculty and staff) or the Disability Resource Center (students).

Faculty, staff, and visitors who refuse to wear a mask or face coving will be asked to leave campus. Willful failure to comply with face covering mandates will result in disciplinary procedures for faculty and staff.

What if a student comes to class without a face covering?

Students who attend class without a mask/face covering will be asked to put on their mask. If they do not have a face covering, they will be sent to the division office to obtain a mask.

If, after being asked, a student refuses to wear a mask, class will be adjourned and may be continued via a remote delivery method (Zoom). If class is adjourned because of a mask compliance issue, the student will face disciplinary measures.

What is the policy for campus visitors? Will visitors be allowed?

Visitors who conform to the masking, physical distancing, and other requirements are welcome to visit campus. No overnight visits will be allowed, however.

Face Coverings: General

What is the University’s stance on face coverings?

Scientific understanding of the transmission of COVID-19 has evolved, and we now know that wearing a simple face covering provides valuable, albeit imperfect, protection against the spread of COVID-19. As a result, face coverings are now required in most situations indoors.

How are face coverings part of a larger effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

At the University, we are a community. We are all part of the solution and can help keep each other safe. Face coverings are just one part of a Community Promise to protect yourself, your fellow students, staff, faculty, and our community.

Why are you mandating face coverings when scientists and experts disagree on their effectiveness in many settings?

As scientists continue to learn about COVID-19, their research evolves. We now know that wearing a simple face covering provides valuable, albeit imperfect, protection against the spread of COVID-19, and it is a visual reminder that we must all take precautions to protect our own health and the health of those around us. The CDC has more information available regarding the research.

To whom does the face covering protocol apply?

All University of Minnesota faculty, staff, students, and visitors, including contractors, service providers, vendors, and suppliers. This protocol does not apply to children under the age of 2 years, anyone unable to remove a face covering without assistance, and anyone who cannot wear a face covering because of health or disability reasons. Individuals who cannot wear face coverings because of health or disability reasons should register with the Disability Resource Center to explore alternative accommodations.

What type of face covering is acceptable?

In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommended face coverings can include simple cloth coverings, scarves or bandanas. Disposable paper masks are also acceptable. All face coverings must extend from the bridge of the nose to below the chin. N95 or surgical masks are not required nor should they be bought or worn by people outside of health care or other specialized settings, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

The CDC recommends face coverings that:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face,
  • Are secured with ties or ear loops,
  • That include multiple layers of fabric,
  • That allow for breathing without restriction, and
  • That can be laundered and machine-dried without damaging them or changing their shape.

Is a face shield an appropriate alternative to a cloth face covering or mask?

Yes. In some cases face shields may be an appropriate alternative, as advised by the Minnesota Department of Health. If you have a disability or medical condition, please contact the Disability Resource Center or Human Resources.

Will the University be supplying face coverings to students, faculty, and staff?

Yes. Faculty, staff, and students will be provided masks. Mask distribution details are being developed and will be shared when more is known.

Do I have to wear a University-provided mask to comply with this requirement?

No, you may also wear a cloth covering, such as a scarf or bandana, or a face shield (if needed as an accommodation) that covers your nose and mouth.

What recommendations do you have for properly utilizing face coverings?

Does wearing a mask reduce the need for physical distancing?

No. Physical distancing guidelines, as provided in the Sunrise Plan, are to be used in tandem with face coverings and other COVID-19 prevention practices. Guidelines include maintaining six feet of distance between you and others, avoiding group gatherings and confined areas, and avoiding use of other people’s equipment and workstations.

Face Coverings: Indoor Specifics

Are there exceptions when face coverings would not be required indoors?

Face coverings are not required under the following circumstances:

  1. A room when only one individual is present.
  2. Indoor spaces where a posted and official University notice indicates masks are not needed.
  3. When eating or drinking; however, physical distancing must be observed.
  4. In your own on-campus residence hall or apartment room. Please note: face coverings are still required in common spaces (such as hallways, bathrooms, or dining facilities).
  5. When unable to wear a face covering while exercising at the Cougar Sports Center or Regional Fitness Center, as long as all other facility policies, rules and guidelines are followed.
  6. When alone in a motor vehicle.

If an individual has a disability or medical condition that makes wearing a face covering difficult or impossible. Please contact the Disability Resource Center or Human Resources for assistance with identifying alternative accommodations.

If I’m expecting a visitor or family member to my work space or campus residence (dorms, apartments), what is the requirement for them?

All visitors to the campus are required to wear a face covering when indoors.

Face Coverings: Outdoor Specifics

Are face coverings required outdoors?

It depends. Face coverings are required in outdoor settings on campus if safe physical distancing and limits on the size of gatherings are not being observed. Where safe physical distancing and small groups are in place, face coverings are strongly encouraged but not required.

Are there any outdoor settings where face coverings will be required?

In situations where effective physical distancing cannot be achieved, and large groups of individuals will be gathering for extended periods, face coverings are required.

Face Coverings in Campus Housing/Dining Facilities

Am I required to wear a face covering in my on-campus apartment or residence hall room?

No, if you are alone or with your roommates in your on-campus apartment or residence hall. However, a face covering is required in common areas such as hallways, study spaces, lobbies, bathrooms, or dining facilities.

How about in my off-campus residence?

Face coverings are strongly recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in any indoor space but the University cannot require face coverings in spaces off campus that it does not own.

Do I need to wear a face covering outdoors or walking to/from class or other on-campus locations?

It depends. Face coverings are required in outdoor settings on campus, if safe physical distancing and limited gathering requirements are not being observed. Where safe physical distancing and gathering practices are being observed, face coverings are strongly encouraged but not required.

If my roommates or neighbors refuse to wear a face covering and/or follow other public health recommendations, what should I do?

The first step is to talk to them about wearing a face covering in a caring, respectful manner. For example, you could say something like, “I know you aren’t wearing a mask, and I’m feeling stress related to this. Would you be willing to wear a mask so that we can all be safe together?”

  1. If the person refuses to comply after you have asked them to wear a face covering, please seek out a community adviser or other University staff member to assist you with next steps.
  2. Please remember that some individuals may be unable to wear a face covering because of health or disability reasons.

What is required in dining facilities? Will exceptions be made while eating/drinking?

Face coverings are required when you are in dining facilities, except while eating and drinking. Regardless, physical distancing must be observed.

Face Covering for Faculty

Should my syllabus state that face coverings are required?

Now that face coverings are required indoors, you do not need to explicitly state in your syllabus that they are required for in-person classes. However, you may want to reiterate that you expect students to comply with all University public health policies, including the wearing of face coverings.

A student in my class is not wearing a sufficient face covering OR A student in my class is not wearing a sufficient face covering. What should I do?

  1. Talk with the student privately to see if they have a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering. 
  2. If the student refuses, the professor may ask the student to leave for the class session. 
  3. Following the class session, the instructor should follow up with an email to the student reiterating expectations (including a reminder of the University face covering expectations, the Teaching and Learning: Student Responsibilities, and the Student Conduct Code). The instructor should reiterate that participating in the class will require use of a face covering unless they have worked with the Disability Resource Center on accommodations. The instructor will also let the student know that if this happens again, the student will be asked to leave class and the instructor will submit a report to the Office of Student Affairs. 
  4. If a second offense occurs*, the instructor will ask the student to leave class and the instructor will submit a report to the Office of Student Affairs.. The student will be sent a non-disciplinary warning letter for the second offense stating that if the student does not comply with the directive to wear a face covering, they will be charged with a violation of the Student Conduct Code. Students are allowed back to class after this warning letter is sent, provided they comply with the directive to wear a face covering.
    • *There may be instances in which a student forgets to wear their face covering more than one time. The instructor may use discretion to determine if the student is unwilling to comply or simply forgot and needs a subsequent reminder. At any point, the instructor is encouraged to have an educational conversation if the student repeatedly forgets but willfully complies when reminded.
  5. If subsequent offenses occur, the student will be asked to leave the class and charged with subdivisions 2 and/or 4 of the Student Conduct Code: 
    • Subd. 2. Disruption of Academic Environment. Disruption of the academic environment means engaging in behavior that substantially or repeatedly interrupts either the instructor’s ability to teach and/or a student’s ability to learn.
    • Subd. 4. Refusal to Identify and Comply. Refusal to identify and comply means willfully refusing to or falsely identifying one’s self or willfully failing to comply with a proper order or summons when requested by law enforcement personnel, by emergency medical staff responding to an emergency, or by a University employee acting within the purview of their job responsibilities.
  6. Students would need to attend a meeting with a Student Affairs or Student Behavior Committee designee before returning to class after a subsequent incident. Disciplinary sanctions could be utilized.

A student not wearing a face covering says that they have a disability or medical condition that precludes from wearing a face covering. What should I do to accommodate them?

Provide them the contact information for the Disability Resource Center, which will evaluate their condition and explore alternative accommodations.

Can I set the policy in my lab or research space for face coverings?

Yes, but it must be consistent with the protocol outlined here, i.e., indoor face covering usage is required unless the space is clearly occupied by only a single individual.

Are face coverings required when I’m working in my office/lab/workspace alone?

No, as long as you are confident that the space will not be occupied by others while you are there or very shortly after your departure.

Face Coverings in University Workspaces

Will faculty or staff be allowed to enter the workplace without a face covering?

No. All faculty and staff are expected to wear a face covering as directed when on campus whether working in a campus facility, or outside where physical distancing and gathering size limitations are not being observed.

Are face coverings required when I’m working in my office/lab/workspace alone?

No. Face coverings are not required when alone in a room or where permitted by an official University notice posted in the space. You should receive clear instruction from your supervisor if this may be allowed in your area before deciding to not wear a face covering.

A faculty or staff member that I supervise is not wearing a mask or other face covering. What should I do?

Meet with the individual one-on-one (by Zoom is okay) and have a private, respectful conversation in which you explain the face covering requirement. If the person has a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering or they otherwise wish to seek accommodations, they should consult with Human Resources to explore potential alternatives. If there is no medical condition or disability, request that they start to wear a face covering immediately. If the staff or faculty member has another reason such as religious objection, they should contact Human Resources, which will work with them to determine what accommodations may be possible.

My supervisor or colleague is not wearing a face covering. What should I do?

Politely ask that your coworker or supervisor wear a face covering. If they are not following the University’s direction, this can be immediately reported to your department manager, senior leader, or Human Resources.

What are the consequences of not wearing a face covering?

If a faculty or staff member refuses to wear a face covering, their supervisor should first support the individual’s ability to cooperate with face covering guidelines through education/coaching and problem solving, such as explaining the benefits of face coverings, and providing a mask to an employee who has forgotten a face covering or was unable to purchase one. If staff or faculty continue to refuse, supervisors must deal with this as a performance or misconduct issue.

Face Covering Accommodations

Who can advise employees who need an accommodation or supervisors needing guidance about potential accommodations?

Employees or supervisors should contact Human Resources about seeking accommodations.

Who can help if I cannot wear a face covering due to a disability or medical condition?

Human Resources is available to help you explore alternative accommodations.

I have experienced discrimination based on my need for accommodations. What should I do?

We understand that a directive to wear a face covering may exacerbate implicit biases and existing stereotypes. All members of the University community should avoid stigmatizing others because they are wearing or not wearing face coverings. If you are experiencing such discrimination or criticism, please contact Human Resources or the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action.

Are there religious or other reasons that alternative accommodations may be needed?

Yes, it is possible. Please discuss the need for alternative accommodations with Human Resources.

Complying with Face Coverings

What should I do if I observe others not complying with this requirement?

The University expects the community to behave responsibly with respect to the health and safety of others. We are a community. We can help keep each other safe and we all need to be part of the solution. Staff and students should not attempt to directly enforce this directive but instead should share any concerns of suspected violations with their immediate supervisor or appropriate university official.

Is it appropriate for me to remind someone in an indoor space with me of the face covering requirement? To politely ask them to put a face covering on?

In some instances, it may be appropriate to politely ask others to observe the face covering protocol. However, be careful to avoid stigmatizing other members of the community. Recognize that some members of our community may be exempt from the face coverings requirement or may be utilizing accommodations. Above all, be patient and kind with others as we work together to keep our campus community safe and healthy.

Where can I find the full face covering protocol?

It is posted on the Return to Campus website.

Will people be disciplined for not wearing a face covering?

Compliance with the face covering protocol is expected. Our first preference is to handle this with a conversation and a social enforcement approach, but University community members who repeatedly disregard this expectation will be referred to Human Resources or to offices that engage in student conduct for follow up. As with other University regulations, failure to comply may result in disciplinary action through the Office of Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean (faculty), Human Resources (staff), and Student Affairs / the Student Behavior Committee (students).

Questions regarding exceptions to the face covering directive may be directed to those offices, which will then consult with other appropriate University offices/officials as necessary when evaluating requests for an exemption.