COVID-19 Preparedness Plan

Our goal is to mitigate the potential for transmission of COVID-19 within our campus and additional locations. Achieving this goal requires full cooperation among students, faculty, staff and members of our campus community.

Return to Learn COVID-19 Preparedness Plan (PDF Download)

Only through a cooperative effort, can we establish and maintain the safety and health of our University. Campus leaders, supervisors, employees, and students are responsible for implementing and complying with this Plan.

Planning Guidance

We are serious about the safety and health of our students and employees. Our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines and federal OSHA standards related to COVID-19 and addresses:

The plan that follows is based upon the current understanding of COVID-19 conditions and guidance provided by the CDC, MDH, Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB), and Minnesota State system as of June 15, 2020. This plan will be reviewed, revised and updated as conditions change and/or new guidance is received.


Screening and Policies for Those Exhibiting Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19

Employees and students will be informed of and encouraged to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. The following policies and procedures are being implemented to assess health status prior to entering the campus and for employees and students to report when they are sick or experiencing symptoms. 

Screening Protocols

Students, employees and visitors are expected to self-screen for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 daily.

  • Self-screening signage will be placed at building entrances, as well as at classroom and instructional lab entrances.
  • An electronic self-screening checklist will be available via the MavLIFE app and mnsu.edu website.

The electronic version of the self-screening checklist will not collect or store data about individuals or symptoms. Proof of screening will not be available.

If determined that an individual should not attend work or class due to symptoms or exposure, he or she will follow previously established processes for informing supervisors or faculty that he or she will not be in attendance.

Screening Response

Employees or students who are feeling ill and/or are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms are required to not report to work or attend class.

If symptoms develop while on campus, individuals are to immediately leave campus/return to their place of residence. These individuals should contact their healthcare provider and follow the instructions given to them by their healthcare provider.

Employees should report their work status to their supervisor as soon as possible and/or prior to the start of their next work shift. Employees that need assistance with any applicable leave policies or benefits should contact Human Resources at hr@mnsu.edu or 507-389-2015.

Students that need assistance with any applicable attendance policies or services should contact the Student Affairs Office at student-affairs@mnsu.edu or 507-389-2121.

Students living in university housing should contact Residential Life to arrange accommodations for isolation and/or quarantine. Isolation rooms will be available for students who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been told by a health care provider to release this information to Residential Life. Quarantine rooms will be available for students who have been notified by Department of Health that they were in contact with a COVID-19 positive person or the student’s health care provider notified Residential Life that the student needs to quarantine.

Students not living in university housing should contact the student COVID-19 contact (Student Affairs Office at student-affairs@mnsu.edu or 507-389-2121) if the Department of Health notifies them that they tested positive or were in contact with a COVID-19 positive person.

Leave and Privacy Policies

Minnesota State Mankato, through Minnesota State and Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB), has implemented leave policies that promote workers staying at home when they are sick, when household members are sick, or when required by a health care provider to isolate or quarantine themselves or a member of their household.

MMB has initiated a paid COVID-19 administrative leave benefit for the duration of the state emergency as declared by Governor Walz. This benefit provides paid leave to University employees who must be absent from work for reasons related to COVID-19.

Sick leave policies are governed by collective bargaining agreements and personnel plans for all University employees. In general, employees should use sick leave in cases of personal illness, exposure to a contagious disease, or illness in the immediate family. Sick leave rules vary by contract, so employees should consult their agreements for the rules that apply to their position. Collective bargaining agreements can be accessed on the Human Resources website.

In general, eligible employees are entitled for up to twelve (12) weeks of leave each fiscal year for certain family and medical reasons pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), relevant state law, and collective bargaining agreements and plans. Employees should contact Human Resources with any questions about FMLA.

Accommodations for workers with underlying medical conditions or who have household members with underlying health conditions have been implemented. Please consult the paid COVID-19 administrative leave policy referenced above, or the sick leave and FMLA policies described above for more information. Specific questions should be directed to Human Resources.

The policy of Minnesota State Mankato is to follow Minnesota Department of Health and local health department guidance and direction on informing workers if they have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 on campus and requiring them to quarantine for the required amount of time.

In addition, a policy has been implemented to protect the privacy of workers’ health status and health information. Employee health data is governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Minnesota Data Practices Act. Health data is considered confidential.


Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

Handwashing and Sanitizer

Basic infection prevention measures are being implemented at the Minnesota State Mankato campus and additional locations.

  • Employees, students and visitors are instructed to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water frequently throughout the day, but especially at the beginning and end of their time on campus, prior to eating and after using the toilet.
  • All visitors to campus facilities will be strongly encouraged to wash their hands prior to or immediately upon entering a facility.
  • All work and classroom facilities have hand-sanitizer dispensers located in each restroom.
  • Hand sanitizer will also be available through office services (sanitizers must be of greater than 60% alcohol).

Respiratory Etiquette

Employees, students and visitors will be instructed to cover their mouth and nose with their sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing and to avoid touching their face, in particular their mouth, nose and eyes, with their hands.

Employees, students and visitors should dispose of tissues in the trash and wash or sanitize their hands immediately afterward.

Respiratory etiquette will be demonstrated on posters and supported by making tissues and trash receptacles available in work and classroom places.

Face Covering and Masks

CDC guidance indicates that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms and those that eventually develop symptoms can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.

Given this, the CDC strongly recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Minnesota State Mankato has adopted the following face covering/mask protocols. These expectations apply to anyone on campus, including, but not limited to, students, staff, faculty, contractors, vendors, suppliers and visitors.

  • Anyone entering campus is strongly recommended to wear a face covering.
  • Face coverings are strongly recommended to be worn in all hallways, public spaces, common areas, as well as classrooms and instructional spaces.
  • Face coverings are strongly recommended in office settings, private office spaces, cubicles and workstation spaces where social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Face coverings are strongly recommended in outdoor settings where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Individuals may supply their own face masks—but the University will provide a limited number of cloth masks to all students, faculty, and staff. When the wearing of a cloth mask is not possible, follow CDC recommendations for effective alternatives. 

Here are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • Masks or cloth face coverings can help with preventing germs from infecting others – especially in situations where individuals may spread the virus without symptoms.
  • Wearing a mask or cloth face coverings does not protect an individual from others who may spread the virus.
  • Handwashing is preferable to wearing latex gloves, as germs can stay on the surface and transfer to everything touched.
  • People who are sick should still stay isolated. Wearing a mask or cloth face coverings does not mean people who are sick should go out into the community. If an individual is sick and needs to go to the doctor, they should call their health care provider before going in and wear a mask or cloth face coverings to the clinic.
  • Don’t buy or wear surgical or N95 masks. These supplies are in high need in health care facilities to protect health care workers.
  • A mask or cloth face covering should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask or cloth face covering without assistance.

Information about and expectations regarding hygiene and respiratory etiquette will be regularly communicated to the campus community using a variety of channels, including but not limited to:

  • Social media
  • Website
  • Posters (including the large frames in every building on campus, hand-washing posters in restrooms and other specific messages in relevant locations)
  • Videos
  • Email
  • MavLife app
  • Print piece to be distributed with masks
  • Campus newsletters
  • Digital monitors throughout campus
  • Ads in The Reporter
  • Signage/stickers that promote social distancing on floors, in classrooms, etc.

Social Distancing

Social distancing is being implemented through the following engineering and administrative controls:  

  • Employees, students, and visitors are asked to maintain the MDH and CDC recommended physical distancing guidelines between all individuals.
  • Employees, students, and visitors should avoid gathering in groups and confined areas, including elevators.
  • Employees, students, and visitors should avoid using others’ personal protective equipment, phones, computer equipment, desks, cubicles, workstations, offices or other personal work tools and equipment.
  • University vehicles will only be signed-out to single occupants and cleaned and disinfected after use.
  • Sharing of items is discouraged and individuals are asked to use good hygiene practices and regularly sanitize items that must be shared.
  • Classroom, lab and office furniture layouts will be reviewed and modified to increased distance between seating and lab and workstations. The use of barriers may be employed when spacing cannot be increased by other means.

Students who wish to report concerns or issues about hygiene and respiratory etiquette can contact the Student Affairs Office at student-affairs@mnsu.edu or 507-389-2121. Employees who wish to report concerns or issues may do so by contacting the Provost’s Office at provost@mnsu.edu.


Custodial Services

Custodial services are being implemented, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of work surfaces, equipment, tools and machinery, vehicles and areas in the campus environment, including classrooms, labs, restrooms, common areas, break rooms, lunch rooms, meeting rooms, and drop-off and pick-up locations.

Frequent cleaning and disinfecting will be conducted in high-touch areas, such as phones, keyboards, touch screens, controls, door handles, elevator panels, railings, printers and copy machines, credit card readers, delivery equipment, etc.

Cleaning

Building Services will clean and disinfect campus spaces once per day and restrooms twice per day in accordance with MDH and CDC guidelines. Staffing levels will be adjusted to meet this commitment and include a contingency plan to cover absenteeism due to illness. CDC approved quaternary disinfectant will be applied when sanitizing.

Faculty, staff, students and visitors will be responsible for disinfecting personal workspaces such as computer keyboards, phones, desks, tables and other high touch surfaces.

Building Services will provide an initial startup supply of disinfectant wipes, sanitizing spray and paper towels. Once initial supplies are exhausted, departments will have the option to purchase additional supplies through campus stores to be delivered or arranged to be picked-up.

COVID-19 Confirmed Diagnosis Cleaning Response

The following custodial services protocol will be followed when a COVID-19 positive individual has utilized a facility:

  • Close-off affected areas used by a COVID-19 positive individual.
  • Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area impacted where feasible.
  • Wait 24 hours prior to cleaning or disinfecting. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
  • Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person, such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, and shared electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines.
  • Vacuum the space when vacated or empty as needed with a vacuum that is equipped with a high-efficiency particular air (HEPA) filter, if available.
  • Once area has been appropriately disinfected, it can be opened for use.
  • If more than 7 days since the person who is COVID-19 positive visited or used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary.

Communications and Training

This plan will be communicated via weekly email updates as well as posted on the University’s Return to Learn website and shared through social media channels to all employees and students upon completion and necessary training will be provided.

Additional communication will be ongoing and provided to all employees and students. Leaders and supervisors are to monitor how effective the program has been implemented by reporting observations and concerns to the Vice President who oversees their department. 

In addition, students may contact the campus designated student COVID-19 contact for further questions and information. The student COVID-19 contact is the Student Affairs Office at student-affairs@mnsu.edu or 507-389-2121. Employees may contact the campus designated employee COVID-19 contact for further questions and information. The designated employee COVID-19 contact person is the Director of Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management at 507-389-5568.