South Dakota’s public universities are lifting their on-campus mask mandates next week.
In a press release issued Tuesday, the Board of Regents announced that masks will become optional on campus as of Monday, May 10.
“At the recommendation of university presidents, a system-level protocol that required face coverings in all public indoor spaces on campus since last fall will end,” the press release said.
“Our system has continuously responded to changing circumstances caused by the pandemic,” Brian L. Maher, the regents’ executive director and CEO, said in the release. “With vaccines now widely available, our institutions are eager to adjust as we look forward to the fall semester. Administrators will continue to monitor conditions, making the best decisions possible with information available to them.”
In the Department of Health’s (DOH) weekly report on South Dakota educational institutions:
• Among the state’s colleges, universities and technical schools, 24 new infections were recorded last week, up from 19 the previous week. So far this school year, there have been 4,134 total cases (3,468 students; 666 staff) with 4,102 recoveries;
• The state’s K-12 schools reported 162 new cases last week, down from 179 the previous week. Overall, there have been 15,520 total cases (11,631 students; 3,889 staff) with 15,250 recoveries.
The University of South Dakota online portal on Tuesday showed six active cases (all students), which was unchanged from Monday. There were eight people in quarantine/isolation (0 change), none of whom were on campus (0 change).
Late Monday, Mount Marty University reported one active case (a student), which was unchanged from Friday.
Meanwhile, South Dakota reported 123 new COVID-19 infections and three new deaths in Tuesday’s update from the DOH.
The three deaths raised the state toll to 1,973. None of the deaths were reported in the Yankton area.
The state also saw its number of active cases drop to 1,445, the first time it’s been below 1,500 since Aug. 21.
Yankton County posted three new cases and 12 new recoveries, lowering the number of active cases to 38. One new hospitalization was reported.
Other area counties seeing new cases included Clay (+1), Turner (+1) and Union (+2) counties in South Dakota, and Cedar (+1) and Dixon (+2) counties in Nebraska.
In Nebraska, the Department of Health and Human Services online portal showed 256 new infections. The number of deaths was amended downward by one to 2,244.