Teaching students about COVID-19 and defining community spread


RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — While universities across KELOLAND are switching to online learning, one professor at the School of Mines is using this time to teach her students about the impacts of COVID-19.

Dr. Racz says that sometimes when students are in the thick of a semester, they can forget how to relate their education to real world scenarios. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, her lessons have become very applicable.

“Any questions that my students have about the coronavirus, I answer to the best of my ability and I try to reassure them that the education that they are getting is providing them with the foundation that they will likely need,” Dr. Racz said.

The School of Mines is currently on an extended spring break and will be switching to online classes on Monday and for the next two weeks. That is to protect the students and the public from the disease and from the threat of community spread.

“One of the most important things to understand about community spread, whether you’re a student or a part of the general public is that it’s real. It may not be reported yet, but likely it will be here soon and we need to be responsible for our own actions,” Dr. Racz said.

Shankar Kurrah is the Vice President of Medical Affairs at Monument Health in Rapid City. He defines community spread as when an unknown source causes the infection in a person.

“Up to 80-percent occurs from folks that don’t have any symptoms, which is why we recommend young people and other people generally the entire population to not travel to not mingle in large numbers,” Kurrah said.

In order to avoid overwhelming our health care system with sick people, we must keep the spread at a manageable number.

“The only way to do that is my advice, stay away from large gatherings, don’t go out if you don’t have to, in fact stay home would be the main advice,” Kurrah said.

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