Personal Health and Safety Guidance

Page last updated on July 15, 2020 2:34 pm

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.

COVID graphic set

Personal Safety Practices

Physical Distancing

Maintaining space between you and others is a best practice and required on the M State campus to avoid exposure to the COVID-19 virus and slow its spread. Because people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay away from others whenever possible, even if you have no symptoms. Physical distancing is especially important for people who are at higher risk. Individuals on campus should follow these physical distancing practices:

  • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people
  • Do not gather in groups
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings

Face Masks/Coverings

Face masks/coverings (e.g., disposable masks or cloth face coverings) must be worn by all employees, students, and members of the public at all times when in public settings on the campus (e.g., common workspaces, public spaces, hallways, stairwells, elevators, meeting rooms, classrooms, break-rooms, restrooms, etc.). Faculty who are delivering on-campus instruction may remove their face mask to teach provided they are located within a delineated teaching area that is no less than 10 feet from students. If physical distancing is possible, individuals working in private offices or laboratory environments that do not otherwise require masks can remove their masks while in such space. Appropriate use of face masks/coverings is important in minimizing risks to the wearer and those around them. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. The face mask/covering is not a substitute for physical distancing. 

Each faculty, staff member and student should wear a cloth face mask. You may wear homemade cloth face coverings that abide by CDC and other public health recommendations. There will be a limited number of disposable and cloth masks, if needed. Disposable masks should only be worn for one day. See details regarding face mask/covering use and care below.

If an individual is having difficulty wearing a face mask/covering, contact your supervisor or student services for direction. A faculty or staff member who cannot wear a face mask/covering due to medical or other reasons should contact Human Resources for possible accommodation measures.  Students should contact Accessibility Resources for possible accommodation measures.

Use and Care of Face Masks/Coverings:

Putting on the face mask/covering

  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer prior to handling the face mask/covering.
  • Ensure the face mask/covering fits over the nose and under the chin.
  • Situate the face mask/covering properly with nose wire snug against the nose (where applicable).
  • Tie straps behind the head and neck or loop around the ears.
  • Throughout the process: Avoid touching the front of the face mask/covering.

Disposal of face masks

  • Keep face mask stored in a paper bag when not in use.
  • Disposable face masks must not be used for more than one day and should be placed in a trash receptacle.
  • Dispose of a face mask if it is visibly damaged (e.g., stretched ear loops, torn or punctured materials), dirty or visibly contaminated.

Taking off the face mask/covering

  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth when removing the face mask/covering.
  • When taking off the face mask/covering, loop your finger into the strap and pull the strap away from the ear, or untie the straps.
  • Wash hands immediately after removing.

Care, storage and laundering of cloth face coverings

  • Keep face covering stored in a paper bag when not in use.
  • Cloth face coverings may not be used more than one day at a time and must be washed after use.
  • Disinfecting method: Launder cloth face coverings with regular clothing detergent before first use and after each shift. (Disposable masks are not washable).

Gloves

Gloves are not necessary for general use and should not replace good hand hygiene. Washing your hands often with soap and water is considered the best practice for common everyday tasks. Please speak with your supervisor to determine if gloves are necessary.

Goggles/Face Shields

Individuals are not required to wear goggles or face shields as part of general activity on campus. Good hand hygiene and avoiding touching your face are generally sufficient for non-healthcare environments.

Personal Disinfection

Facilities will continue to clean office and workspaces, classrooms and public spaces based on protocols developed with CDC guidance in mind, and you should take additional care to wipe down commonly used surfaces after use. The college will make every effort to provide product for use in your personal workspace, however, demands on the supply chain may limit what we can provide. Before you leave any room in which you have been working or eating, it is recommended that you wipe down all work or eating areas with EPA-registered disinfectant. This includes a private workspace or any shared-space location or equipment (e.g., computers, A/V and other electrical equipment, copiers, desks and tables, chair arms, light switches, doorknobs, handles, etc.). To the best of your ability, you should clear desk and table surfaces in personal offices and workstations to aid in thorough cleaning. Using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol is also effective after contacting commonly used surfaces.

Hand Washing

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, using the restroom, blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing or before and after eating. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Coughing/Sneezing Hygiene

If you are in a private setting and not wearing your face mask/covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing

M State is committed to supporting your overall health and well-being. Contact Human Resources for more information and resources to offer support, manage stress and enhance your resilience. For information on the Employee Assistance program follow the link https://mn.gov/mmb/segip/health-and-wellbeing/eap/

United Healthcare is offering an emotional support help line for all students through its Optum subsidiary at no cost to students. Their toll-free help line number is 86.342.6892 and is open 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Students have access to specially trained mental health specialists to support them if they feel they are experiencing anxiety or stress related to developments around COVID-19.