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2021 Fall Semester Q&A

The following questions and answers are intended to help students, faculty, staff and others prepare for the fall 2021 semester. Please note the information is fluid and subject to change. It will be updated accordingly.

General Questions

Will the university’s COVID-19 Response Team and the JacksRBack Task Force continue to monitor COVID-19 and its impact on the SDSU community?

Yes. The two teams continue to meet to review current COVID-19 impacts and how the university continue to respond. The teams will begin to plan for the fall semester once the current semester concludes.

The university keeps referencing “more normal” for the fall semester. What does that mean?

With the continued roll out of COVID-19 vaccines and the opportunity for everyone at SDSU to be vaccinated, we do anticipate the fall semester will begin with fewer restrictions on campus and increased opportunities for in-person instruction, activities for student groups, home athletic events, a more vibrant student union, greater access to the Miller Wellness Center and other traditional college experiences.

Will students, faculty and staff be required to receive a vaccine?

The FDA’s emergency authorization for the COVID-19 vaccines does not allow the university to require students, faculty and staff to receive one. However, we highly encourage everyone who is able to do so to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Information about vaccines is available on the university’s COVID-19 vaccine page.

Please note some students and employees participating in off-site experiential learning opportunities may need vaccines to participate.

Can I ask my fellow worker or student if they are vaccinated?

In general, no. Only authorized HR representatives can ask if a person has been vaccinated under very limited circumstances.

If a student or faculty member is not vaccinated, will they be allowed to attend in-person meetings or in-person classes? Will they be required to wear a face covering?

Yes, they will be allowed to attend. We will follow the Board of Regents/University face coverings policy as applicable at that time.

Can students and employees request meetings with individuals who have not been vaccinated to be virtual?

Virtual meetings continue to be an option as allowed by business operation requirements. Meeting participants cannot be limited based on vaccination status at this time.

How many people in Brookings County have received a vaccine?

The Brookings Health System continues to update its website as to the number of people who are considered Brookings County residents that have received a vaccine. Some, but not all SDSU students, are considered residents of the county.

What COVID-19 protocols and/or restrictions will still be in place?

We anticipate some COVID-19 responses as the CDC recently stated that the virus will continue to be part of our daily lives into the foreseeable future. Heading into the fall, we anticipate offering our students continued testing capabilities on campus. We will also have plans in place for anyone who tests positive for the virus to mitigate potential spread. Other protocols will be determined as the university continues to monitor COVID-19 and its impact on the campus and the community.

Will we have to continue to wear face coverings on-campus and in the residence halls?

At this time that is still to be determined. The face coverings policy will be reviewed by the South Dakota Board of Regents and the regental institutions following the conclusion of the spring semester.

Will other residence hall restrictions be lifted for the fall semester?

We anticipate the guest policy will be removed and our residence halls will operate in a more normal fashion for the fall semester. The residence life facilities will align face coverings requirements with the South Dakota Board of Regents/SDSU face covering policy in place at that time.

Will testing for COVID-19 still be available for students?

Yes, testing will be available for students on campus. At this time, the plan is to offer testing through Student Health Clinic and Counseling Services, which is located in the Miller Wellness Center.

Will COVID-19 testing still be free to students?

We anticipate that federal support will enable cost-free testing for students.

Will events need to be reviewed by the COVID-19 Response Team?

The review of events will be based on the university’s COVID-19 safety level at the time, which requires they are reviewed under the current yellow status. The COVID-19 Response Team and JacksRBack Task Force have started to review the current safety levels and what those mean moving forward. The CDC has issued new guidance pertaining to safety levels that the teams will take into consideration.

Will classes still be offered online and/or in a hybrid format?

The university is planning for largely normal academic operations for Fall 2021, meaning that courses typically delivered in-person will be face-to-face with very few exceptions. SDSU does routinely offer several courses in online and hybrid formats giving students course delivery options to meet their needs. The COVID-19 Response Team and the JacksRBack Task Force will continue to evaluate and update course modalities as public health guidance changes.

Will student clubs and organizations be able to meet in person?

Currently student organizations are able to meet in person following our COVID-19 protocols and facility capacities. In the fall we anticipate this will continue to be the case that student organizations may meet in person but will continue to have technology available to offer hybrid or remote meetings should they choose.

Will there be capacity restrictions in classrooms and other areas of campus?

We anticipate a return to normal, pre-pandemic capacities in our facilities, but this may adjust based upon the current pandemic guidelines if the University is in yellow, orange, or red status at that time..

Will there be any student abroad opportunities this summer and next fall?

In January, SDSU announced suspension of all study abroad activities through Summer 2021. The Office of International Affairs is currently working toward a resumption of education abroad program. At this time, we believe education abroad program will most likely resume Spring 2022.

Return to Work

When is the university expecting all employees to be back on campus?

The JacksRBack Task Force adopted a “More Normal” return plan that includes two phases. Phase One includes SDSU employees who were remote beginning to return to campus on May 10. The phased approach was determined based on all SDSU employees have had the opportunity to get vaccinated.

What if I am not fully vaccinated by May 10, or I am not ready to return to campus?

The May 10 date is when supervisors are being ask to begin bringing all SDSU employees back to campus, with a goal of everyone return after the July 4th holiday. This was determined based on the South Dakota Department of Health’s phased plan to get everyone vaccinated.

When will employees on 9-month contracts return to campus?

Employees on 9-month contracts will return to campus just prior to the start of the semester. Additional information and exact dates will be share in the coming weeks.

Can I still work from home?

Only those who are approved pursuant to the telecommuting policy for business purposes will be approved to work from home. Short term remote needs may be reviewed and accommodated with the supervisor in accordance with policies and procedures. HR should be contacted with questions.

Can my supervisor require me to wear a face covering at my work station?

SDSU will continue to follow any applicable Board of Regents Face Covering protocols as implemented at SDSU.

Who do I contact if I have any concerns about my return to work?

Your supervisor and/or Human Resources.