Another academic year has begun, yet COVID-19 persists.
Changes to policies have been made, with one of the largest being a vaccine policy implemented at Hamline. This was a decision announced on July 15, 2021 with the option for medical and religious exemptions allowed.
As for COVID-19 vaccine clinics, Hamline is still working to support the community however best it can with plans to provide COVID-19 testing options also in place.
“Last year there was an abundance of resources available to us in terms of free testing supplies from the state and widespread testing locations in the community,” Tracey Stoeckel, part of Hamline’s COVID-19 Response team, wrote in an email. “This year the state has less resources to offer us. We are preserving resources at this time by offering testing on campus only to those who are symptomatic or have a known exposure.”
COVID-19 Coordinator Melinda Heikkinen shared that there will be an increase in testing because of the severity and high-contagion of the Delta Variant.
“We will arrange for vaccine clinics on campus as needs dictate. As more and more people become fully vaccinated that need will likely decline, but we can always provide locations of vaccine clinics off campus,” Heikkinen wrote in an email. “We will be regularly testing those with approved policy exemptions and anyone identified as a close contact on campus. Anyone who is identified as a close contact while off campus can reach out to us for help in finding testing locations…We will also help anyone who is seeking information, testing or vaccines.”
The most recent COVID-19 vaccine event happened September 21, 2021.
As we enter flu season, Hamline has begun providing flu vaccine clinics happening October 5, 7 and 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines will also be available during this time.
A new app, Docket, has arrived in Minnesota to assist anyone who has received a vaccine in the state. The app allows users to access immunization records on their devices, including the COVID-19 vaccine. This app is available on the Apple App store and Google Play.
“Students who want a test before going home or before and after travel can find one at Roy Wilkins Auditorium or can order a Vault test by mail,” Stoeckel wrote. “We work closely with [the MN Department of Health] and always take advantage of anything they offer.”
Alternative spaces for those who must quarantine or isolate have also been retained including meal delivery to these spaces and a case management team for those individuals.
Modalities are also different this year with more classes being in-person. A survey was sent to students from the Dean of Students on September 23 regarding how student’s experiences of more in-person modalities have been going this fall to help better prepare for the winter and spring terms.
“One of the challenges we face this year is the possibility of classroom exposures. We are at [three] feet distancing in the classroom so if there is a positive case identified in the classroom the students near them could have been exposed,” Stoeckel wrote. “It is especially important to wear a properly fitting mask and to avoid touching one’s face or readjusting the mask to make sure that you are protected when less than 6 feet from other individuals. If possible, maintain social distancing in the classroom and at any indoor events.”
For all COVID-19 resources including reporting cases, testing and vaccine information visit: https://www.hamline.edu/covid-19/