The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America — 30 Days to Slow the Spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) More at

coronavirusCoronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness

Lake Area Tech has developed this webpage to provide faculty, staff, students and families with information and resources about the coronavirus. The situation regarding COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, and we will continue to provide updates as information is available. The South Dakota Department of Health has a dedicated team working on our state’s planning and response efforts. The team meets multiple times each day to ensure we are ready and responsive to the needs of South Dakotans.

  • Please check this page frequently as multiple updates throughout the day are possible.
  • Important note:  Governor Noem cited that 80% of the population will have no or mild symptoms from the virus.  However, elderly or those with health concerns should avoid crowds and gatherings.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Emergency Funds – How to Help

Lake Area Tech Robotics Department COVID 19 Protective Face Shields and Masks Fund:

Help provide financial support to assist Lake Area Tech’s Robotics Department with production supplies for Protective Face Shields & Masks in response of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lake Area Tech COVID-19 Protective Face Shields and Mask Needs

The Lake Area Tech Robotics program faculty is assisting healthcare providers and first responders by using the program’s 3D printers to produce protective face shields and facemasks. Supplies are needed to complete the items.

Items Needed:

  • Clear plastic for the face shields – Between .030 – .015” thickness
  • Elastic – 1/8”- 1” in width
  • HEPA (97% or higher) filters for the facemask (only needs to be 2.5” squares and we can cut to fit)

If you have a 3D printer and would like to assist with production, please email for details.

All regional distribution will be handled by Lake Area Tech.  Contact Brooks Jacobsen for more information or other ways you can help your community.

Student Emergency Fund:

The Lake Area Tech Foundation has put together a fund to help offset some of the difficulties students are facing because of the COVID-19 impact.

The Student Emergency Fund has been established to assist students during unforeseen financial emergencies because we know our students are at a greater risk of leaving the university during times of crisis. By providing students with the resources they need during this challenging time, you’ll help ensure they are able to stay committed to Lake Area Tech and continue their education.

Helpful Links

Student and Staff Resources

News and Guidelines 

March 25, 2020: Student Update: Virtual Learning Environment

Lake Area Tech Students,

We hope this update finds you doing well and enjoying your last few days of the extended Spring Break.   

As you are aware, all programs are online beginning Monday, March 30.   With your safety as a priority,  and in full support of Governor Noem’s guidance provided yesterday, Lake Area Tech will continue in the virtual environment for the remainder of the spring semester. With only six-weeks remaining in your academic degrees, we will build on the extensive hands-on foundation you already possess to provide a top notch technical education.  We are going to make this transition and environment as welcoming and easy as possible for you through the use of video demonstrations, simulation software, video conferencing, virtual classrooms, and other virtual tools.  Clinicals, internships, and work-based experiences also are continuing where industry is supportive.  Students are not required to return to campus. Please stay where you have the best support network.

We understand our unique, hands-on learning environment cannot be fully replicated online – but we will make it the best we can, and ease this transition as much as possible.  You will have daily contact with your instructors and together we will make you successful. If they have not already, your instructors will be trying to contact you this week. To be clear, we fully intend to graduate this class on 8 May.  We will however need to be innovative on the graduation ceremony.   We are in extensive conversations with the US Dept of Education to make sure you receive a high-quality education.  

I want to express my admiration for you, our students, as you are preserving through this unprecedented time.

For our healthcare providers and first responders, as well as our elected officials, who are on the front line of this the pandemic,  please take a moment in thought and appreciation for their efforts and pray for their strength and well-being.


What You Can Do Now

We can all help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by practicing and encouraging the following:

  • Washing hands often with soap and water
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue
  • Cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects
  • Getting plenty of rest, drinking fluids, eating healthy foods, and managing your stress can help you prevent getting COVID-19 and help you recover from it
  • If you develop symptoms:
    • Call your health care provider immediately and tell them about your recent travel or exposure
    • Avoid contact with other people
    • Follow the directions of your provider and public health officials
  • Monitoring the CDC travel website for recommendations and guidelines
    • Currently the CDC recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy. The CDC also recommends older adults or those with chronic conditions consider postponing travel to Japan
  • View updated COVID-19 USA locations here from the CDC
  • View Governor Kristi Noem’s latest news releases at South Dakota State News
  • Resources for anxiety from COVID-19

Previous Updates

- March 20, 2020: To Our Students - What you need to know in the coming weeks...

Lake Area Tech Students,

Lake Area Tech is committed to seeing you through this historical event.  Your success is our success, but we first want you safe.  For those of you on track to graduate in May and getting on with your career, I want you to know that we have the same commitment.  A few things to know about the next couple weeks:

  1. You DO NOT have classes next week. Classes resume in the online environment for EVERYONE on 30 March.  Enjoy your extended spring break, but remember the cautions we gave on travel, social distancing, and washing your hands.
  2. We understand you may not feel prepared and have concerns with the online learning environment.  We do too.  However, we are doing the best we can, and we will use every tool at our disposal to make you successful. For those of you without computers or internet, we are working on how to get you connected.  We are determined to keep the personal feel and caring environment that you experience here on campus in our virtual learning world.  We need your full participation and willingness to try new things to make this work.
  3. At the direction of the State, Lake Area Tech is indefinitely closed to the public, including our students. Students are encouraged to remain in their hometowns, but may return if desired or housing requirements dictate it.  Since students do not have open access to Lake Area Tech, you will be contacted by your programs to make arrangements to pick up personal belongings and projects.  Instructional staff will connect with you mainly through email to make arrangements, so make sure you are checking your Lake Area Tech email every day – this is critical for communications.
  4. Our COVID-19 website has links to information and other community resources, including mental health and COVID-19 updates from authoritative websites:

I also want you to know that Lake Area Tech’s support does not stop at our doors.  We are here in these coming weeks and if you need assistance, call and we’ll see what we can do!  We are all in this together.


- March 20, 2020: Online Classes Begin March 30; Continuous Monitoring of Situation 
Lake Area Tech Parents, Alumni and Friends,
We are traversing unchartered territory as we take the necessary steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community. At Lake Area Tech, we are handling these challenges with resilience and determination and are fortunate to have faculty, staff, students and friends who are willing to put their unparalleled skills to action to solve the difficult issues with which we are now faced.
As you probably are aware, students have been given an extended spring break (March16-March 30) which will allow our faculty and staff to work diligently at adjusting the instruction and delivery of classes by moving to an online approach. The level of this collective effort is nothing less than miraculous and I cannot say how proud I am of the Lake Area Tech staff and how they have stepped up to the challenge.  
Lake Area Tech is indefinitely closed to the public, including our students. We will begin online instruction for all programs beginning March 30. Students are encouraged to remain in their hometowns, but may return if desired or housing requirements dictate it.  Since students do not have open access to Lake Area Tech, they will be contacted by their programs to make arrangements for them to pick up personal belongings and projects.  Instructional staff will connect with them mainly through email to make arrangements, so make sure they understand that checking their Lake Area Tech email every day is critical for communications.
As time passes, we will continue to closely monitor the situation in order to determine how best to serve our students, staff, and partners with the same level of excellence you expect from Lake Area Tech.  Our support to staff, students, and partners does not end at the doors of Lake Area Tech, if you need support we will always try to help.  We are all in this together.  Not knowing what each day holds, we may need to take additional actions to adjust and modify our operations.  
We understand that all of you are managing changes at home and work and the unknown certainty of our futures weighs heavily on our minds.  Please be assured that Lake Area Tech will continue to provide the best education to our students regardless of the method of delivery. More importantly, know we are committed to our students and staff and their emotional well-being and safety. Our counseling staff will be available by appointment (605.882.5284 ext  216 or 337). 
This region needs Lake Area Tech graduates now more than ever!  Please support them in their efforts to complete their education and obtain employment in their chosen career. If we learn nothing else from this pandemic, we have ascertained that we are a resilient bunch and it is important to slow down, be kind, and protect each other.  
And… what a story we will have to tell future generations.
Thank you for all you do,
Mike Cartney
President, Lake Area Tech
- March 18, 2020 Extended Spring Break at Lake Area Tech

Lake Area Tech Students,

As the situation continues to change at a rapid rate, we have decided to extend Spring Break for our students through 29 March 2020.  The Lake Area Tech campus will be closed to the public next week to allow the faculty and staff to prepare to support all students in the distance learning environment.  Students on internships, supervised occupational experiences, apprenticeships, and clinical should continue as before, and contact your program for guidance.  All students will begin online classes on 30 March, expect information and instruction from your program next week.  We currently plan to continue in the virtual environment until at least 6 April.

We appreciate your patience and hope you enjoy your spring break.  Please reference Lake Area Tech’s webpage on COVID-19 for travel information and warnings, as well as other updates and CDC guidance.  

We will continue to send you periodic updates.

Thank you,


- March 18, 2020 Lake Area Tech Closed to Public

Lake Area Tech Students,

I hope you are enjoying your Spring Break.  As before, the situation here is fluid.  Our way forward must be in line with CDC, state and federal  guidance -- as protecting you, our staff, and our community is our priority.  Let me give you the current steps and where we are going next week.

Per State guidance, Lake Area Tech will remain closed to the general public next week. For students on work-based experiences (internships, SOEs, clinical, etc) and Online students in Online programs, classes will run as usual.  For all other students, classes will start on Wednesday in the online environment.  We'll be moving as much content online as possible and preparing to offer the crucial hands-on lab components in small groups (9 students or less).  Your program will be contacting you with details early next week.

The cafeteria and coffee shop will be take-out only. Student will only be allowed in the Student Center to “grab-n-go”.   Unfortunately, no meetings or gatherings are allowed on-campus.  Remember: wash your hands, practice social distancing, and seek medical advice if you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

Watch your emails for more details.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through this together.

Thank you,


- March 13, 2020 School Closure

Lake Area Tech will be closed to the public March 16-20.

- March 12, 2020 Spring Break Travel Guidance

Lake Area Tech Family,

We wanted to provide travel guidance before people head out on spring break so you can make good choices.  First, there are no general travel restrictions in the US at this time.  But you may find this travel information helpful:  Again, Wash Your Hands, social distancing, and avoiding large crowds are good rules to follow.

Right now there are a number of countries on the CDC’s high risk  travel list.  If you travel to a high risk country call Lake Area Tech BEFORE you come back onto campus so we can give you proper guidance and information. You can reference this link to see if your travel plans are at risk:  Currently the list of countries includes China, Iran, Iceland, Most of Europe and South Korea. If you go to one of these countries, you will have to be QUARANTINED for 14 days BEFORE coming back to campus.  Your risk of exposure is also fairly high in California, Washington, New York, and Massachusetts (Where are the US cases? 

This can all change very quickly outside the US.  If you go out of country, it could change next week while you are there!  For example, the US will no longer accept inbound flights from Europe starting Friday.  So please consider your overseas travel plans very carefully.  There is sustained community spread of COVID-19 in Mexico, but it is not yet a level 3.



- March 10, 2020 Watertown School District Letter 

Dear Parent / Guardian: Nation and worldwide the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has become a source for concern. While we don't know what this virus will bring, we do want to be prepared as best we can. (Read More)

- March 10, 2020 First Case of COVID-19 in South Dakota 

“The state’s Public Health Laboratory in Pierre has confirmed the first presumptive positive cases of coronavirus in South Dakota,” said Noem. (Learn More)