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Dear Faculty and Staff,

As the State of South Dakota continues to monitor the COVID-19 epidemic, Gov. Kristi Noem has extended her Executive Order allowing “non-essential personnel” to work remotely from Monday, March 23 to Friday, March 27.

It is important to note that the designation of “non-essential personnel” continues to change based on the needs of campus.

  • Remote instruction begins Monday, March 23. All faculty members continue to be considered essential personnel. Faculty members are encouraged to work remotely if possible, but if they are unable to perform this work from home or need university resources, they are required to report to work as scheduled.
  • Vice presidents from each area will designate who is required to return to campus to maintain essential operations. If your status has changed since last week, your supervisor will contact you soon. Should you continue to work from home, we ask that you continue to monitor your email and phone should the need arise for you to return to campus. If “non-essential personnel” are not capable of working remotely, they shall be granted paid administrative leave.

Campus services remain limited and closed to the public. 

  • Dining services will be limited in the Muenster University Center. Adjusted hours include:
    • 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    • 5 – 6:30 p.m.
  • The USD Vucurevich Children’s Center is closed through Friday, April 3.
  • The Native American Cultural Center is closed until face-to-face classes are scheduled to resume on Monday, April 6.
  • The Wellness Center is closed until Monday, April 6.

Please remember that the purpose of Gov. Noem’s executive order is to slow the spread of COVID-19 by reducing interpersonal interaction. It is important to stay home as much as possible. As of today, South Dakota has 14 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

It is imperative to note that while COVID-19 may not necessarily cause serious harm to a person with a healthy immune system, you can be a carrier of this disease to older adults, individuals with chronic medical conditions like diabetes or heart disease, or those with compromised immune systems.

Please be assured that USD is refining preparations for a range of contingencies and will communicate with you in a proactive and transparent manner. The best way you can prepare for COVID-19 is to take everyday precautions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands and phone often.


Sheila K. Gestring
University of South Dakota