PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – The South Dakota Board of Regents says Black Hills State, South Dakota School of Mines, and the 4 other public universities won’t have students return to campus after the Thanksgiving break in order to mitigate coronavirus infections.
Chadron State, the other Nebraska state colleges, and the University of Nebraska are all ending the semester, including final exams, before Thanksgiving but the South Dakota plan calls for final exams by remote learning after the holiday.
Students will start class 3 days earlier in August than originally plannned and will work through 3 holidays – Labor Day, Native American/Columbus Day, and Veterans Day – to make up for lost class time from not meeting in December.
Regents President John Bastian says the adjusted schedule will reduce student travel and the risk of them bringing back coronavirus infections from Thanksgiving and spreading them across campus.
The University of Wyoming has drafted a similar plan that calls for resuming classes on campus on August 24 and ending them on Dec 4, but without students returning after Thanksgiving and instead taking final exams remotely.
Spring semester at UW would start Jan 25, a week later than originally planned, and there would be no spring break. Officials say the fall and spring calendars were developed to discourage students from leaving school and going home where they could contract COVID-19 and bring it back to campus.