USD encouraging students to get tested for COVID-19 before going home for the summer

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VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) – Final exams are taking on a whole new meaning this year at USD. While students study for regular tests, they’re also being asked to take a COVID-19 test to protect their loved ones this summer.

“All over the Muck obviously as you saw downstairs. They send us like e-mails every other day,” USD freshman Deanne Ekstrand said

There are signs of the fight against COVID-19 all over campus at the University of South Dakota.

“For the rapid antigen test, I’m going to give you this swab…”

But that’s not what brought Deanne Ekstrand into the testing office today.

“I got a text from someone that I’m regularly unmasked around, that she had tested positive yesterday, so I decided that I should figure out if she passed it on to me,” Ekstrand said.

USD is encouraging every student to get tested before they go home for the summer after catching a number of cases right before spring break.

“We tested 900 students in a week. Of those 900 students, we found eight or ten asymptomatic positive students. I’m happy to have caught nine or ten students that were sick and kept them here instead of sending them home,” USD Covid 19 management team leader Kevin O’Kelley said.

After waiting just 15 minutes, Ekstrand got her results.

“The results were negative and I was very happy,” Ekstrand said.

Because the test is always available, Ekstrand says she’ll likely get another one right before going home in a week and a half.

“It’s important to me that I protect the people around me and participate in hopefully getting us back to some sort of normalcy in the future,” Ekstrand said.

“Between the testing, the vaccinations and the mask wearing, we think we should be able to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 at the university,” O’Kelley said.

On-campus vaccination clinics are over now, but students are still encouraged to get their shots at a clinic off-campus.

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