Return to Learn Announcements

An archive of Return to Learn announcements sent out to the campus community via email.


Beat the lines and join us for Minnesota State Mankato’s “Drop & Go” program to deliver the bulk of your belongings to your residence hall room for a socially-distant move-in experience!

You’ll sign up for a 2.5 hour weekday/weekend timeslot between Saturday, August 8 and Sunday, August 16.  Up to 23 residents per residence community may register in each timeslot. Students may bring up to two guests to assist.

When you return to campus for class, you’ll stroll in and skip the lines!  Look for sign-up information by mid-July.


Dear Students:

Thank you to everyone who has reached out with questions, comments and concerns regarding the upcoming school year. We appreciate hearing from you and are doing our best to respond as quickly as possible. We also appreciate your patience as we work through the details of planning for your return to campus. We will do our best to provide information to you as quickly as possible.

With that in mind, I want to let you know about the University’s Return to Learn COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. This document outlines core health and safety measures for the reopening of campus with a focus on reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for students, faculty, staff and visitors. It includes a lot of important information, and I encourage you to take a look at it when you are able. Planning also continues in many important areas such as fall course offerings, housing, dining, and student services.  We will bring you updates in those areas in the coming weeks.

I also want to remind you to complete the survey that Interim Provost Matt Cecil sent to you earlier this week; if you haven’t already, please go to https://mnsu.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_80LU38s6kl2yCfX to do so now. Your answers will help our faculty as they prepare to offer you the best possible learning experience this fall.

Finally: We have heard from many of you concerned about the format of the classes you’re registered for this fall and how you can know if they will be online, in-person or FlexSync. We are working with the Minnesota State system and expect our fall course schedule to be updated by Wednesday, July 8, reflecting how each course section is planned to be offered this fall. Thank you for your patience as we make revisions and updates.

Please keep sending us your questions about the Return to Learn planning process; you can submit your questions here. We will get back to you with answers as soon as possible. In the meantime, I will continue to send you email updates every week. You can also find more information by visiting www.mnsu.edu/returntolearn.

I look forward to seeing you again in August!

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport,
President                                  


The University has approved the Return to Learn COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, which outlines core health and safety measures for broad resumption of in-person activities on campus. The focus of the plan is on reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for students, faculty, staff and visitors. The plan is available here. Planning also continues in many important areas such as student housing, dining and campus and student services.

As we expand our planning work, a departmental planning questionnaire has been developed and is being distributed this week (it can also be downloaded directly here) to department chairs and directors. The Pandemic Operations and Tactics Team is offering an informational session via Zoom to walk through the questionnaire at 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 26. Anyone interested in attending should email Marla Bock at marla.bock@mnsu.edu to be added to the meeting.

University Printing Services is currently working on Return to Learn signage solutions for campus, including entrance signs for all campus buildings and floor decals to serve as safe distance reminders where needed. Questions about other signage can be sent to printing_work_order@mnsu.edu.

If you have questions about the Return to Learn planning process or what you can expect on campus this fall, please submit your question here. We will get back to you with an answer as soon as possible.


Dear Students:

Your safety is the top value guiding the work we at the University are doing to prepare for your arrival back on campus this fall. Things will certainly be different—but the changes that are being implemented are being done with the health and safety of all our students, faculty, staff and visitors in mind.

Our plan is to surround you with a community of care at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Although we don’t have all the details about exactly how that will happen, here are some of the ways we will do so:

  • Providing access to an electronic daily health self-screening checklist for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • Providing two cloth masks to each of you
  • Following social distancing and hygiene guidelines across campus
  • Offering FlexSync classes that allow for both in-person and remote learning options
  • Reserving space for resident students who need to quarantine and/or isolate

I encourage any of you who have questions about the Return to Learn planning process or what you can expect on campus this fall to submit your questions here. We will get back to you with an answer as soon as possible.

I will continue to send you email updates so you know how the University is preparing for fall and you can find more information about the Return to Learn initiative by visiting www.mnsu.edu/returntolearn.

I look forward to seeing you again in August!

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport,
President


The safety of our faculty, staff and students is the top value guiding the work we are doing to prepare for reopening campus. Things will certainly be different—but the changes that are being implemented are being done with the health and safety of campus community in mind.

Our plan is to create a community of care for everyone at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Although we don’t have all the details about exactly how that will happen, here are some of the ways we will do so:

  • Providing access to an electronic daily health self-screening check-list for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • Providing two cloth masks to all faculty, staff and students
  • Adopting a phased transition of employees back to campus
  • Working with departments and work units to prepare spaces that follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines related to COVID-19
  • Creating signage to support social distancing and hygiene guidelines across campus
  • Offering FlexSync classes that allow for both in-person and remote learning this fall

If you have questions about the Return to Learn planning process or what you can expect on campus this fall, please submit your questions here. We will get back to you with an answer as soon as possible. Faculty should speak to their deans if they have situations needing accommodations.


Dear Students:

As we prepare to welcome you back to campus this fall, we wanted you to know that, in order to help keep the campus community safe, there will be a new requirement for face masks, based on guidance from Gov. Walz’s Executive Order 20-74 and recommendations from the CDC, which states:

CDC Guide - Cloth Face Coverings - Require use of cloth face coverings among students, faculty, and staff. Face coverings shall be worn as feasible and are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult. Individuals should be frequently reminded not to touch the face covering and to wash their hands frequently. Information shall be provided to all students, faculty, and staff on proper use, removal, and washing of cloth face coverings.

The requirement to wear a face mask applies to anyone on campus, or at any of our additional locations, including but not limited to students, staff, faculty, contractors, vendors, suppliers and visitors, includes the following protocol:​

  • Anyone entering a campus building,including a residence hall, must wear a face mask. ​
  • Masks must be worn in all hallways, classrooms, public spaces and common areas, as well as office spaces, if social distancing of six feet is not possible. (When in a dorm room, the wearing of a mask is not required.)
  • Face masks are also required in outdoor settings, if safe social distancing and gathering practices are not possible.​
  • Individuals may supply their own face masks—but the University will be providing a cloth mask to all students, faculty and staff.

More details about Return to Learn COVID-19 preparedness expectations and special circumstances will available in the coming weeks.  

I will continue to send you email updates so you know how the University is preparing for fall and you can find more information about the Return to Learn initiative by visiting www.mnsu.edu/returntolearn.

I look forward to seeing you again in August!

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport,
President


In order to help keep the campus community safe when the University opens this fall, Cabinet has approved a recommendation to require face masks on campus, based on guidance from Gov. Walz’s Executive Order 20-74 and recommendations from the CDC, which states: 

CDC Guide - Cloth Face Coverings - Require use of cloth face coverings among students, faculty, and staff. Face coverings shall be worn as feasible and are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult. Individuals should be frequently reminded not to touch the face covering and to wash their hands frequently. Information shall be provided to all students, faculty, and staff on proper use, removal, and washing of cloth face coverings.

The mask requirement, which applies to anyone on the Mankato campus or at one of our additional locations, including but not limited to students, staff, faculty, contractors, vendors, suppliers and visitors, includes the following protocol:

  • Anyone entering a campus building, including a residence hall, must wear a face mask. 
  • Masks must be worn in all hallways, classrooms, public spaces and common areas, as well as office spaces, if social distancing of six feet is not possible. (When in a dorm room, the wearing of a mask is not required.)
  • Face masks are also required in outdoor settings, if safe social distancing and gathering practices are not possible.
  • Individuals may supply their own face masks—but the University will be providing cloth masks to all students, faculty and staff.

More details about expectations and special circumstances related to masks will available in the coming weeks.  

For more information about the Return to Learn initiative, visit www.mnsu.edu/returntolearn.


Hello from Mankato! We are excited to have you join us this fall.

While the Fall Semester will involve a number of changes in support of health and safety, we intend to provide on-campus students with a great residential living experience. Below are updates you may find helpful.

Room Selection/Assignments

  • Students who applied by March 1st will be emailed Room Selection timeslots throughout the day tomorrow. Timeslots will open beginning June 22nd.
  • Students who applied after March 1st will be assigned a room beginning mid-July. You can expect an email when you have been assigned to a room.
  • Learning Community students will receive room assignments on a rolling basis starting this week. Learning Community students who are unable to live on Learning Community floors may still participate in their LC.

Early Drop-off of Belongings
To support social distancing, students will sign up to drop off their belongings in their residence hall room in the weeks prior to residence hall opening. More info to be provided.

Housing Application Cancellation Deadline
We are extending our cancellation deadline to July 20.

Health & Safety Practices
To support the health & safety of the University community, the University will issue behavioral expectations to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.  These expectations are being developed in conjunction with guidance from the CDC and the MN Department of Health and are expected to include the following:

  • Wearing face masks in public spaces
  • Social distancing
  • Limiting occupancy of public spaces
  • Limiting guests in residence hall rooms
  • Frequent hand-washing
  • Daily individual health screening

More information will be provided when this set of expectations is finalized.

Department of Residential Life | Minnesota State University, Mankato | (507) 389-1011 | reslife@mnsu.edu | www.mnsu.edu/reslife


Dear Students:

With this email, I want to introduce you to Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Return to Learn plan, which is the work we are doing to prepare to open campus this fall. We will be sending you weekly updates throughout the summer about how these plans will impact you and your return to school in August.

We are looking forward to welcoming you back in the fall for a mixture of face-to-face and online instruction, as well as a new model that we are calling FlexSync. FlexSync course delivery allows students to attend the same class in-person or remotely via Zoom. The flexibility allowed by FlexSync may be used throughout the semester to meet student needs and preferences as well as to adjust to evolving distancing guidelines related to the current health crisis.

I invite you to learn more about how FlexSync will work at the Return to Learn website, where you can also find more information about the plan and how it will come together over the coming weeks.

In order to make a return to campus work, the University will need to implement new health and safety protocols for all faculty, staff and students around social distancing, facility cleaning and personal protection. We are in the process of building a flexible plan that will allow the University to address additional issues as they arise and to keep our campus community safe.

I will share more details of the plan with you in coming weeks. In the meantime, here are some additional key points for you to be aware of right now:

  1. Under the direction of the Minnesota State Chancellor’s Office, we’re using a multi-phase planning timeline to address both immediate and long-range needs.

Phase 1        Short-term (May-August 2020)

Phase 2        Mid-term (August-December 2020)

Phase 3        Long-term (January 2021-)

  1. Also under the direction of the Minnesota State Chancellor’s Office, we are looking at a planning scenario framework that allows us to shift as conditions change. We are currently operating as if Scenario B will be in place.

Scenario A   No restrictions on movement or size of gatherings 

Scenario B   Restrictions on movement and size of gatherings, but no stay at home order in place

Scenario C   Significant restrictions on movement and gatherings, with stay at home order in place for part or all of the semester

  1. The University has established the following Return to Learn Values to guide our decisions as we prepare for fall:
  • Keep our students, faculty, and staff healthy and safe
  • Assure that students can maintain progress toward their educational goals 
  • Maintain the financial sustainability of the university
  • Pursue the strategic directions and priorities of the university
  • Advance toward achieving Equity 2030 goals

For more information about our efforts to prepare for your return this fall, please visit the Return to Learn website.

I look forward to seeing you again in August!

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport,
President


We are looking forward to welcoming students back in the fall for a mixture of face-to-face and online instruction, as well as a new model of course delivery that we are calling FlexSync. FlexSync course delivery allows students to attend the same class either in-person or remotely via Zoom. Since we likely cannot host full classrooms due to social distancing requirements, FlexSync provides the flexibility to meet student and faculty needs and preferences as well as to adjust to evolving distancing guidelines related to the current health crisis.

We invite faculty to learn more about how FlexSync will work at www.mnsu.edu/flexsync. That site will be updated with additional updates and professional development information in coming weeks. In addition, IT Solutions has produced a video that visually describes how FlexSync would work in a class. You can view that on the Return to Learn Web site at www.mnsu.edu/returntolearn.

To deliver these FlexSync classes, we will need to add new health and safety protocols around social distancing, facility cleaning and personal protection. We are in the process of building a flexible plan that will allow the University to address additional issues as they arise.

Some key points of the plan to be aware of now:

  1. Under the direction of the Minnesota State Chancellor’s Office, we’re using a multi-phase planning timeline to address both immediate and long-range needs.

Phase 1        Short-term (May-August 2020)

Phase 2        Mid-term (August-December 2020)

Phase 3        Long-term (January, 2021-)

  1. Also under the direction of the Minnesota State Chancellor’s Office, we are looking at a planning scenario framework that allows us to shift as conditions change. We are currently operating as if Scenario B will be in place.

Scenario A   No restrictions on movement or size of gatherings 

Scenario B   Restrictions on movement and size of gatherings, but no stay at home order in place

Scenario C   Significant restrictions on movement and gatherings, with stay at home order in place for part or all of the semester

  1. The University has established the following Return to Learn Values to guide decisions made as we prepare for fall:

Keep our students, faculty, and staff healthy and safe

Assure that students can maintain progress toward their educational goals 

Maintain the financial sustainability of the university

Pursue the strategic directions and priorities of the university

Advance toward achieving Equity 2030 goals

  1. We are in the midst of implementing the FlexSync hybrid learning model, which will allow us to be prepared for both face-to-face and online/remote learning in approximately 100 classrooms on campus.

Colleagues,

We have received written guidance from the Office of Higher Education (OHE) on the governor's recent executive order, 20-56; the order that allowed non-critical businesses to begin re-opening on May 18. The new guidance is available on OHE's website.

The safety of our students and employees remain paramount. Our campus will be open and ready to welcome students in the fall, while adapting as necessary to safely serve them and provide them with an extraordinary education.

In addition to the safety focus, what does this new guidance mean for Minnesota State University, Mankato?

  • First and foremost, services and courses that can be delivered remotely must continue to be delivered remotely. 
  • Employees who can work remotely must continue to do so.
  • Prior to resuming in-person activities, our campus will need to establish a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. Work on our University’s COVID-19 Preparedness Plan is underway, guided by a Return to Learn Advisory Committee led by Interim Provost Matt Cecil and Vice President Lynn Akey.
  • The work of the Advisory Committee is focused on coordinating planning across a range of potential scenarios that is supported by action teams focused on five key areas: student learning; student life; employee return; financial sustainability; communications and enrollment; and partnerships.
  • The work of the Advisory Committee is also support by a Pandemic Operations and Tactics team focused on precautions and steps that must be taken in the context of COVID-19.

In the days ahead you will receive additional communication providing guidance and steps that will need to be taken prior to the University increasing in-person activities and/or additional employees returning to the workplace. 

Our eagerness to return to normal must be tempered by the overarching need to keep the campus community safe. Careful preparation is critical for our success moving forward. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we prepare for fall and beyond.

Stay safe.

Richard Davenport
President