Why are SDSU COVID rates falling?



Collegian Editorial Board

When South Dakota State University released the campus COVID-19 Dashboard Aug. 26, students and staff presumed they could now somewhat measure the amount of cases on campus, to decipher the risks and the state Brookings is in.

However, the current numbers depicted on the Dashboard suggest a different, disheartening story.

SDSU’s peak hit Sept. 1 with 102 reported active positive cases. Within a matter of days, that number dropped to only 32 cases. These numbers would falsely lead people to assume the trying times of COVID-19 were behind and things would start getting better. But, based on state trends, the virus is nowhere near slowing down.

According to NPR’s Coronavirus Update, as of Sept. 7, South Dakota has unchecked community spread and has almost tripled the number of average daily cases from three weeks ago. South Dakota, compared to other states, is one of the highest risked places to live.

Why then, does this dramatic drop in reported cases not reflect the state average? Isn’t it obvious? Students, afflicted with COVID-19 or not, are refusing to self-report.

Their fear, stemming from staying a few nights in the dreaded quarantine and isolation housing (QIH), may end up affecting SDSU’s decisions about reverting back to a full time online schedule.

We get it, the quarantine housing is not ideal. The isolation and the food is preferable to no one. The promises the university made to provide adequate conditions for students are going largely unkept.

But nevertheless, students known to have the virus will be roaming the sidewalks, the dorms and the classrooms of campus in their feeble attempt of self preservation, both from the notorious quarantine dorms and being flagged as tainted by their acquaintances.

You can be assured, neither your merit nor your image will be tainted if you’re keeping yourself and others safe from further exposure.

Students’ reckless behavior and keeping hush about their health is becoming a catalyst for the virus to accelerate even more rapidly through South Dakota.

If QIH is the reasoning for reservations of reporting, we at the Collegian urge you to return home, away from campus, to attempt to preserve the health of those not yet exposed, however trivial that attempt may be.

The Collegian Editorial Board meets weekly and agrees on the issue of the editorial. The editorial represents the opinion of The Collegian.