Updates on Coronavirus
Augustana is monitoring and responding to the outbreak of the respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus. This page provides information that is regularly updated for the campus community, including AU's preparedness and response, guidance for travelers, and links to important resources.
- Past Campus Updates
- Spring Break Travelers
- Travel Alerts
- About Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
- Quick Links
- Events Guidelines
- As of Thursday, April 2
- As of Wednesday, April 1
- As of Tuesday, March 31
- As of Monday, March 30
- As of Friday, March 27
- Message on S/U Grading Options for Spring 2020
- As of Thursday, March 26
- Message from Augustana CFO on Housing, Dining, Parking Rebates
- As of Wednesday, March 25
- Special Message from President Herseth Sandlin: March 24
- As of Monday, March 23
- As of Friday, March 20
- As of Thursday, March 19
- As of Tuesday, March 17
- As of Monday, March 16
- Special Message from President Herseth Sandlin: Friday, March 13
- As of Thursday, March 12 (8:45 p.m.): Augustana University is closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation. Here are the latest things to know, as well as the new guidelines for campus events, effective Friday, March 13.
- The City of Sioux Falls today declared a state of emergency restricting the movement of people within the city for the next 14 days; closing or limiting the number of people at City-owned facilities, including the Washington Pavilion, Midco Aquatic Center, Sioux Falls Convention Center, Denny Sanford PREMIER Center and the Orpheum Theatre. The City is also encouraging community partners and private businesses to limit gatherings and use social distancing. The City health department has also expanded, and will be opening up an emergency operations center at the law enforcement center beginning Friday, March 13.
- Augustana University President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and her leadership team made the decision on Wednesday, March 11, to extend spring break for students through Friday, March 20.
- Housing is available for students who need to return to campus for extenuating circumstances. Any student needing to live in university-owned housing during the extended break must apply online at augie.edu/break-housing-application. This includes those who have been originally approved for housing over spring break — they will need to apply again.
- To promote the safest possible conditions for faculty and students on campus, we are undertaking heightened sanitary functions, including more frequent cleaning, and are strongly encouraging preventive hygiene practices.
As of Wednesday, March 11 (9 p.m.): Message from President Herseth Sandlin
Dear Augustana Students, Parents, Faculty and Staff,
The health and safety of the Augustana community is the highest priority for the university. Based on the latest developments in the state of South Dakota and our local area, we have made the decision to extend spring break for students through Friday, March 20, 2020. During this time, no classes will be held. For faculty and staff, we will conduct normal business operations and undertake additional planning and preparation. At this time, we anticipate that classes will resume on Monday, March 23, 2020.
Over the past few weeks, we have been closely monitoring the evolving circumstances involving COVID-19 and have taken actions to protect our campus community. The Augustana risk-assessment team has been meeting daily to discuss, identify and implement precautionary measures in response to the spread of the virus. Today, we have been in communication with other area colleges and universities and continue to monitor regional and national centers for emergency response.
Extending spring break is in the best interests of our students and their well-being based on the circumstances currently known at this time. Doing so also will provide the university the time necessary to implement measures that will best support our faculty and students in the event we must transition to classroom instruction online for an extended period.
Students are strongly encouraged to remain at home during the extended spring break to limit potential exposure to illness. Housing is available for those students who may need to return to campus due to extenuating circumstances. Any student needing to live in university-owned housing during the break must apply online at augie.edu/break-housing-application. Student-athletes in the sports of baseball, softball, tennis, golf, and track & field will receive additional details and information from the athletics department and their respective coaches.
Augustana is aware of the impact this extension of spring break may have on our entire campus community. Please know that we are committed to providing support for students, faculty and staff as we continue our best efforts to manage the rapidly evolving situation surrounding the coronavirus disease. In addition to daily updates regarding our campus-wide planning and preparation efforts, more details will be provided to the campus community within the next 24 hours.
Thank you for your understanding and support, and please continue to check your email and visit our coronavirus web page for new updates and details.
With care and kind regards,
President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin
As of Tuesday, March 10 (8:30 p.m.): As of this afternoon, the South Dakota Department of Health confirmed five cases of COVID-19. The five cases are believed to be travel-related and are not connected to each other. The cases are located in the counties of Pennington, Beadle, Charles Mix, Davison, and Minnehaha. Please note that no members of the Augustana community have tested positive for the coronavirus. The university is in contact with the State Department of Health and other local health officials as we continue to assess the situation.
The university has assembled a risk-assessment team that is now meeting daily to discuss, identify and implement precautionary measures. Augustana has completed installation of alcohol-based sanitizing stations around campus and is willing to add locations as needed or requested. Supplies have been distributed for faculty, staff and students to regularly sanitize and disinfect offices and study areas. Custodial crews continue to disinfect using proper cleaning procedures as they relate to respiratory illnesses. Communication continues to be shared with regular updates including health and safety measures. Planning is also underway in the event COVID-19 directly impacts campus and operations need to be adjusted.
It is important to be mindful of COVID-19’s potential as you continue your spring break travel plans. Please stay actively alert to changes and developments that may affect your plans. Destinations with large, confined groups of people pose a higher risk of transmission. Travelers should proceed with caution, thoroughly research their destination, and consult with their family, doctors and AU representatives (see below) regarding any concerns.
Should you have any questions regarding the coronavirus or need to update the risk-assessment team on campus-related matters or events, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As of Saturday, March 7 (12 a.m.): Augustana has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Choir Tour that was scheduled to take place March 7-12 with stops in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas. The university is taking this precautionary measure because of the rapidly evolving situation related to the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and our deep concern for the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and the communities we were so looking forward to visiting as part of this program.
At this time, the Choir’s "Home Concert" at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls on Friday, March 20 is still scheduled as planned.
As of Tuesday, March 3 (1 p.m.) As you know, Augustana University has been closely monitoring the rapidly changing developments related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This is an evolving situation, and the university has been watching U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories and Alerts in addition to travel information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The health and safety of the AU community remains our highest priority, and therefore Augustana has made the difficult decision to postpone all international group travel programs taking place in March. This includes all academic, athletic, and arts trips for faculty, staff and students. We will continue to assess the situation on a daily basis and will communicate further updates as necessary. Further, we will evaluate other such off-campus experiences in the coming weeks and months.
The university has not come to this decision lightly, as students may face unpredictable circumstances, travel restrictions, challenges in returning home or accessing health care while abroad. The disease has now been detected in 76 locations internationally, including cases in the United States.
Academic programs, athletics, and arts trips within the 48 contiguous United States are still scheduled as planned (as of March 3).
Augustana’s International Programs Office has also been working with our partner, International Studies Abroad (ISA), following the cancelation of the American University of Rome spring semester program. One Augustana student has been impacted by the cancelation. Should Augustana have additional students who need to return from an affected country identified by the CDC, they will be advised to return to their permanent address in the United States, to self-quarantine for 14 days, and, following their arrival, to monitor for fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. The university is providing direct support and resource information to all students who will be transitioning back to the U.S.
The university has assembled a risk-assessment team to identify and implement precautionary measures. Augustana will soon be placing alcohol-based sanitizing stations around campus where hand washing is not as readily available. Supplies will be distributed for faculty and staff to regularly sanitize and disinfect offices, and custodial crews continue to disinfect using proper cleaning procedures as they relate to respiratory illnesses. Communication plans are in place to promote prevention efforts such as distributing CDC posters, handwashing posters, and other forms of similarly instructive information across campus. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid exposure and take everyday preventive actions recommended by the CDC.
Augustana stands ready to support those who may have concerns regarding COVID-19. Among the many campus resources available to faculty, staff and students who may need assistance or wish to speak with someone, there are the following.
- Employee Health Services — 605.274.4726
- Campus Clinic — 605.274.5552
- Dean of Students Office — 605.274.4124
- Campus Ministry — 605.274.5403
- Augustana Counseling Services — 605.334.2696
- Center for Campus Life — 605.274.5215
- Campus Safety — 605.274.4014
- Helpline — 211
As a reminder, there have been no identified COVID-19 cases in South Dakota, and the risk to Augustana's campus remains low. Augustana’s campus clinic staff and others have been working closely with Sanford Health to implement enhanced screening, prevention and control measures.
As of Monday, March 2: AU-sponsored international travel during spring break will proceed as planned. As of right now, the courses slated for Spring Break 2020 are countries with little to no exposure to coronavirus. Student health and safety abroad is our foremost concern; we will continue to monitor the rapidly changing developments across the globe prior to and during international travel courses. Although the risk to Augustana's campus is low, we are closely monitoring the evolving situation with respect to COVID-19. Augustana's campus clinic staff, campus clinic nurse practitioner and others have been working closely with Sanford Health resources to implement enhanced screening, prevention and control measures. It's important to keep in mind the facts regarding COVID-19 to avoid stigma and discrimination towards those whose home countries are signficantly impacted, and the CDC has provided resources on this topic.
As of Friday, Feb. 28; The disease has now been detected in 57 locations internationally, including cases in the United States.
Augustana University sponsors a number of international spring break courses, athletic team competitions, and other student travel during spring break.
With regard to international travel, Augustana University closely monitors U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories and Alerts, in addition to travel information provided by the CDC, partners on the ground, and intelligence data shared by insurance providers. These and other information sources play a vital role as AU determines whether a study abroad program will take place.
As of March 3, Augustana has made the difficult decision to postpone all international group travel programs taking place in March. This includes all academic, athletic, and arts trips for faculty, staff and students. We will continue to assess the situation on a daily basis and will communicate further updates as necessary. Further, we will evaluate other such off-campus experiences in the coming weeks and months. The university has not come to this decision lightly, as students may face unpredictable circumstances, travel restrictions, challenges in returning home or accessing health care while abroad.
Augustana reserves the right to cancel its programs or its approval of students' participation on co-sponsored programs in countries with severe health or safety issues with or without the issuance of a U.S. State Department Travel Alert.
Travel within the U.S.
Several student groups plan travel within the U.S. during spring break, and many students will return home or travel during this period as well. Academic programs, athletics, and arts trips within the 48 contiguous United States are still scheduled as planned (as of March 3). AU encourages students to exercise precaution and use good hygiene practices. Students should see a physician or visit Augustana’s Sanford Campus Clinic if they feel ill.
The U.S. Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid ALL international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued multiple travel alerts.
SARS-CoV-2 is the virus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. At this time, some person to person spread has been documented, but it appears close sustained contact is required for person to person spread. The latest situation summary updates are available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) web page Coronavirus Disease 2019.
According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the seasonal flu. This is also the time of year when we typically see a rise in cases of seasonal flu. Symptoms can include:
- Shortness of breath
It is recommended that anyone over the age of 6 months get the flu shot, and especially people with chronic medical conditions who are at high-risk for flu-related complications. View information regarding how to get a flu shot at Augustana and what to do if you think you have influenza.
Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:
- Older adults
- People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
- Individuals who are in these high risk categories should consult their physician about prevention and protection measures.
Steps to prevent spread of respiratory viruses
According to the CDC, the best way to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2 virus is to avoid exposure. However, there are everyday preventive actions recommended by the CDC to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
What to do if you think you have been exposed
- Monitor any cold-like symptoms for severity.
- If you have a temperature, please seek medical care and practice preventive actions.
Augustana’s Sanford Campus Clinic is open to students Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
- The clinic is located in the lower level of Solberg Hall and is staffed by a Registered Nurse (no copay) and Clinical Nurse Practitioner (insurance/copay applies).
- To schedule an appointment, call 605.274.5552 or please report your condition by email at: email@example.com.
- Transmission: Information about how the Coronavirus Disease is thought to be spreading from ill people to others.
- Symptoms: Describes signs and symptoms of COVID-19 infection.
- Prevention & Treatment: Tips on protecting yourself from respiratory illnesses.
- What the Public Should Do: Information for the public about what they should do and what they should not do to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- What to Do if You Are Sick: Information for people are sick with or caring for someone with COVID-19.
- CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) — Coronavirus Disease 2019
- Stigma Related to COVID-19
- WHO (World Health Organization) - Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
- South Dakota Department of Health Information for Schools and Universities
- Sanford Health Information on Coronavirus Disease