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Last Updated September 15

Fall 2020 Semester Schedule 

The South Dakota Board of Regents announced June 3 that 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. Students will have two non-class days after the Thanksgiving holiday to prepare for exams, which will be held Dec. 2-8.

As in the past, some professional and graduate programs will continue to operate on a separate academic calendar, including the Sanford School of Medicine and School of Law, as well as the physical therapy, occupational therapy and physician assistant programs.

To provide time for required instruction 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.

All campuses will be closed Dec. 25 – Jan. 1 to facilitate deep cleaning and other preparations for the spring semester.

Fall Course Planning Update for Faculty

Face Covering Policy

The University of South Dakota requires face coverings in all public indoor spaces on campus during the fall academic term. 

Read USD's Face Covering Policy


Return-to-Campus Procedures

Faculty/Staff Townhall Overview

For a current count of cases in South Dakota, visit the South Dakota Department of Health website.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out at

South Dakota Board of Regents Employee Leave Guidelines for COVID-19

COVID-19 Employee Leave Guidelines

Please read these guidelines carefully, as they provide the policy framework for handling sick, annual and administrative leave for each regental institution.

If an employee is not exposed to COVID-19 but is concerned about their health and safety, they should contact their supervisor. Supervisors should obtain approval from their VP before implementing alternative work arrangements.

Employee/Family Exposure

  • If an employee has been exposed to COVID-19 but is not symptomatic/sick, USD offers COVID-19 Emergency Sick Leave if alternative work arrangements are not an option. This decision will be determined by the vice president of each area.
  • If an employee has been exposed to COVID-19 and is symptomatic/sick, they must use sick leave, annual leave or leave without pay.
  • If an employee has an immediate family member that requires care, they are eligible to use Sick Leave - Care for Family, annual leave or leave without pay. Where feasible, employees may be provided alternative work arrangements.
  • If employees end up on extended leave due to COVID-19 and do not have leave available, they may be eligible for advanced sick leave and should contact their supervisor.

“Vulnerable” Populations

If an individual self-identifies as part of a “vulnerable” population (in the case of COVID-19, the CDC defines vulnerable populations as “older adults, or people with serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease) and is uncomfortable coming to work, that request should be accommodated and the individual given the option of using annual leave or leave without pay. Alternative work arrangements may also be considered and will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

No Campus Closure

At this time, campus buildings will remain open and business operations will continue as usual.

If USD or any of its departments/colleges/functions within the university close, USD will:

  • Identify mission-critical employees and ensure there is coverage and/or accommodation to allow remote work to ensure essential operations can continue
  • Provide administrative leave to eligible employees who are not required/requested/able to have alternative work arrangements.

USD is encouraging all managers and supervisors to think creatively about how to support all their employees in caring for their health – and reducing their risk of exposure to COVID-19 – while still enabling them to continue to perform the important work they do. Hourly and student workers may have different levels of job flexibility and that should be considered in your strategy and responses.

One effective strategy for minimizing the spread of COVID-19 is greater "social distancing" through alternative work arrangements. We encourage all employees to consider alternative methods or postponement/cancellation of non-essential group meetings. Social distancing can also be accomplished by using technology (Zoom or teleconferencing) to reduce the number of meetings involving large numbers of people.

USD will continue to constantly monitor and communicate any further actions to be taken should that become necessary. Thank you for your continued dedication to USD and its mission. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact

USD is committed to providing an inclusive environment for all member of our university community. Incidents of discrimination and harassment towards any individuals or groups are serious issues that will be dealt with according to BOR policy. We are all called upon to uphold the ideas of Inclusive Excellence, showing respect for and valuing all members of the USD community.

If you have been (or witnessed) discrimination and/or harassment, please use the Concerns and Complaint form to report these incidents or you may contact the EEO/Title IX Office.