Augustana confirms 6 student-athletes test positive for COVID-19

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 3:00 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Augustana University says six student-athletes have tested positive for coronavirus.

In a letter to the campus community, Augustana says that six student-athletes have tested positive. The letter also says all athletic activities have been put on pause for the rest of the week.

The letter says one student-athlete tested positive Wednesday of last week after participating in voluntary workouts at the Elmen Center. Students in close contact were asked to quarantine for 14 days or until they tested negative for the virus.

Since then, five more student-athletes have tested positive.

The letter says Augustana remains committed to having in-person classes this fall and that they anticipate more reports of positive cases.

You can read the letter in its entirety below.

Dear AU Community,

On Thursday, July 23, we informed you that a student-athlete who has been participating in voluntary workouts at the Elmen Center tested positive for COVID-19. The individual self-reported their COVID-19 diagnosis on Wednesday, July 22, which was confirmed by the South Dakota Department of Health (SD-DOH).Augustana identified and contacted the students and staff who may have been in contact with the individual. We asked each of them to self-quarantine for a 14-day period as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or until they could show a negative test.

Unfortunately, five additional student-athletes have tested positive for COVID-19. As a result of this news, on Monday, July 27, out of an abundance of caution we made the decision to pause all athletic-related activity for the remainder of the week. These activities include all strength and conditioning, team skills work, helping out at team youth camps and using the Elmen Center weight room.

As we have previously communicated through the Viking Flex Plan, Augustana University remains committed to providing an in-person learning experience for students this fall. We want you to know that the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff has been and remains our utmost priority, that’s why we are also committed to providing the ongoing communications necessary to keep our campus community educated and safe.

With that said, as we continue to gradually open campus to more students and staff in the Augustana community, we fully anticipate receiving more reports of positive cases. If and when an individual reports testing positive for COVID-19, we will continue to utilize contact tracing, identifying and contacting anyone who may have been in contact with the individual and ask them to self-monitor for any symptoms related to COVID-19. Augustana’s Employee Health Educator, Campus Clinic staff and others will stay in touch with these individuals to offer any support they may need.

Going forward — in order to deal with the anticipated increase of positive cases reported and to preserve the confidentiality and privacy of all involved — Augustana will notify the entire campus community of individual positive COVID-19 cases only when a particular case or set of cases poses a greater risk to the community that cannot be identified through contact tracing. Those in our campus community who are known to have met the exposure criteria determined by the CDC will be notified. We will begin providing weekly communications with the number of positive cases that have been reported to the university by a member of the campus community, as well as the number of individuals who have recovered from COVID-19. These campus numbers — along with the global, state, and city outlook — will be posted at at the start of each work week, beginning Monday, August 3.

More resources regarding health and safety can be found within our Viking Flex Plan Frequently Asked Questions. You may also contact one of the following departments should you have questions or need assistance:

Campus Ministry — 605.274.5403

Campus Safety — 605.274.4014

Counseling Services — 605.334.2696

Dean of Students Office — 605.274.4124

Employee Health Educator — 605.274.4726

Thank you.

Rick Tupper

Associate Vice President

Safety and Logistics

Augustana University

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