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Black Hills State University has a plan for starting school during the pandemic

Is there any extra concern about getting sick during the pandemic?
Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 5:53 PM MDT
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SPEARFISH, S.D. (KEVN) - Black Hills State University students left for spring break and didn’t return.

Now, college classes are about to start after a six-month break.

Students are moving into dorms at Black Hills State, but is there any extra concern about getting sick during the pandemic?

"Well at first, my parents, they were worried, but then they knew that I was really excited to come so they just excepted it and know that I'll be wearing the mask and I'll be safe," said Morgan Wald, an incoming freshman. "I would be just worried for my cross country team because I am doing cross country here but other than that, I think I'd be fine. As long as we have masks, I think that will help to protect us."

The South Dakota Department of Health said there are currently three COVID cases linked to the campus and that even a single case is a cause for focus from the department.

"They have a right to be concerned, this is an unknown situation we all find ourselves. We are bringing a number of people back together in close quarters but what I can say to you is that all of the elements of how do we keep it safe, down to disinfecting the rooms at night, all of that has been thought through and is going to be implemented," said Priscilla Romkema, vice president for academic affairs.

The school plans to keep staff and students healthy through additional cleaning supplies in the classroom and having everyone wear masks. But officials say, it's up to individuals.

"Trust," said Jane Klug, dean of students. "We're going to have to trust our students. We are training them, we are educating them, and then we're going to trust them. And of course our staff, our residential staff have been trained. They've been here on campus for the last two weeks, and they're ready, but there's going to be that element of trust with our students."

School officials said they’re prepared for whatever comes this fall with isolation rooms, telehealth, and the option to move online if necessary.

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