South Dakota Public Universities Adjust Fall Semester Schedule

PIERRE — South Dakota’s six public universities will begin their fall semester Aug. 19 and conclude classroom instruction by Thanksgiving, the South Dakota Board of Regents said today.

The board announced last month its commitment to on-campus operations this fall. Today, the regents said all campuses will begin instruction on Wednesday, Aug. 19, which is three days earlier than originally scheduled. Instead of returning to campus after the Thanksgiving recess Nov. 25-29, students will complete their final exams remotely.

“The goal is to maintain the academic calendar while being mindful of public health,” said Regents President John W. Bastian. “Our university presidents recommended this adjustment to reduce student travel to and from campus. Everyone is looking for ways to successfully operate during a global pandemic and avoid the spread of this coronavirus wherever possible.”

To provide for required instructional time in a condensed semester and to further reduce travel, three holidays — Labor Day, Native American Day, and Veterans Day — will become class days. With classes in session on those dates, universities will plan programming to appropriately recognize the holidays. Employees will be given time off in lieu of these holidays later in the year.

After the Thanksgiving holiday, students have two non-class days available as they prepare for final exams Dec. 2-8. All university campuses plan to be closed between Christmas and New Year’s Day to facilitate deep cleaning and other preparations for the spring semester.

Pandemic planning is underway on all campuses, with additional details and protocols to be announced. University-specific news releases and websites will have up-to-date information on the status of campus operations.

The South Dakota Board of Regents is the constitutional governing body for Black Hills State University, Dakota State University, Northern State University, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, South Dakota State University, University of South Dakota, South Dakota School for the Blind & Visually Impaired, and South Dakota School for the Deaf. 

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