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BHSU offered free testing to stay on top of Covid-19 cases

Students are being welcomed back to campus with free COVID tests.
Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 5:00 PM MST
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SPEARFISH, S.D. (KEVN) - College students returning back to campus after winter break usually worry about new schedules, different classes, and now Covid-19 as cases continue to rise.

Black Hills State University once again offered free Covid testing to returning students, but the turn out this time was higher than usual.

“We did a testing event in early December right after the Thanksgiving break and we had a good turnout then and we’re seeing a better turnout now,” said Director of Public Safety for BHSU, Phillip Pesheck.

Pesheck said the turnout could be due to the rise of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, along with students traveling back from all points of the country, but it also could be contributed to the $20 incentive the school was offering students to get tested.

“That certainly could be why were seeing an uptick in the number of participants. We are also seeing a good turnout for staff and faculty that do not qualify for that incentive,” explained Pesheck.

The tests and $20 incentive were offered for one day only, however, testing is always available by appointment at Student Health Services and Monument Health.

“It’s important for us to get a good handle on the percentage of positive tests and then we can get them into quarantine and kind of keep things from escalating to a situation where we might have to start a mask mandate etc.,” said Pesheck.

A potential mask mandate would not be instituted by the school itself but by the Board of Regents.

“So, right now, we’re not seeing any kind of outbreak or positivity rate that would indicate that that’s going to be even considered, so we’re trying to get a handle now on anyone who does test positive. We’re counseling them and getting them into quarantine and how to get their classes online, etc.,” said Pesheck.

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