Testing is an important part of a comprehensive, layered public health plan to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses, along with measures like physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and good health habits. The University of Minnesota has established MTest—developed by our Health Emergency Response Office with support from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and experts from Boynton Health, the University’s Medical School and School of Public Health on the Twin Cities campus, and the Duluth campus’s Health Service medical director. MTest supports all students, faculty, and staff as they return to campus this fall.
- Face coverings are required on the Twin Cities campus in most situations, per the State of Minnesota and University policy. View the Face Covering information. All staff, students, and faculty will be provided two free cloth face masks, which will be distributed either by mail or through their college or department. Individuals may also wear personally supplied face coverings.
- Physical distancing of six feet or more should be maintained as much as possible in any situation, whether in classrooms, dining facilities, residence halls, or outdoor areas.
- All are encouraged to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, stay home if feeling unwell, and seek medical care from Boynton Health or a trusted medical professional.
- Regular housekeeping practices are being enhanced by University facilities management teams, including frequent cleaning and sanitization of high-touch areas such as door handles, railings, and elevator panels. Find more information about cleaning procedures, hand sanitizer availability, and other guidance by visiting Facilities Management’s site.
- Stop the Spread of COVID-19 is our shared commitment to protect one another with daily individual health monitoring, proper handwashing, physical distancing, and by wearing face coverings. Do your part on- and off-campus to help keep our community healthy.
- The Gophers Protecting Gophers campaign encourages the University community to wear face coverings, practice social distancing, and implement other behaviors that slow the spread of COVID-19. Follow @umnsua for more updates on the campaign.
- Each University department is developing plans for welcoming students, staff, and faculty into workspaces and classrooms using guidance from University health experts.
Testing for the Twin Cities Campus
- Those who are symptomatic or have had exposure—defined as being in close proximity (less than six feet away) for 15 minutes or more—to someone with a confirmed positive COVID-19 test, should call Boynton Health, 612-625-3222, or other trusted testing facilities. The University’s testing protocols follow guidance for higher education institutions from public health experts, including MDH and University health experts. It is important to remember that physical distancing, personal hygiene, and wearing a face covering are critical to controlling the spread of the virus.
- Testing at Boynton Health is available to Twin Cities students, faculty, and staff when clinically recommended. For University employees, testing is limited to those who have selected Boynton Health as their primary care clinic. However, for students, staff, or faculty who are symptomatic or have had an exposure while on campus and feel ill, testing is available at Boynton Health.
- When a member of the University community tests positive for COVID-19, they will be instructed by public health officials to isolate to reduce the risk of infecting others. Most individuals will need to isolate until it has been 10 days since they began feeling sick, and they have not had a fever for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications), and their symptoms have improved. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a 10-day isolation period for those known to be infected with COVID-19 but are asymptomatic.
- Those who have been notified of their exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case may be instructed to remain in quarantine, in a space with a separate room and bathroom, for at least 14 days or until otherwise directed by health care or public health professionals.
- University housing and dining services will support students living on campus who require isolation or quarantine.
- Students living in on-campus housing can review these steps they take if exposed to COVID-19 or receive a confirmed positive test. Please submit this form to Boynton Health if you are concerned about any symptoms you may be experiencing.
- For students living in off-campus housing not owned by the University, please view these steps students take if exposed to COVID-19 or receive a confirmed positive test and visit the Office for Off Campus Living for resources and support. Students who do not live in University-owned housing will need to make a plan in case they are instructed by public health officials to isolate or quarantine in their residence.
- Supervisors and employees should take these steps if a COVID-19 positive test has occurred or if they have been exposed to someone with a confirmed positive test.
Case Investigation and Contact Tracing
- Students, faculty, staff members, or others who may have been exposed to a confirmed positive case—defined as being in close proximity (less than six feet) for 15 minutes or more with or without a face covering—will be notified by health care or public health officials through contact tracing and will learn what precautions should be taken. Names of people who test positive or who may have been exposed will not be released, per HIPAA and FERPA rules.
- The University of Minnesota will carefully monitor public health data collected and tracked by local and state health officials, as well as the status of our general and pandemic response operations, to determine if and when the University should alter its current operational status.
- To slow the spread of COVID-19 and support the health of our community, it is vital that each of us continues to practice simple and effective prevention measures.
Public Health Preparedness
- The University has a robust public health emergency planning and response system. Efforts in the Twin Cities are coordinated by the Health Emergency Response Office (HERO) and Campus Public Health Officer Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D. The Crookston, Duluth, Morris and Rochester campuses are coordinating their responses locally with guidance and support from HERO.
The Twin Cities Campus has established a Health Operations Team for COVID-19 with membership from HERO, Boynton Health, Housing and Residential Life, M Dining, University Relations, and Office of Academic Clinical Affairs. Other University units work with HERO on issues that require problem-solving consultation beyond guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and MDH. This team plans, coordinates, and implements the public health plan in the Twin Cities, and partners with colleagues on the Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester campuses.
Testing strategy: Guidance from MDH is that individuals who do not have symptoms should not be tested for COVID-19 with two exceptions—patients needed to be tested before certain medical procedures and individuals told by public health workers/contract tracers that they should be tested after being exposed to someone known to have COVID-19 or are connected to a setting where an outbreak is occurring. Testing provides a snapshot of an individual's health at that moment in time, meaning someone may test negative for COVID-19 one day but could spread the virus before they are tested again.
Health and Wellbeing
- The CDC continuously updates its website with information as public health officials learn more about the virus. Please visit the CDC website to find the most updated information.
- There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 illnesses.
- The University recognizes this is a stressful situation for many members of our community. For students, please find resources below. Students can also call the U of M Crisis Line at 612-301-4673 anytime or text "UMN" to 61222 on evenings and weekends.
- International Student & Scholar Services counselors, call (612) 626-7100 to make an appointment.
- Student Counseling Services
- Boynton Mental Health Clinic
- Boynton Health
- Office of Student Affairs Care Program
- Let’s Talk (informal drop-in consultations with a counselor)
- Bias Response Referral Network (BRRN)
Respect and Reporting Bias
- The University is committed to creating an inclusive climate for all of our community members. The CDC offers guidance on countering stigma related to this virus.
- We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has, in some cases, resulted in hostile, offensive or intimidating acts directed against individuals because of their perceived race, national origin, age, disability-status, or other protected identity*. These behaviors could constitute prohibited discrimination or harassment under University policy.
- We encourage you to contact your campus resource listed below if you believe that you have experienced mistreatment because you:
- are perceived to be associated with COVID-19 because of your national origin, race, or other protected identity,
- are perceived to have COVID-19 because of a protected identity,
- are perceived to be vulnerable to COVID-19 because of a protected identity, have COVID-19, or have been exposed to COVID-19.
- In addition, we recognize that University members must learn and work differently given the current remote learning and working environment. If you believe that you have been denied reasonable accommodations for a disability in the remote working and learning environment, please also contact your campus resource listed below.
|Discrimination, harassment, nepotism, related retaliation by a student||Discrimination, harassment, nepotism, related retaliation by an employee, volunteer, vendor, or visitor|
|Crookston HR website|
|Morris||Morris Campus||Morris HR website|
|Twin Cities||The Office for Community Standards||Click on the Report Online Button or contact EOAA at: (612) 624-9547 or firstname.lastname@example.org.|
*protected identities include: race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, familial status, disability, public assistance status, membership or activity in a local commission created for the purpose of dealing with discrimination, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
Email the University of Minnesota at email@example.com .