Skip to main content

South Dakota Art Museum Plan

South Dakota Art Museum COVID-19 Operating Plan


The South Dakota Art Museum will adhere to South Dakota State University guidelines for safe operation in a pandemic environment. These guidelines align with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the South Dakota Department of Health (SD-DOH).

This plan is also grounded in the SDSU Guiding Principles for Return to Campus and SDSU COVID-19 Protocols.

General Guidance for Staff During All Color Phases/Risk Categories of Pandemic Response:

  • Prior to arrival for work at the museum each day, self-screen, stay at home when sick and seek medical care when appropriate.
  • If you become ill during on-site work, leave the site immediately, notify your supervisor and seek medical care as needed.
  • Follow directives for self-monitoring and self-quarantine when there is a reasonable belief you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or are infected, according to the “What Should I Do If I've Been in Close Contact with Someone” document.
  • Follow SDSU protocols for reporting presumptive/positive COVID-19 tests.
  • Wash hands and/or use hand sanitizer upon entry to the museum.
  • Practice good hygiene and sanitation practices, especially in high-traffic areas:
    • Always maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from other individuals when possible;
    • Individuals are required to follow the current university and SDBOR face covering protocols;
    • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
    • Use hand sanitizer frequently;
    • Avoid touching your face;
    • Limit touching surfaces as much as possible, using paper towels or other barriers if desired;
    • Cover coughs or sneezes (e.g. into a tissue, sleeve or elbow; not hands);
    • Maintain your work space in a manner that facilitates cleaning and disinfection;
    • Regularly disinfect high-touch surfaces in personal offices and public spaces (e.g. handles on doors/cupboards/appliances, countertops, light switches, keyboards, copier/printer interfaces, credit card readers);
    • Perform daily cleaning tasks in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines;
    • Remove shared items that can’t be disinfected from shared spaces; and
    • Avoid sharing supplies as much as possible—use your own designated supplies within your designated space and do not share them with others without disinfecting before and after use.
  • Make arrangements to limit close physical interaction as much as possible.
  • Manage deliveries in ways that minimizes or eliminates physical interaction.
  • Stay within your designated workspace as much as possible.
  • Lunches and breaks should be taken in designated private workspaces as much as possible. If an alternate space is necessary, the multipurpose room should be used and touched surfaces and items should be disinfected after use.
  • Limit exposure to others on and off campus by:
    • Limiting trips in and out of your workspace and building to those of essential tasks/functions as much as possible;
    • Pair trips in and out of your office or building with other tasks or errands to limit the number of trips and points of contact;
    • Observe the protocols in place for all facilities visited; and
    • Limit travel to essential travel only and adhere to COVID-19 related recommendations while traveling.
  • Meetings should be handled remotely by electronic method or by phone. If exceptional circumstances require a physical in-person meeting:
    • Schedule meetings by appointment only to facilitate physical distancing, waiting area management and cleaning;
    • Stagger meetings to facilitate physical distancing, and limit waiting room gatherings of individuals;
    • Limit duration; and
    • Limit number of participating individuals in order to maintain 6-foot distancing;
      • Participants will adhere to the SDSU COVID-19 face covering protocol.
    • Arrange for pre- and post-cleaning of the meeting space.
  • To limit contact and exposure, work schedules will be staggered so that staff can work remotely as much as possible while performing essential on-site work. A minimum of two people, whether staff members (full time, part time, work study) or volunteers must be present at the museum during public open hours at all times.
  • High-risk employees should take the appropriate steps to protect themselves. SDSU will take every step possible to provide such employees the opportunity to continue to work from home. Supervisors will not inquire about the employee’s level of risk, nor will they assume a risk exists.

Front Desk/Reception Lobby Modifications (first floor):

  • Interior glass vestibule doors will be propped open to reduce touch points as often as possible, especially during the week when classes are held in the auditorium. The collections coordinator will monitor temperature and humidity and effects of abnormal fluctuations on collections and will coordinate with Facilities and Services' HVAC staff to make ongoing decisions about propping these doors in accordance with climate-control needs.
  • Signage will be posted on exterior glass doors of vestibule encouraging use of automatic handicap door openers to reduce touch points.
  • Materials such as rack cards and travel guides will be removed from the vestibule.
  • Plexiglas barriers will be installed on the reception desk. The museum's COVID-19 operating plan, “Six Steps for Safe and Effective Disinfectant Use”, “Symptoms of Coronavirus,” “What Should I Do If I've Been in Close Contact With Someone,” “Stop the Spread of Germs and SDSU’s reporting protocol will be made available here for reception desk attendants (volunteers and staff).
  • Signage will be posted asking visitors to:
    • not enter the museum if they feel ill, should be self-quarantining according to CDC recommendations or think they may have been in close contact with someone who may have COVID-19;
    • comply with the SDSU COVID-19 face covering protocol (take a complimentary face covering if needed, kept behind desk);
    • maintain 6-foot distance from other parties of visitors;
    • touch surfaces as little as possible while visiting;
    • wash hands and use provided hand sanitizer often; and
    • pause at thresholds, passageways and stairwells to check and wait for other parties passing through while allowing for 6-foot distancing.
  • Hand sanitizer and complimentary disposable face coverings will be stationed at the front entrance along with appropriate signage.
  • Disinfecting wipes or spray and towels will be kept behind the reception desk for staff use in periodic disinfecting.
  • Only one staff member/volunteer at a time will be stationed at the reception desk.
  • Staff will disinfect high-touch public surfaces (i.e., door handles, countertops) at least once in the morning and once in the afternoon, after every class exits the building when possible, and as often beyond that as deemed necessary according to visitor traffic.
  • The wood-finished reception desk will be covered with a clear surface protector to be disinfected regularly.
  • Benches will be removed from the reception area to encourage swift movement into the galleries or store and reduce the possibility of congestion at the entrance.
  • The Kids Sensation Station will be closed until further notice and may be used as an alternate office/workstation.
  • Museum-specific membership brochures and quarterly mailers will be placed on the visitor side of the Plexiglas barrier (two pieces of literature only). Nonmuseum specific magazines, newspapers, etc., will not be available to the public and kept behind the Plexiglas barrier.
  • Guest registry for the public will be placed on visitor side of the Plexiglas barrier with two cups for pens, labeled "fresh" and "used," and a sign welcoming visitors to keep their pen.
  • The guest registry may be adapted to allow/encourage patrons to give us contact information for contact tracing.
  • Coat racks will be removed from vestibule, but the wheelchair will remain. The wheelchair will be cleaned and disinfected by staff after any use by visitors. If coat racks are needed, visitors will be directed to the permanent (and more spacious) coat rack on the basement level at elevator landing.
  • Special hours for high-risk/vulnerable populations will be established once auditorium class schedule is finalized.

Museum Store(first floor):

Museum store will be open by appointment, through virtual shopping and online store until public reopening Aug. 17.

  • Plexiglas barriers will be installed at the cash register counter.
  • Only one person is allowed behind the cash register counter at a time.
  • Store displays will be reconfigured to open traffic flow, prevent clustering or cornering of customers and allow for 6-foot physical distancing of customers.
  • Chairs will be removed from bookstore lounge area.
  • Museum store manager will observe traffic patterns in relation to visitors respecting mask wearing and physical distancing in the store and assess whether a cap needs to be established for number of customers in the store at a time or directional signage (arrows on floor) are needed to control traffic flow.
  • Wipeable covers will be installed on shared electronic equipment (keyboards, credit card reader, etc.). Staff will disinfect shared touch points (cash register area, including countertops, keyboard, credit card reader) at the end of their shift and as often as deemed necessary in relation to customer traffic. Any surfaces or objects that can be disinfected after handling by visitors should be disinfected.
  • SDAM COVID-19 operating plan, “Six Steps for Safe and Effective Disinfectant Use,” “Symptoms of Coronavirus,” “What Should I Do If I've Been in Close Contact with Someone” “Stop the Spread of Germs” and SDSU’s reporting protocol will be made available at the cash register counter for staff reference.

Galleries (first floor):

Closed to the public until Aug. 17.

  • Exhibitions will be designed to allow for wide-open spaces and sight lines that prevent clustering, congestion and cornering of visitors.
  • In-gallery benches will be spread out with at least 8 feet of space surrounding them to ensure physical distancing between visiting parties is achievable.
  • Comment book stands in galleries will contain two cups for fresh and used pens and include signage encouraging online comments for visitors who’d prefer hands-free experiences.
  • No on-site interactive displays will be designed as a part of exhibitions until the pandemic has passed.
  • Signage will be posted in galleries at discrete but visible locations reminding visitors of how to “Stop the Spread.”

Mail Room and Main Level Storage Room (first floor):

  • These are tight storage and mail processing/packing spaces. Staff will only allow one person at a time to work in these spaces as much as possible and follow General Guidelines for Staff when using or working in these spaces.

Internal Stairwell and Elevator

  • Notice will be posted in elevator encouraging the use of stairs.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be placed at the top and bottom of the stairwell.
  • Disinfectant spray and wipes for basement-level disinfecting will be placed in the multipurpose room.
  • Signage will be posted directing people to walk on the right side of the stairwell to limit encounters with other parties moving up or down the stairwell.
  • Directional arrows will be placed on stair treads to encourage traffic flow to stay to the right.
  • Staff will disinfect stairwell railings at least once in the morning and once in the afternoon, after classes exit when possible, and as often beyond that as deemed necessary according to visitor traffic.

Public Restrooms (basement level):

  • Public water fountains outside of restrooms will remain wrapped in plastic.
  • Because of tightly confined spaces within the men’s and women’s restrooms, external doors will be propped to limit contact with the exterior door, allow visibility of congestion in the entry area to the restroom and help visitors avoid close contact with one another as they enter and exit the restrooms.
  • Signage will be posted on common wall between restrooms encouraging visitors to use the third private unisex restroom for more privacy.
  • Signage will be displayed in the restrooms reminding visitors of symptoms of COVID-19 and how to “Stop the Spread.”
  • Staff will disinfect restrooms one to two times daily, preferably once in the morning and once in the afternoon, focusing on wiping down door handles, faucets, sink countertops and toilet seats.

Library (basement level):

  • The library serves as a library with holdings available for check-out, a meeting space, a flexible-use workstation ;and a printer/copier room. It is a smaller, shared, mixed-use space with only one door so use should be limited as much as possible.
  • Use of library by nonmuseum staff will be discouraged and must be scheduled in advance if absolutely necessary. “Staff Only” sign on the door will be updated to direct nonmuseum staff to the Museum Store to schedule and staff will review requests to assess necessity and availability.
  • SDAM COVID-19 operating plan, “Six Steps for Safe and Effective Disinfectant Use,” “Symptoms of Coronavirus,” “What Should I Do If I've Been in Close Contact with Someone” “Stop the Spread of Germs” and SDSU’s reporting protocol will be made available here for staff.
  • The library door will be unlocked and propped open daily to limit touch points if it is to be used and remain locked and closed when not in use.
  • Public will be required to make an appointment to view or check out books from the library and requested to wear a mask to appointments. Staff will assist patrons with retrieving books from shelves to limit contact and clean or disinfect touched surfaces afterward.
  • When the library is being used as a workstation, traffic from other staff should be avoided to the greatest extent possible. Staff should disinfect surfaces like countertops, desktops and printer/copier interface after use.
  • Lunch should be eaten in the MPR instead of the library because the library table’s finish does not allow for disinfecting (only cleaning with wood-safe soap and water).
  • Use and cleaning/disinfecting of the library will follow directives under General Guidance for Staff, including but not limited to:
    • Avoiding meetings in the library if at all possible;
    • maintaining 6-foot physical distances between parties if meeting;
    • comply with the SDSU COVID-19 face covering protocol; and
    • cleaning and disinfecting tabletops and countertops and surfaces before and after use.

Multipurpose Room (MPR, basement level):

  • This room serves as a flexible-use space, a meeting space, a storage room, copier room, break room and shared kitchenette.
  • SDAM COVID-19 operating plan, “Six Steps for Safe and Effective Disinfectant Use,” “Symptoms of Coronavirus,” “What Should I Do If I've Been in Close Contact with Someone,” “Stop the Spread of Germs” and SDSU’s reporting protocol will be made available here for staff.
  • The west MPR door will remain closed unless it’s necessary to open it for object movement. If used, staff will close door when done and wipe handles with disinfectant after use. The east MPR door will be propped daily to limit touch points.
  • It is recommended that staff use the kitchenette facilities as little as possible.
  • If using, staff will wash their hands before using the MPR kitchenette. After using shared objects or surfaces in the MPR, staff will disinfect touched surfaces (door handles, copier interface, countertops, tabletops, handles of refrigerator/microwave /coffee pot/water cooler).
  • This space is larger than the library, allowing for easier physical distancing. Surfaces in this space are more amenable to cleaning and disinfecting. If an in-person meeting, lunch-space, break room or temporary workspace is necessary, this room should be used. Follow meeting and workspace protocols outlined under General Guidance for Staff, especially for disinfecting before and after use.

Auditorium (basement level):

  • Auditorium doors will be propped during class days to limit touch points.
  • Signage on “Symptoms of Coronavirus,” “What Should I Do If I've Been in Close Contact with Someone,” “Stop the Spread of Germs” and SDSU’s reporting protocol will be posted either inside or outside of the auditorium.
  • Operate within the SDSU Facilities and Services established 33-person social distancing capacity.
  • A row of stanchions will divide the hallway outside of the auditorium, leading to the stairwell with directional signage and arrows directing people entering and exiting the auditorium to keep to their right and maintain 6-foot spacing.
  • Events held in the auditorium will align with approved SDSU JacksRBack event protocols.

Anderson Plaza (outdoor landscaped space east of the museum building):

  • No umbrellas will be installed on the table units sitting in the Anderson Plaza.
  • Staff will clean and disinfect tables and benches daily in the plaza.

Notes on Protocols for Color Phases/Risk Categories:

  • For full details on color phases/risk categories, see online chart of protocols.
  • Operational plans will be followed until Yellow Phase is entered, at which time physical interactions may be increased and virtual interactions reduced while still maintaining physical distancing, hygiene and sanitation and face covering protocols.
  • Upon entering the Green Phase, protocols for physical distancing and use of face coverings will align with overarching SDSU protocols.
  • If reverted to Red Phase, the museum will close to the public, staff will return to all remote work except for essential on-site functions like collections condition and security checks, mail processing and store purchase and inventory management.
  • Color phase capacities for groups/events/gatherings will align with those established by SDSU JacksRBack event protocol and social distancing capacities as determined and by SDSU Facilities and Services.

Additional References:

COVID-19 resources and Information for the museum field 

Re-opening Museums: A Planning Tool. Artnet News

Caring for Heritage Collections during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Precautions for Museums during COVID-19 Pandemic