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Dear Students,

As we anticipated, USD is beginning to see positive COVID-19 cases reported on campus. This is expected in university towns across the state and we have planned for this occurrence alongside our city and county partners as well as the South Dakota Department of Health (DOH). USD has committed significant resources preparing not only for the quarantine and isolation needs of our student population but also to provide the necessary support to students who test positive so they can still succeed academically.

You may know someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and is in isolation; there’s an even greater chance you know of someone who is in quarantine. Here’s the difference:

  • Isolation separates sick people from people who are not sick.
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

If you are a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19, please contact COVID19@usd.edu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a close contact as any individual not wearing a mask within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes. This does not mean they have COVID-19 but is intended as a preventative measure to curb the virus’ spread. Exposed students must self-quarantine for the entirety of the recommended quarantine duration.

While we understand some would like to know more about who has contracted COVID-19 on campus, we have a legal responsibility to protect the medical information of our students, faculty and staff. This prevents us from sharing information that could inadvertently reveal someone’s identity. However, USD will share information about active cases as it is requested by the DOH.

Depending on the degree of contact you have had with a sick student, you may be contacted by the DOH or may need to contact the Dean of Students:

  • If you have been in close contact with a sick student, the DOH will be in contact with you. If that occurs, we urge you to contact the Dean of Students to get the support services that USD has prepared for you.
  • If a sick student with whom you have been in close contact has self-identified to you, and the DOH has not yet contacted you, please contact the Dean of Students immediately.
  • If you have had only casual contact with an ill student (such as sharing a classroom), you will most likely not be contacted by the DOH. It has been found that casual contact, especially when all parties are wearing a mask, carries a very low risk of person-to-person infection.

Now is the time to act responsibly. We ask that you continue to be considerate of others and be a model for the behavior we expect of all Yotes. USD’s ability to deliver an in-person campus experience this fall depends on it.

If you have any additional questions, please contact COVID19@usd.edu.

COVID-19 Task Force