PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Board of Regents has adopted a tiered approach to face covering requirements for its six public universities when the fall academic term begins Aug. 19.
Wednesday’s action creates a new framework under which the board and its universities are positioned to react quickly to adjust campus operations whenever necessary. Brian Maher, the regents’ executive director and CEO, characterized it as “responding in a practical way to the changing COVID-19 landscape at campuses and within their respective communities.”
To begin fall semester operations on the campuses, the regents agreed to require face coverings in all public indoor spaces on campus (Level 3). This action will be reviewed 30 days after the start of the fall academic term.
The board’s protocol, which applies to all students, staff, faculty, and campus visitors, provides for four differentiated levels of response:
• Level 1 requires face coverings in all classroom or lab settings where course delivery requires close proximity or physical contact and makes Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations on physical distancing impractical. Examples are instructional laboratories, clinical training environments, and design or art studio instruction.
• Level 2 requires face coverings in all public areas of academic buildings on campus (including classrooms, hallways, and common areas), along with other indoor areas where 30 or more individuals frequently congregate or interact in a setting not conducive to maintaining CDC-recommended physical distancing.
• Level 3 requires face coverings in all public indoor spaces on campus.
• Level 4 requires face coverings in all public indoor and outdoor areas of campus.
Significant community spread of the coronavirus in certain areas of the state, or other special circumstances, may result in an individual campus or location operating at a different level within the tiered framework from other institutions.
Pandemic planning continues on all campuses. University-specific news releases and websites will have up-to-date information on the status of campus operations.