COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness
Informed by the latest data, science and public health guidance, Concordia University, St. Paul is taking steps to create an innovative in-person, residential experience that will keep our community safe, ensure access and quality for our students and advance our academic mission during the COVID-19 era this fall.
CSP’s policies and protocols for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic will be rooted in safety for our community’s health care providers, safety for our employees and students, and for the public with whom we interact. The health and well-being of our community are of the utmost concern and we want to ensure a safe environment for all to return.
The Concordia Pandemic Leadership team continues to meet and adapt our practices following CDC and MDH guidelines to ensure the successful reintegration of internal and external members of our learning community. This team will build-out scenarios for what campus life could look like over the next several months. Every member of this team is committed to devising and implementing return plans that maximize safety while ensuring that quality teaching, education and operations can continue to take place. This team will continue to evaluate and adapt as the circumstances and federal and state leadership set guidelines.
Concordia continues to update its pandemic emergency response plan to reflect current COVID-19 circumstances. As developments occur, the plan addresses many possible scenarios on campus with the ultimate goal to best protect the CSP community.
A COVID-ready campus experience
- CSP’s plan will provide for a phased return to learning, research and creative work, and flexible campus life and co-curricular experiences for new and returning undergraduate and graduate students.
- It will be supported by sound public health mitigation and safety measures that reduce the risk of transmission.
- It will provide modified delivery of a full range of student and faculty/staff support services, creative approaches to events, athletics, arts and culture and experiential
COVID-19 Information/Communications for CSP Campus Community
Concordia St. Paul’s Sodexo partner continues to respond to the complexities presented by COVID-19 by proactively maintaining a safe and clean environment for the entire CSP campus community.
“Before the pandemic, our campus team was trained with specific cleaning protocols,” said CSP Sodexo Director Barry Kirsch. “As the outbreak began, we implemented additional, specific standard operating procedures and protocols designed to maximize the safety of all CSP students, staff, and faculty. Sodexo being an international organization can draw upon best practices from around the globe.”
Kirsch added Sodexo’s guidelines are based on recommendation set forth by the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health, which include:
- Regular disinfecting of populated areas, including wiping all hard surfaces
- All regularly scheduled areas cleaned will also be disinfected as part of the normal cleaning routine
- Wearing of PPE, including face masks and gloves when cleaning
- Practicing social distancing when interacting with CSP population
- Regularly washing hands during the cleaning process
- Not reporting to work if symptoms are present
- Requiring vendors on-site to adhere to these protocols
- Adding staff to disinfect common surfaces additionally twice a day
Additionally, Sodexo has modified its cleaning products and assembled a protocol handbook for all cleaning personnel on campus which contains various procedures for all situations that may be encountered due to COVID. The new cleaning solutions include the following:
- Added Oxivir spray disinfectant, an EPA approved chemical that kills COVID
- Added Oxivir wipes, used for surfaces where a spray does not work
- Added additional free-standing disinfecting stations throughout campus
- Added a commercial disinfecting fogger for spot disinfection of specific areas
- Isolating the space for 1-3 days (12 confirmed air exchanges)
- Follow the CDC recommended disinfection standard operation procedure
- Wear proper PPE, including face masks, foot covers, hair protection and protective eyewear
- All waste is treated as potentially hazardous waste and disposed of using hazardous waste protocols
Last, the Sodexo team is exploring different unique recommendations for universities including:
- Leaving classroom doors open to minimize door handle exposure
- Installing foot pulls on restroom doors
- Providing best practice guidelines for CSP personnel on self-cleaning and disinfecting areas in between scheduling disinfecting
- Add queuing imagery/icons for social distancing in areas lines form Commons Cafe, cashier etc.
- Adding directional queues for passing foot traffic in halls and common spaces
Sodexo has also purchased a Sentry M4 device, which is a portable unit that has four full-spectrum UV Light Engines, arranged in back-to-back pairs. The light distribution and reflectivity of UV give you nearly 360-degree coverage. Each side can be individually height adjusted and powered by a standard wall plug. The device is great for disinfecting areas with unpredictable traffic patterns. Learn more about the Sentry M4 here.
“The health and safety of CSP’s employees, students, and campus visitors is our utmost priority,” Kirsch added. “We are coordinating globally, supported by our technical experts in infection prevention and control to manage the impact of this outbreak.”
Sodexo’s approach is to reinforce its existing rules for food safety, personal hygiene, and infection control which will minimize the risk of COVID-19 or any other virus from spreading. As the situation continues to evolve, Sodexo will closely monitor any changes and will follow guidelines set by local health authorities.
Everyone can work to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Please follow these guidelines to help keep you and your family safe:
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or sleeve, or a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands afterward.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom or before eating. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose and mouth – with unwashed hands.
- Stay home if you have cold- or flu-like symptoms, for 10 days after your illness onset and three days after your fever resolves without fever-reducing medicine (whichever is longer), and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Up-to-date guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health on recommended community mitigation strategies can be found here.
Concordia University, St. Paul has canceled all face-to-face classes and transitioned all face-to-face classes to an online format through the remainder of the spring term. The health and well-being of our campus community is our top priority and the adjustments we have made are in support of all of our current and future Golden Bears.
We are grateful for the infrastructure to carry on our classes for the benefit of all our students and we want you to know that while our campus has physically closed, our faculty, staff, and resources are still here and available to you.
Please note: All courses that are currently offered online will continue without interruption.
Concordia University, St. Paul has made the difficult decision to cancel its Spring 2020 Commencement, which had been scheduled for May 1-2, 2020, due to the continuing global crisis of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The health of our students, faculty and staff and our responsibility and integrity to the surrounding community is the foundation for our final decision. We appreciate your continued patience and pray for your health and well-being.
The following note from President Friedrich was sent out to the Class of 2020 graduating students:
Greetings from Concordia University, St. Paul where we celebrate that “in Christ, we are a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
It is with great sadness that Concordia University, St. Paul has regrettably made the very difficult decision not to hold the previously scheduled May 2020 commencement ceremonies. I am heartbroken that we must do this. As I have talked to dozens of faculty and staff since arriving at CSP, I’ve been told again and again that commencement is the most inspiring event they have experienced during their service here. I was looking forward to congratulating you, and with the entire CSP community, celebrating your accomplishments.
Commencement is an important milestone in one’s educational journey, a time of pride and joy, where families, friends and the entire University community celebrates and recognizes publicly the remarkable achievements of you, our graduates. We are truly sorry we cannot proceed as we had hoped, however, the health and well-being of you, your family and friends was paramount in our decision.
As you are well aware, things have changed rapidly during the past few days and are likely to continue to do so. Many of you have dealt with an abrupt end to your academic and co-curricular experience. For that, we apologize and hurt with you. We appreciate how difficult, confusing and life-altering this has been and will continue to be. We must follow federal guidelines that now limit public gatherings to no more than 10 people for the next three months in order to do all we can to support the common good of our community and nation. We do not want to jeopardize the health of anyone.
We are currently working on alternative options for graduates to participate in future commencement ceremonies if they choose to do so, and I pray you will. As plans are made and details put in place, we will communicate with you. In the meantime, please know that you are in my prayers. May these words from God’s Word bless you today: “Be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, NLT).
Rev. Dr. Brian L. Friedrich
The University Crisis Response Team continues to monitor the situation regarding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and prepares for business continuity and student safety in the event that action is required.
Concordia St. Paul will communicate with the entire campus community if/when our pandemic plan needs activating and/or we receive guidance from St. Paul, Minnesota and national health authorities. CSP is prepared to conduct traditional undergraduate classes online in the event the illness becomes widespread in Minnesota (traditional student experiences would be similar to snow day online learning.)
Proactively campus facilities and operation staff have already installed additional hand sanitizing stations and have increased cleaning frequency of common surfaces (door handles, table surfaces, etc.)
As in all situations, we encourage students, staff, and faculty to observe health best practices — wash hands frequently, cover coughs and sneezes, avoid contact with your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you are ill, stay home, except to receive medical care. Don’t run the risk of spreading illness. Protect yourself and your classmates. The faculty will be understanding and accommodating.
If the situation changes, CSP officials will inform the campus of the next steps.
Current information specific to the state of Minnesota can be found here.
Concordia University, St. Paul has canceled all face-to-face classes scheduled on Friday, March 13 and will transition all face-to-face classes to an online format beginning Monday, March 16 through the remainder of the spring term.
The University Crisis Response Team has been monitoring the situation regarding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for the past several weeks. The situation is fluid and changing by the hour, and our team has been dedicated to discussing and making decisions in the best interest of CSP’s students, faculty, staff, and the entire campus community for the best course of action.
The core of our decision-making is maintaining the continuity of the educational experience. The health, safety, and academic well-being of our students is our top priority.
Please be aware that there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the CSP community. University officials are continuing to monitor the situation on a daily basis in collaboration with the CDC, Minnesota Department of Health and regional health care agencies.
All campus-sponsored events, including lectures and fine and performing arts events, have been suspended until the end of the semester. CSP Honors Convocation and Research and Scholarship Symposium will be moved online. CSP will continue to evaluate the spring commencement ceremonies and will communicate further with those students.
All CSP athletic activities have also been suspended as the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) announced the suspension of all athletic activities for each of its 16-member institutions. All NSIC contests are suspended immediately. The league will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation and will make a determination on the remainder of the academic year later this month.
Residence Halls and dining services will remain open through next Friday (March 20). All residential students will receive an email from Residence Life with further information.
Students with questions about internships, student teaching, and clinic placement should contact their supervisors.
Campus Ministry will continue during regular Chapel hours via Facebook Live. Student services will be available online.
Faculty and staff will receive additional information from the Director of Human Resources shortly. Students working on campus will be contacted by their supervisors.
The health and well-being of our campus community remain our main priority and we are grateful for the infrastructure to carry on our classes for the benefit of our on-campus students.
Information about COVID-19
SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus that has not been found in people before. It was first identified in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
Because this is a new virus, there are still things we do not know, such as how severe the illness can be, how well it is transmitted between people and other features of the virus. More information will be provided when it is available.
The CDC considers this new virus a public health concern based on current information. However, the immediate health risk to the general US public is considered low at this time. The CDC and the World Health Organization are closely monitoring the situation and providing ongoing guidance.
Symptoms may be flu-like, ranging from mild to serious, and include:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Person-to-person spread is occurring, although it’s unclear exactly how it is transmitted and how easily the virus spreads between people.
There is no vaccine to prevent this virus, and the CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Currently, 2019-nCoV has not been found to be spreading in the U.S., so there are no additional precautions recommended for the general public to take.
Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Both students and employees are encouraged to 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.