In emails to students, South Dakota Mines and Black Hills State University said students are expected to take advantage of free COVID-19 testing sponsored by the state before they return to campus for the spring semester.
The South Dakota Department of Health (DOH) and the Governor’s Office are sponsoring free at-home COVID-19 tests for every student, resident or non-resident. Distance students or students who have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days do not need to seek testing.
The universities ask that students order the at-home COVID-19 test kits to get tested between Dec. 26 and Jan. 5, “even if you do not have symptoms."
Those who test negative can continue with plans to return to campus, but those who test positive will be asked by the DOH to isolate at home for 10 days past symptom onset, or 10 days past taking the test, provided they’re symptom-free at the end of their isolation period.
Mines also suggests students start self-quarantine starting Jan. 1 to prevent contracting COVID-19 prior to returning to campus, a spokeswoman said, adding that “these practices are advised in order to have the best chances of a COVID-19-free start of the spring semester.”
BHSU is also making plans to host a mass testing event on Jan. 11 for any students, faculty or staff who weren’t able to test before returning to campus, a spokeswoman said.
Similar guidance was given to students and staff at other South Dakota universities, including at Northern State University.