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USD launches second “Know Before You Go” COVID testing campaign

Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 5:32 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Spring break is just around the corner. And the University of South Dakota is preparing by launching its second “Know Before You Go” campaign- Spring Break Edition. That campaign encourages all students, faculty, and staff to get tested for COVID-19 prior to and when returning from spring break.

“Our students will be dispersed across the state and across the country. We want to make sure they are not taking COVID-19 with them,” said Kevin O’Kelley, USD’s Assistant Vice President of Research Compliance.

Testing is happening all week and students are taking advantage of the event.

“It was super important to protect not only my loved ones here like, you know, protect the pack. That’s always great, but also my loved ones wherever it is I decide to go for Spring Break,” said USD Senior Marcus Destin.

When the school first held this campaign in the fall, 1,500 students were tested for COVID.

“And 12 of them were asymptomatic positive cases. So there were people who didn’t know they were sick, who were sick,” said O’Kelley.

The university hopes to increase the number of students getting tested this time around, especially since the process is now easier.

“There was a barrier to getting tested. You had to go to the UPS store to drop off your kit, you had to place an order, you had to get the mail and get online and do a test in front of a specialist. And they revamped that now,” said O’Kelley.

Students use their phones to scan a QR code to fill out information. Then scan the barcode on the vial and spit into it.

“We put a little dye in it and put it in a package and send it off to the company and then the students are notified by email. This is a really easy test. It will take ten minutes of their time,” said Kim Grieve, Vice President and Dean of Students at USD.

4,600 saliva test kits are available provided by The South Dakota Department of Health. Students are happy to see the university offering this opportunity to know their COVID status.

“The fact that it’s okay, we know you’re going to have fun. We’re not oblivious to the idea that you are still students living in a pandemic. So how about we do our part to make sure that you are safe before you go out there and have fun,” said Destin.

Testing takes about ten minutes. It’s available in the Muenster University Center March 1-5 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s also open in the residence halls March 1-3 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

A few other things to know:

  • The only thing students need to bring is their phone.
  • No eating or drinking 30 minutes before the test.
  • And results will be emailed to students within about three days.

Other local universities are also promoting COVID testing around spring break:

Northern State University is running an on-campus mass testing event on March 1.

At South Dakota State University, students are incentivized to test for COVID when coming back from spring break. Between March 15-19, if they test for COVID at the Brookings Campus Testing Center they will receive a $5 coupon that can be used on campus and will be entered into a drawing for a $100 University Bookstore voucher.

Dakota State University will hold a testing event when students return from spring break. The event will be held on the lower level of the Trojan Center from March 14-16. Students will receive $10 in Trojan Silver for taking the saliva test.

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