COVID-19 Masking Criteria

Effective January 4, 2022 - Campus is at Masking Level 3

Based on the criteria below, these levels will guide the current masking policy:

Level 0
When no criteria are met—No masking required on campus, except select academic classes may still require masks. 
Rationale: COVID-19 risk levels are low on campus, in the surrounding area, and in the state. Therefore broad masking is not a necessary mitigation strategy.

Level 1
When 1 of the 3 criteria are met—Masks are required indoors during class/academic sessions. Masks may be removed at other times and places on campus.

  • Rationale: An important goal is to keep faculty and students feeling safe during in-person classes. Therefore, masking will still be required in academic settings.

Level 2
When 2 of the 3 criteria are met—Masks may be removed by students in campus residence halls. Masks required in all other indoor buildings on campus, except in private offices when alone with the door closed.

  • Rationale: The COVID Leadership Team now considers residence halls private spaces because it is a living environment. Therefore, the first place the mask requirement will be lifted allows people living on the campus the same opportunity as those living off campus to not have to wear a mask in their living environment.

Level 3
When all 3 criteria are met—Masks are required in all indoor buildings on campus, except when actively eating or drinking in designated dining areas, in private offices when alone with the door closed, and in residence hall rooms with roommates only and door closed.

  • Rationale: When all three criteria are met it indicates cases are high on campus, in the surrounding area and the state. Therefore, masking will be most restrictive to limit transmission with the goal of avoiding further mitigation strategies. 

The COVID Leadership team will regularly monitor these criteria to determine what level of masking should be implemented. 

Criteria #1 - Positive cases among campus community
Total current positive cases among the campus community is 20 or higher. 
Case numbers may be tracked on the Gustavus COVID-19 website.

  • Rationale: 20 cases is equivalent to 1% of the on-campus residential population. The determination of 1% is based on guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Criteria #2 - Cases in surrounding area
Monitoring cases in Nicollet, Blue Earth, and Le Sueur counties.
Two of the counties have a transmission level of high OR all three counties have a transmission level of at least substantial. 
Transmission levels may be tracked on the CDC website.

  • Rationale: Many employees and students regularly move between the campus and the surrounding community which means increased risk of transmission among the Gustavus community. Additionally, we are not limiting on campus visitors at this time.

Criteria #3 - Minnesota COVID-19 Hospital Admissions
New COVID-19 hospital admissions in the state of Minnesota are in the high risk category.
Hospital admission rate may be tracked on the Minnesota COVID-19 Response website.

  • Rationale: The hospital admission rate is an indicator of inpatient care and utilization in the state. When the rate is high, it means that medical services for both COVID and non-COVID cases may become limited or difficult to access. Hospitals statewide work together to keep beds available for emergent patient needs, thus this statewide metric is important in determining access to healthcare for our community 

As masking requirements are lifted, individuals are encouraged to continue to wear a mask. Reasons a person might continue to mask include: they are sick, they are immunocompromised or you live with someone who is immunocompromised, they are unvaccinated, they want to increase their chance of being healthy because they are planning to visit an elderly relative, they are traveling, they have a performance coming up soon, they have a competition coming up, or they are concerned about getting COVID-19, among other reasons.

COVID-19 resources for questions or concerns: 507-933-6449 or email