BROOKINGS – South Dakota State University will begin its fall semester Aug. 19 and complete on-campus instruction by Thanksgiving, according to a decision by the South Dakota Board of Regents. Semester finals will be conducted remotely Dec. 2-4 and Dec. 7-8.
The decision was made among the regents and the six presidents of the state’s public higher-education institutions in collaboration with South Dakota Department of Health guidance, the state epidemiologist and other health care providers. Three identifying factors enforced the decision based on keeping students within communities and avoiding travel to limit any spread of COVID-19 from other areas, the impact of the traditional flu season and the potential for a second wave of COVID-19.
“The decision among the regents and fellow presidents to adjust the fall semester was done very deliberately, taking into account all of the information that has been put before us by leading health organizations and leading health officials,” said SDSU President Barry Dunn. “It is clear that the more we can keep our students on campus, reduce time away from campus and get them home for an extended period of time during some our colder months, the better opportunity we have for an environment that will allow them to be successful on campus.”
The Aug. 19 start date is three days earlier than previously announced. In addition, three holidays—Labor Day, Native American Day and Veterans Day—will become class days. The university will work to plan programming to appropriately celebrate and recognize those holidays.
SDSU previously announced its commitment to on-campus operations this fall. Employees began a phased transition back to campus Monday. The university’s JacksRBack task force continues planning for the fall semester. Planning focuses on five area: academics, student life, employees, athletics and the Brookings community.
“Our planning continues and we are progressing well toward the Aug. 19 start date,” Dunn said. “Some of our employees returned to campus this week and we continue to engage with students and their families as plans for fall semester begin to finalize. We look forward to the next several weeks as we continue to work with the Brookings community and others to share information and plans for when our students return.”
SDSU will be closed between Christmas and New Year’s Day to deep clean campus and prepare for the spring semester that is scheduled to begin Jan. 11.