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COVID-19 Updates: Stay Informed

Latest Student Q&A

Updated April 29, 2020

Q&A Regarding SDSU's COVID-19 Response

Will students be back on campus for the Fall 2020 Semester?

South Dakota State University will resume on-campus operations for the fall 2020 semester to provide opportunities for teaching, learning and co-curricular activities, as announced May 1 by the South Dakota Board of Regents. Planning for a safe return will include a focus on academics, student life, research, employees, athletics and the Brookings community. Fall semester classes are scheduled to begin Aug. 24.

The decision was made following discussions among regents’ staff, university presidents and the special school superintendents following recommendations from public health officials and state leadership.

Earlier this week, President Barry Dunn launched the “JacksRBack” planning and execution team to look at all options and methods that may be needed during the return to campus, including classroom teaching, residential life, food service, tutoring, wellness, employee accommodations and others.

Read President Dunn's message to campus.

For more information, please read the University's press release.

Is there a move out schedule that we need to follow?

The schedule for students to return to campus and get their belongings from the residence halls has been developed and information about the plan is available online. Please carefully read all of the information posted to the webpage.

The plan follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as it applies to social distancing and other best practices for cleaning and disinfecting. But, as this situation is one with continuously emerging guidance from federal and state authorities, please continue to monitor this website and your email for new guidance, which may alter this schedule.

What are our grading options for the spring semester?

The nation’s response to the COVID-19 crisis has forced students to meet the challenge of rapidly changing learning environments. South Dakota State University is committed to maximizing student equity, success, and retention during this difficult time. In response, SDSU is working on options for students to take courses this semester under S/U grading (S=Satisfactory, U=Unsatisfactory). In S/U grading, students receive all applicable credit for satisfactory completion of the course but the grade does not figure in grade point average calculations. Most students will have the option of keeping their traditional letter grade or selecting S/U. In the coming days, the university will announce a formal policy regarding the S/U options. Please note that courses within some majors may be excluded from the S/U option due to licensure and accreditation requirements.

Are there any activities or events being held on campus?

On-campus events and visitor activities remain canceled through August 15.

The following SDSU facilities will remain closed until further notice: Wellness Center fitness area, McCrory Gardens, South Dakota Art Museum, South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum, the University Bookstore in the University Student Union, SDSU Dairy Bar and the Meat Lab store.

The Fishback Early Learning Center Preschool will also be closed. The kindergarten on campus is currently closed and it will continue to follow the schedule determined by the Brookings School District.

Admissions activities are canceled through May 31. Visit this page for more information about Admissions Activities, contacts and more.

Are Dining Services still available?

Dining Services

The University Student Union is closed to the public. Information regarding dining locations and dining hours will be posted online once available.

Will withdrawing from a class impact my eligibility for financial aid?

In most cases, withdrawing from some but not all classes after the census date (January 22 for the Spring 2020 term) will not have any impact on financial aid that has already paid for the term. 

In order to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress for financial aid, students must complete at least 67 percent of cumulative courses attempted. Withdrawing from courses after the census date lowers a student’s completion rate and can impact financial aid eligibility for future terms. If you have questions about how dropping a class will impact financial aid eligibility, please contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships by calling 605-688-4695.  

If you are on financial aid probation receiving a conditional semester of financial aid, please contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships before dropping or withdrawing from classes.

What if my ability to pay for school is impacted by COVID-19?

If an independent student or the family of a dependent student experiences significant changes in financial circumstances due to loss of income or medical expenses, the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships make changes to the FAFSA to more accurately reflect the family’s ability to pay for college. If your financial situation has significantly changes, please email us or call at 605-688-4695.

What can I do if my educational costs increase as a result of moving to online classes?

If your educational related expenses increase as a result of COVID-19, and you need to obtain a Direct PLUS Loan or alternative loan above your initial estimated cost of attendance, you can contact the Financial Aid Office to request an increase to your estimated costs.  Examples of expenses that can be considered include increased costs for living expenses, costs related to online learning, childcare expenses, and increased travel expenses. For additional information, please email the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships or call at 605-688-4695.

Is it too late to apply for financial aid for the Spring 2020 semester?

If you have not filed a FAFSA and need to apply for Federal Financial Aid for the spring 2020 term, you can still do so at Students who wish to apply should complete the 2019-2020 FAFSA as soon as possible. If you need assistance filing your FAFSA or have questions about your eligibility and awarding timelines, please email us or call at 605-688-4695.

Can I still receive financial aid that I declined earlier in the year?

Generally, students who decline Federal Direct Loan awards do not lose eligibility for those awards.  If you wish to accept financial aid awards that previously declined, please contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships or call at 605-688-4695 to discuss your eligibility and the process for accepting awards that were declined.

What can I do if I need additional financial aid to help pay for my educational expenses?

Students who need additional financial aid to help cover their educational, travel, or living costs, may be able to take out alternative loans or to have parents borrow Federal Direct PLUS Loans to help cover these costs. To apply for an alternative loan, please visit our FastChoice site to view potential lenders and for instructions on how to apply. Information about Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans including the application process can be found on our Parent Loan page. If you have questions about how to apply for these loans or the amounts you are eligible to borrow, please contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships or call us 605-688-4695.

When are the Financial Aid and Scholarships staff available?

Financial Aid and Scholarships staff are available between 8:00 to 5:00 Monday through Friday by phone (605-688-4695) or by accessing our Virtual Financial Aid Office. Students can also contact Financial Aid by email.

How do I access my mail?
Packages for students checking out during Phase II or "Second Chance" Move-Out (April 15 - May 8) will be brought to them at the check-out time for which they have signed up. If you have a critical package that you need to access prior to your check-out time, please contact indicating the nature of your package.
Students are encouraged to check their residence hall mailboxes when they check out.
Additional information regarding mailroom operations will be posted here once it is finalized.
How do I access classes online?

An Accessing Your Online Course website has been established.

All current SDSU students should have access to D2L. If you are experiencing login issues, follow the prompts to reset password as needed. If unable to reset your password, please contact the SDSU Support Desk for assistance at 605-688-6776

Each course has different requirements. However, students can find information on utilizing the D2L.

What if I have technology access issues?

Student Technology Access for Online Courses

SDSU is working on options for students with technology access issues. You can help us by completing the student technology access form if you have concerns about accessing the internet or a laptop/tablet as we move to online classes. SDSU does have a limited number of laptops available for loan to students that can be accessed by completing the technology access form.

Options for connectivity for online access are identified at this link. Work with your local provider for assistance in identifying available options in your area. If you have additional questions, contact the SDSU Help Desk.

What additional information do I need to know about my classes transitioning to an online format?

Online Classes

Online classes began March 23, and will continue throughout the remainder of the academic calendar. The academic calendar will stay current with finals still scheduled May 4-8.

Please continue to reference the Student Information page on the COVID-19 Response site as updates will be posted there.

The Online Information for Students webpage will continue to be a useful resource while we operate in this online environment. The webpage continues to provide information about the online environment and important information about preregistration for summer and fall semesters, academic advising, library access and academic support services such as tutoring, supplemental instruction, the math and writing centers, and others.

Are there any E-textbooks that will be available?

VitalSource E-textbooks

VitalSource and most of their participating publishers are offering free access to SDSU students and faculty for up to seven titles.

For existing VitalSource First Day Access classes, students and faculty need to go to the Resources menu in any D2L course to access VitalSource Bookshelf to search for content. For first time users, they will need to go to the VitalSource Helps webpage to get started to search for content. Below are resources for students and faculty on borrowing ebooks for free:

VitalSource offers 24/7 support for students and faculty. More inquires please send to SDSU Bookstore.

What if I don’t have access to the internet?

The university will work with you to determine appropriate means to complete your courses. Please contact your faculty to determine possible alternatives or how to gain internet access.

What about my labs?

Each course has different requirements and the university is reviewing what measures need to take place and will communicate that information when it is available.

As a graduate student will I be able to finish my requirements?

The SDSU graduate school will continue to monitor the situation and adjust accordingly based on the university’s direction to ensure graduate students are able to meet their requirements.

Questions can be directed to the Graduate School at 605-688-4181.

Are academic advising services still available?

Academic Advising

To align with actions taken by the State of South Dakota, South Dakota Board of Regents, and South Dakota State University in an effort to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, academic advising services will be available through distance methods rather than face-to-face appointments until further notice.

Your academic advisor will determine the method of distance delivery that is available to you. This could include Zoom sessions, phone advising, email advising, or other modes of communication. You can find more information about navigating Zoom sessions at

If you prefer a specific type of communication for your advising appointment, please contact your academic advisor directly. We are eager to support your health while continuing to provide quality advising support as you prepare for future semesters.

Is the Jackrabbit Pharmacy open?

Jackrabbit Pharmacy doors will be closed, however the pharmacist will be available to fill prescriptions throughout the day. Please call 605-688-5410 and leave a message.

Is the Student Health and Counseling Center still open?

Student Health and Counseling Center Operations

The Student Health and Counseling Center will remain open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students are encouraged to call ahead to schedule appointments. Please arrive 15 minutes early for your appointment as new health screening protocols are in place for all appointments. Appointments may be scheduled by calling 605-688-4157.

Thank you for all your hard work, understanding and patience as we work through this difficult time.

Is Jack's Cupboard still available to students?

Jack's Cupboard is available for students who need these resources. To set up an appointment to pick up items, please email Chris Kaberline at your earliest convenience.

Dates/Times: Wednesdays & Thursdays 3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Pickup Location: South East Side of Ben Reifel Hall

For additional information and to view the types of items that are available during this time, visit the COVID-19: Jack's Cupboard page.


Veterans Affairs Information

    The Post 9/11 GI Bill, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

    The Department of Veterans Affairs is preparing guidance for schools that have changes in training modalities and operation statuses due to COVID 19. However, Congress has introduced legislation that, if enacted, will alleviate the impact to GI Bill beneficiaries for a switch to pursuit solely through distance education. In order to avoid confusion and the need to make multiple changes to enrollments, VA is asking all schools to temporarily refrain from making an adjustments to enrollment certifications if training has changed due to COVID 19.

    Veterans Affairs Office

    As it stands, we are working out of our homes as directed by President Dunn. But that doesn’t mean we are not working for you. I am answering all emails, making adjustments to certs, calling the SCO Hotline and most everything we can do in the office, from home.

    If you have concerns, questions or uncertainties, email, or leave a voice message and thanks to VOIP I receive them to my email and will answer as quick as possible.

    Russ S. Chavez, SFC (USA Retired)
    Director for Veterans Affairs
    South Dakota State University
    Office: 605-688-6478