Tracking COVID-19 at the University of Minnesota

The Minnesota Daily staff updates the COVID-19 tracker every Friday.

Lasted updated May 8 at 3:11 p.m.

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended campus life at the University of Minnesota. Since March, the staff of the Minnesota Daily has been relentlessly reporting on COVID-19’s impact on the Twin Cities campus: from research and reopening plans, to the state of the University’s finances and adjustments in Gophers sports, to the changes of neighborhood businesses and the rituals of college life, to the evolving mental health needs of students and faculty, among many other things.

Editors of the Minnesota Daily will update charts on this page on a weekly basis, every Friday following updates to the data by the University’s COVID-19 dashboard as reported by Boynton Health. Case totals are likely higher, as students, staff and faculty have access to the more than 250 testing locations across the state.

COVID-19 updates at the University of Minnesota

  • President Joan Gabel announed on Thursday, March 12 that in-person classes would resume in the 2021 fall semester, shifting campus life to look more like pre-pandemic times.
  • The College of Liberal Arts will hold its 2021 commencement graduation online. The provost has left the decision of whether to hold commencements in-person or virtually up to individual colleges.
  • The University’s COVID-19 vaccine team has administered 2,000 first doses to healthcare workers and researchers. Minnesota is currently in its first phase of vaccine distribution, focused on healthcare workers. The next priority group is K-12 educators, staff, child care workers and those age 65 and older.
  • On Oct. 7, Housing and Residential Life announced that community advisers would receive additional compensation for their work during the pandemic, following complaints by CAs regarding community gatherings.
  • The University expanded its testing capacity in October by sending all students at-home saliva testing kits. Testing is offered by Boynton Health to students, staff and faculty at the RecWell Center, and appointments can be scheduled online.
  • The Executive Vice President and Provost announced grading changes in late October, such as automatic conversions of an ‘F’ grade to an ‘N’ on the S/N, or pass/fail, system. This applies for both the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters.
  • The spring semester began on Jan. 19, with most classes held online. Students are expected to wear face masks on campus and social distance in all campus facilities. The University is currently in the first phase of its Maroon and Gold Sunrise Plan 2.o.
  • International travel for University business has been halted for students, staff and faculty until at least March 31.
  • Spring break has been delayed until April, several weeks later than usual, in hopes of curtailing COVID-19 cases.
  • University employees able to work from home are expected to do so until at least June 30, 2021.

Confirmed cases

At the start of the 2020-21 school year, cases began to jump as students returned to campus. Totals saw a downward trajectory following Thanksgiving break when nearly all in-person classes transitioned to online-only coursework. The total number of cases dropped significantly over winter break, as many students returned home.

The beginning of the spring semester was almost entirely online for University students. Though relatively few cases have been reported so far, they may creep back up as students return to campus and congregate together.

The following chart includes data on tests administered by Boynton Health to faculty, staff and students. Because there are more than 250 COVID-19 testing sites in Minnesota, this data may not be reflective of the total number of COVID-19 cases taken by University community members. Boynton Health reports COVID-19 data by weekly increments, from Friday to Thursday. Hover to view more detail.

New cases compared to tests

Testing generally increased over the fall semester, peaking before many students went home for Thanksgiving break. The number of COVID-19 tests administered by Boynton declined over winter break, and the number of positive cases stayed low.

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