Good afternoon.

This week we look at new information from MDH on the variant strain of the virus that causes COVID-19, a fall recap on the pandemic, building hours, a student session about second semester, and testing.  

Variant Update:  The Minnesota Department of Health announced over the weekend the new variant strain of the virus that causes COVID-19, being tracked in the world and across the United States, has been detected in Minnesota. MDH and health departments around the country have been watching for the variant and expected it to spread. The MDH Director of Infectious Disease stated that while this variant strain is more contagious, it has not been found to cause more serious disease. At this time MDH is reinforcing the need to keep wearing masks (properly), social distancing and quarantining if you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19. Read MDH’s news release here.  

Pandemic Fall Recap: Following first semester, it was important to evaluate and summarize the pandemic response work that had taken place. While this is not a comprehensive report, it is intended to evaluate some of the overarching campus mitigation and response that was done and some of what we learned. You may read the report here.  

Building Hours: With the beginning of some in-person classes on Thursday, some building hours will change. See the building hours beginning Jan. 14 on CobberNet.  

Student Information Sessions: Throughout this past week, the Dean’s Office has coordinated virtual information sessions addressing Spring semester pandemic protocols. These information sessions were specifically organized and presented by academic unit. At 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 16 there will be a general session for all students who could not make their designated time. Use the following link to participate in this session. https://cord.zoom.us/j/92996126167.  Employees are also welcomed to participate. 

Testing: COVID-19 student test results are steadily being submitted. Results can be uploaded to this link in Moodle. Thank you for following the college’s guidance and getting your test completed in the time requested.   

Emergency Response Team