SDSU students classrooms are ‘COVID-19 ready’

Plastic sheets, plastic wrap curtains, virtual simulations--nursing students are walking into a new learning environment.
Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 8:04 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) -The young minds who will have to tackle health crisis like the pandemic in the future, will walk into new learning environments in just weeks.

It’s out with the cloth and in with the plastic.

About 170 nursing students at South Dakota State University campus in Rapid City will walk into a new world when classes start August 19.

While limited class size, spacing, masks and sanitation stations were expected, students may recognize their practice patient is wearing a new garb.

“Essentially if I touch this with a cloth, my germs could potentially get onto that cloth. So with the plastic we have the benefit of being able to actually clean it without having to take everything off in between students,” SDSU Rapid City Simulation Coordinator Megan Watson said.

Bed sheets, pillows, even the curtains will be wrapped in plastic to help limit the potential spread of coronavirus in the lab rooms.

Lab sessions will reduce from dozens of students to about a handful.

Plus, virtual learning will combine with hands-on training.

Though simulation technology has been available since 2005 for students in Rapid City, this time the cameras will not only help in the control room but in the classroom.

“We will actually be able to stream from this room into the classroom so students can maintain the distance and still have the learning opportunity,” Watson said.

While the students protect themselves from COVID-19, the virus will be on their course load.

But the pandemic uncertainties will still pose a challenge for the next generation of minds.

"The thing that's crazy about COVID-19 patients is that they're so different. So really nothing can prepare us for what we might see. We just have to give our students the basic skills that we can."

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