How USD is handling COVID-19 and monkeypox 
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How USD is handling COVID-19 and monkeypox 

During the first few weeks of school, many students have seen the restrictions for COVID-19 being lifted and become less restrictive. Moving forward, USD plans to handle COVID-19 the same as the flu or a common cold. 

Assistant Vice President for Research Compliance Kevin O’Kelley said the school has received free COVID-19 tests from the South Dakota Department of Health. These kits are placed across campus including in the dorms and in the Muenster University Center.  

O’Kelley said these tests are generally very accurate and he recommends people who are symptomatic to get tested. Students are no longer required to report if they test positive for COVID-19, but O’Kelley said it is a good idea to keep everyone on campus safe.  

“The students who have reported, have been about 100 students, over the first two weeks of school have self-reported they tested positive for COVID-19. It is all on the honor system,” O’Kelley said.  

O’Kelley said COVID-19 is being treated as endemic like the flu or a cold so USD will not be using the dashboard anymore. Like the flu or a cold, students can reach out to the Dean of Students and ask to be excused from classes to self-isolate.  

O’Kelley also said The Dean of Students is prepared to help students in more unique circumstances who may not be able to isolate in the dorms. 

As COVID-19 is losing the public’s focus, monkeypox has taken over the spotlight. O’Kelley said COVID-19 and monkeypox are entirely different from each other as COVID-19 is a respiratory infection and monkeypox is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus. O’Kelley said monkeypox is primarily affecting men engaged in sex with other men while infected.  

“Student health is prepared to offer guidance on prevention of STIs the same way they offer guidance on the prevention of other sexually transmitted diseases or infections,” O’Kelley said. “So the primary tool we have to prevent the spread of monkeypox in our greater community is knowledge and awareness and we’re attempting to help to get that out.” 

As of Sept. 7, there have only been 2 reported cases of monkeypox in South Dakota and no cases reported in Clay County. The CDC has reported a total of 21,274 cases in the U.S. as of Sept. 7. More information about monkeypox can be found on the CDC website. Student Health can be contacted at 605-677-3500 with any health-related questions or concerns.