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FAQ: Minnesota's stay at home order

U of M Safe Campus website

The Governor of Minnesota has issued Emergency Executive Order 20-20, directing all Minnesotans to stay at home and limit trips outside to essential needs.

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What does stay at home order mean?

The stay at home order announced by Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday, March 25, is an executive action directing all Minnesotans to stay home and limit any trips outside the home to essential needs only. These needs include purchasing groceries and prescriptions, relocating for safety reasons, or going to work should their job be deemed essential. 

Executive actions such as this are being used across the country to limit broad community contact in an effort to slow the exponential growth in COVID-19 cases — an important next step in protecting our healthcare and other resources necessary to respond to this pandemic. For several weeks public health officials have encouraged social distancing. The order is essentially a stricter form of social distancing.

How long will this stay at home order last?

This order is effective at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 27. It will remain in place for two weeks, ending Friday, April 10, at 5 p.m. Please note, the Governor could elect to revisit and extend this order at a later date.

What is the difference between social distancing and this stay at home order?

At its most basic, this stay at home order is a stricter form of social distancing. Social distancing is currently a recommendation. This order is a mandate by the authority of the Governor of Minnesota, directing all residents to stay at home, except to address essential needs. Social distancing is still recommended under this order should you come into contact with others outside your household.

What is changing for the University?

The University anticipated this possibility as we planned our response to COVID-19. As a result, for most students, faculty and staff, the Governor’s order will have little or no impact on the way we are currently teaching, learning, and working. We have already moved our coursework to alternative instruction formats, most employees are working remotely, and we have clarified the parts of our organization that must continue under this stay-at-home scenario. To that last point, only staff who perform Essential on-campus duties, as notified by their supervisor, should come to work once this stay at home order goes into effect.

The University continues to operate under Extended Reduced Operations status, as defined in University policy.

Who will be on campus?

Essential on-campus employees have been identified by unit leadership.

How do I know if I should be coming to campus / am designated an Essential on-campus employee?

You should not be leaving your home to go to work unless you are contacted by your supervisor and explicitly told your job is Essential to on-campus services, as defined by the University’s Campus and Building Closing Policy. If you are not contacted directly by your supervisor, you should be working remotely to the extent possible.

If I have a question about whether or not I should be coming to campus for work, who should I contact?

You should be in contact with your direct supervisor if you have any questions about your job duties under these unique circumstances. As a reminder, the vast majority of University employees are expected to stay home unless directed otherwise. Policies and resources related to the workplace and COVID-19 are available from the Office of Human Resources.

What does this mean for students who live on campus?

Very little will change for those students who continue to live in on-campus residence halls or apartments. Housing and dining services will continue during this order. Classwork will continue to be delivered through alternative formats. Essential services — such as groceries, health care facilities, pharmacies — will remain open.

What support services will still be offered for students living on campus?

All support services currently available to students living on campus will be available during this time, though some may continue with reduced operations.

Can I still go to dining facilities or grocery stores?

Yes. The stay at home order explicitly allows for travel to pick up groceries. The University’s dining services will also remain operational during this time for students who remain in on-campus residence halls or apartments.

What support services will still be offered for students living off campus?

All the support services that have been available in recent weeks to students who are no longer living on campus will continue to be available to you.

Are campus clinics still open?

Yes. However, please note that some campus services have been reduced and additional steps have been taken to mitigate the risk of transmitting COVID-19. See campus-specific information below. 

Crookston: The clinic is open. However, should you be seeking guidance regarding treatment for COVID-19, please contact your primary health care provider.

Duluth: UMD Health Services will remain open to students seeking care. Please review contact information and the latest details here.

Morris: The campus Health Service will not see walk-ins at this time. Please call 320-589-6070 or email to speak with a staff member.

Twin Cities: Boynton Health is open. However, please call ahead before arriving. While Boynton is conducting telehealth and telecounseling when possible, essential employees will be on-site to support patient care. Please review the latest from Boynton Health here.

If you receive care at an off-campus facility, please contact the hospital or clinic before arriving.


What research will continue under this order?

Researchers and research support staff are expected to be working from home unless there is an extraordinary and college-recognized need to be on-campus or on-site that aligns with these criteria:

  • COVID-19 research that has the potential to mitigate the pandemic’s spread;
  • certain biomedical/clinical research that, if paused, would harm its research participants;
  • procedures to maintain critical research infrastructure;
  • activities that, if discontinued, would result in significant degradation of safety.

Those assigned to address these needs have been designated Essential. Please see Guidance for the Research Community for more information.

Are graduate students on research assistant appointments and postdoctoral scholars still required to come into the lab?

In most cases, no. The vast majority of research labs at the University are closed. A small number of graduate students and research assistants may receive permission from administration to continue their lab work for a period of time.

Are graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who wish to come to campus on their own to do research allowed to do so?

No. With the stay at home order, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars should not be coming to campus unless they have been notified that they are listed by name as "Essential" in a lab staffing plan that has been approved by the department chair or center/institute/director. For more information, please see the March 16 communication from Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D., Vice President for Clinical Affairs, and Chris Cramer, Ph.D., Vice President for Research: University of Minnesota Laboratories.

Will class instruction continue?

All classes that are already being delivered through alternative instruction formats will continue.