The South Dakota Board of Regents is moving forward with reopening its six universities and two schools and resuming face-to-face teaching and learning as scheduled for the fall semester.
Discussions among regents' staff, public university presidents and special school superintendents all made commitments to operate on campus and to safely resume classes in fall 2020.
"The COVID-19 pandemic dictated an unprecedented change this spring in the way we teach, learn, and work, requiring faculty, students and staff to adapt in extraordinary ways," said John W. Bastian, Regents President. "While our institutions will successfully complete the spring and summer semesters under conditions that none of us could anticipate, we all must turn attention to a new academic year beginning this fall."
Pandemic planning will continue in the months ahead, with campus-specific details and protocols to be announced. University-specific news releases and websites will give up-to-date information on the status of campus operations.
Regents and campus officials said they will be guided by safety, science and educational missions to balance on-campus teaching and learning while protecting community health and safety.
"Recognizing that university and special school administrators must be prepared to react quickly to an evolving public health challenge, and that some aspects of a campus experience may look different going forward, each campus has the authority to adjust certain operational details for their institution, academic programs, and community circumstances," the SDBOR said in a press release.
The Regents govern 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 the South Dakota School for the Deaf.
At School of Mines, a campus task force that includes faculty, staff, and health experts is developing a plan for the return of students to campus that will utilize best practices and protocols to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19.
Some aspects of campus life and experiences may look different going forward, Mines said in a news release. The details on new protocols will be announced in the coming weeks and months.
"The COVID-19 pandemic is a fluid situation. South Dakota Mines is prepared to react quickly to any changing circumstances on campus or in the local community," the school said.
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