Institutions of Higher Education (IHE): COVID-19 - Minnesota Dept. of Health
As we learn more about COVID-19, recommendations and guidance are updated frequently. Please check back often.

Institutions of Higher Education (IHE): COVID-19

CDC: Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) has not been updated to align with CDC community levels guidance.

On this page:
Prevent COVID-19 from spreading on campus
Travel tips
Additional resources

Minnesota needs a strong higher education sector that supports students and communities in returning to on-campus instruction at colleges and universities. This must be balanced with a need for everyone to take steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to minimize infecting people at high risk of getting very sick.

Prevent COVID-19 from spreading on campus

Students, faculty, and staff can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and also protect the unvaccinated, high-risk, and vulnerable populations. These mitigation strategies are especially important to reduce the spread of COVID-19 if vaccination rates on your campus are low or not known.

For information about the virus, including symptoms, how it spreads, and people at increased risk, refer to About COVID-19.

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  • Maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from people in other households, as much as possible, especially if you or they are unvaccinated.
  • In general, a close contact means being less than 6 feet from someone who has COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more throughout a 24-hour period. However, even shorter periods of time or longer distances can result in spread of the virus.
  • Follow close contacts and quarantine guidance and your campus policies for when to stay home (quarantine) when exposed to someone who has COVID-19. Some campuses have stricter policies and don't allow shortened quarantine.
  • If you are a close contact, you might be notified directly by one or more of the following:
    • Person who has COVID-19 that you were in close contact with
    • COVID-19 contact at your school
    • Minnesota Department of Health
  • Follow the recommendations if you are sick or test positive for COVID-19.
  • If you are at work or school, notify your supervisor or appropriate staff and leave immediately.

The COVID-19 Decision Tree for Schools and Child Care has been retired and is replaced by the isolation and quarantine guides below. These guides reflect current CDC recommendations regarding when to isolate and quarantine and for how long depending on a person's ability to wear a mask consistently.

  • Wash your hands often, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean frequently touched objects or surfaces including phones, computers, remote controls, and doorknobs.
  • Clean work area surfaces at least once a day, and more frequently if the workspace is shared.
  • Good hand hygiene and not touching one's face with unwashed hands is also important to reduce any risk from frequently touched surfaces.
  • Guidance for cleaning and disinfecting in higher education can also be found at CDC: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility.
  • Follow COVID-19 testing recommendations for when you travel, have COVID-19 symptoms, or are exposed to COVID-19.
  • If you test positive:
    • Do not go to campus.
    • Notify the appropriate COVID-19 contact on campus.
    • Seek help from a health care provider, if necessary, and follow your health care provider's guidance.
    • Stay away or isolate from others as much as you can within your residence.
    • Do not have visitors unless they are caring for you.
    • Follow your campus' policy for what to do if you have COVID-19.
    • Be aware you may get called by someone from the Minnesota Department of Health or a local public health agency. It's important to answer the call. Refer to Case Investigation and Contact Tracing for more information on this process and how you may be contacted.

Travel tips

Traveling off campus means you may bring COVID-19 with you if you have contact with someone with COVID-19 before you leave or while traveling. It is important to remember the following:

  • Follow appropriate face covering recommendations and requirements.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others as much as possible.
  • Wash your hands a lot or use hand sanitizer.

Follow your return-to-campus policy and the recommendations outlined below.

  • If you've left campus for an extended period of time, limit who you see and where you go before heading back to campus.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Once you return to campus, self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days, even if you have been vaccinated. Any time you start to have COVID-19 symptoms, get tested right away; stay by yourself and away from others while waiting for results.
  • You will need to get tested and maybe even lay low for a bit when you return. For further information around what to do when you get back from travel, refer to:


If you have additional questions after reviewing the prevention strategies and available guidance, email

Additional resources

Updated Wednesday, 11-May-2022 11:52:52 CDT