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South Dakota public universities look ahead to normalcy this fall

Vaccines accelerating progress against COVID-19 at colleges

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Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (Matt Gade / Republic)

PIERRE — South Dakota’s six public universities and two special schools are planning for a return to more normal operations this fall.

“Our goal is to return campus life this fall to a setting that looks much like it was before the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Brian L. Maher, executive director and CEO for the South Dakota Board of Regents, which governs the universities and schools, in a press release. “With vaccines available now in higher education and K-12 settings, we can all look forward to more normal operations ahead.”

Maher said South Dakota’s success in vaccine distribution, as well as local efforts to manage and keep positive infection rates low, will guide the universities’ and schools’ planning for the 2021 fall semester. Administrators will continue to monitor circumstances as the pandemic evolves, making the best decisions possible with information available to them.

“For a year now, faced with a public health challenge none of us expected, 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 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.

Fall semester planning is underway on all campuses, with additional details to be announced. University- and school-specific news releases and websites will have up-to-date information on campus operations.

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The South Dakota Board of Regents is the constitutional governing body for Black Hills State University, Dakota State University, Northern State University, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, South Dakota State University, University of South Dakota, South Dakota School for the Blind & Visually Impaired and South Dakota School for the Deaf.

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