The University of St. Thomas announced that it will reopen its campus to students by fall semester, which starts in August.

A gradual opening of the campus will begin next week, University President Julie Sullivan said Monday. The University of Minnesota announced last week that it plans to reopen its campus to students this fall.

"In times like these, it is hard for daily work and routines to not feel trivial," she said. "Nevertheless, we must all remind ourselves that St. Thomas' mission truly is needed today more than ever; we must find the strength to [as our founder said] ever press forward."

The university's Action and Response Team (UART) has been developing and writing a COVID-19 preparedness plan over the last month.

The plan, which was reviewed by a panel of outside health experts last week, envisions a gradual reopening of campus beginning June 15 and aims for full reopening by Aug. 15.

The plan includes the process to gradually reopen buildings and bring employees back, new health and safety protocols, guidance for faculty to plan courses for the fall and sanitization and contingency plans in the event of an outbreak.

School officials are asking for feedback and are holding a communitywide town hall on June 12.

The university then plans a series of materials and communications to prepare students and staff to return to campus, which has been closed since April.

"We must develop a culture of care for one another that protects the health and safety of all, with special attention to the most vulnerable, and that allows us to move forward with our work of advancing the common good," said Sullivan.