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Dear Campus Community,

Please view the USD COVID-19 Dashboard to see self-reported case trends on campus. Today, USD reported 41 current active cases. Student case numbers have remained relatively steady, but we are seeing rising faculty/staff positive cases as the overall number of positive cases in Clay County has grown.

As we embark on the last few weeks of classes this term, many of us are starting to make plans for the holidays. If you plan to see your family and want to protect them from COVID-19, now is the time to heighten your efforts to stay safe. South Dakota is experiencing a resurgence of COVID-19, and we are seeing one of the highest positivity rates in the nation. Even if you are not showing symptoms, you could be sick and could spread COVID-19 to others. It is critical that we each do our part to protect our own health and the health of our families and communities this holiday season.

We encourage you to consider getting tested for COVID-19 so you can make more informed decisions about your holiday plans. Each week, up to 100 members of our asymptomatic Coyote community can volunteer to get tested at Student Health through the USD Sentinel Testing program, generously sponsored by the South Dakota Department of Health. Simply drive or walk up to the Ambulance Bay at Sanford Vermillion (on the Walker Street side of the building) any Tuesday or Wednesday this month between 2 and 3:30 p.m. to get tested. 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. It’s important to remember that up to 40% of people who have COVID-19 are asymptomatic.

We highly urge all Yotes to cancel any social plans the final two weeks on campus and stay home as much as possible to stay healthy. You should also continue to wear face coverings, wash your hands regularly and maintain distance from others when possible; these are important measures you can take to reduce the possibility of spreading COVID-19 to your home community.

We know you are looking forward to seeing your family, and we want you to be as safe as possible when you do so. Thank you for doing your part to #ProtectThePack and for planning ahead to protect those in your home community. For more information about USD’s response to the pandemic, visit usd.edu/COVID19. To ask questions or self-report, please contact the Task Force at COVID19@usd.edu.

COVID-19 Task Force