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Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

I’m reaching out today with a new update concerning the fall 2020 semester. As a reminder, USD is committed to on-campus operations this fall, including face-to-face instruction.

The South Dakota Board of Regents announced today 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 those 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.

USD continues to remain vigilant about public health and safety as we navigate the global coronavirus pandemic. The university has been preparing for a variety of contingencies and is equipped to act should there be changing circumstances on campus or in Vermillion.

Thank you all for your patience, diligence and commitment to USD. Please do not hesitate to reach out to with questions or concerns.


Sheila K. Gestring
University of South Dakota