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USD Adjusts Fall Semester Schedule

Seal o the University of South Dakota USD will begin its fall semester Aug. 19 and conclude classroom instruction by Thanksgiving for most of its academic programs.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota (USD) will begin its fall semester Aug. 19 and conclude classroom instruction by Thanksgiving for most of its academic programs, as announced by the South Dakota Board of Regents today.

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.

The board announced last month its commitment to on-campus operations this fall. Today, the regents said 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.

“USD remains vigilant about public health and safety as we navigate the global coronavirus pandemic,” said USD President Sheila K. Gestring. “This small adjustment in scheduling can have a significant impact as we reduce student travel to and from campus. We are grateful for the collaboration between the South Dakota Board of Regents and the state’s public institutions as we find solutions for our students without sacrificing the quality of education they deserve.”

To provide for required instructional time 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.

After the Thanksgiving holiday, students have two non-class days available as they prepare for final exams Dec. 2-8. All universities will close Dec. 25 – Jan. 1 to facilitate deep cleaning and other preparations for the spring semester.

For more updates about USD’s pandemic planning, visit


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News