COVID-19 Announcements

Amidst the rapidly evolving coronavirus situation, there have been numerous emails sent to faculty, staff and students. Find them archived here in reverse chronological order.

Good afternoon, Faculty and Staff,

Many questions have arisen about how we will handle Spring Break 2021 and I am writing today to share my decision with you. Over the past few weeks, the President’s Cabinet has engaged the campus community for input on various scenarios for modifying our traditional spring break or leaving it in place as is currently scheduled. We also reviewed Minnesota Department of Health guidance and interacted with our system peers and colleagues.

Thank you to our faculty and staff who provided their input to the bargaining unit leaders or administration directly. Additionally, our student government brought up this topic at a recent senate meeting and voted on their preferred approach. After hearing the collective feedback, and absent any clear public health guidance from MDH to the contrary, I have determined that we will not make any changes to our Spring 2021 schedule. We will start classes on January 11 as scheduled, recharge over Spring Break from March 8 to 12 and complete our semester on May 7.

In order to make this plan work, it is imperative that people continue to do everything they can to stay safe. Wear your face coverings. Adhere to social distancing guidelines. And most importantly, avoid situations, including Spring Break travel, where others are not being safe.

We will continue to be prepared, of course, to adapt to whatever comes our way during the Spring semester. If circumstances create a need to revisit this decision, we will communicate with you promptly about any changes.

I am proud of the way our Maverick community has responded to this ongoing crisis. Right now, our infection rates remain very low and it is clear that everyone is being responsible and taking appropriate precautions. I know many people are experiencing “pandemic fatigue”—but we cannot let up. As the weather turns colder and we are indoors more, it becomes even more important to be careful. Please seek medical evaluation if you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, and let us know if you test positive so we can support you and keep our Maverick family safe.

As always, thank you for all you do. If you have any questions about this Spring Break decision, please email Interim Provost Cecil at provost@mnsu.edu.

In closing, I would encourage you to join our Virtual Town Halls tomorrow, Thursday, October 22 to interact with the President’s Cabinet on any questions or concerns you may have. Registration for the town hall can be found here:

Please continue to be safe and well.

Richard Davenport
President

Dear Students:

I sincerely regret to inform you that we have decided to cancel our in-person fall commencement ceremonies originally scheduled for Dec. 12, 2020. Please understand that we are taking these precautions because we are concerned about ensuring everyone’s safety and well-being during the ongoing pandemic.

As you know, we have also restructured the semester to transition to remote learning following the Thanksgiving holiday break. This means that your class activities will be online between Thanksgiving and the end of the semester. Both of these changes—commencement and the transition to remote learning after Thanksgiving—are intended to minimize the potential for heightened transmission of COVID-19 and other viruses in late fall.

Please know that we understand and empathize that this news is disappointing to our graduates and their families. We know that many of you were looking forward to the traditional, in-person graduation day, just as many faculty, staff and administrators were as well. We are disappointed that we will not be able to celebrate with you in our customary format.

We will not, however, let commencement day go by without finding a way to celebrate you and all of your hard work! It’s important to recognize your accomplishments and to wish you farewell as you embark on your next journey in life. Therefore, I have assembled a team to work on a special virtual commencement as our alternative way to celebrate on Dec. 12.

Stay tuned as additional details will be shared with graduating students via MavMail and posted at www.mnsu.edu/graduation as plans are finalized. Any questions relating to commencement can be directed to events@mnsu.edu.

Please continue to be safe and well. The Maverick community is cheering you on to the completion of your degree.

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport
President

Good afternoon,

Thank you all for helping us get the year started on a positive note. Our continued goal is help students move through fall semester and complete their studies, and most importantly – to stay healthy.

I hope you have had a chance to review our weekly COVID-19 dashboard. You may have noticed some changes from last week’s dashboard. The updated information reflects a few changes in the data the System Office and Minnesota Department of Health have asked us to report, and I wanted to put those numbers in context.

  • A new data point that the System Office asked us to begin tracking on our dashboard is the current active student cases with self-reported campus contact. That total is 56 this week. Those are cases where a person tested positive and reported to contact tracers that they had recently been on campus prior to testing positive. I think you can see why those are the cases that are most concerning for our campus community.
  • We are also sharing the total number of students with active, self-reported cases. The current number of self-reported, active cases among all of our students is 128, or less than one percent of our total unduplicated student headcount. This number includes those who reported to us they tested positive. Some of those cases have been confirmed with the Minnesota Department of Health and others have not. That number could change and we will update it frequently. It is an increase from 31 last week.
  • We are also reporting our on-campus quarantine and isolation data. This number on the dashboard indicates how many of our dedicated quarantine/isolation beds on campus are occupied: 13 of 97 available beds. The second number, 27, is the total number of students on campus in quarantine and isolation. That includes students in dedicated beds plus those that are able to quarantine within their existing housing location.

The increase in these numbers is concerning, and I encourage everyone on to continue following the rules we have in place under our current Yellow COVID-19 safety status level. I would also again ask that everyone continue to avoid situations where others are not being safe.

If you have questions about the dashboard numbers or about anything else, please contact Interim Provost Matt Cecil at provost@mnsu.edu. I look forward to keeping you updated with brief reports from time to time.

In closing, thank you for working so hard during this second week of classes. I could not be prouder of the way our campus community has all pulled together. Thank you.

Richard Davenport

President

Good afternoon,

As we reach the end of the first week of classes, I wanted to write and thank everyone for all they are doing. We knew this would be difficult. I have heard more than one person say this was one of the most trying weeks of their professional careers.

I couldn’t be prouder of our campus community. So many of you have risen above the frustration to solve problems for our students this week. Thank you.

I want you to know we have just posted a campus data dashboard where you will find our most updated information on the number of active cases on campus, the percentage of our 96 quarantine beds that are occupied and other pertinent county data. You will find it on our campus dashboard page here.

Our current campus safety level is “yellow.” It is important to note that while we have not met all of the indicators for “yellow” status, the Minnesota Department of Health advised all campuses in the state to open up with that status level. The data points and status on that page will be updated weekly based on the information we receive from the Minnesota Department of Health and local public health officials. It is the same information we share weekly with the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities System Office.

It is certain we will face more challenges in the coming weeks. It is important that we work closely and in partnership with one another at the University, as well as the City and the Public Schools as we strive to address the pandemic challenges. We need to maintain our focus on following safety rules. We all need to avoid situations where others are not being safe. And importantly, doing work this difficult means we must be kind to one another.

In closing, I want to share something that inspired me this week. Our Minnesota State University, Mankato Concert Choir, directed by Dr. Aaron Humble of the Department of Music and Entertainment Industries, recorded this socially-distanced, masked version of our school hymn on Thursday. It is a great reminder of why we are doing this work. We are all working hard so that our students can inspire us like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97Sq9I2kO7U

I hope everyone has a safe and restful weekend.

Kind regards,

Richard Davenport
President


To Our Student Community:

Welcome back! I am writing today with a special request. Many of you may have seen the news coming from campuses across the country that have reopened and then moved to remote learning almost immediately because of outbreaks of COVID-19 among students. Many of those outbreaks have been traced to social activities away from campus.

I am asking for your help. Yesterday, Student Body President Andrew Trenne and I sent you the attached email messages urging you to follow some simple rules to keep our campus community safe. Those simple rules like adhering to social distancing, wearing a face covering, and monitoring your own health are a great starting point.

With the weekend upon us, I want to make one more request: We have captured the most important actions you can take to keep our community safe in what we call our Masks Up, Horns Up: Maverick Community Pledge. You will find the pledge here.

I encourage you to review the pledge and to abide by its guidelines during this pandemic.

I understand that you are anxious to be with friends and enjoy your time with them as part of our university community. Making connections with others is an extremely important part of the college experience. But none of us wants to pass this virus along to anyone who might become ill or perhaps even die. That’s why I’m asking that you protect yourself, protect others and protect our Maverick community.

Everyone needs to do their part in getting your Minnesota State Mankato back to the normal social and learning environment that we all enjoy. Your actions are key to keeping campus open, so please be safe and avoid situations where others are not taking precautions.

Thank you for choosing Minnesota State University, Mankato. We are glad you are part of our campus community and are here to help you achieve your dreams.

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport
President


  • Please complete the online Return to Learn Preparedness Training as soon as possible. The training reviews the best ways to protect yourself and others from the COVID-19 virus.
  • Detailed information about the 3M disinfectant spray that was included in the supplies delivered to all departments is now available on the Return to Learn website. Please note that the spray was diluted before being distributed and is safe to use. To be most effective, the spray should be left on surfaces for five minutes before being wiped up.
  • Please remember to use the required self-screening toolbefore coming to campus each day. The assessment does not need to be completed if you are working remotely or will not be on campus.
  • If you have not yet received your two branded cloth face masks, please stop by the Registrar’s Office on the first floor of Wigley Administrative Building to pick them up.
  • Faculty and staff are encouraged to help welcome new students to the University at the virtual New Student Rally on Friday Aug. 21 at 10:30 a.m. The rally will be live streamed on the Minnesota State University, Mankato Facebook page at Facebook.com/mnstatemankato.
  • All faculty and staff are encouraged to submit any questions about Return to Learn here. We will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.
  • All employees are encouraged to regularly check the Return to Learn Website to keep up with important updated information regarding safety measures, employee return to work expectations, Fall 2020 Semester schedule changes, FlexSync resources and COVID-19 Notification Procedures.
  • Please check your MavCard to make sure it hasn’t expired—a valid MavCard is required to enter locked buildings. To renew an expired card, visit the MavCard website or stop in to the office next to the Campus Hub in the Centennial Student Union.

Campus Community,

As part of the Return to Learn COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and in alignment with the Office of Higher Education, we have now launched the online Return to Learn Preparedness Training. This short, online training is provided for all employees and student workers. The training reviews the best ways to protect yourself and others from the COVID-19 virus and includes handwashing instructions, face-covering requirements, cleaning / sanitization protocols, social distancing guidelines and self-screening for symptoms. 

It’s important that we all do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 because MAVERICKS TAKE CARE OF MAVERICKS.

#MaskUpMavs

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport
President

To Our Student Community:

Many of you are probably making your final preparations for starting classes on Monday, August 24 and so are we! There are a few things you should know before you return:

  • If any of your classes have been scheduled or switched to online-only as a result of the pandemic, you will not be charged online differential fees. Online-only classes traditionally have an online differential fee because of the costs associated with delivering them, but we recently removed that fee from courses that were not originally planned to be offered online during the fall 2020 semester.
  • The planned transition to remote delivery via Zoom for all on-campus, in-person instruction after the Thanksgiving holiday break does not mean that the fall semester is ending early. Nor does it impact the start of spring semester. As of now, the plan is for the spring semester to start with in-person, on-campus classes in the same way that the fall semester will start.
  • To help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, we have launched a new self-screening tool that you must complete daily before coming to campus or leaving your residence hall room. It is quick and easy to complete. You can link to the assessment from our homepage or at mnsu.edu/screening. Reminder: face coverings are also required on campus.
  • You should be hearing from each of your professors in the next week or so, if you haven't already, about how to prepare for your classes and what classes will look like. If you are enrolled in any FlexSync courses, your professors will be asking if you prefer to be in-person or remote via Zoom. Your professors will use those preferences to establish a schedule of who will be in-person on which days and will communicate that back to you before the first day of class. If you have not heard from them by Wednesday, August 19, please reach out directly for more details.
  • We are monitoring the ever-changing situation locally and are in regular contact with local and state health officials to discuss how the pandemic may be impacting our area and our campus. As information becomes available communication will be sent out, and the Return to Learn website will continue to be updated.
  • We are doing our best to make sure that you have the best college experience possible this year and to deliver classes in the way you want them—but we recognize that there may be changes that are beyond our control. We have been planning for that and are prepared to support your learning needs no matter what happens.

If you have questions about this change, please email provost@mnsu.edu. We will try to back to you as soon as possible. Don't forget to visit Return to Learn for more information as well.

I look forward to seeing you again in a few weeks!

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport,
President


On Monday, August 10, we launched a new self-screening tool that all employees, students, visitors, contractors, suppliers and vendors must complete daily before coming to campus. You can link to the assessment from our homepage or at mnsu.edu/screening. This online health screening tool is a system-wide initiative and is being implemented at each of Minnesota State's 37 colleges and universities and at the system office.

All employees are encouraged to regularly check the Return to Learn Website to stay up-to-date on important information regarding safety measures, employee return to work expectations, academic year schedule changes, FlexSync resources and COVID-19 notification procedures.

Branded face shields for instructors and other employees who need them will be distributed through their respective College and Division offices. Additional face shields can be requested by contacting University Stores by emailing sharon.wetzel@mnsu.edu. Important to note, face shields do not replace face coverings. Additional information on the use of shields and face coverings can be found on the Return to Learn Website.

IT Solutions will be holding FlexSync open sessions this week and next to allow faculty to try out the new technologies. These sessions will be hosted in AH 214 but include the opportunity to spread out into other classrooms to experience the technology and ask questions. Please stop in during the open sessions listed below.

  • August 13: 9am - 12pm; 1 pm - 3pm
  • August 14: 9am - 12pm
  • August 17: 9am - 12pm; 1 pm - 3pm
  • August 18: 9am - 12pm; 1 pm - 3pm
  • August 19: 9am - 12pm; 1 pm - 3pm
  • August 20: 9am - 12pm; 1 pm - 3pm
  • August 21: 9am - 12pm

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning is offering a Faculty Peer Coaching program to support faculty as they prepare for fall courses. A D2L course will be monitored by Faculty Peer Coaches to offer support, connection, and resources; to be added to the course, email cetl@mnsu.edu with your star ID. Coaches are also setting up office hours to offer 1:1 assistance with FlexSync and online course design, assessments and class activities. Use the calendar to views days and times for drop-in hours and support.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to help welcome new students to the University at the virtual New Student Rally on Friday Aug. 21 at 10:30 a.m. The rally will be live streamed on the Minnesota State University, Mankato Facebook page at Facebook.com/mnstatemankato.

All faculty and staff are encouraged to submit a coronavirus question. We will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.


Good afternoon,

Today marks two weeks until classes begin and one week until faculty contracts start. Next Monday, our campus will be opened to the public. One key part of returning to campus is daily self-screening. Our Return to Learn work groups created a local screening questionnaire several weeks ago. However, our questionnaire has been replaced by an online screening tool created and mandated by the System Office. The screening tool needs to be completed by all employees, students, contractors, and visitors prior to entering campus starting today, Monday, August 10th.

The System Office screening tool:

  • Must be completed daily before coming to campus
  • Requires a login using your StarID and password and acceptance of a Tennessean warning since personal data is being collected and stored
  • Was built with Qualtrics and individual versions of the tool were created by the System for each MinnState campus
  • Sends an email upon completion

While we are still asking questions about how campuses should use the tool, everyone agrees that personal self-screening is an essential part of keeping our campus safe. Every employee, student, and campus visitor must complete the tool each day.

One outstanding issue we are following is the development of metrics to guide conversations about localized campus closings in case of outbreaks. The System Office, Office of Higher Education, and the Minnesota Department of Health are finalizing an approach we expect will be similar to but more nuanced than the state’s formula for determining the mode of delivery for public P-12 schools. We expect the higher education metrics to be finalized this week and will share more as soon as we have that information.

Once again, I want to thank everyone for their patience this summer as our Return to Learn teams have worked through the complex planning required to potentially open in a hybrid, FlexSync, in-person, and online mode this fall. I am proud of the work our faculty, staff, students, and administrators have accomplished this summer.

With just a week before campus buildings reopen and many of us return to our offices, we have done our very best to assure the campus is as safe and secure as it can be. If you have questions, ideas, concerns, or comments, please email: provost@mnsu.edu.

Thank you for all you do for our students and our university.

Kind regards,

Matt


Dear Campus Community:

As always, our top priorities at Minnesota State University, Mankato are protecting the health and safety of our faculty, our staff, and our students, and supporting our students as they continue their progress towards their educational goals.

Beginning on Monday, August 10, we will launch a new required COVID-19 screening tool that all faculty, staff, students and visitors are required to use every day prior to coming onto our campus (students who live on campus will use the screening tool each day prior to leaving their residence). This online health screening tool is part of a system-wide initiative by the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities, and is being implemented at each of the system's 37 colleges and universities and at the system office in St. Paul.

Further information about the screening tool can be found on the Return to Learn website including a video tutorial, an advisory statement and a FAQ.

I look forward to working together, as a community, to keep our campus as safe as possible.

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport
President


To Our Student Community:

As we make final plans to start the new academic year in just three weeks, I want to let you know about a significant change we've made in an effort to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 on campus.

All on-campus, in-person instruction will transition to remote, virtual face-to-face delivery via Zoom after the Thanksgiving holiday break. This change impacts your final week of classes (Nov. 30-Dec. 4) and your final exams (Dec. 7-Dec. 12) and includes all FlexSync courses and any required in-person experiences like science labs, etc. If you are attending classes on-campus and in-person this fall, following the Thanksgiving holiday break you will complete the fall semester remotely.

A few important notes:

  • This transition away from in-person meetings is not an early end to the fall semester. Students should plan to attend the final week of classes and complete final exams virtually.
  • Students who wish to remain in the residence halls after the Thanksgiving break may do so; residential rates will remain the same.
  • Students who do not want to remain in the residence halls following the Thanksgiving break may request a prorated refund.
  • The campus will remain open during the two weeks after Thanksgiving to accommodate students who choose to stay in their private Mankato residences or in the dorms.

Again, this change is an attempt to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 following the Thanksgiving break. Public health officials tell us that mass travel during a pandemic, and particularly in late November at the traditional beginning of the typical flu season, raises significant concerns about the transmission of viruses. We want to do everything we can to reduce the risk to you as well as to our faculty and staff.

If you have questions about this change, please email provost@mnsu.edu. We will try to back to you as soon as possible. Don't forget to visit www.mnsu.edu/returntolearn for more information as well.

I look forward to seeing you again in August!

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport,
President


All employees are encouraged to check out the Return to Learn Website. Content will be updated regularly and includes important information such as safety measures, employee return to work expectations, Fall 2020 Semester schedule changes, FlexSync resources, and COVID-19 Notification Procedures.

University branded face coverings have been delivered to department offices for distribution to faculty and staff. In addition, branded face shields have been ordered and will be available soon. Face shields for instructors and other employees who need them will be distributed through their respective College and Division offices. Additional face shields can be requested by contacting University Stores by emailing sharon.wetzel@mnsu.edu.

IT Solutions will be holding FlexSync open sessions over the next few weeks to allow faculty to try out the new technologies. These sessions will be hosted in AH 214 but include the opportunity to spread out into other classrooms to experience the technology and ask questions. Please stop in during the hours listed below.

Open Sessions:

  • August 12: 9am - 12pm; 1pm - 3pm
  • August 13: 9am - 12pm; 1pm - 3pm
  • August 14: 9am - 12pm
  • August 17: 9am - 12pm; 1pm - 3pm
  • August 18: 9am - 12pm; 1pm - 3pm
  • August 19: 9am - 12pm; 1pm - 3pm
  • August 20: 9am - 12pm; 1pm - 3pm
  • August 21: 9am - 12pm

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning is offering a Faculty Peer Coaching program to support faculty as they prepare for fall courses. A D2L course will be monitored by Faculty Peer Coaches to offer support, connection, and resources; to be added to the course, email cetl@mnsu.edu with your star ID. Coaches are also setting up office hours to offer 1:1 assistance with FlexSync and online course design, assessments and class activities. Use the calendar to views days and times for drop-in hours and support.

Town Hall forums for both faculty and staff are scheduled for Thursday, August 6. Please register in advance to participate:

  • Faculty Town Hall: 11am - 12pm
  • Staff Town Hall: 12:15pm - 1:15pm

Faculty and staff are encouraged to help welcome new students to the University at the virtual New Student Rally on Friday August 21 at 10:30am. The rally will be live streamed on the Minnesota State University, Mankato Facebook page.

All faculty and staff are encouraged to submit any questions about Return to Learn. We will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.


Good morning,

With three weeks until classes begin, I wanted to share a significant change to our fall semester schedule.

All on-campus, in-person instruction at Minnesota State University, Mankato, will transition to remote delivery via Zoom after the Thanksgiving holiday break. This includes all FlexSync courses and any required in-person experiences like science labs, etc. The final week of classes, November 30 to December 4 and then final exams, December 7 to December 12, will be held using remote and online technology rather than in-person meetings. A few important notes:

  • Transitioning away from in-person meetings is not an early end to the fall semester.Faculty should plan to hold classes virtually the final week of classes and then deliver final exams online during finals week.
  • Students who wish to remain in dorms after the Thanksgiving break may do so, and residential rates will remain the same.
  • Students who do not want to remain in student housing following the Thanksgiving break may request a prorated refund.
  • The campus will remain open during the two weeks after Thanksgiving to accommodate students who choose to stay in their private Mankato residences or in the dorms.
  • More details, including campus staffing plans during those final two weeks, will be coming soon.

I understand this will require faculty to reconfigure their plans for the fall. The change is an effort to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 following the Thanksgiving break. Public health officials tell us that mass travel during a pandemic, and particularly in late November at the traditional beginning of the typical flu season, raises significant concerns about the transmission of viruses. A majority of our students and many faculty and staff travel over the long Thanksgiving break. When people arrive at their destinations during those longer breaks, they gather with others who have also traveled, compounding the potential to spread viruses. With this change, we join the University of Minnesota and several other institutions across the country in transitioning away from in-person interactions after the Thanksgiving break.

I hope everyone finds some time to recharge over the coming days. I appreciate everyone's patience as we await further guidance from state agencies to understand how our fall semester will look. Like you, we are watching the indicators. We will continue to provide updates as we have new information to share. This remains a fluid situation, and we should all be ready to adapt quickly as new guidance from state public health officials emerges.

Thank you for all you do for our students and our university.

Kind regards,
Matt


To Our Student Community:

I understand that some of you have questions about how your classes will be delivered when the Fall semester starts on Aug. 24.  Right now, we are planning to offer classes in four formats: In-Person, HybridOnline Only and FlexSync, our newest instructional model. You will hear more from your professors about the specific classes you are enrolled in this fall, but here’s a brief description of the four formats we’re using: 

In-Person  classes will have required  face-to-face interaction in a classroom, lab or field experience. Some course components may be delivered in alternative formats, but the majority of the course is delivered in-person in a space that has been prepared to accommodate students and faculty safely.

Hybrid  courses will largely be delivered online, but they may include  some  required face-to-face interaction as well.  For example, one week the class may meet in-person; the next week, it may have online-only activities. 

Online Only classes will be offered online, with no in-person interaction. Some online classes are  asynchronous, which means that there are no required video conference meetings; others are  synchronous, which means that you must engage with the instructor at a scheduled time. Online courses have additional fees associated to them, although those fees do not apply to classes that have moved online as a result of the pandemic. The removal of online course fees for classes that moved to online as a result of the pandemic are currently being processed; reductions will be reflected on your student tuition bill next week.

FlexSync is a  synchronous  HyFlex learning experience designed specifically with the pandemic and smaller room capacities in mind. This allows us to be nimble while maintaining face-to-face instruction.  In a FlexSync course you  can  engage with instructors  either  in the classroom  or  via Zoom.  In-person attendance may be adjusted or offered on a rotating basis to meet evolving health and safety guidelines for distancing.  There are no additional fees for FlexSync classes. 

  • Note: You may see the term HyFlex on your course schedule; the Minnesota State system uses HyFlex to describe flexible classes in general—but FlexSync is Minnesota State Mankato’s more  comprehensive learning solution designed to support you. 

A quick reminder: Face coverings are now required on campus. If you are working in a campus building this summer, remember to bring a mask with you. If you have questions, refer to the information here. 

Please keep  submitting 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 


Faculty interested in learning more about FlexSync classes are invited to check out the new video tutorial available through the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. CETL is working with IT Solutions to create a series of videos offering helpful information about the FlexSync model. Watch the video here. 

In other Return to Learn news: 

  • Campus buildings will officially re-open on Monday, Aug. 17.
  • Social distancing floor decals that can be used on both tile and carpet remain available through University Stores; requests should be sent to sharon.wetzel@mnsu.edu. 
  • Departments that would like to post maximum occupancy signage fortheir office suites, conference rooms or other non-classroom spaces can request a consultation with the Pandemic Response Team. Customizable signs can be provided to use for those spaces after a review of the space has taken place. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact Loren Jansen at loren.jansen@mnsu.edu. 

All faculty and staff are encouraged to submit any questions about Return to Learn here. We will do our best to get back to you with answers as soon as possible. 


If you haven’t already, please be sure to read the Employee Expectations for Returning to Work information that has been posted on the Return to Learn website. The University is taking a phased approach to bringing employees back to campus, and supervisors are asked to give a reasonable notice—two weeks, whenever practical—of expected return dates to allow employees to prepare for the transition. More information is available on the website.

Departments that would like to post maximum occupancy signage for their office suites, conference rooms or other non-classroom spaces can request a consultation with the Pandemic Response Team. Customizable signs can be provided to use for those spaces after a review of the space has taken place. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact Loren Jansen at loren.jansen@mnsu.edu.

Social distancing floor decals that can be used on both tile and carpet remain available through University Stores; requests should be sent to sharon.wetzel@mnsu.edu.

All faculty and staff are encouraged to submit any questions about Return to Learn here. We will do our best to get back to you with answers as soon as possible. 


Good morning, 

Only five weeks before the beginning of classes, and much remains up in the air. We continue planning for a mix of FlexSync, in-person, and online course delivery.

One of the questions that we didn’t get to during last week’s faculty and staff town hall was: What evidence is there that students want in-person experiences this fall?

Understanding and connecting directly with our students has been a primary focus since the pandemic disrupted our operations in March. Our comprehensive, interpersonal approach to student success during the pandemic is perhaps unique within our state and beyond. I want to thank the many students, staff, and faculty that have undertaken a tremendous effort to reach out to thousands of students. Here is a summary of the outreach that has been done to assess student interests and concerns: 

  • Redeployed staff from across the university, led by the Division of Student Success, Analytics & Integrated Planning, spoke individually with 6,007 students during the spring semester. 
  • Academic advising staff have met individually with nearly 2,000 first-year students this summer, with 500 more conversations scheduled. 
  • A team of 27 faculty members are currently in the process of calling more than 2,500 students to check-in with them as we get closer to the start of fall classes.

The overwhelming sentiment expressed by thousands of students in these conversations was a desire for on-campus, in-person fall experiences.

Here are a few of the ways we are trying to accomplish safe, on-campus, in-person fall experiences: 

  • Requiring face coverings indoors on-campus with certain exceptions and with appropriate accommodations available for those who are unable to wear them 
  • Obtaining thousands of face shields and transparent masks for faculty members who would prefer that option when teaching 
  • Removing thousands of chairs and other furniture from classrooms and public spaces; indicator dots will show where people and chairs should be, and signage will state social distancing requirements 
  • Placing hand sanitizer stations and disinfectant wipes in every classroom and public space 
  • Adjusting cleaning protocols to adhere to the Minnesota Department of Health and Office of Higher Education guidance 
  • Deploying a highly-visible social norms campaign to encourage safe behavior 

Most of the public health indicators are trending in the wrong direction. Thousands of questions remain, and our Return to Learn and Work teams continue their progressadapting their work as new public health guidance is shared with us. The resulting plans are being shared as they are completed. This week, I can report that our Employee Expectations for Returning to Work document has been posted here: https://mankato.mnsu.edu/about-the-university/news-and-events/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-and-the-campus-community/return-to-learn/timeline-and-planning/return-to-work/ 

During the coming days and weeks, you will see additional communication outlining plans and procedures on topics like student activities, distribution of cleaning supplies and PPE, health and safety training, events and meeting guidelines, and much more. 

Once again, I want to urge everyone to remain patient. Day-to-day developments are shaping our work, and no one can predict what the situation will be in five weeks. We are planning for a variety of scenarios. Please share your concerns, ideas, and questions with me at provost@mnsu.edu.  

I encourage everyone to find time during the remaining weeks to relax and recharge. Thank you for all you do for our students and our university. Stay safe. 

Kind regards, 

Matt


As President Davenport communicated earlier today, the University has adopted a new face covering requirement that goes into effect on Monday, July 20. Our plan is to have the branded cloth face masks that were ordered for all employee and students delivered to all departments through intercampus mail by that time, so that those who are currently working on campus have access to them.

Additional branded face masks remaining after distribution (students will each receive two masks inside the annual fall mailing that is sent in late July or early August) will be available for purchase through Printing Services and the Copy Shops.

The University is also making branded social distancing floor decals available to those who need them for their spaces. The decals, which are available for use on either carpet or tile, can be requested through the University Stores by emailing sharon.wetzel@mnsu.edu or calling 507-389-6900.

We also want to acknowledge the questions we’ve heard regarding how teleworking employees will be notified about the transition back to their physical workspaces on campus. The intention is that supervisors will give a reasonable notice period (e.g. two weeks whenever practical) so that affected employees can make the necessary personal arrangements to prepare for the transition. If the situation around the pandemic shifts unexpectedly, supervisors will provide adjusted notice as soon as possible.

As always, all faculty and staff are encouraged to submit any questions about Return to Learn here. We will do our best to get back to you with answers as soon as possible.


Dear Campus Community:

I am writing today to update you on an issue that I know is very important to all of you. As the President’s Cabinet has addressed questions of COVID-19 safety, we considered how best to implement a face mask policy that would work for our campus. We offered and implemented on July 6, 2020, interim guidance to “strongly recommend” masks as part of our evolving COVID-19 Preparedness Plan that was first published two weeks ago. This matched guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health and Office of Higher Education.

Today, after hearing from many of you and further reviewing the broader research, Minnesota State system guidance, and regional conditions, we are adapting our approach on this issue:

Beginning July 20, 2020, all Minnesota State University, Mankato faculty, staff, students, and visitors will be required to wear a face covering over both the nose and mouth at all times when indoors on campus or in other university facilities, with the following exceptions:

  • When alone in a private office.
  • When working in an office setting, cubicle, or workstation where physical distancing can be maintained.
  • When in an assigned residence hall room or apartment.
  • When eating or drinking.
  • When alone in a motor vehicle.
  • Individuals exercising, training, or practicing in Campus Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletic facilities (both indoor and outdoor) may remove the cloth face covering while under physical exertion or in other situations where wearing a mask compromises their safety and welfare.
  • Children 12 and under or anyone unable to remove a face covering without assistance.
  • When another accommodation is necessary as indicated by a medical expert and granted written permission of the university.
  • When an exception for a non-medical reason has been granted by university administration.

As a reminder, we will be providing two branded cloth masks to everyone in our campus community. Those masks will be distributed soon. You can see more details of this directive, including information about compliance here.

It is our duty to do everything we can to make our campus safer as we welcome students, faculty, and staff back in the fall. I believe this is the right decision for the safety and security of our campus community.

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport
President


Good morning,

With six weeks until classes begin in the fall, I wanted to update you on the fall planning that is taking place.

While the start of the school year feels like it is just around the corner, it’s important to note that six weeks is a very long time when we are in the midst of a pandemic. The planning we have done to date is focused on remaining flexible and ready to adapt to changing pandemic conditions. Every decision we have made is re-evaluated continuously as new guidance comes to us from the System Office, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.

I encourage everyone to take a look at our campus COVID-19 Preparedness Plan recently posted on the Return to Learn web site. Here is a direct link to the document:

https://mankato.mnsu.edu/about-the-university/news-and-events/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-and-the-campus-community/return-to-learn/timeline-and-planning/covid-19-preparedness-plan/

That living document is a high-level overview of our safety and other plans and is updated as things change.

There are more specific plans being developed by each of the Return to Learn action teams, which are made up of administrators, faculty, staff, and students. Some of those plans, such as the notification procedures and daily self-screening guidelines, have been posted on the RTL site, here (links to student, employee, and visitor notification procedures on the right hand side of this page):

https://mankato.mnsu.edu/about-the-university/news-and-events/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-and-the-campus-community/return-to-learn/safety-measures/

Other elements of our fall plan are still in the works. I will email you to highlight essential parts as they are approved and posted.

Once again, I want to encourage everyone to be patient. The situation is fluid, and the guidance we base our work on is ever-changing. Dozens of dedicated faculty, staff, students, and administrators are working hard this summer to plan for a wide variety of scenarios. Like you, we are monitoring events closely. I will continue to update everyone at least weekly as we get closer to the start of the fall semester.

If you have specific questions, comments, or ideas, please email me at any time at: provost@mnsu.edu.

Thank you for all you do for our students and our university. Stay safe.

Kind regards,

Matt


To Our Student Community:

Although summer is still in full swing, we are already thinking about fall on campus and how we can be prepared to both welcome you back and protect you and our faculty and staff from the transmission of COVID-19.

Last week, we finalized our official procedures for notification when a student, employee or visitor to campus tests positive for the virus. The process for students can be found at the Return to Learn website here. I encourage you to read through that information and be familiar with it before you come to campus.

The main thing I want to point out is that individual privacy is a priority; no one is required or compelled to notify the University about a positive test. However, we hope that individuals will choose to notify us so that we can take the appropriate steps. Because COVID-19 is a public health issue, information is shared on a need-to-know basis. We will follow guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health in the event others need to be notified of a suspected or positive COVID-19 test result.

I also want to remind everyone that each individual’s health status is a private matter, and no one should publicly declare someone else as sick. This includes NOT notifying classes, office colleagues, student clubs, teams, etc. unless there is specific guidance to do so. Supervisors and instructors do have the right to ask an employee or student to go home if COVID symptoms are present.

As we continue to prepare for fall 2020 classes, we know that many of you may have already or may soon receive email notifications of changes to your scheduled courses from noreply@mnsu.edu with “Registration Change Notification” as the subject line. These notifications are sent automatically by our Minnesota State system after any change is made to a course to encourage you to review your class schedule. We recognize that these emails have caused some confusion, so we want to be clear about why you may have received such a notification:

  • Your class time may have changed
  • Your classroom location may have changed
  • A change may have been made to the instructor of the course
  • The course delivery method may have changed. This happened when the system adopted the code of “HyFlex” as its generic term for what we are calling FlexSync classes. We will provide additional information about what your FlexSync classes will look like in the coming weeks.

There are other reasons changes to classes happen prior to the start of a semester. If you have questions on your class schedule and want us to assist, please email provost@mnsu.edu.

We always appreciate hearing from you with questions. Please keep submitting 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


Last week, we finalized our official procedures for notification when a student, employee or visitor to campus tests positive for the virus. The processes for all employees can be found at the Return to Learn website here. I encourage you to read through that information and become familiar with it.

It’s critical to note that individual privacy is a priority; no one is required or compelled to notify the University about a positive test. However, we hope that individuals will choose to notify us so that we can take the appropriate steps. Because COVID-19 is a public health issue, information is shared on a need-to-know basis. We will follow guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health in the event others need to be notified of a suspected or positive COVID-19 test result.

Please remember that each individual’s health status is a private matter, and no one should publicly declare someone else as sick. This includes NOT notifying classes, office colleagues, student clubs, teams, etc. unless there is specific guidance to do so. Supervisors and instructors do have the right to ask an employee or student to go home if COVID symptoms are present.

In other news related to Return to Learn:

• Q & A on ICE Guidance

The recent guidance from U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about international students and instructional modes for fall has led to a lot of questions. The Global Education team hosted a question and answer sessions for faculty and staff via Zoom today and has another scheduled for later this week. The date and time, as well as the link to the Zoom meeting, are below:

Friday, July 10, 2020

3 p.m.-4 p.m. https://minnstate.zoom.us/j/91357621652

As always, all faculty and staff are encouraged to submit any questions about Return to Learn here. We will do our best to get back to you with answers as soon as possible.


Good morning,

I hope everyone had a pleasant holiday weekend. I am writing today in response to questions that have been raised about fall scheduling.

At the most recent faculty town hall, I was asked how it will be determined whether a faculty member teaches a FlexSync classroom in person or remotely. My answer hasn’t changed:

It is our expectation that faculty assigned to teach a FlexSync course will be present in the classroom unless there is a health or other reason why they cannot be physically there. Anyone who has a concern about teaching in a classroom should have a conversation with their dean.

We are committed to the health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students and working to ensure proper protections in the classroom and throughout campus. To that end, we will work to accommodate faculty concerns as much as possible.

At the same time, we need to keep in mind that students have been very clear that they are anxious not to repeat their online experience of the second half of spring semester. This is particularly true of our new entering first-year students who do not want a repeat of their online final semester of high school. It is also important to note that the expectation of faculty presence, and student ability to be, in the classroom will continue to be evaluated throughout the remainder of the summer and into the fall semester with changing COVID-19 conditions.  

I understand this is a frustrating situation.

We all want certainty and clarity about what the fall will look like. We are working every day to try to clarify that picture. Our Return to Learn groups, which include faculty and staff bargaining unit representatives, are working hard and sifting through ever-changing guidance coming down from the Governor's Office, Minnesota Department of Health, the Office of Higher Education and the System Office. Our work groups are providing us with a plan that fits our campus, faculty, staff, and student needs while remaining flexible and allowing us to adapt to changing conditions.

We have seven weeks until fall classes begin. The situation is fluid and evolving daily. We have seen an acceleration in infections in recent weeks.

I’m asking for patience as our planning work progresses and as we adapt to changing circumstances.

If you have questions, ideas, comments, or concerns, please email me at: provost@mnsu.edu.

As always, thank you for everything you do for our students and our university.

Stay safe.

Kind regards,

Matt

Matt Cecil, Ph.D.
Interim Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs


Dear Student,

Residential Life is developing plans to welcome students to our residence halls with added safety precautions to set you up for success. Your safety is our top priority and we are working closely with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). The University is also implementing strategies to reduce transmission opportunities, reduce outbreaks, and reduce risk to vulnerable populations.

Strategies that we are implementing in the residence halls include:

  • Providing face masks to all members of the University community.
  • Requiring students to track symptoms daily and stay in your room if sick.
  • Encouraging frequent and effective hand-washing.
  • Making adjustments in our occupancy to reduce density.
  • Rigorous sanitizing and disinfecting procedures that follow CDC and MDH guidelines.
  • Touchpoints in shared spaces are being minimized and physical distancing promoted by reduced seating.
  • Providing hand sanitizer stations.
  • Plexi shields will be used in service areas where face-to-face interactions frequently take place, such as front desk operations.
  • It is necessary for residents to be mindful of their personal behaviors and accept responsibility for doing their part to keep themselves, their roommate, and others safe.

Semi-private sinks

Each residence hall room contains a sink within the room. This allows students to brush their teeth and perform a variety of personal hygiene activities at a semi-private fixture. Students will create a sink-cleaning plan with their respective roommate/apartment mates.

Room Assignments

Single and double rooms are offered; triple rooms are not. Stadium Heights Apartments are limited to 3 residents per apartment, all in private bedrooms. Single rooms in our apartments are called “Single in 3-Person Apartment” and “Double-Room-as-a-Single in Apartment.” Amenities and pricing information is located at this link.

Community Bathrooms

Community bathrooms are located in Crawford, McElroy, and Preska I Halls. These locations will be cleaned & sanitized each morning and sanitized each afternoon.

Phased Move-In Plan

We are establishing a carefully organized move-in process spread out over several days to follow public safety health guidelines. Students will sign-up for a specific arrival timeslot to allow for optimal physical distancing and reduced density.

Dining Services

All dining locations will be open in the fall. Each location will have physical distance indicators to maintain appropriate spacing. Dining Services is working closely with MDH to ensure compliance with dining capacity set forth by the Governor. Alternative seating solutions throughout campus are being explored for students who wish to take a meal to-go when the dining center reaches capacity. Dining employees and customers will wear masks inside dining locations, except when eating or drinking.

COVID Illnesses

While we have a strong prevention plan in place, we understand that students will occasionally let their guard down and may become infected with COVID-19. The University, in coordination with MDH, has created an on-campus COVID hotline to assist in managing cases and notifying contacts of people who are ill. Residence hall students who report that they have tested positive for COVID-19 will be directed to go into Isolation. Isolation spaces have been set aside on campus, or a student may choose to isolate at their permanent address.

We understand that these are uncertain and challenging times. We encourage you to reach out to us if you have additional questions. Please stay safe and healthy.


 

As we prepare for the long holiday weekend, we want to let all faculty and staff know that implementation of the Pandemic Preparedness Plan will officially begin for those individuals who have been working on campus when you return to work on Monday, July 6. The expectation is that everyone on campus, including faculty, staff, students and visitors, will follow the plan’s strong recommendation to wear masks or face coverings starting on Monday.

In other news related to Return to Learn:

  • IT Solutions is setting up a FlexSync demo room that will be available for scheduled tours; more information, as well as additional training materials about FlexSync, will be available in the coming weeks.
  • We are establishing the processes and procedures that will be part of the COVID-19 notification plan, as well as a COVID-19 hotline. More information should be available next week.
  • The final details of a Return to Work plan are being worked on as well; we will share that plan in this space soon as well. 

We recognize that you may have questions that have not yet been answered and encourage you to submit them here. We will do our best to get back to you with answers as soon as possible.


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


Colleagues,

I want to thank you all for both the important work you have been doing and your flexibility in doing it. As you know, last Wednesday (May 13) Governor Tim Walz announced that his “Stay at Home” order will expire on May 18 and will be replaced with a “Stay Safe MN” order, where the state is transitioning to a measured, cautious turning of the dial toward a new normal.

This new order has raised a number of questions about whether Minnesota State University, Mankato employees are now expected to return to campus. This email (and the attached FAQ) intends to clarify what this means for you and your fellow employees.

Ultimately, our direction on returning to work comes from Chancellor Devinder Malhotra. As of now, the University will continue operating as we have been. For those who can telework, you must continue to do so. International and domestic travel continue to be suspended indefinitely. In-state travel should only occur when essential and must be approved in advance by your respective supervisor and vice president.

As much as I wish I could tell you how long this will last, it’s impossible to say. We expect social distancing and safety protocols to be in place for the near future. Therefore, any return to the workplace will be accomplished through a phased process. We will continue to accommodate the needs of those who are particularly vulnerable to this virus.

For those who need to be in the workplace, we are continuing strict social distancing strategies. These include:

  • Keeping at least 6 feet of space between people
  • Wear cloth face coverings where:
    • Social distancing (6-foot separation) cannot be maintained,
    • Activities require interactions within 6 feet for an extended period of time, and
    • It does not interfere with wearer’s vision.

I have had discussions with the Cabinet regarding return to work, and we are currently planning a process for employees to return to work at a future date. Our "Maverick Return to Learn" initiative is already underway and is predicated on keeping our students, faculty and staff healthy and safe. As part of this effort, we have a number of action teams engaged in planning a safe and effective return when that time comes. We will keep you apprised of our progress throughout the summer.

We have shifted to a new normal, and we realize this presents both unique professional and personal challenges, as well as feelings of uncertainty and stress. Please be assured that we are continuing to plan and will communicate when you can return to work at the University.

Until then, thank you again for your hard work and flexibility.

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport
President

Stay Safe MN FAQ's


Sent on behalf of Dr. Lynn Akey, Vice President for Student Success, Analytics and Integrated Planning

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you were previously given the opportunity to change your grading method for Spring term courses that were not completed prior to March 16, 2020.

You now have another opportunity to request this change. You may request a change from Letter Grade (A-F) to Pass/No Credit OR from Pass/No Credit to Letter Grade (A-F) between May 15 and June 15, 2020. Because this change can impact your academic standing, it is important that you request this change as soon as possible. If you previously requested a Pass/No Credit grading method and wish to learn the actual letter grade your faculty member would have assigned, please review D2L or contact your instructor. If you are unable to obtain your grade using one of these methods, please contact the Registrar’s Office on Maverick OneStop: https://onestop.mnsu.edu/app/registrar. Your alternative grade will be sent to your Minnesota State Mankato email account. 

To request a change in grading method, please complete the eForm here: Grading Method Change Form

Additionally, the CARES Act recently changed the requirements for calculating student Satisfactory Academic Progress for Spring 2020. Grades of W (if earned after March 12, 2020), I or IP will be removed from the calculation of attempted credits in determining Satisfactory Academic Progress for the Spring term. If you were advised to remain in a class rather than withdraw from it, or have questions about how you may be impacted by Satisfactory Academic Progress for Spring 2020, please contact your academic advisor for additional information.

General questions about Pass/No Credit grade changes, Satisfactory Academic Progress or other academic concerns may be sent to provost@mnsu.edu.


Message to CARES Act Eligible students

Good afternoon,

We hope you are doing well and staying safe and healthy during this extraordinary time.

The University recently received an allocation from the US Department of Education Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) as part of the federal CARES Act. The funds are designated for direct payments to eligible students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses.

Following Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system guidance, all eligible students will receive a base payment of $295 from this fund. You are eligible to receive this payment. You do not need to apply for this award. The amount will be processed automatically.

Should this automatic payment not cover the additional expenses you have incurred, there will also be an application-based CARES Emergency Grant fund established in the near future to provide further relief; please watch for a future announcement when the application process is available.

Automated payments are expected to be processed next week. To expedite the receipt of your payment, please be sure you have an active direct deposit authorization on e-services. To set up or review your information, log in with your StarID and password, select the Financial Aid menu, click on the Direct Deposit Setup link and review or enter your bank information. If you do not have an active direct deposit authorization set up you will receive your payment by check, mailed to your permanent address on file with the University.

The University continues to work on solutions to ease your financial concerns. Please let us know if you have any other questions at this time.

Best wishes,

Richard J. Straka
VP for Finance and Administration

Campus Hub

Student Financial Services
Minnesota State University, Mankato
117 Centennial Student Union
Mankato, MN 56001
507-389-1866 / 1-800-722-0544
mnsu.edu/campushub

FAFSA School Code 002360


Message to CARES Act Eligible students who were awarded a Pell Grant

Good afternoon,

We hope you are doing well and staying safe and healthy during this extraordinary time.

The University recently received an allocation from the US Department of Education Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) as part of the federal CARES Act. The funds are designated for direct payments to eligible students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses.

Following Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system guidance, all eligible students will receive a base payment of $295 from this fund. You are eligible to receive this payment. In addition, all Cares Act Eligible students who were awarded a Pell Grant will receive an additional $540. You are eligible for a total payment of $835. You do not need to apply for this payment. The amount will be processed automatically.

Should this automatic payment not cover the additional expenses you have incurred, there will also be an application-based CARES Emergency Grant fund established in the near future to provide further relief; please watch for a future announcement when the application process is available.

Automated payments are expected to be processed next week.  To expedite the receipt of your payment, please be sure you have an active direct deposit authorization on e-services. To set up or review your information, log in with your StarID and password, select the Financial Aid menu, click on the Direct Deposit Setup link and review or enter your bank information. If you do not have an active direct deposit authorization set up you will receive your payment by check, mailed to your permanent address on file with the University.

The University continues to work on solutions to ease your financial concerns. Please let us know if you have any other questions at this time.

Best wishes,

Richard J. Straka
VP for Finance and Administration

Campus Hub

Student Financial Services
Minnesota State University, Mankato
117 Centennial Student Union
Mankato, MN 56001
507-389-1866 / 1-800-722-0544
mnsu.edu/campushub

FAFSA School Code 002360


We are excited for you to become a Maverick this fall! Due to the uncertainty of social distancing recommendations, we have made the decision to move the summer new student and transfer student orientation programs to an online format this year.

Your orientation experience is an important aspect to your transition to Minnesota State, Mankato and we will provide you with the resources that you need to start as a Maverick by keeping you informed, connected, and on a path to success. Rather than coming to campus this summer, students will complete online modules using our online learning platform. Families will also have an opportunity to participate in virtual gatherings and presentations to learn about campus resources and how to help their student transition to the University.

The online orientation will launch on May 18, 2020 and students may complete it when it is convenient for them. Orientation staff will engage with incoming students throughout the summer in a variety of virtual activities to connect incoming students with each other and the campus. After students complete the online orientation module, they will be eligible for advising and registration. Details regarding advising and registration will be provided when students complete the online orientation.

We have a rich tradition of a Welcome Week just prior to the start of classes and this will be further enhanced to focus on building connections and catch up on information not covered in the online orientation.

In order to participate you must sign up for an orientation session on our website. The Maverick Online Orientation program will be offered at a discounted rate of $75. There will be no charge for families to participate in virtual family orientation information sessions.

We are excited to learn more about you, share more about Minnesota State Mankato, and help you launch your Maverick career! Please let us know if you have questions by emailing us at newstudent@mnsu.edu.

Sincerely,

Jeremy Riesenberg, Assistant Director for Orientation and Transition Programs

Nikki Stock, Director of New Student and Family Programs


Parking Permit Refunds to Students

On March 27, 2020, University President Davenport's Cabinet approved $193,000 worth of parking permit refunds to students for the two months affected by this COVID-19 Pandemic which led to classes being taught through distance learning for part of March, all of April, and a week into May. Individual refunds will first be applied to any outstanding charges on a student’s account, and if charges are already cleared, refunds will be posted as an automatic deposit or mailed as a check.

Student Permit Type

Two Months Value

Platinum

$64

Gold

$64

Nighttime Gold

$19

Purple

$51

Nighttime Purple

$13

Orange

$36

Light Green

$66

Dark Green

$51

Daytime Green

$76

Motorcycle

$15

Accessibility

$23


Greetings!

I hope this message finds you well and healthy. I know many of you are anticipating the nice weather this weekend, and I hope you are able to enjoy some much deserved rest and relaxation.

Tonight, I want to provide you with three important updates:

  1. What does the Governor’s extended stay-at-home order mean for Minnesota State University, Mankato?
  2. What plans have been made for Summer instruction and orientation?
  3. What plans have been made for Spring 2020 commencement?

As many of you are aware, Governor Walz extended the Stay at Home order through May 3, 2020, and the Peacetime Emergency Order until May 13, 2020. This does not change current operations at Minnesota State Mankato. As part of the Minnesota State system, the University is an ‘essential service’ that remains open, while following social distancing guidelines and teleworking as much as possible. Therefore, please continue to work from home or report to work at the University as directed by your supervisor. We will continue to communicate with you as new information develops.

As communicated on Monday by Provost Cecil, summer session instruction will be conducted online only. I echo his sentiments and thank our faculty, staff and deans for their continued hard work to transition and offer courses to meet our students’ needs during this time.

Due to the uncertainty of social distancing recommendations or additional stay at home orders, the new student and transfer student orientation programs scheduled for this summer will also move to an online format. You can learn more here: https://mankato.mnsu.edu/orientation. This change provides certainty for new incoming students as they plan their summers and allows us to pivot our orientation and registration approaches while utilizing technology to provide a personalized onboarding experience. The Office of New Student and Family Programs, Division of Student Success, Analytics and Integrated Planning, and IT Solutions will work together to provide a seamless experience for our new students.

Finally, you may recall from my March 13 update that we made the difficult decision to cancel our spring commencement ceremonies. This does not mean we are going to let May 9 go by without recognizing our graduates! We have a group of talented and creative people working hard to provide an alternative commencement experience and special recognition for these graduates. In addition, graduates will all be invited to participate in the in-person commencement ceremonies scheduled for December 2020. While we don’t want to give-away the big surprise, know that a special communication plan has been put in place to share the news with the students over the next few weeks. We encourage you to engage with our graduates on May 9 on our new www.mnsu.edu/MavGrad2020 webpage..

These initiatives are further examples of the heavy lifts that are only made possible by the tremendous quality of our staff, faculty and leaders. Thank you all for everything you are doing to support our students during this difficult time. Please take care of yourselves and continue to stay safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport
President


Dear international students,

We wish you continued strength and perseverance as we move through this crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In our efforts to support our international students, we have made funds available for international students who worked for SODEXO during the Spring 2020 semester to continue as student workers on an alternative online university-project through the library for the remainder of the semester.  

This online work assignment involves students, under supervision of a new university supervisor, collecting stories of individuals as they experience the COVID-19 pandemic. This project is organized by the Library and student workers will be trained to do their work assignment. 

Each student employee can expect 8-10 hours of work, per week, starting on April 13 (or thereafter) until the end of finals week. Student workers can work from home, whether it is here in Mankato or elsewhere.

If you would like to participate in this remote work opportunity:

If you’ve already signed up for the project, there’s no need to do so again.

Please stay strong and keep supporting one another. We will get through this together.

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport
President


Good morning,

I am writing today to remind you about a University decision to allow you to choose Pass/No-Credit (P/NC) grading for Spring 2020 courses. This decision reflects the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in due to COVID-19 and the transition of all courses to remote or alternative delivery.

You have the opportunity to choose a Pass/No-Credit grading method for classes this semester that were not completed prior to March 16, 2020. Please review the information and resources available at https://mankato.mnsu.edu/grading/ before making a decision about changing a course grading method. Instructions and a video demonstrating how to change a course grading method is available on the web site. I strongly encourage you to consult with your advisor and your instructors prior to Friday April 24, so you are able to make the best possible decision for your situation. There is no reason to hurry in making a decision, so please consult and consider carefully your options. All Pass/No-Credit grade method changes need to be completed within e-Services by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, April 26.

In addition to the option of a Pass/No-Credit grading method, the last day to withdraw from full semester Spring 2020 courses has been moved back to April 27, 2020.  In considering a withdraw from a course, you are encouraged to consult with your advisor prior to making a decision.

If you have questions about how to change a course grading method or withdraw from a course, please contact the Registrar’s Office at https://onestop.mnsu.edu/app/registrar. General questions about Pass/No-Credit grade changes or other academic concerns may be sent to provost@mnsu.edu.

I hope you continue to be safe and well during these unprecedented times.

Sincerely,

Lynn D. Akey
Vice President for Student Success, Analytics and Integrated Planning


Good morning,

I am writing today with a brief update on summer enrollment and some early advice about how we might plan for an uncertain fall semester.

  • Summer: All summer instruction will be online. For the past two weeks, deans have been working with faculty to adapt classes and adjust course offerings for online delivery. Thanks to a lot of hard work by faculty, staff, and administrators, we are cautiously optimistic that summer enrollments will be solid.
  • Fall: We will be a part of the conversation about what our delivery mode for fall is, but it will ultimately be Chancellor Devinder Malhotra’s decision. Conversations are ongoing, and no timeline for a decision has been shared. The options for fall seem to be:
    • Normal in-person instruction
    • Entirely online delivery
    • Mostly online and limited in-person delivery (with social distancing)

I encourage everyone to be prepared to adapt whenever a decision is made. That means preparing for each of the possibilities above.

In the meantime, thank you all for your outstanding work during this strange and unprecedented semester. I am proud to be a part of this university community because of the wonderful work you are doing.

If you have questions, ideas, comments, or concerns, please email me at provost@mnsu.edu.

Stay safe. Thank you for everything you do for our students and our university.

Kind regards,

Matt

Matt Cecil, Ph.D.
Interim Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs


Good afternoon,

On Friday, April 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its position on the general public use of masks and face coverings in response to COVID-19. The CDC now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.  

This has led to questions from folks across campus. Attached to this message you will find FAQs on face coverings, directly from different pages on the CDC website.

What does the new CDC direction mean for Minnesota State University, Mankato employees?

In lieu of cloth facemasks, Minnesota State Mankato has a limited number of non-N95 dust-masks for voluntary use by essential employees who remain working on campus.

Supervisors should contact Environmental Health, Safety & Risk Management with a request for the number of masks needed for their employees. Please note, due to the limited quantity available, only one dust mask will be issued per employee. 

Employees should write their name on their mask to ensure they do not accidentally use someone else’s mask and follow these additional guidelines for safe usage:

  • Do not leave masks unattended in someone else’s space.
  • Do not hang masks from hooks or doorknobs by their elastic straps; this will prematurely degrade and stretch the elastic bands.
  • Do not leave masks in direct sunlight. Sunlight will prematurely degrade the elastic bands.
  • Refrain from taking the mask home for use out and about. Due to the limited supply available, these masks are for work-use only.

Please remember, the use of face coverings is a voluntary public health effort that is intended to protect others from people who do not know they are ill. A face covering of this nature IS NOT considered personal protective equipment (PPE) and does not protect the wearer from exposure. 

The most important ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 continue to be:

  • If you feel ill, stay home and call your medical provider for guidance.
  • If, while at work, you start to feel sick, go home and call your medical provider for guidance. 
  • While at work, out and about and at home, don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth, and frequently wash your hands.
  • While at work and when out and about, maintain a social distance of at least six feet. Other than your spouse, significant other or children, there is no need to come within six feet of each other.

Since there are known delays between exposure and the onset of symptoms, as well as lag time on testing and testing results, it is imperative everyone follows the above guidelines.

Finally, if someone on campus is confirmed to have COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will take the lead and contact the people they deem necessary with guidance. Not everyone on campus will be called, and the MDH will not share specifics of the impacted employee. The MDH must balance the public health needs with protecting the privacy rights of individuals.

Thank you for everything you are doing to stop the spread of COVID-19 and for keeping our students, faculty and staff safe during this time. Please contact me with any questions.

WORK SMART…..WORK SAFE!

Regards,

Chandler J. Holland
Director of Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management

CDC Guidelines for Cloth Face Coverings


Dear Minnesota State University, Mankato Employee,

As our state responds to COVID-19, Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-07 on March 17 to support state agency employees during this unprecedented time. This order provides one of the best paid leaves in the country for employees who cannot work due to certain COVID-19-related circumstances.

Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) rolled out the paid COVID-19 leave policy and request form on March 18 to state agency employees. Generally, all employees who can telework should. Employees who cannot telework may be reassigned or redeployed. For employees who can’t telework or be reassigned or redeployed, Paid COVID-19 Leave is available.

Last week President Trump signed into law a federal government emergency coronavirus relief package. It includes paid sick leave benefits for employees who must take time off because of the spreading virus, as well as expanded Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits for leave for school and childcare closures due to COVID-19. MMB has updated our state policy to comply with the federal law. The revised policy is posted on MMB’s website and is effective April 1.

The April 1, 2020 revised Paid COVID-19 Leave policy includes addition of:

  • Paid school care leave for kids under 18, rather than only 12 and under
    • For kids older than 12, this is another use of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave, is limited to a total of up to 12 weeks of FMLA at 2/3 pay, and runs concurrently with employees’ existing FMLA leave balance. The remaining 1/3 can be supplemented with accrued vacation or comp time. The total amount of FMLA leave available to any employee eligible for both FMLA and this leave will not exceed 12 workweeks in the fiscal year.  Employees who have already exhausted their FMLA balance for the fiscal year are limited to up to 80 hours of this leave (pro-rated for part-time employees) at 2/3 pay. The remaining 1/3 can be supplemented with accrued vacation or comp time.
    • At this time, we will not impose these caps and limitations on school leave for younger kids or children with disabilities who need care.
  • Care leave for individuals other than family members
    • This is limited to 80 hours (pro-rated for part-time employees) at 2/3 pay. The remaining 1/3 can be supplemented with accrued vacation or comp time.
    • At this time, we will not impose these caps and limitations on care for family members.
  • We expanded some uses for the employee’s health and caring for others, but generally our prior policy already provided the benefits required by federal law, and more.

Contact your supervisor to discuss your use of Paid COVID-19 Leave. To request Paid COVID-19 Leave, you must submit a Paid COVID-19 Leave Request Form to the Office of Human Resources for approval. You may contact Steve Barrett, Director of Human Resources at 507-389-2015 or hr@mnsu.edu with any questions.

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport
President

Steve Barrett
Director, Human Resources


Good afternoon,

I am writing today to update the campus community on a decision I have made to allow students to choose Pass-No Credit grading for their Spring 2020 courses. The decision to allow this option for students reflects the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in, moving all of our more than 3,300 courses to online or alternative delivery in such a short time.

Many other universities in our region, including the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin and Iowa State, have offered students P/NC or a similar option.

Beginning in early April, we will allow students an opportunity, ending April 26, to choose a P/NC grading system for any of their classes this semester. We will provide students with information and resources they will need to make an informed decision here: http://www.mnsu.edu/grading. We also encourage students to consult with advisors and instructors so they can make the best decision possible for them.

 We understand this decision will require additional work down the road to assure that students are held harmless for their choices. Until Thursday of last week, we were awaiting guidance from the System Office on this change. When we received word that it would be a local campus decision, Provost Cecil immediately sought input on the ramifications of the change through a survey of department chairs and consultation with FA leadership and others. Almost all of our chairs responded and we will use their feedback as a starting point in our work to address the implications of this change.

We have two goals during this crisis. First, we must keep everyone in our campus community safe. Second, we must assure that our students continue progressing towards their goals. This grading option will help our students stay on track.

If you have any questions about this change, please contact Provost Cecil in the Office of the Provost at provost@mnsu.edu.

I am proud of the way our faculty, staff, and students are dealing with this unprecedented situation. Thank you for everything you do.

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport
President


Dear Students:

Our extended Spring Break ends this weekend and classes resume online or in alternative delivery format on Monday, March 30.  I know this is not how any of you expected this semester to go, and it is certainly not what I expected either! I would much rather see you in person on campus this week instead of interacting with you virtually. Please know that even though many of you are not here with us physically, we care deeply about each of you and want you to be successful this semester and into the future.

Since remote teaching and learning is a change for many of us, this message contains information on the various resources we have put in place to help you succeed.

  • Get Started With Online Learning: Download the quick guide to student tech resources for learning online. For an extensive and continually growing list of all student resources, visit the  Keep Learning website.
  • Stay Informed: Please check your MavMail account regularly as that is our official way of communicating important information with you. All of our announcements are also posted on the University Coronavirus webpage.
  • Student Advising and Course Registration: University Advising is available to answer any questions you have about advising or course registration for summer and fall semester. Learn more here, or contact them at advising@mnsu.edu. Please also update your contact information in E-Services so we are able to connect with you!
  • Student Worker Information: State and federal legislation provides for student worker compensation during the COVID-19 situation. Please contact your student worker supervisor or visit the Student Payroll webpage to learn more.
  • Refunds: Students seeking refunds for residential life housing, dining services, or parking permits, please be patient with us as we work through these decisions and implementation. Further information will be shared as it becomes available and will be posted on our Coronavirus webpage.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we all work together to figure out how to move ahead in our new reality. Even if we are not together on campus, we are all still part of the #MavFam! Our faculty and staff are all working in unison to help you complete the semester successfully. Please contact your faculty, college dean or the Office of the Provost with any concerns or needs.

I wish you well with the rest of your spring semester—and I look forward to seeing many of you again next fall as well.

Go Mavs!

Richard Davenport
President


Dear Students,

Earlier today you received a message from Chancellor Malhotra announcing Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-20 which states, in part, that:

“Beginning on Friday, March 27, 2020 at 11:59 pm through Friday, April 10, 2020 at 5:00 pm, all persons currently living within the State of Minnesota are ordered to stay at home or in their place of residence except to engage in the Activities and Critical Sector work.”

The colleges and universities that are part of the Minnesota State system are among the entities identified as “Critical Sector work,” and thus, the University will remain open to provide essential educational services and resources for students. Classes will begin again on March 30, through either online or alternative instruction. Your instructors will be reaching out to you with more details, if they have not already done so.

Although most buildings on our campus are now closed and most of our staff is working remotely, we remain committed to providing the services you need. More details about how to access the services you need can be found at www.mnsu.edu/coronavirus.

The University administrative team is diligently working to identify how Minnesota State Mankato will comply with this Executive Order to maintain the health and well-being of all our faculty, staff, and students, while also providing the necessary educational services. More information will be forthcoming as details are finalized.

Thank you all for remaining committed to your education during this time of uncertainty. Until my next message, be safe and well.

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport
President

Message to Students from Chancellor Malhotra


Dear Faculty and Staff,

Earlier today you received a message from Chancellor Malhotra (copied below) announcing Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-20 which states, in part, that:

“Beginning on Friday, March 27, 2020 at 11:59 pm through Friday, April 10, 2020 at 5:00 pm, all persons currently living within the State of Minnesota are ordered to stay at home or in their place of residence except to engage in the Activities and Critical Sector work.”

The colleges and universities that are part of the Minnesota State system are among the entities identified as “Critical Sector work,” and thus, Minnesota State University, Mankato will remain open to provide essential educational services and resources for our students. Classes will begin again, as previously communicated, on March 30. 

Please note, this Executive Order does not restrict virtual work or telework (i.ework from home), and in fact it encourages those Minnesotans who are able to telework to do so. Many of our staff and faculty are already engaged in telework arrangements and should continue to do so unless directed otherwise by their supervisors.

The University administrative team is diligently working to identify how Minnesota State Mankato will comply with this Executive Order to maintain the health and well-being of all our faculty, staff and students, while also providing the necessary educational services. More information will be forthcoming as details are finalized.

Thank you all for continuing the University’s good work during this time of uncertainty. Until my next message, be safe and well.

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport
President

Message to Faculty and Staff from Chancellor Malhotra


Dear Campus Community,

A member of the Minnesota State University, Mankato campus community has reported that they have been diagnosed with lab confirmed COVID-19 (coronavirus). While the Minnesota Department of Health has determined that the risk of exposure at our University is low, my thoughts are with this individual and my wish for them is a speedy recovery.

I understand that this news may create unease in our community. The safety, security, and health of our staff and students is our top priority.  To that end, we have followed cleaning procedures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and are working closely with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for further guidance. We are also working with MDH to identify and notify any close contacts.

The most important actions each of us can take to further protect ourselves include:

  • Staying home if you are sick
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water; covering your cough and sneeze; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Practicing self-care by eating a healthy diet and taking time to rest
  • Frequently cleaning all commonly touched surfaces
  • Avoiding large gatherings

This is our first notification of a case of COVID-19, and we are thankful to this individual for their self-awareness and reporting their condition to Minnesota State Mankato. As access to diagnostics increases (through clinical diagnosis or laboratory confirmation), so will the number of positive cases – both in the wider community as well as here at Minnesota State Mankato. Therefore, we expect that future diagnoses like these will not necessarily result in school-wide communication.

If you feel you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, The Minnesota Department of Health recommends:

  1. Stay at home for at least 7 days, and for 3 days with no fever and improvement of respiratory symptoms – whichever is longer. (Your fever should be gone for 3 days without using fever-reducing medicine).
  2. Use the CDC website on how to Care For Yourself at Home with COVID-19.
  3. If your household contacts were exposed to you while you had symptoms, they should try to stay home as much as possible for 14 days.
    1. They should closely monitor their health, and if symptoms occur, they must isolate themselves. More guidance on this can be found here: MDH COVID-19 Basics
    2. Use the CDC website for How to Minimize Spread.

If you are concerned about your personal health due to symptoms, please contact your medical clinic prior to arriving so they can take the necessary precautions to keep other patients and medical staff safe. There are many resources listed on our website dedicated to COVID-19 with reliable and up to date information. 

This is a challenging time, and I know many of you may be feeling stress or anxiety.  Faculty, staff, and students may call the Minnesota Department of Health hotline at (651) 201-3920 with questions about symptoms, treatment, or risk of COVID-19. An Emotional Support Help Line is available for all students at 866-342-6892, and Student Health Services is answering student questions related to COVID-19 at (507) 389-5591. In addition, both the University Student Health Services and the Counseling Center are offering remote services for students.  Of course, the Employee Assistance Program is vital in promoting well-being among our employees with confidential counseling services.

We will get through this together as a community, and will be stronger when we emerge.

Take care,

Richard Davenport
President


Good afternoon,

Earlier this week you received a message from me instructing everyone that individuals who could telework should prepare to do so by Friday, March 20, in an effort to protect the health and safety of our campus community. Obviously, this action causes a major disruption to our normal business operations. I am proud of the proactive response by many offices to respond to these disruptions and provide alternative modes of completing our necessary work.

I am also pleased that despite the upheaval in your workdays, you have remained committed to serving our students. This has been a particularly difficult time for them, with everything from how they learn to where they live, work and eat changing on a daily basis. I ask that you continue to keep their needs in mind as you adjust to working remotely or with limited operations.

My message today contains many “need-to-know” details about our campus operations during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Building Closures:

To protect the safety and well-being of staff who need to remain on campus or intermittently access their offices, all university buildings will be closed to the public and locked at the end of the business day today, Friday, March 20.

Exterior door access is available to employees with your Mav Card at the designated electronic door.  Please call University Security at 507-389-2111 for assistance. 

This closure does not apply to the Library, University Dining Center, or Residential Life buildings, which will remain open to provide services to students.

Business Services Operations:

The majority of the Business Services Office staff will be telecommuting to various degrees.  With this mind, please review the attached instructions for completing and submitting forms and supporting materials to the Business Services Office. If you have questions regarding this document, please contact Steve Smith at steven.smith@mnsu.edu or Rick Straka at richard.straka@mnsu.edu.

Parking and Bus Operations:

Please see the attached memo from David Cowan regarding parking and bus operations.

Mail and Delivery Services:

Mail and Delivery services, including Fed Ex, UPS, and other packages will continue at this time. Please contact Tammy Trcka at tamara.trcka@mnsu.edu or 389-2173 if you have questions about any changes to your department’s mail delivery location.

StarAlert:

Please update your contact information in StarAlert so you are receiving important Minnesota State University, Mankato campus, and Minnesota State system messages. Access to StarAlert can be found here: https://my.mnsu.edu/account/

MMB Self Service:

Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) would like all state employees to update the following My Personal Information components in Self Service as soon as possible.

1. Add or update your personal information summary so we can reach you during an emergency. This includes your address, phone numbers, and email. Indicate your preferred mode of contact.

2. Complete or update the pandemic availability question to indicate if you are able or unable to work during a pandemic event based on specific criteria.

3. Complete or update your skills profile with your license and certificate information. Identify any license or certificate information you have, even if not associated or required for your current position. We may use this information if needed to quickly find employees with the necessary skills to assist in maintaining critical services to Minnesotans.

For help, go to the My Personal Information section of Self Service and select Instructions. Pertinent help is on pages 15-17.

Questions?

Contact your supervisor or human resources office. Continue to check mn.gov/bereadymn and the Minnesota Department of Health Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) website often for the latest information.

Thank you for your attention to these matters. As always, stay home if you are sick, cover your cough, and wash your hands regularly.

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport
President

Business Services Office Communication

Bus and Parking Memo


Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

I regret to inform you that we have determined at this time to cancel our spring commencement ceremonies on May 9, 2020. We understand that many students and their families were looking forward to this day of celebration, and we are sorry that we will be unable to proceed with our normal celebrations. We are taking these precautions because we care about everyone’s safety and well-being.

We are looking at creative alternatives to celebrate our spring graduates. Additional details will be shared as plans are finalized. Regardless of any alternative option this spring, please know that students scheduled to walk in the spring commencement will be welcome to join us for the fall commencement ceremony, if they so desire.

More information as it becomes available on future commencement plans will be available at www.mnsu.edu/graduation or submit your question via email to events@mnsu.edu.

Please continue to be safe and well.

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport
President


Dear Faculty and Staff,

This afternoon we received new guidance from the System Office indicating that until further notice, all colleges and universities and the system office are directed to take immediate action to implement telework for all employees unless work responsibilities require an employee to be physically present on site. By Friday, March 20, 2020, any employee who can work from a remote location will be required to do so. I have attached the Chancellor’s Memo on the topic for your review.

I have called an emergency Cabinet meeting tomorrow afternoon to discuss the details of the telework plan for Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Please know, our campus leadership has already been working on telework planning and many of our offices are prepared for this change with some beginning telework tomorrow. All employees who have not yet planned for telework should stand by for more information and speak to their supervisors.

We will provide more information as soon as we can. In the meantime, please let me thank all of you for everything you are doing to help our students through this crisis. I could not be prouder of our campus community. Our university is a special place and please know that I appreciate you and all that you do.

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport
President

Memo to Leadership Council from Chancellor Malhotra


Dear Minnesota State University, Mankato Students,

As you may know, Spring Break has been extended again for students. Spring Break continues until March 29, and your classes will resume with online and alternative delivery on Monday, March 30.

This is a complex and fluid situation and we appreciate your patience.

Your professors will reach out to you soon with more information about how courses will be delivered. In the meantime, we encourage you to log into e-services (https://www.mnsu.edu/eservices/) and enable text messaging so we can keep you posted with the latest information.

We want you to know that helping you continue to progress toward graduation is our top priority as we all confront this global pandemic crisis. We know you have many questions and we stand ready to answer them as best we can in this unprecedented situation.

Thank you again for your patience as we work through all the details surrounding this transition to online and alternative learning. We want you to succeed and we pledge to help you any way we can in the coming days and weeks. Stay safe and we will be in touch again soon.

Kind regards,
David P. Jones, Ph.D.


March 16 - Resumption of classes pushed back to March 30

March 15 - Travelers returning from other countries

Message to Faculty

March 16, 2020
8:08 a.m.

Good morning,

I am following up on Chancellor Malhotra’s email of last night to amplify a couple of key points.

1. Resumption of classes via online and alternative delivery has been pushed back to March 30. Faculty and staff should use this week and next to prepare for online and alternative delivery of coursework and support services. There are a wide variety of support services available for those who need help with that transition. They include the http://www.mnsu.edu/keepteaching site as well as the following library services:

2. Staffing/Continuity of Operations: I have asked Deans to identify staff in each college/unit office who could potentially telecommute and assure that they are prepared to do so with appropriate technology, broadband Internet access, knowledge of the university VPN, etc. If you have an underlying health concern, are caring for someone with an underlying health concern, or have any other reason to believe you are a candidate to telecommute, please contact your supervisor.

Once again, I want to thank everyone for their dedication to helping our students through this unprecedented situation. Everyone understands these alternative delivery methods and work arrangements are not ideal. Our goal must be to do the best we can for our students despite these obstacles.

Kind regards,
Matt


Message to Faculty and Staff

March 15, 2020
12:34 p.m.

Dear Minnesota State Mankato faculty and staff,

Effective immediately:

All travelers that are returning from a Level 3 country must stay home for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor their health, and practice social distancing.  The full guidance from the CDC is located at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/coronavirus-europe

Travelers returning from other countries or from domestic travel need to monitor their health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning from travel.  Travelers that are sick with fever, cough, or have trouble breathing should stay home and call ahead before seeking medical care.  The full guidance from the CDC is located at

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/coronavirus-global

If you are a faculty or staff member who needs to self-quarantined or stay home to monitor your health after traveling, please notify the Office of the Provost, provost@mnsu.edu.

If you are a student who needs to self-quarantine, stay home to monitor your health, or needs accommodations to self-quarantine, please notify Student Affairs, student-affairs@mnsu.edu.

If you have questions regarding exposure as a result of travel, Minnesota Department of Health asks you to call 651-201-5414 or 877-676-5414 for guidance.

Please visit the campus Coronavirus web site at http://www.mnsu.edu/coronavirus for the latest updates or to post your questions.

Respectfully,

Matt


Dear Minnesota State Mankato Students,

Effective immediately:

All travelers that are returning from a Level 3 country must stay home for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor their health, and practice social distancing.  The full guidance from the CDC is located at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/coronavirus-europe

Travelers returning from other countries or from domestic travel need to monitor their health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning from travel.  Travelers that are sick with fever, cough, or have trouble breathing should stay home and call ahead before seeking medical care.  The full guidance from the CDC is located at

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/coronavirus-global

If you are a faculty or staff member who needs to self-quarantined or stay home to monitor your health after traveling, please notify the Office of the Provost, provost@mnsu.edu.

If you are a student who needs to self-quarantine, stay home to monitor your health, or needs accommodations to self-quarantine, please notify Student Affairs, student-affairs@mnsu.edu.

If you have questions regarding exposure as a result of travel, Minnesota Department of Health asks you to call 651-201-5414 or 877-676-5414 for guidance.

Please visit the campus Coronavirus web site at http://www.mnsu.edu/coronavirus for the latest updates or to post your questions.

Respectfully,

David P. Jones, Ph.D.


Good afternoon,

I wanted to follow-up yesterday’s messages from Chancellor Malhotra and President Davenport with a few additional points of interest and reminders.

As President Davenport noted, we have extended Spring Break for students until March 23. Campus remains open and faculty and staff should report to work. The extra week gives faculty an opportunity to plan for online and alternative delivery of all courses for the remainder of the semester beginning March 23.

With the exception of unique, off-campus instructional situations like clinical experiences, student teaching, and aviation flight training, we will not hold on-campus classes for the remainder of the semester. Students in those unique instructional situations will be contacted by their professors with more information.

Campus is open and while classes are moving to online and alternative delivery you are welcome to be here. Residence halls remain open for those residential students who need to be here for any reason. Food service is available. Memorial Library and most other campus buildings will be open next week.

We have created a support site for students who are inexperienced with online learning: http://mankato.mnsu.edu/keeplearning.

If you have questions about academics, please contact us at provost@mnsu.edu. We will try to answer your questions or connect you with experts who can help.

I want to thank you ahead of time for your patience as we adapt our classes and campus services for online and alternative delivery. Please know that your continued progress toward graduation is our top priority during this crisis.

We want you to succeed and we promise to do everything we can to help. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.

Kind regards,
Matt


Good afternoon,

I wanted to follow-up yesterday’s messages from Chancellor Malhotra and President Davenport with a few additional points of interest and reminders.

As President Davenport noted, we have extended Spring Break for students until March 23. Campus remains open and faculty and staff should report to work. The extra week gives faculty an opportunity to plan for online and alternative delivery of all courses for the remainder of the semester beginning March 23.

The goal of this move to online and alternative delivery is to allow students to stay away from campus. We have encouraged students to stay away if they can, though residence halls remain open for those students who have nowhere else to go or who need to be here because they have jobs in the community. We know that with this shift many of our students will choose not return to Mankato this semester.

Thus, with the exception of unique, off-campus instructional situations like clinical experiences, student teaching, and aviation flight training, we expect that faculty will not hold on-campus classes for the remainder of the semester.

We recognize that this creates enormous challenges in areas like laboratory sciences, art studios, and performance classes and we are ready to help faculty address those challenges.

This is a public health crisis and a worldwide pandemic. It is going to require creativity and innovation in order to help our students succeed. The timing is difficult and planning for those alternative experiences needs to happen quickly. Our goal must be to create learning opportunities that, while not ideal by any measure, address our students’ needs and keep them on schedule for graduation.

As a reminder, we have created a Web site to help anyone with questions about moving classes online quickly: http://mankato.mnsu.edu/keepteaching.

We also have a support site for students who are inexperienced with online learning: http://mankato.mnsu.edu/keeplearning.

In addition, the faculty and staff of Memorial Library offer a wide variety of services that can help with the transition. Contact a librarian for more information.

If you have questions about specific kinds of learning experiences, please contact us at the Office of the Provost, provost@mnsu.edu. We will try to answer your questions or connect you with experts who can help.

Many faculty members have come forward offering their online teaching expertise to assist faculty colleagues with this shift to online and alternative delivery. I am grateful to them for their willingness to help. If you have special skills you would like to offer to help colleagues with this transition, please contact Associate Vice President Jennifer Veltsos: Jennifer.veltsos@mnsu.edu.

It has been a turbulent few weeks. I hope everyone has a restful weekend in preparation for what will be a busy time next week preparing for this shift to online and alternative delivery.

Thank you for everything you do to help our students succeed.

Kind regards,
Matt


Dear Faculty and Staff,

Chancellor Devinder Malhotra communicated today that we are extending Spring Break by one week for our students and suspending all classes (including classes that are already online) for that week. Beginning March 23, all coursework at Minnesota State University, Mankato will resume and be delivered through online or alternative instruction.

We believe this is a prudent course of action and I urge everyone to pull together to assist our students in their academic goals.

Please review the following points:

  • While students are allowed to extend their Spring Break next week, employees will continue to report to work as usual. Student employees and graduate students who are able to work next week have been encouraged to do so.
  • Employees who believe they, or a member of their family are at-risk because of the possibility of infection should contact their supervisors to arrange other work alternatives. Those arrangements might include working remotely, or taking appropriate leave.
  • Individuals who recently traveled internationally to a Level 3 country, please self-identify and determine with your supervisor alternative work arrangements for 14 days to limit the risk of secondary exposure.
  • In addition to the already-suspended school and business-sanctioned international travel, Minnesota State System has now suspended school and business-sanctioned out-of-state domestic travel, effective Monday, March 16. Please do not make new travel arrangements at this time. If you have non-refundable travel expenses for a canceled trip, please contact your supervisor. Additionally, we highly recommend any travel plans for this weekend be re-evaluated for your own safety and well-being of others.
  • If you have questions about delivering a course online, addressing a situation unique to a class you are teaching, or anything else related to academic affairs, please contact the Office of the Provost at provost@mnsu.edu. Also note that we have a Web site: http://mankato.mnsu.edu/keepteaching which may help with your transition to online or alternative delivery.
  • For other questions, please review our FAQ at http://mankato.mnsu.edu/coronavirus. The page includes a “submit a question” button where you can submit your questions about any topic related to this unprecedented situation.

We ask that everyone work together on the many challenges that are ahead as we embark on this major shift in how we deliver our courses. Minnesota State University, Mankato is a special place. I know we will rise to the occasion as a campus community in this difficult time.

Thanks to all of you for everything you do and for making this a great university!

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport
President


Dear Students,

A recent communication from Chancellor Malhotra announced that we are extending Spring Break one week (March 16-20) for all students and suspending all classes (including classes that are already online) for that same week. This will allow professors and others to prepare classes. Beginning March 23, all classes will resume and be delivered through online or alternative instruction. Student workers, including graduate assistants, may return to work on campus next week. Any student worker, or graduate assistant who does not wish to return to campus should contact their supervisor.

We want to help all students complete their Spring semester classes and successfully complete their degree requirements. We are committed to supporting you during this unprecedented situation.

  • If you have questions or concerns, including accessibility, online learning or other alternative instruction, please contact the Office of the Provost at provost@mnsu.edu.
  • For other questions, please review our FAQ at http://mankato.mnsu.edu/coronavirus. That page includes a “submit a question” button where you can submit your questions about any topic related to this situation.

Minnesota State Mankato students who live in campus residence halls and Stadium Heights, please note the following:

  • If you need to live in campus housing throughout the semester, you will continue to have access to your room or apartment. 
  • If you simply need to collect some belongings, you will also have access to your room or apartment. 
  • There will be limited dining service available in the University Dining Center and Centennial Student Union next week. 
  • If possible, we do encourage you to consider staying at home, or another location until classes resume on March 23.  In fact, you may wish to stay at home for the remainder of the semester and continue your studies online or through alternative instruction identified by your faculty.
  • Additional questions about your housing can be directed to the Office of Residential Life at reslife@mnsu.edu or 507-389-1011.

Students, you should be aware that travelers returning from CDC Level 3 countries are required to observe a 14-day period of self-quarantine and monitoring.

  • You can learn if the county you visited is on this list here: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices
  • During this quarantine period, you are not permitted to come to work, attend class in-person, or participate in any other campus or community activities.
  • The university does not have the capacity to provide self-quarantine locations on campus for students. Students needing to self-quarantine will be required to return to their permanent home residences or self-quarantine in their off-campus apartments.
  • Students who reside in university housing and are unable to return to a home residence should contact University Housing in the Office of Residential Life at reslife@mnsu.edu or 507-389-1011. 

Please know that we want everyone to succeed and will work with you to make that possible. In the meantime, take precautions, and be safe and healthy. Everyone at Minnesota State University, Mankato stands ready to help you.

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport
President


Faculty and staff,

We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely. Many of you have asked about moving courses online. Universities across the U.S. and internationally have begun to make that transition.

While no decision has been made to transition to online instruction here, it is prudent for everyone to be prepared should that become necessary. We are asking that you begin planning for that possibility.

It is important to acknowledge as we plan that everyone understands moving in-person courses online is neither simple nor ideal. This is an unprecedented situation. The fact is that if we must forego in-person classes, this is the best we can do for our students as we deal with a serious public health crisis.

With that in mind, a team from the Office of the Provost, CETL, and IT Solutions have created this web site:

http://mankato.mnsu.edu/keepteaching

There you will find basic resources that can help you plan for the possibility of moving your in-person course online. You will also find links and contact information for people who can help you plan for this possible transition. We are also taking steps to assure that, should a transition occur, all of our students can access online classes.

Support staff and the administration stand ready to assist as you consider how you might move your classes online. Let’s work together to help our students through this situation.

If you have questions, comments, concerns, or ideas to share, please contact me at provost@mnsu.edu.

Thank you for all you do for our students and our university.

Kind regards,
Matt


Campus Community,

The University has assembled a Pandemic Response Team that continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 (coronavirus) epidemic and the impacts it has on our faculty, staff and students. In today’s message I share an update on our campus preparations and action, the status of university activities, and other tips and reminders. Please remember to visit often our University Webpage for the most current information and frequently asked questions (FAQs).

University Actions

I have asked several of my executive officers to closely monitor this evolving situation and recommend to me appropriate follow-up actions based on their ongoing interactions with state and federal health officials, the System Office leadership teams, and best-practices they observe in the higher education community. Additionally, I have asked all of my cabinet members to review and update their Continuation of Operations Plans (COOPs) should the COVID-19 epidemic reach pandemic level. Our Pandemic Response Team stands ready to engage if the situation escalates.

International and Domestic Travel

In my previous communications to you, I shared that the Chancellor of the Minnesota State System suspended all international travel effective on February 28, 2020. Since that time, our administration has been working diligently with affected students, faculty and staff to resolve the logistical and financial implications of cancelled trips and reservations. Please remember this suspension is “indefinite” at this time and no new international travel should be scheduled until further notice.

We had five students that were studying abroad in a Level 3 advisory area. Those students have returned home safely. Students that are studying abroad at a Level 1 or Level 2 country are not required at this time to return home. The Center for Education Abroad and Away has been in direct contact with those impacted students and will update them accordingly if their status should change.

There are no current restrictions on domestic travel.

Classes, University-Sponsored Activities and Possible Online Instruction

At this time, University classes and campus events and activities will commence as scheduled. You may have seen in the media that some higher education institutions have begun to cancel events or move their in-person classes to virtual courses/suspended classes. If the University moves in a similar direction, additional instructions and resources will be forthcoming. Faculty will receive an additional message from Interim Provost Cecil regarding resources available to faculty in the event we need to move to an online learning model for an extended period of time.

Reminders and Tips

As this situation continues to evolve rapidly, fears tend to rise to the highest level. Please remember to treat others kindly and respectfully, and do not make assumptions about COVID-19 exposure or other discriminatory comments based on perceived race, color or ethnic origins. Any concerns regarding potential discriminatory actions should be referred to our Equal Opportunity & Title IX office at eotitleix@mnsu.edu or 507-389-2986.

As a reminder, while there is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, the CDC recommends that everyone take every day preventative actions such as:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

We continue to monitor the situation and will provide additional updates as more information becomes available. Please check your email regularly for updates regarding this situation.

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport
President


Dear Campus Community,

The coronavirus (COVID-19) disease outbreak is a rapidly evolving situation that has made national and international news. While at this time the risk of becoming sick with COVID-19 is low, Minnesota State University, Mankato is closely monitoring the developing situation related to COVID-19 and is committed to taking steps necessary to protect the health and safety of our faculty, our staff, and our students.

Out of an abundance of caution, Chancellor Devinder Malhotra has suspended all Minnesota State – related international travel effective immediately. This includes study abroad programs, and any other activities involving faculty, staff and students. We recognize there are a lot of unanswered questions right now and we are working hard as a campus to address these in the near future.

We will continue to monitor reports, guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. State Department and review this action on a recurring basis.

Resources and information that you may find helpful are below:

  • We are cooperating with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and are conveying their information and guidance related to COVID-19 to our university. MDH and Minnesota State are working to develop regular communication channels to proactively address school-related topics with regard to COVID-19.
  • Information that MDH is making available for schools, colleges and universities is available at https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/schools.html.
  • To date, there have been no positive cases of COVID-19 reported at any Minnesota State college or university or at the system office. At this time, MDH assesses the risk of becoming sick with COVID-19 for people in Minnesota schools, as low, and is not recommending that events or extracurricular activities be cancelled. However, as noted above, international travel has been suspended at all Minnesota State colleges and universities.
  • Anyone in the U.S. who has not traveled to China or been in contact with someone confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days is at low risk of becoming sick with the virus
  • We encourage all students, faculty and staff to:

Other Informational Resources: There are many sources of information on COVID-19 including state, national and international organizations. Primarily sources for Minnesota State monitoring, planning, and response are:

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH):

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

State Department (DOS):

Sincerely,

Richard Davenport
President