VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota is planning to return to more normal operations this fall, in response to low local positive COVID-19 infection rates, widespread vaccine availability and the state’s successful vaccine distribution plan.
“Students can expect to return to USD’s campus this fall and experience the full spectrum of student life, including in-person classes, activities, athletic events and more,” said USD President Sheila K. Gestring. “We are optimistic about our ability to live and learn together as we did before the COVID-19 pandemic, and we will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our campus and Vermillion communities as we navigate the weeks and months ahead.”
USD is planning for fall operations that do not include social distancing measures or mask mandates, provided local infection rates remain low. The university continues to work closely with state and local public health authorities and will continue to monitor circumstances as the pandemic evolves, Gestring said.
Brian L. Maher, executive director and CEO for the South Dakota Board of Regents, said South Dakota’s public universities have done a tremendous job navigating an unexpected public health challenge and is hopeful about their ability to return to normal operations this fall.
“Our faculty, staff and students responded, adapted and did what they must to keep our campuses safe,” Maher said. “We have been open and operating, adjusting as necessary and were always guided by the desire to help students complete classes, finish degrees and stay on track for graduation. Now we anticipate returning to some sense of normalcy in the weeks and months ahead.”