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You Should Know Before You Go: Protect your family this holiday season

Throughout the fall semester, USD students have been taking safety precautions to protect themselves and their Coyote community. Now, as we approach the winter break, it is important to recognize that our decisions will also impact friends and family back home. 

One of the best steps you can take to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect others is to “Know Before You Go” by getting tested prior to the holiday break. Students are encouraged to take advantage of free testing opportunities so they can assess their health, make more informed decisions about holiday plans and prioritize the safety of others.

Where to get tested 

The USD Sentinel Testing program offers free drive-thru testing to all USD students, faculty and staff from 2-3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in November and December. Please note that during the week of Thanksgiving, drive-thru testing will be held on Monday (Nov. 23) and Tuesday (Nov. 24) rather than Wednesday to increase the likelihood that students are able to receive test results prior to the holiday.

If you are interested in getting tested, please report to Sanford Vermillion drive-thru testing at the big white drive-thru tent on Jane Street, which is located on the south side of Sanford. Explain that you are voluntarily participating in the USD Sentinel Testing program. The program has supported testing for up to 100 asymptomatic volunteers each week and is now greatly increasing the number of tests available to the USD community.

This program is made possible by the South Dakota Department of Health. The Department of Health is also sponsoring other local testing opportunities. Hy-Vee offers testing by appointment, and there will be drive-thru mass testing events in Yankton and other cities across the state; visit covid.sd.gov/testing.aspx for more information.

What your test results mean 

Please note that a negative test result does not guarantee you are healthy, but if you test positive, you will have the foresight to avoid going home and putting your family at risk. Knowledge is power, and getting tested is an important step you can take to assess your health and prioritize the safety of others.

If you test positive for COVID-19, your health care provider and the South Dakota Department of Health will be in contact with you.

Other safety measures 

Volunteering to get tested is an important step you can take to assess your own health and help protect others, but it is not a replacement for other safety measures. Consider the remainder of the semester a quiet time; avoid social gatherings, and be vigilant about wearing face coverings when around others. Continue to do your part to #ProtectThePack so you can support the sustained health and safety of your community here on campus and at home.