Lake Area Tech: COVID-19 Response
Lake Area Technical College has developed this webpage to provide faculty, staff, students and families with information and resources concerning the coronavirus pandemic and our mitigation efforts. The situation regarding COVID-19 is fluid however, we will continue to provide updates regarding the upcoming semester at Lake Area Tech in a timely manner. Lake Area Tech is working under the guidelines of the CDC, SD Department of Health, School District officials, and local safety & healthcare professionals.
What Can Students Expect at Lake Area Tech This Fall?
Watch our video that explains what students can expect at Lake Area Tech when they return to campus in August.
News Release – August 13, 2020
WATERTOWN, SD – Lake Area Technical College will begin the much anticipated fall semester on Monday, August 17. With a projected increase in enrollment and the current COVID-19 circumstances, Lake Area Tech College has a solid plan in place to safeguard at-risk students and staff and keep students moving forward in face-to-face education.
The state of South Dakota is providing Lake Area Tech rapid testing capabilities for COVID-19 using the Abbott ID NOW system. This rapid testing system COVID-19 will be managed by Prairie Lakes Healthcare System, Sanford Clinic, Brown Clinic and Quick Care, all located in Watertown, SD and will help Lake Area Tech College implement their rapid testing protocol.
The college will be actively screening and testing students and staff to identify, track and mitigate the virus on campus. Lake Area Tech College President, Mike Cartney comments, “We anticipate with students coming from different locations, we will detect positive cases. We want the community to be aware that this will happen and that we are confident we have a solid plan in place to address those cases and allow us to proceed with our fall semester. The severity of the cases, not the number of cases, will be important.”
Another key aspect is that special precautions are being taken to safeguard those people, both staff and students, the Center for Disease Control indicates are at higher risk. The college also emphasizes that students and staff use the same precautions and safeguards in the community as well as on campus.
Lake Area Tech College will provide facial coverings for all students and staff, hand sanitizer, implement social distancing using a “bubble” concept, frequent deep cleaning and sanitization, and many other extensive details are being utilized to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus.
President Cartney continues, “We are confident that by working with our local healthcare providers and the state of South Dakota that we’ve developed a comprehensive plan that will help us address and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 when we have it on campus.”
Frequently Asked Questions: https://www.lakeareatech.edu/covid-19/faqs/
Student Emergency Fund:
The Lake Area Technical College 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 Technical College and continue their education.
Lake Area Technical College CARES Act Response: https://www.lakeareatech.edu/lake-area-tech-distributes-student-cares-act-funds/
The Department of Social Services (DSS) launched 605 Strong, a new crisis counseling program,
dedicated to helping people struggling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit the 605 Strong website to learn more about free counseling services and other resources for all South Dakotans: https://www.605strong.com/ .
Make Your Own Personal Mask Patterns:
The CDC recommends people at high risk and people in situations where social distancing may not be possible (grocery stores, etc.) wear masks in public settings. Here are a few how-to links for making your own (non-medical) mask:
- Surgeon General Demonstrates on YouTube
- KELO-Land Living DIY Mask Pattern
- Olson Pattern Mask (This is the pattern requested by local healthcare providers)
Student and Staff Resources
- Laptop Information and Help: https://www.lakeareatech.edu/laptop-info-covid-19/
- Looking for Internet? https://www.lakeareatech.edu/laptop-info-covid-19/
- Anxiety and Depression Resources: https://www.virusanxiety.com/
News and Guidelines
- CDC Coronavirus (COVID-19): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- CDC Travel Recommendations: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
- SD Department of Health Coronavirus: https://doh.sd.gov/news/coronavirus.aspx
- South Dakota Department of Health “What Should I Do” Infographic https://doh.sd.gov/documents/COVID19/COVID-19_WhatShouldIDo_Infographic.pdf
- South Dakota State News: https://news.sd.gov/Default.aspx
- Watertown COVID-19 Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/2020WatertownCovid19/
- Care19 App: https://covid.sd.gov/care19app.aspx
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
- 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
President’s Message – July 2, 2020: Fall Semester Start Up
Lake Area Technical College Students,
Lake Area Technical College is excited to have our students on campus this fall. We are getting all the details worked out, but have a solid approach to providing you a great college education as we safeguard and control the spread of COVID-19.
Things may seem different as we take steps focused on safeguarding our at-risk staff and students. You, the student, will play a huge part in you and your classmates’ destiny. We are going to ask you to protect your Lake Area Technical College family by working from home if you are sick or have symptoms, and wearing facial coverings if you have been exposed or in common areas if the virus is prevalent. The more personal responsibility we take to safeguard each other and follow CDC and South Dakota’s guidance, the more face-to-face, hands-on time everyone will enjoy. We plan to operate similar to the many different industries we partner with. We will change as the threat changes and we’ll evolve as the situation evolves. We will also rely on and trust each other like you do with your family at home. I cannot stress enough that the interruption and changes to stop the spread of COVID-19 are temporary and will change as our environment changes and be gone as soon as we can safely shed them.
For those who prefer to move into the online environment for Fall 2020, please talk to your program supervisor or the registrar’s office. Nearly half of our programs are available in the online environment.
Lake Area Technical College is also working closely with the local landlords to make sure proper steps are being taken where you live as well as when you come to school.
Lake Area Technical College is truly looking forward to having you on campus this fall. We cannot tell you there will not be COVID-19 cases on our campus this fall. But what we can tell you, is with your help and by you taking responsibility to help everyone else, we can limit the spread and have a meaningful fall semester at one of the best colleges in the nation!
I’ll update you periodically, so watch for my emails! Lake Area Technical College is looking forward to making this next year EPIC and is proud you chose Lake Area Technical COLLEGE!!!
We’ll see you on-campus August 17!
May 8, 2020: Tech Schools’ Plan to Re-Open Fall 2020
CONTACT: Nick Wendell, South Dakota Board of Technical Education, 605-280-4331, email@example.com
PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota’s four technical colleges plan to resume on-campus operations this fall, with face-to-face teaching and learning at institutions across the state. The colleges will continue to focus on providing high-quality online instruction to complete the spring and summer semesters.
“The system will continue to seek advice from experts in public health, epidemiology, and emergency management, as we make decisions to safely and appropriately prepare for the fall semester,” said Dana Dykhouse, Chairman of the Board of Technical Education. “The health of our students, faculty, and staff is paramount.”
The technical college presidents and their staff are planning for the safe return of students and implementing campus protocols required to address the ongoing public health challenge. As the situation evolves, the colleges will prioritize safety and be prepared to act quickly to promote both student well-being and success.
More specific plans will be announced by the colleges in the coming weeks and months. The South Dakota Board of Technical Education provides support to Lake Area Technical College, MitchellTechnical College, Southeast Technical College, and Western Dakota Technical College.
April 24, 2020: Message from President Mike Cartney
April 15, 2020: Graduation Announcement
Lake Area Technical College Graduating Students,
The Lake Area Technical College Fifty–Third Annual Commencement Ceremony will take place virtually on Friday, May 8, 2020. Your college graduation is most likely your greatest achievement thus far, and we will honor and recognize this momentous occasion as best we can. We are working hard on making this event very special, meaningful, and memorable, but we need your help. Within the next few days, eligible graduates will be contacted via your Lake Area Technical College email to complete a Graduation Application to request your “Commencement in a Crate” and to submit a photo (in your cap and gown if you have them) that will be used as part of the virtual ceremony. Remember, this is a public graduation for you and all your classmates, as well as your family and friends – make sure your photo is suitable for the occasion. Your student ID photo will be used if an alternative is not provided.
Lake Area Technical College’s commencement website will go live May 8. The ceremony components will be pre-recorded, allowing website visitors to navigate at their convenience. So set a time for your virtual graduation watch party! Together, you, your family and all your friends can navigate the page and celebrate the momentous occasion, share stories, and enjoy time together when you don your new title of “Lake Area Technical College Graduate!”
Everyone at Lake Area Technical College understands and shares the disappointment of not having a traditional on-campus ceremony. An additional in-person traditional ceremony held sometime late fall/winter is being discussed. You will have the opportunity to let us know if you also want and would attend this affair.
It is important for all of us to celebrate this landmark achievement with you. We hope you will make the most of this day – and know how proud we are of each and every one of you!
April 8, 2020: Student Update - New Closure Information, Resources, Virtual Learning, Easter
Lake Area Technical College Students,
This week, the Governor announced our facilities will be closed until the end of May. For this semester, that means our graduation ceremony may not be the traditional ceremony, but we are still on track for you to complete the semester and graduate on May 8th if that was your original track.
- Since most of you had 80% to 90% of your diploma/degree completed before Spring Break, your programs will build on that hands-on experience you already completed to get you through the semester. Your programs are working hard with industry and national/state accrediting and certifying bodies to keep things on target where ever we can. It is important to note that changes made during this national emergency will be exceptions, not new rules. We’ll get back to our traditional approach as soon as it is safe to do so. Details and questions on your exact program should be addressed to your instructors.
- Your instructors and staff are also working in the new virtual environment, and they too are working from home. As such I am sure there will be bumps along the way, as we both learn and adapt to this new environment. We ask your patience and diligence as we know most of you are learning new technology as you are learning your skills. So are we! Communications is key. Keeping talking with instructors. Let them know if you are not understanding.
- Some advice. This is a new experience for all of us.
- First, be safe – the life you save may not be your own. Just as important as avoiding COVID-19 is not spreading it. However, COVID-19 is being carried by a lot of people who are unaware that they have it. So the rules of washing your hands, social distancing of 10 feet, wearing a mask, staying away from others if you are sick are not just about protecting you, but they are to keep your family, your friends, your community safe by limiting the speed to which the virus spreads.
- Make an extra effort to establish a fairly rigid schedule. Proper sleep and diet are important to your health and your studies. Getting into a routine of sleep, work, and study that fits you, your household, and your program’s needs.
- Take time to decompress. Take a half hour every day to disconnect and decompress. Turn off the news, put down your books, and turn on Netflix. Or better yet, get outside, go for walk, watch the sunset, phone a friend, etc.. Enjoy things, just enjoy them safely.
- Volunteer, if there was ever a time to step forward and help your community wherever you can, this is it. Please consider volunteering by signing up at Volunteer211.com.
- This can be a tough time to navigate through. Lake Area Technical College is here to help wherever we are able – contact us through your departments. Your communities are also ready to help (see attached Watertown Resources). For anyone in Codington County (and several other counties in SD), dialing 211 gets you a person who can pint you to a host of local services. The state also has services through the Dept of Labor and Regulation (in Watertown call 882-5131) as well as Dept of Social Services (Watertown - 882-5000). In Watertown, Human Services Agency lists many services on their website at: http://www.humanserviceagency.org/WHY/familyresourcedir.html
- See the Lake Area Technical College website for where to get accurate, up to date information on COVID-19, review our FAQs for students, and to see additional services we provide.
- What if I have been exposed to someone with COVID-19?
- When someone is confirmed positive for COVID-19, Dept of Health (DOH) notifies people whom they determine have been exposed. If you are notified by DOH, follow their instructions. Notify your program.
- If you have direct contact with someone who is being tested, consult your medical provider, self-isolate, and monitor for symptoms. If the results are negative, you no longer need to self-isolate or monitor. If the results are positive, you should receive instructions from DOH, otherwise consult your medical provider. Notify your program.
- If you believe you were in contact with someone who is confirmed positive for COVID-19 and you have not been notified by DOH, self-isolate and contact your medical provider. Follow the guidance of your medical provider. Notify your program.
- If you, or someone in your household, experiences a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, contact your medical provider and follow their guidance. Follow the guidance of your employer with respect to reporting to work. Notify your program.
- Just want to emphasize how important it is to everyone that you: 1) wash your hands WITH SOAP; 2) where a mask in situations where you may be close to others (like a grocery store); 3) keep a social distance of ten feet from others; 4) monitor yourself for symptoms (fever of 100.4 or higher, cough, shortness of breath) -- consult your doctor is you have symptoms; and 5) please keep your program up to date on any changes to your health or safety.
Just a quick reminder this weekend is Easter, therefore there are no classes on Good Friday or Monday.
Have a great week!
March 25 Update: Lake Area Technical College Students - Virtual Learning Environment
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 Technical College 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.
March 20, 2020: To Our Students - What you need to know in the coming weeks...
Lake Area Technical College Students,
Lake Area Technical College 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- At the direction of the State, Lake Area Technical College 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 Technical College, 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 Technical College email every day – this is critical for communications.
- Our COVID-19 website has links to information and other community resources, including mental health and COVID-19 updates from authoritative websites: https://www.lakeareatech.edu/covid-19/
I also want you to know that Lake Area Technical College’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
- March 18, 2020 Extended Spring Break at Lake Area Technical College
Lake Area Technical College 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 Technical College 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 Technical College’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.
- March 18, 2020 Lake Area Technical College Closed to Public
Lake Area Technical College 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 Technical College 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.
- March 13, 2020 School Closure
Lake Area Technical College will be closed to the public March 16-20.
- March 12, 2020 Spring Break Travel Guidance
Lake Area Technical College 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: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-in-the-us.html. 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 Technical College 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: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html. 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? https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html).
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)
Robotics/Electronics Community Effort
Lake Area Technical College Robotics Department COVID 19 Protective Face Shields and Masks Fund:
Help provide financial support to assist Lake Area Technical College’s Robotics Department with production supplies for Protective Face Shields & Masks in response of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lake Area Technical College COVID-19 Protective Face Shields and Mask Needs
The Lake Area Technical College 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.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
All regional distribution will be handled by Lake Area Technical College. Contact Brooks Jacobsen for more information or other ways you can help your community.