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COVID-19 FAQs for Graduate Students

Please visit the JacksRBack and COVID-19 Updates pages for more information 

When are graduate students able to return to campus?

All courses taught during the summer semester at SDSU are online. In-person instruction will not resume until Fall 2020. Some courses may still be offered online or through a hybrid model. Students are advised to remain off campus through August 15th. Students should continue to check their university email  and the JacksRBack website for any changes or updates.

How will COVID-19 impact how courses are held on campus for the Fall 2020 semester? 

Course offerings during Fall semester 2020 will include a limited number of entirely face-to-face courses, several courses being a combination of face-to-face instruction with online/virtual components, and other courses being entirely online/virtual. Classes may be scheduled into the evening and on Saturday as feasible and necessary.

For more information on what courses and classrooms may look like this fall, please view the Academic Plan for Fall 2020.

If students have questions or need assistance are they able to visit offices on campus? 

All on-campus offices will be open to serve students in person, however, it is highly encouraged that students attempt to reach out to offices first by email. Due to reduced in-person staffing, some offices may not always be able to accommodate phone calls or in-person traffic as quickly. If a meeting is required, students should utilize zoom or phone call as a first option. In-person meetings should be scheduled in advance whenever possible. When coming into offices students should follow all BOR and CDC guidelines which include wearing face coverings and maintaining social distance. 

The Fall 2020 academic calendar has been adjusted due to COVID-19. How does this impact when courses are held? 

Instruction will now begin August 19th and on-campus instruction will be completed by November 24th. All finals will be completed online from December 2nd-8th. Labor Day, Native American Day and Veterans Day, which were formally non-class days, will be used as class days to accommodate the 70-class day schedule. The university will work to plan programming to appropriately celebrate and recognize those holidays. 

2020-21 Academic Calendar

Are students required to wear cloth face coverings?

Beginning August 1st, SDSU will require face coverings in all public indoor spaces on campus. This action will be reviewed 30 days after the start of the fall academic term.

All course instruction is online for the Summer 2020 semester and may be partially online for Fall 2020.  What if there are issues accessing courses?

Students should ensure all SDSU Student Accounts are established and functioning. Access to MyState, Jacks Email and D2L will be required. If you need login help, visit the login help page. Resources to assist students for successful online learning and troubleshooting can be found on the Learn Online page. Students should also be in contact with course instructors if there are any access issues.

How should students’ complete final oral exams, comprehensive exams, or other committee meetings while course instruction is online? 

Graduate students completing any type of oral exam or holding any type of committee meeting should make accommodations to utilize zoom or other electronic capabilities. On MyState under the Resources tab, there is a portlet for Zoom that includes helpful information, how-to guides, etc. Additional resources for technology tools will also be posted. Students should work with their advisor/committee to determine dates, times, and accommodations that work best for everyone. Graduate students should check with their advisor/committee to determine how best to proceed with written exams.

Will the transition back to in-person classes this Fall impact how students should complete exams and other committee meetings? 

It is still highly recommended that students utilize electronic means of holding exams and committee meetings during the Fall 2020 semester. Exams/meetings may be held in-person if deemed appropriate by the committee, however, all CDC guidelines should be followed. If a student or any committee member is not comfortable holding an in-person meeting or exam, electronic capabilities should be utilized for that individual or the entire committee. 

What if students are not able to meet the graduate deadlines or complete a practicum/internship/field experience due to the ramifications of the COVID-19 outbreak?

The Graduate School understands that the COVID-19 pandemic has created obstacles that are outside of a student’s control. The office will work with students on an individual basis to complete degree requirements. Students should work directly with their advisor/course instructor/supervisor when attempting to complete all practical experiences.

How do the University’s updated protocol due to COVID-19 impact graduate students serving as Graduate Assistants (GRA/GTA/GAA)?

Students serving as Graduate Assistants should remain off campus while the University is closed unless they are deemed essential employees. Graduate Assistants should contact their direct supervisor for specific direction regarding their role as employees and how to best complete work requirements.

Are Graduate Assistants able to return to campus to perform work related duties/research?

Graduate Assistants are classified as University employees and may return to the University when faculty and staff are able pending direct supervisor approval. Graduate Assistants should contact their direct supervisor to determine specific work schedules and where their work should be conducted. Non-essential personnel may be asked to work remotely. Communication is of utmost priority during this time; thus it is imperative that GA’s check e-mail regularly.

Will Graduate Assistants continue to be paid while the University moves to online instruction?

All GRAs/GTAs will continue to receive their monthly stipends regardless if their work is completed on or off campus. GAAs will need to submit their monthly time sheet and will be paid for the hours they work. GAAs are not be eligible to receive administrative leave. All Graduate Assistants should work with their direct supervisor to determine what, if any, work can be completed remotely.

The University will not be holding in-person classes the remainder of the Spring semester or Summer semester.  Does this impact other gatherings on campus?

SDSU has canceled all events and visitor activities through August 15th. The University will continue to evaluate the situation and determine if future activities or gatherings will occur. The following SDSU facilities will remain closed until further notice: South Dakota Art Museum, South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum, University Bookstore in the University Student Union, SDSU Dairy Bar, Meat Lab store, and the Fishback Early Learning Center Preschool.

Has University travel been impacted by COVID-19?

All SDSU-sponsored and SDSU-endorsed international and out of state travel has been suspended until further notice. In-state travel will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Students choosing to travel on their own should take appropriate precautions and limit group exposure as recommended by the CDC. Any student who has travelled to a country classified as a Level 3 or 4 for coronavirus outbreak is recommended to adhere to the voluntary 14 day self-quarantine per CDC guidelines. Any student in that situation must also contact the Student Health Center upon returning to the United States.

I have a question about how COVID-19 impacts me as a graduate student that has not been answered here. Who can I talk to?

Students can contact the Graduate School at Staff will assist when able or direct students to the appropriate contact person.