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VERMILLION, S.D. – In response to Gov. Kristi Noem’s Executive Order 2020-04 and amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, the South Dakota Board of Regents has determined all South Dakota public universities will transition spring classes online for the duration of the semester and postpone graduation ceremonies until further notice. The spring semester is scheduled to end May 8.

As of March 24, South Dakota has 30 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

“This decision was not made lightly and was determined based on the recommendations of public health authorities and with the health and safety of the entire Coyote family and community in mind,” said USD President Sheila K. Gestring. “We know that this is not the semester our students anticipated. We share their disappointment in the lost opportunity to learn together, to celebrate together and to be together. However, we are incredibly proud of the selfless way our Coyote community has rallied together to make the best of an unpredictable situation."

Between March 25 and April 8, USD will work with students in residence halls to facilitate a move-out process that allows for appropriate physical distancing, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Students may set up appointments to move out seven days a week, with hours ranging from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Students will receive pro-rated credits for their residence hall contracts, meal plans, unused flex and parking permits. Refunds, if applicable, are expected to be issued by the end of April. Students eligible for a refund will be contacted by the Business Office.

USD is urging all students to continue practicing social distancing to the greatest extent possible to curb the community spread of COVID-19, Gestring said.

“We are asking our students, faculty and staff to stay home. What we do today will affect our friends, neighbors and families tomorrow. This is a temporary response to an extraordinary situation. With proper action today, we know life will return to normal,” Gestring said. "We are looking forward to seeing our students back on campus next fall."

To learn more about USD’s response to COVID-19, visit usd.edu/COVID19. Students with questions or concerns may email president@usd.edu.

According to The Associated Press, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, for most people. But for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

According to The Associated Press, the vast majority of people recover from COVID-19. The World Health Organization says people with mild cases recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe ones can take three to six weeks to get better.

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