COVID-19 Information for Minnesota State Students, Faculty, and Staff

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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, these guidelines and answers to frequently asked questions are being provided to our Minnesota State college and universities, secondary partners, and high school students participating in postsecondary enrollment options (PSEO) and concurrent enrollment programs.

Contact your Minnesota State P20 and College Readiness team with questions or concerns:

FAQs

When will classes be cancelled? When will they resume? When will the semester end?

The goal of suspending classes is to allow faculty time to develop alternative delivery modes for their courses starting March 30 or April 6, depending on the campus. The semester will conclude per the existing campus calendars, between May 5 and May 20. The weeks when classes are cancelled varies depending on when spring break occurs.

Original Spring Break March 9-13 or earlier:

March 16-27: No classes held on campus or online; practicum, internship, customized training, and other off-campus educational offerings can continue provided they use social distancing strategies (see more below).
March 30: Classes resume, with alternative modes of delivery and/or adjusted campus learning spaces to ensure the safety of our communities.

Classes will resume on March 30 at all Minnesota State colleges and universities EXCEPT those identified below.

Original Spring Break March 16-20:

March 23-April 3: No classes held on campus or online; practicum, internship, customized training, and other off-campus educational offerings can continue provided they use social distancing strategies.
April 6: Classes resume, with alternative modes of delivery and/or adjusted campus learning spaces to ensure the safety of our communities.

The five Minnesota State colleges that will resume instruction on April 6 are: 

  • Anoka-Ramsey Community College
  • Anoka Technical College
  • Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College
  • Hennepin Technical College
  • Saint Paul College

When classes are cancelled, does that include cancelling student teaching, internships, practica, clinical rotations, concurrent enrollment, customized training, and other off-campus study? What about courses that have clock hour requirements from a licensing agency (FAA, DOLI, MBON)?

Students can continue internships, student teaching, and clinical placements if and when the learning occurs off-campus (assuming the hosting organizations remain open) and when campus faculty are not directly involved in the instruction (given the purpose of suspending classes). For example, in some student teaching placements, teacher candidates continue in the K-12 setting even when the college or university is on spring break, with the day-to-day supervision being done by a cooperating classroom teacher. Our recommendation is that the faculty who have students in those types of placements should communicate directly with those affected students to discuss options for continuing those educational experiences, which again rests on whether the hosting organization is open.

For courses that have clock hour requirements from an outside agency, please contact the Academic and Student Affairs staff to discuss possible options. We are still learning from licensing agencies what this might mean for students.

When courses resume on March 30 or April 6, what are the expectations around alternative modes of delivery?

When classes resume, they will not simply go on as before. In determining the appropriate alternative course delivery approach for each course, academic leaders should work with their faculty to explore the options below, listed in priority order:

  1. Migrate the course to an online format within D2LBrightspace.
  2. If option 1 is unviable, migrate the course to an alternative synchronous format such as ZOOM or other conferencing technologies.
  3. If option 2 is unviable, migrate the course to an a-synchronous format, using email correspondence or other forms of non-synchronous technology or communication.
  4. If the full course cannot be delivered in one of the above manners and must retain a face-to-face component, the course must be adapted to reduce contact time, ensure social distancing, and reduce personal interactions and/or contact time.
    1. Strategies for this adaptation include, but are not limited to:
      1. Moving non-applied components of the course to one of the formats enumerated above
      2. Reducing hours in the lab/classroom
      3. Implementing special safety and separation precautions (i.e., minimum of 6 feet buffer zones, etc.)
      4. Splitting of sections into smaller groups
      5. Expansion of lab availability, staggering students across time

Assessment and Final Examinations

  • Course assessments and final examinations must be adapted to the new method of instruction.
  • Face-to-face assessments and final examinations should only be used for those limited courses that cannot be fully delivered in a non-classroom format.

What about students who have no or limited access to technology or broadband?

Equity in access to technology has been a primary concern as we move courses to alternative delivery modes. We have asked campuses to remain open to students so that they can campuses resources, including broadband, computer labs, and technology.

What will occur with concurrent enrollment courses?

Academic and Student Affairs staff have been in communication with Minnesota Department of Education, and they are developing guidance on how to proceed. We are also developing guidance and are in communication with NACEP. We will follow up once we have more information.

What if students are unable to complete course and/or program requirements this semester?

Faculty should work with students who have program requirements disrupted because of the suspension of normal in-person classes or the closure of a host organization, such as a business, clinic, hospital, or school where off-campus learning occurs. Minnesota State will be in contact with state licensing agencies to work on behalf of colleges and universities to address these situations, though that does not preclude individual campuses contacting those agencies when needed.

What events are cancelled or postponed?

Effective immediately and according to current MDH and CDC guidelines, any gathering must have less than 50 people if social distancing can be adhered to. If possible, please adhere to the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America by avoiding social gathering in groups of more than 10 people.  This is effective until you receive further guidance from Minnesota State. 

What about groups that will be coming to campus for outside events?

The Minnesota Department of Health recommendations apply to all events on campus.

What about commencement ceremonies?

Spring 2020 commencements at all colleges and universities are suspended. Colleges and universities may find ways of acknowledging spring graduation virtually or online. Please watch your official college or university email for any information regarding such an acknowledgement.

For how long will international and out-of-state travel be suspended?

International travel was suspended effective February 28, 2020. Out-of-state travel was suspended March 16, 2020. We will re-evaluate the length of the suspension on a weekly basis.

How should campuses respond to faculty, staff, or students returning from travel, particularly international travel?

Please consult the CDC’s COVID-19 travel page for the latest guidance. International travelers returning from specified countries are asked to stay home for 14 days from the time they have left an area with widespread or ongoing community spread. Here is the CDCs list of countries.

The CDC has also issued guidance related to travel within the US.

Should faculty, staff, and students currently on out-of-state travel be asked to return immediately?

The suspension of out-of-state travel starting March 16 is for new trips that begin on or after March 16. Individuals on current out-of-state trips can choose to return as previously scheduled.

What strategies are in place in the event of a positive COVID-19 test on campus? If it is a student, can that student remain in the residence halls?

CDC has specific guidance on communities with a positive test.

How are colleges and universities treating employees who exhibit symptoms consistent with COVID-19? Different than common cold/flu?

At this time, MMB guidance is as follows: The employee should be treated the same as any other employee who displays symptoms of a contagious disease. Agencies should encourage all employees who are sick to stay home. Agencies may send home employees who display symptoms of contagious diseases if the agency sends all employees home who display similar symptoms. If an employee is sent home because they are displaying symptoms of a contagious disease, agencies should continue to follow normal policies and procedures for FMLA and other leave.

Will there be changes to cleaning protocols for facilities?

Campuses should follow CDC guidance if there are suspected or confirmed cases in the community.

What do I need to know about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have provided this Fact Sheet on COVID-19:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/2019-ncov-factsheet.pdf

What should I do if I am sick and diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspect I am infected with the virus that causes COVID-19?

The CDC has provided this Fact Sheet outlining steps to help prevent the disease from spreading to people:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/sick-with-2019-nCoV-fact-sheet.pdf

What should individuals or organizations postpone or cancel to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota?

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommends these implementing these mitigation strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota:
https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/action.pdf

What can students, faculty and staff do to protect themselves and each other?

We encourage students, faculty and staff to practice respiratory (coughing and sneezing) etiquette and hand hygiene. Those who feel sick are recommended to stay home until they are free of fever, signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick and seek medical attention depending on the severity of their symptoms. 

For specific questions related to your campus, contact your campus directly. Campus contacts are listed above under Resources.

For technical support related to StarID, D2L, Kaltura, Zoom, Office 365, or other general inquiries, Ask Us or call 800-456-8519.

For additional resources for employees, log into Minnesota State SharePoint/Connect using your StarID@MinnState.edu username and password. 

For any technical-related issues, submit a ticket via the IT Service Desk portal. Or, if you cannot access the portal, call 877-466-6728 or email servicedesk@minnstate.edu.