To support our students, faculty and staff in moving forward amid the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, M State commits to continuing to provide safe spaces where learning, teaching, serving and working together can thrive. Here are the phases and procedures that will guide the college community as we gradually reopen our campuses to pursue our mission of delivering affordable and exceptional education, service and workforce training.
This plan is designed to outline the phased and coordinated planning that will need to occur over the coming months and the protocols that the college will use to ensure that employees and students have a safe environment to work and visit, and at the same time open up the necessary services and activities that will allow us to maintain enrollment as best we can. Protocols will be rooted in safety for staff, faculty, students, invited guests (e.g., contractors) and for the public we interact with using guidance from the Minnesota State system office, Minnesota Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and the governor’s executive orders. Protecting the health of the M State community will require long-term effort and commitment, cooperation, teamwork and understanding.
As we confront the continuing changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, M State will remain focused on our mission and values as outlined in the Strategic Plan. Therefore, the college will ramp up in phases with primary mission activities at the heart of all decision-making. Strategic Plan activities are any required on-campus activities that fulfill M State’s core pillars of student success, equity and inclusion, and financial sustainability.
Radically different ways of deploying M State campus resources, including physical spaces, will be necessary as part of establishing a new normal. As we move forward, flexibility will be critical. M State’s return to instruction and services on campus will occur in phases of increased activity and will involve the careful evaluation of data, models and public health recommendations. Protocols will be pragmatic and evolve over time.
M State’s plans for expanding operations and increasing the presence of faculty, staff and students will be guided by the following criteria:
- The very intentional effort by all faculty, staff and students in exercising both personal and campus responsibility. The combined efforts by all members of the M State community will create a culture that sustains a healthy and safe on-campus environment.
- Existing and projected government restrictions (e.g., stay at home orders, masking requirements, physical distancing, gatherings, etc.).
- Public health status: recommendations from the federal government (recently released opening guidelines), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Minnesota Department of Health.
- Resource availability including PPE (personal protective equipment) for students, faculty and staff.
- Physical distancing strategies.
- Financial feasibility.
- Alignment with M State’s strategic plan that the ramp-up of on-campus activities will support primary mission objectives of the college.
M State’s plans will also consider local orders and ordinances of the cities and counties in which our campuses are located, as well as the State of Minnesota.
M State will follow a phased approach to re-engaging services on campus. The M State plan acknowledges the triggers and phases of ramp-up for the cities in which M State is located and identifies which activities ramp up on campus and when. The M State activities that will ramp up are identified below in each corresponding phase. The college will communicate with the M State community in advance of each phase. If metrics of COVID-19 transmission and health system capacity change significantly and the State of Minnesota returns to a prior phase, M State may also return to a prior phase and re-impose restrictions on activities.