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Dear Campus Community,

Starting this week, USD will conduct free, voluntary testing of randomly selected, asymptomatic students, faculty and staff through Sanford Vermillion Medical Center’s drive-thru or walk-up Testing Clinic.

The purpose of the surveillance testing, paid for by the South Dakota Department of Health, is to determine the background rate of COVID-19 and to identify where those cases are located on USD’s Vermillion campus.

USD has divided the campus population into cohorts of individuals who tend to spend time together, whether in a specific residence hall or academic program. A percentage of individuals from each cohort will be tested weekly.

You may receive an invitation to be tested. Please note there is no cost to you or your insurance and the testing is voluntary. We strongly urge you to get tested as a way to #ProtectThePack. According to the American Medical Association, nearly 40-45% of all COVID-19 infections are asymptomatic, and despite showing no signs of symptoms, these individuals are still contagious. Along with prevention measures like handwashing, wearing face coverings practicing social distancing, testing is a key tool in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

We know that we will see an increased number of COVID-19 cases as a result of this enhanced testing. This is a positive step forward for the university, as having more data available enables us to be proactive and to more effectively curb the spread of COVID-19 faster. Our goal is to identify clusters, so we can limit the spread, prevent further surges and remain on campus until Thanksgiving.

If you have any questions about USD’s enhanced testing procedures, please email COVID19@usd.edu. Thank you for your continued efforts to #ProtectThePack!

COVID-19 Task Force