Board of Regents adopts system for face covering requirements


Jordan Rusche, Copy Editor

The South Dakota Board of Regents has adopted a tiered system regarding face covering requirements for the 2020 fall semester. At the start of the semester on Aug. 19, face coverings will be required inside all public indoor spaces on all six public universities in the state.

This system features four levels of different guidelines regarding face masks and other coverings that can be adjusted as necessary. Level 1 requires face coverings in classroom and lab settings that require close proximity or physical contact, such as clinical training environments or art studio instructions. Level 2 requires coverings in all public areas of academic buildings and some other indoor buildings where 30 or more individuals frequently congregate. Level 3 requires coverings in all public indoor spaces, and Level 4 requires coverings in all public indoor and outdoor spaces.

The Board of Regents has currently placed all campuses at Level 3, and this action will be reviewed 30 days after the start of the fall semester. Depending on community spread or other special circumstances in certain areas of the state, different universities may operate at different levels in the tiered system at the same time.

This system was designed so that the regents and universities can quickly address and adapt their operations as needed during the pandemic. Brian Maher, the regents’ executive director and CEO, described it as “responding in a practical way to the changing COVID-19 landscape at campuses and within their respective communities.”