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Message from President Dunn regarding SDSU and the coronavirus

Dear South Dakota State University Students, Parents, Faculty and Staff,

Late this afternoon, the South Dakota Board of Regents released a message relaying how public universities across South Dakota will respond to COVID-19. The well-being and safety of our campus is at the forefront of my thoughts and actions. As a result, South Dakota State University is working to mitigate the effects of the virus on our campus community, in consultation with local, state and federal partners.

In concert with the other universities in the Board of Regents system, I have made the decision to extend spring break for students through Friday, March 20. I anticipate classes will resume Monday, March 23. Extending spring break is in the best interests of our students and their well-being based on the circumstances currently known at this time.

Next week, faculty and staff will report to campus for additional planning and preparation. This allows time to implement measures that will best support our campus community going forward.

Since early January, the SDSU Emergency Management Team has been closely monitoring the evolving circumstances involving COVID-19 and has taken actions to protect our campus community by identifying and implementing precautionary measures. As previously announced, all nonessential SDSU sponsored international travel is canceled. Additionally, domestic travel, including within the state of South Dakota, is postponed unless approved on a case by case basis until further notice.

In the interest of public health, on-campus events and visitor activities are canceled until further notice. Effective Friday, March 13, at 5 p.m., the following SDSU facilities will be closed until further notice: Wellness Center, McCrory Gardens, South Dakota Art Museum, South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum, the University Bookstore in the University Student Union, SDSU Dairy Bar, and Meat Lab. The Fishback Early Learning Center Preschool will also be closed; however, the kindergarten will operate per the Brookings School District agreement.

Regarding the H.M. Briggs Library, we respectfully ask you to access resources online as it will be closed to the general public. Faculty and students are welcome to use the facility while following appropriate health practices.

Students are strongly encouraged to remain at home during the extended spring break to limit potential exposure to illness. However, housing is available for those students who may need to return to campus due to extenuating circumstances. Any student needing to live in university-owned housing during the break must apply online through MyState.

Information about campus scheduling, work, and leave is available at the COVID 19 webpage. Employees and supervisors who have questions about that information may contact Human Resources at 605-688-4128.

I am aware how this extension of spring break will impact our entire campus community. But my leadership team and I are committed to providing support for students, faculty and staff as we continue our best efforts to manage the ever-changing situation surrounding the spread of coronavirus.

I appreciate your flexibility and understanding. It is impossible to account for every possibility and scenario, so please check your email regularly and visit our coronavirus webpage for updates and details.

President Barry H. Dunn