COVID-19 Update: Preparing for Fall Term at Carleton

1 August 2022

Dear Members of the Carleton Community,

As another beautiful Minnesota summer speeds by, many people at Carleton have been hard at work planning for the upcoming academic year. We, too, have turned our attention to the fall as student arrivals approach: student-athletes will begin to arrive on campus by mid-August, followed by Resident Assistants, Peer Leaders, and new and returning students. We write today to share important information about what to do as you prepare for fall term, as well as what to expect when the term begins. 

Those of you who were on campus during the last academic year know that we employed a variety of strategies to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on our campus community. In the spring, we initiated a shift in our decision-making process that allowed for changes to be made based on individual and contextual circumstances rather than universal restrictions. During the summer months—which have been busy with reunions, research and summer academic programs—Carleton has been operating with more personal choice in activating mitigation strategies, with masks optional and testing available to students who are living or working on campus. This summer has served as a functional model for what we hope to achieve in the coming year. 

As we look ahead—and consistent with the newest guidance and practice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the American College Health Association—personal responsibility is at the forefront of our pandemic response strategy. We will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our community in the context of an in-person learning environment, and we will rely on our vaccination requirements; access to on-campus testing; and symptom monitoring, masking and isolation for those who test positive or are experiencing symptoms in order to support these priorities. 


All students, faculty, staff and regular contractors are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and influenza. Effective Dec. 1, 2022, Carleton’s definition of being “fully vaccinated” for COVID-19 will align with the CDC’s definition: You are fully vaccinated when you have received all doses in the primary series and all boosters for which you are eligible. Detailed information about eligibility is available on the CDC website. This deadline was extended in consultation with our epidemiologist due to a reformulation expected in the boosters that will be available later in the fall. 

Proof of vaccination, including all booster doses, is required to be submitted to Carleton by completing the Faculty and Staff COVID-19 Vaccination Reporting Form or the Student COVID-19 Vaccination Reporting Form. The form has been updated to include a place to report a fourth dose (second booster); please select “Edit your response” to access the updated form.

The influenza vaccination will continue to be required. The deadline for that vaccination will be announced at a later date. 


All students, faculty and staff are required to test for COVID-19 in preparation for the fall term. We ask this of you to limit the likelihood that you will bring the virus with you to campus. 

  • For students, you must test no more than 24 hours before traveling to campus. If you test positive, you must report your result and delay your travel to Carleton, and wait to hear from the Case Investigation and Contact Tracing team regarding next steps.
  • For faculty and staff, you must test on Sept. 5, ahead of new student move-in and the faculty retreat. You should test at home using an antigen test. If you don’t have a test, you may order one for free from the federal government. If you cannot procure a test, you may pick one up from Human Resources (Strong House) or Security Services (Hoppin House). If you test positive, you must report your result and stay home. You will hear from the Case Investigation and Contact Tracing team regarding next steps. 

You do not need to report a negative test result. We have confidence that self-testing and self-reporting is an effective strategy for our community based on the success of this approach during the 2021-22 academic year.  


All students will receive a rapid antigen test upon arrival at Carleton, with instructions to self-administer the test 5 days later. This testing cadence comes at the recommendation of our consulting epidemiologist and is intended to identify cases of the virus that were either too early to detect during the pre-arrival testing period or were transmitted during travel. We have chosen to use antigen tests for this effort because their ability to provide immediate results allows us to more quickly identify and isolate positive cases, thus limiting the risk of spread in our residential community. If you test positive, you must report your result to Carleton and follow the resulting instructions on how and where to isolate. 


The Carleton Rapid Test Site will be open during the academic term and is available to students, faculty and staff who are experiencing symptoms or who have been exposed to a positive case of COVID-19. The vast majority of positive cases during the most recent academic year were detected through the Rapid Test Site, and we intend to focus resources there to ensure continued daily access to testing and same-day results. The test site is located in Burton 003, which is accessible by OneCard. Hours will be posted to the website at the start of the term. 


Students who test positive for COVID-19 will isolate in place whenever possible. Dedicated isolation space is also available. Individuals who are fully vaccinated will isolate for a minimum of 5 full days and may be released with proof of a negative test following that time period. Without a negative test, isolation continues until day 8, when normal activities may resume with masking through day 10. This timeline was developed in consultation with our epidemiologist and based on the most current data about the likely infectious period of a person with COVID-19. 

Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are required to isolate for 10 full days, and must quarantine for 5 days after exposure to a positive case, with proof of a negative test needed to conclude the quarantine period. Masking with an N95 or equivalent is also required for those who are not fully vaccinated, for 10 days following their last exposure to a positive case.


At this time, we expect that masking will continue to be optional on campus, except when required due to symptoms, isolation or quarantine, or when required by an individual in a space they ordinarily control (such as a private office, classroom, laboratory, or residence room). Individuals who choose to mask will be fully supported in this choice, and KN95 masks are available for pick-up from the Dean of Students Office and the Office of the Provost. 

In closing, we want to acknowledge that this fall term marks the beginning of the third academic year of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our experiences managing the virus on the Carleton campus have prepared us well for another year, even as new variants emerge. We have been successful in preserving as much of the Carleton experience as possible over the past two years largely because of this community’s commitment and shared accountability. We are so grateful for all the ways in which you continue to show respect for one another and for the College. 

We will continue to follow case trends within our community—as well as trends and guidance locally and nationally—and, working in consultation with our epidemiologist, consider the impact those trends are having on campus operations before making decisions that affect the residential living and learning experience of our students. If you have questions about Carleton’s pandemic response, or specific questions for our epidemiologist, you may submit them through the form on the Responding to COVID-19 website. Thank you in advance for your trust and flexibility as we look forward to a new academic year. 


The COVID-19 Core Team

Carolyn H. Livingston, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students
Eric Runestad, Vice President and Treasurer
Elise Eslinger, Vice President and Chief of Staff
Yansi Pérez, Associate Provost
John Bermel, Director of Security and Emergency Management
Helen Clarke, Interim Director of College Communications