Campus Expectations & Mitigation Efforts

Am I required to wear a mask on campus?

Visitors, including contractors, are required to wear a mask at all times while indoors on campus.

At this time, fully vaccinated students, faculty and staff, and Bon Appetit and Barnes and Noble employees are not required to wear a mask in most indoor public spaces on campus. Please keep a clean mask with you at all times, as masks are still required for some individuals and in some circumstances:

  • Classrooms: Faculty may choose to require that masks be worn in their classrooms and labs.
  • Work Spaces: Faculty and staff who are masking may require that masks be worn in spaces they ordinarily control, including their individual, department or office work space, and in meetings they convene.
  • Indoor Gatherings: All attendees at indoor events where visitors are present—including weekly convocations, music and theatre performances, indoor athletic events, and social gatherings—will be required to wear a mask.
  • Musicians: Mask-wearing and other protocols that are currently in place for singers and other musicians will continue.

When you are wearing a mask, it must cover both your mouth and your nose.  

What type of mask should I wear? Will the College provide one?

A well-fitted cloth mask with two or more layers of fabric that completely covers both your mouth and nose is acceptable for most people. We recommend reviewing the CDC Guide to Masks for help in choosing a mask. Medical masks, such as KN95 or KF94 masks, are also acceptable. Gaiters and face shields should not be worn in place of a mask.

Reusable cloth masks, N95 and KF94 masks are available to community members upon request; please email covid@carleton.edu to request one.

What is Carleton’s plan for surveillance testing?

Weekly random surveillance testing began Monday, Oct. 11, and will continue for at least three weeks. We will test roughly 300 randomly chosen people—which is about 10% of our total campus population—on Oct. 11, 18 and 25. In addition to the surveillance testing group, another 150 individuals will be tested each week through targeted testing (varsity athletes and others at higher risk). In total, we expect to test about 15% of our campus population each week through at least Oct. 25.

How will I know if I’ve been selected for random surveillance testing?

If you are selected to participate in surveillance testing, you will receive an email the week prior instructing you to sign up for a test appointment through Primary Bio. You must participate if you are selected.

What should I do if I can’t participate in random surveillance testing?

If you are chosen for random surveillance testing but will be traveling or on vacation on the day of the test, you should respond to the email to share the circumstances that will prevent you from participating. Someone will work with you to determine if you can be excused from testing, or if you should be tested in a different way.

Why did we need to go through baseline testing if Carleton is a fully vaccinated community?

With students and others returning to campus from many places with varying case rates, we wanted to ensure we started Fall Term with an understanding of the initial health status of our population. While we hope no one in our community came to campus with an active infection, it was important to identify and isolate active cases of illness to prevent spread as we returned to campus.

Why do we need to wear masks indoors in some circumstances if Carleton is a fully vaccinated community?

We chose to mask as we reestablished our on-campus community out of care and concern not only for those on campus, but also for members of their households—particularly children who are younger than 12 and unable to be protected by a vaccine. Following the results of our campus-wide baseline testing, which indicated that widespread transmission is not occurring on campus, we made the decision to remove the universal mask mandate (beginning Oct. 6), although masks will still be required for some individuals and in some circumstances.

Do these testing and masking plans mean the COVID-19 vaccines are not effective?

Absolutely not. Vaccines remain the first and best defense against COVID-19. Despite breakthrough infection, the current vaccines remain highly protective against severe illness, and the risk of hospitalization among those who are fully vaccinated is very low. We are confident that Carleton’s high vaccination rate will play a significant role in limiting the risk of on-campus transmission of COVID-19.

Student & Employee Health

I live or work on campus. What should I do if I have symptoms or suspect I have COVID-19?

If you have mild symptoms or believe you are a close contact, you should visit the Carleton Rapid Test Site.

If you need medical care or have severe symptoms such as a high fever or shortness of breath, or if your symptoms have become more than you can manage, you should stay in your residence and contact SHAC (if you are a student), or your health care provider (if you are faculty or staff).

Difficulty breathing requires immediate attention, either by calling 911 or Security Services at (507) 222-4444.

Even if you don’t have COVID-19, you should stay home if you aren’t feeling well. The Minnesota Department of Health Decision Tree for People in Schools, Youth, and Child Care Programs can be helpful in determining which actions to take based on your symptoms.

Where can I go to get a COVID-19 test on campus?

The Carleton Rapid Test Site, open daily in Burton 003, is open to students, faculty and staff who have been identified as close contacts or who are experiencing mild symptoms. Appointments are not required.

The Carleton Rapid Test Site is not for visitors, children, parents, spouses or partners of current Carleton students, faculty or staff.

It also should not be used by anyone who needs medical care or who is experiencing more severe symptoms of COVID-19, such as a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, difficulty breathing, or new loss of taste or smell. Students in need of medical care should contact SHAC, and faculty and staff should contact their health care provider. Difficulty breathing requires immediate attention, either by calling 911 or Security Services at (507) 222-4444.

What happens when a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19?

If a student tests positive through a Carleton-administered test, they will be contacted by a member of the Case Investigation and Contact Tracing (CICT) team, who will follow up with next steps. The positive student will be moved into isolation housing and monitored for the duration of their isolation period. If a student tests positive through a test outside of Carleton, they should report the result to the College, which will initiate follow-up from the CICT team.

Faculty, staff and regular contractors who test positive should expect to follow the same protocol, but will be expected to isolate at home.

What should I do if I’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19?

If you are fully vaccinated:

If you are a student or if you were identified as a close contact of a positive case at Carleton, a member of the College’s Case Investigation and Contact Tracing team (CICT) will contact you and instruct you on how and when to be tested at Carleton. If you are an employee who was identified as a close contact of a positive case outside of Carleton, follow CDC guidance to get tested 3-5 days after your exposure.

You will need to wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until you receive a negative test result, but you will not be required to quarantine. You may still go to work and attend classes so long as you don’t test positive or exhibit any symptoms.

If at any time you experience symptoms of COVID-19, you should remain in your residence and seek a test—by submitting a Community Concern Form, if you are a student, or by contacting your health care provider, if you are an employee.

If you are not fully vaccinated:

Follow CDC guidance and quarantine in your residence for 14 days from the date of your exposure to a positive case. During this time, you should closely monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 and stay away from people with whom you live, especially those who are at higher risk for getting very sick.

If at any time you experience symptoms of COVID-19, you should remain in your residence and seek a test—by submitting a Community Concern Form, if you are a student, or by contacting your health care provider, if you are an employee.

Close contacts of close contacts are not required to test or quarantine.

Is isolation space available on campus?

Yes. The College has dedicated isolation space available for students who test positive for COVID-19. Anyone who tests positive for the virus is required to isolate, regardless of their vaccination status.

Visiting Carleton

What are the expectations for campus visitors?

All visitors are required to wear a mask while indoors on campus.

Visitors who will be dining or attending indoor public events on campus—such as Family Weekend, Inauguration, convocation, concerts, indoor sporting events, etc.—are expected to be fully vaccinated OR to have received a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours before their visit. Masks are required for all attendees during indoor public events. 

While most visitors are not required to be vaccinated in order to spend time on the Carleton campus, vaccination is required for those who are staying overnight on campus.

Where can I get a test near Carleton to ensure I’m not bringing the virus to campus when I visit?

We recommend using the State of Minnesota’s website to find a testing location, which includes a list of community testing sites. In Northfield (ZIP code 55057), Walgreens offers rapid testing, and Northfield Hospital & Clinics also offers testing. If you’re traveling by plane, the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport offers multiple on-site testing options, including rapid testing. 

Is the Office of Admissions offering in-person visits for prospective students and their families?

Yes. Please visit the Admissions website for details. Pre-registration is required for in-person events. 

Are campus buildings and resources like the Rec Center and Gould Library available for emeriti faculty and retired staff to use?

Access to the Rec Center and library is open to retirees and Affiliate OneCard holders who have reported full vaccination to the College.

Vaccination Information

Does Carleton have a COVID-19 vaccination requirement?

Yes. In order to offer the best protection against disease transmission in our campus community, all Carleton students, faculty, and staff are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This requirement took effect Aug. 1, 2021.

All students, faculty, and staff also are required to be vaccinated against influenza by the end of October 2021. Flu vaccination clinics are being held on campus Oct. 12 and 14.

Why is the vaccination rate of Carleton’s students, faculty and staff below 100%?

Our highly vaccinated community—98% of faculty and staff are fully vaccinated, and 99.7% of students will be fully vaccinated by Oct. 15—affords us significant protection against even highly transmissible variants of COVID-19.

Carleton manages requests for exemptions from its vaccination requirements in accordance with state and federal law. Exemptions may be granted based on medical reasons or sincerely held religious beliefs, and reasonable accommodations are made for those individuals who receive exemptions.

How should I report my vaccination to Carleton?

Please complete the COVID Vaccine Documentation form to inform the College of your vaccination. You will be asked to provide proof of vaccination after completing the form.

What if I can’t get vaccinated before arriving on campus?

Carleton will help you find a COVID-19 vaccine if you were unable to get vaccinated in your home state or country. Some restrictions will be in place until 14 days after you complete your vaccination series. SHAC is supporting students in this effort, and Human Resources is supporting employees.