VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) — It won’t be long and university students will be preparing to head back to campus for the Spring semester. With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise and the Omicron variant spreading, how can students return safely?

The USD campus is quiet right now, but before students return on January 10th, there are things they could be doing to get prepared and stay safe for the Spring semester.

“Get your flu shot because flu is happening simultaneously with COVID,” Kevin O’Kelley, director of the COVID management team at USD, said. “We recommend that you get your COVID vaccine and your booster. We recommend that you wear a mask when you’re among people you don’t know or avoid those crowds if you can at all. Continue the normal hygiene practices we all have learned about the last two years, very careful about hand washing and sneeze etiquette, that sort of thing.”

While on campus, students can get free COVID-19 self-testing kits in the Muenster University Center.

“We advise you to have a self-test kit in your house, in your dorm room, and test yourself before you go visit people who are vulnerable or otherwise compromised,” O’Kelley said.

Right now there are no mask requirements on campus. The classrooms, dining hall and wellness center are all operating normally. However, if cases were to dramatically spike, the COVID-19 task force on campus would consider making changes to protect students and staff.

“Although we have those options in our toolbox, so to speak, we are very hopeful that we don’t have to implement any of them, but we’re ready to if we need to,” O’Kelley said.

USD students and staff can stay up to date on the university’s COVID-19 mitigation by visiting their website.