USD President Sheila K. Gestring said the decision to return to campus this fall was made after careful consideration and following discussions with the regents and SDBOR staff, public university presidents and superintendents, public health authorities and state leadership.

“We are incredibly excited about the opportunity to bring our students home to campus and reinvigorate campus with their energy,” Gestring said. “As we move forward into a new normal, our top priority continues to be the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff. We remain vigilant in our responsibility to protect our community members and we will continue to make decisions that prioritize their well-being.”

SDBOR officials said they will be guided by safety, science, and the institutions’ educational mission, with a priority to balance the significant value of on-campus teaching and learning with an equal responsibility to protect community health and safety.

Since January, USD’s COVID-19 Task Force has focused on pandemic planning and response. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the university continues to prepare for a variety of contingencies and is equipped to act should there be changing circumstances on campus or in Vermillion.

“We know certain aspects of the campus experience may look a little different in the short-term future,” Gestring said. “There may be changes to campus operations and programming as we take careful precautions to ensure the health and safety of our Coyote community. At the same time, we will maintain the opportunities and resources that add value to the students’ experience at USD.”

For more information about USD’s COVID-19 response and campus resources, please visit

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