BROOKINGS – South Dakota State University, as part of its effort for a more normal 2021 fall semester, announced Tuesday face coverings will now be optional on campus beginning Monday. Since the start of the academic year, face coverings have been required while inside on-campus buildings per South Dakota Board of Regents policy.
The BOR and its member institutions support next week’s change to an optional face-covering policy. The current face-covering policy will remain in effect until Sunday night.
“The efforts of our students and staff the past year have given us an opportunity to begin planning for more in-person class opportunities, increased capacity in facilities across campus and larger events for the fall semester,” said SDSU President Barry Dunn. “We continue to monitor all the key public health indicators to ensure the safety of everyone. The availability of vaccines and the reduced number of cases in the region make this move possible. It is the first step in our planning efforts to open our campus for a more inclusive and exciting 2021-22 academic year.”
SDSU’s mitigation efforts this past year have resulted in students remaining on campus and in the classroom. Recently, the university’s on-campus COVID-19 testing team surpassed 10,000 SARS-CoV-2 tests given to students the past year, while the SDSU Student Health Clinic and Counseling Services is providing vaccines to students through a partnership with Brookings Health.
“This past year has certainly been different for everyone,” Dunn said. “But our students and staff have risen to the challenge and remained committed to each other, which has allowed those seeking degrees to stay on track to graduation. The effort of everyone doing their part has made the difference in our university continuing to thrive under unique and challenging circumstances. It is what makes being a Jackrabbit so rewarding.”
Classes for the fall semester begin Aug. 23.