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South Dakota universities launch COVID-19 tracking tools

Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 9:05 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - UPDATE: Both Dakota State University and South Dakota State University have activated their COVID-19 tracking dashboards.

Original story:

South Dakota’s six public universities are launching websites that track COVID-19 cases on each of their campuses.

The Board of Regents announced on Tuesday that each university will launch dashboards that track individual cases among students and staff. As of Wednesday morning, four universities - USD, NSU, BHSU, and SDSM&T - had their dashboards up and running. SDSU and DSU did not yet have their sites available.

Each university has their own dashboard, showing daily active cases that must be self reported to each institution. At the University of South Dakota, the dashboard really simplifies the information.

USD COVID-19 Task Force Chair Kevin O’Kelley said, “We came up with this dashboard to present a more visual picture of where we are at at that moment and time, rather than scrolling through a spreadsheet and trying to count the numbers one-by-one. We combined them all and made it a visual graphic so people can understand where we are at on a day-to-day basis.”

And that visual guide is appreciated by students.

USD Student Carter Larson added, “COVID-19 dashboard is a great asset to the website because it gives students not only the numbers but a visual of just the students on campus, and it helps students because it shows students and faculty members.”

And while COVID-19 has already made it’s way to campus, O’Kelley hopes that the dashboard can help minimize its impact.

“COVID-19 is here. It was here before they came to class, it was with their homes wherever they were from, and it’s here in Vermillion now.” O’Kelley added, “These are not just numbers, these are students that are sick and it’s our responsibility to do our part to keep the next students from getting sick.”

The launch of these dashboards come after the South Dakota Department of Health said that while it will track overall cases in the state’s university system, it will not break down those cases by university. The same goes for the state’s K-12 system. Some districts are making public how many cases there are in their system; others, like the Sioux Falls School District, are only making the information available to parents.

As of Wednesday morning, the four universities with active dashboards are reporting 91 COVID-19 cases. This is already up 20 cases from the Department of Health’s latest tally in public universities, which is updated each Monday.

COVID-19 websites by university

University of South Dakota

South Dakota State University

Northern State University

Dakota State University

Black Hills State University

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

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