S.D. public universities prepare to welcome students back in the fall

Published: May. 2, 2020 at 5:54 PM CDT
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Public universities in South Dakota are preparing to open their campuses back up this upcoming fall.

This preparation comes after the South Dakota Board of Regents announced Friday their commitment to having face-to-face learning and on-campus operations next semester.

Presidents of the public universities in South Dakota have spent their quarantine time discussing the future of the college experience.

On Friday, the future was announced that students will be returning to campus come this fall.

South Dakota State President Barry Dunn said, “By August, I think a lot of parents and young people will be ready for them to come back to school.”

South Dakota State and the University of South Dakota are just two of the nearly ten institutions represented by the S.D. Board of Regents, and come this fall things won’t be the same.

“The things that we are all talking about so often right now need to be incorporated into student life, and we are ready to help them do that.” President Dunn added, “We know that life will be different here on campus than it was when they left just a few weeks ago.”

To tackle COVID-19 barriers, SDSU administrators are implementing a planning team called “JacksRBack”.

“That committee is multi-faceted, so it has student-life, it’s got community relations with the community of Brookings, it’s got academics, etc. It’s a committee to make sure we do this right,” said President Dunn.

Meanwhile in Vermillion, the University of South Dakota is also taking safety measures to protect their students next semester.

University of South Dakota President Sheila Gestring said, “We’re putting up additional hand sanitizers as we speak, we’re looking into electrostatic machines, I know people refer to them as fogging a room for that deep clean.”

USD President, Sheila Gestring, also says they will have quarantine rooms ready for people who test positive for COVID-19.

However, students can still reach all their goals they set out to accomplish, even from home.

"Continue to work hard and enjoy your experience. Through all of this I think we have all learned how much relationships are valued, and how critical that person-to-person social interaction is,” said President Gestring.

Both SDSU and USD says they will continue to follow CDC guidelines, and that they are both working closely with each of their city governments to do what’s best.

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