The University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) has put a public health curfew in place on campus.  Those living on-campus must return to campus, with a few exceptions, by 9:00 p.m. each night and will revaluate the curfew September 8. About 400 students at UMC reside on campus, while another 250 live in off-campus housing in the Crookston community.

Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause said the university administration wanted to protect the students and keep them safe to avoid the outbreak other universities have seen with the return to campus. “We felt for the students on campus, that live in the residence halls, which is a little more than half of them, that we wanted to protect them and keep them safe,” said Holz-Clause. “We wanted to not have people coming from off-campus onto campus after hours. And also, to ask the students to be back on campus by 9 p.m. They don’t have to be in their rooms, we just want them back on campus as a way to prevent what has happened at other universities where those numbers have spiked right away when students come back.”

Holz-Clause said a zoom meeting was held with students Sunday to inform them of the curfew. “When students came back, we wanted them to know we’re doing a public health curfew through September 8,” said Holz-Clause. “We’ll re-evaluate it then and see where everything is at. We met with the students on Zoom on Sunday night and had 100 plus on that Zoom to talk through the curfew. A lot of them were concerned I have a job and can’t be back until 9:30-10 p.m. and that’s fine. Those are the exceptions. Some students go home. They can go home over the weekends. Labor Day weekend they can go home. We are trying to have as many activities on-campus as we can so we can limit the student’s exposure off-campus.  It’s a curfew that’s meant to provide protection for our students from exposure to COVID-19.”

Students who break the policies in the Student Conduct Policy can be entered into a student conduct process according to Holz-Clause who said despite some rumors in the community she was unaware of any such actions going on regarding the curfew. “To my knowledge, and I’m usually included in that process, those are interesting rumors that aren’t true right now,” said Holz-Clause. “For the most part, our students have followed this. I’m not aware of any extenuating circumstances or situations where they haven’t. With any residence hall living if there are situations where students aren’t following the rules or doing what they’re supposed to there is a student conduct process that they go through. Our students are such responsible students. We want them to do things for the right reasons and we’re seeing that our student leadership is understanding. They’re maybe a little disappointed but 2020 has sort of been a year of a few disappointments for all of us. They don’t have the opportunity to have those big parties and yet when we’re looking where COVID exposures are happening those are the situations.”

Holz-Clause added that students are excited to be back and are taking on the responsibility to do what they can to prevent incidents of COVID-19 in the area. “The students that are on-campus are so excited to be back,” said Holz-Clause. “I’ve been out to some of the stores in Crookston and seen a number of them. I think it was a long spring, and everybody is very excited. I know that our students are really taking the responsibility to act as responsible as they can to prevent the exposures and incidents of COVID across this area.”