Black Hills State University is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic through trusted authorities, including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and South Dakota Department of Health.


As a Black Hills State University student, you may be eligible to receive funding from the BHSU COVID-19 Relief Fund. In order to verify eligibility, you MUST complete the BHSU COVID-19 Relief Fund application and detail the financial impact COVID-19 has had on you. After completing the application successfully, you will receive a confirmation that your application was received. Your request and situation will be reviewed to determine your eligibility. If you are selected to receive funding, you will be provided additional information on funding disbursement. Please contact or 605-642-6113 for questions you may have.

BHSU Community Updates

Fall 2020 academic calendar modifications announced

Black Hills State University, along with the five other Regental universities, will have a modified calendar for the Fall 2020 semester.

BHSU plans to start classes on campus Aug. 19th, a few days earlier than previously scheduled. Instead of returning to campus after the Thanksgiving recess Nov. 25-29, students will complete their final exams remotely and the semester will finish Dec. 8.

“We know students want to come back to campus this fall and we are looking forward to welcoming them back,” BHSU President Dr. Laurie S. Nichols said. “The safety and health of everybody on campus remains our priority. Our region and the world needs educated workers to meet the challenges now and in the future.” 

Earlier this month, the South Dakota Board of Regents announced its commitment to on-campus operations this fall. This week the Board announced that after the Thanksgiving holiday, students will move to remote instruction for the remaining seven instructional days in the fall semester. The classes that BHSU offers on the Spearfish campus, in Rapid City, and online will all follow the modified academic calendar.

To provide for required instructional time in a condensed semester and to further reduce travel, three holidays—Labor Day, Native American Day, and Veterans Day—will become class days. With classes in session and offices open on those dates, programming will be planned to appropriately recognize the holidays.

“The underlying goal in compressing the calendar is to keep students on campus. It is our intent to keep students highly engaged and discourage travel to minimize the possible spread of the virus,” Nichols said.

The BHSU campus will be closed between Christmas and New Year’s Day to facilitate deep cleaning and other preparations for the spring semester. Employees will use three holidays usually designated throughout the Fall semester during that week.

Nichols noted that a Task Force made up of faculty, staff, and students is continuing to make recommendations for changes on campus to maintain a quality educational experience during the pandemic including using larger classrooms to accommodate social distancing; cleaning and sanitizing rooms and labs between classes; postponing study abroad programs; and offering more single residence hall rooms.

BHSU is working with Monument Health to establish protocols that are consistent with guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and is following all state and city guidelines. Training is being provided to faculty, staff and students regarding all new protocols as they arrive on campus.

“The innovative and thorough planning process led by our Task Force members is identifying ways to successfully allow students to continue their education during this this unprecedented time of a global pandemic,” Nichols said. “I appreciate their work and their creative approach. We will continue to monitor the situation and seek input from students and community members. I’m so glad that the Yellow Jackets will be returning to campus.”

Additional details and information will continue to be provided through regular communication and the BHSU webpage  


Plans are being developed for the return to work and for Fall 2020 classes on campus

Two campus Task Forces are developing plans for employees to return to work and for the return of students this fall. As this is a fluid situation, details are still being determined and may change as conditions change.

Employees will return to work with a phased-in approach. The first phase, which begins June 1, will include all employees designated essential and any employees that have been utilizing Administrative Leave during the remote working period. The second phase will be bringing back approximately 30 percent of those employees who fall in a non-essential category of work on June 15th with an additional 30 percent reporting to work by July 1. As non-essential employees come back in phases, some will continue to work remotely, but all employees will be back to work no later than Aug. 1. Please check with your supervisor to determine your return to work date.

Melissa Hart, director of Human Resources, notes that any employees who fall in to a high-risk category would have the option to self-certify their at-risk condition with HR and their supervisor. Human Resources is developing a request form, with the BOR office, that will be available in the very near future.

As you return to campus, you will be expected to practice social distancing, conduct self-health checks on a regular basis, and be responsible for routinely cleaning your work space. It is highly recommended that all employees wear face masks while on campus. Supervisors are ensuring that work stations have the appropriate distancing and that hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies are available. Specifics on returning to work will be finalized next week and training will occur for all employees as they return to work.  

Studies by the CDC have shown that employers and employees can be effective in preventing and slowing the spread of COVID-19. Black Hills State University will continue to develop a response plan which takes into account the level of disease transmission in our community/region as well as our readiness to protect the safety and health of the campus community. 

Have a great Memorial Day weekend and we are looking forward to seeing you on campus.

President Nichols

BHSU continues to monitor the novel Coronavirus, referred to as COVID-19. 

We know many of you are traveling during the upcoming spring break.  While the original information regarding the risk, symptoms, transmission and prevention has not changed, the number of cases worldwide and nationally has increased, and the affected areas continue to change. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is the best reference for information about the Coronavirus. There are no cases reported in South Dakota as of this date.

Our goal is to remind you to remain informed and vigilant, and to exercise appropriate caution as the situation changes. You can reference the CDC for the latest information, as well as links to other sources. It is important that every member of our community remain informed as this situation develops.

If you are planning international travel, please refer to the guidance provided by the U.S. Department of State  and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Please keep in mind that you might encounter screening abroad, and you might become subject to whatever their local travel restrictions might be or might become. Upon returning to the United States you might face additional screening. National news has shown stories of Americans returning from affected areas being subjected to quarantine and/or isolation.

Please remember that if you are sick, don’t come to work or school and:

  • have had close contact with a laboratory‐confirmed case or
  • are symptomatic and have traveled to an expanded list of “affected geographic areas” which at this time includes: China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea (as of 3/4/20).


  • Call the South Dakota Department of Health at (605)773-3361.
  • Seek medical care right away. However, before you go to a doctor’s office or BHSU Student Health (605)642-6280 or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick. Please do not get on public transportation.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

BHSU continues to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed.  Stay updated:


BHSU is making changes regarding access to campus buildings beginning Monday, April 6. The campus remains open and we are dedicated to meeting the needs of our students. The following buildings will be available to any faculty/staff/student (only) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday with your Buzz card:

    • Jonas Hall
    • Johnson Life Sciences
    • Library
    • Meier Hall
    • Woodburn Hall
    • Student Union (Also will be open for Dining with limited weekend hours. See details below in Resources)

Beyond this, no further changes have been made for faculty or staff who already had access to specific times/buildings.

During this time of heightened concern for personal health and safety, using your individual Buzz card for access provides details that are useful in alerting others in the event a member of the campus community tests positive for COVID-19.  Please help us keep our campus safe. 

Lawrence County has 9 positive cases of COVID-19 and is one of four counties with substantial community spread. Recently we learned that one of our students, who moved off campus a week ago, tested positive and is now self-quarantining. BHSU officials are working with the Department of Health and have notified people on campus who had contact and they are now self-quarantining off campus.

Everyone, whether on campus or working and studying remotely, is encouraged to continue to be vigilant with CDC guidelines for social distancing and symptom monitoring. For details on symptoms and social distancing see the CDC website and the S.D. Dept. of Health.

As we continue this semester with online learning, BHSU faculty and staff are here to assist. Even if you’re not on campus, numerous resources are available for you. Continue to communicate with your BHSU faculty by email or phone. Campus departments are staffed and available via phone or email. Please see the online campus directory for phone numbers and emails.

Advising and Registration
Advisors are available for virtual sessions by phone, email, or Zoom. You can register now for summer 2020 classes on campus and online. Self-service registration for fall 2020 and spring 2021 is underway. Check for your registration time. Please contact your advisor for assistance.

Campus Hours
Campus is open to students, faculty and staff from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. by using your Buzz Card for access. Many employees are working remotely, and are available by phone or email.

Counseling Services and Health Services
Please call 605-642-6520 to schedule an appointment with Counseling and Health Services.

Disability Services
BHSU’s Disability Coordinator, Jenn Lucero, is available!  Should you have any concerns regarding your disability and/or adjustment needs, please do not hesitate to contact her. Please call 605-642-6099 or email:

Math and Writing Center
Students who need assistance with math and writing, can still access tutoring through the Math Assistance Center and Writing Center via distance. To request assistance, call or email the centers:

Math Center: or 605-642-6076

Writing Center: or 605-642-6922

Testing Center
BHSU/Spearfish Testing Center can be reached by calling 605-642-6099 or by emailing

Dining Services
Dining is open for students to pick up meals at the following times everyday:

Lunch: 11am-12pm
Dinner: 5pm-5:30pm.

BHSU Help Desk
The BHSU Technology Help Desk is open Monday through Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. through 2 p.m.  Help desk staff are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. via email at, LiveChat from the popup on, or via telephone at 605-642-6580.

Residence Life
Residence Life continues for housing students who need accommodations. Please refer to your BHSU e-mail for details about the optional move-out process and notify Residence Life if you plan to say. Direct questions to 605-642-6464 or

Contact Information
If you need to find the contact information for BHSU Faculty/Staff, please use the online directory.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

In coordination with Gov. Kristi Noem’s Executive Order, the South Dakota Board of Regents with input from the six state universities has announced that all South Dakota public universities will continue online teaching through the end of spring semester.  Originally online classes were scheduled for two weeks; however, given the increasing number of coronavirus cases, online classes will continue through the end of the spring semester. 

In addition, May commencement will be postponed in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“This was a difficult decision for all of us, and I know it creates numerous difficulties for our graduating students and their families,” Black Hills State University President Laurie S. Nichols said. “But this step is necessary to minimize the further spread of this virus for the health and safety of BHSU students and the surrounding community.”

She noted that the May commencement will be combined with the Fall commencement set for Dec. 12, 2020.  Those who were planning to participate in the May commencement ceremonies will be invited to participate in the December ceremony.

Over the next two weeks, BHSU will work with students in residence halls to facilitate a move-out process that allows for appropriate social 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 5 p.m. See details of move-out.  For those students who need to stay in the residence hall through the end of the semester, they will be allowed to do so.

Procedures for partial refunds for select students have been posted. The refunds cover partial reimbursement for housing, meal plans and parking.  BHSU will issue the refunds according to the guidelines. If you have questions, call 642-6562. 

Nichols added that BHSU is urging all students and community members to continue to practice social distancing and stay home as much as possible.

“As the virus continues to grow, it’s vital that we all stay home and reduce our coronavirus footprint,” Nichols said. “Your actions today will impact our whole community. I know you are tired of hearing it, but we must double down on our social distancing knowing that this is a temporary situation. We all look forward to the future when we regain some normalcy.  Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.” 

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Spring break extended for one week due to COVID-19

As more COVID-19 cases are confirmed in South Dakota, the South Dakota Board of Regents has decided to extend spring break for students for an additional week. Offices will be open, but classes will not be held March 16-20. 

No cases have been reported at BHSU. We will continue to work closely with the Board of Regents to review and update plans. Staff and supervisors should consider if specific employees should work remotely due to health concerns. If you have questions, please visit with your supervisor.

All international travel is being suspended and domestic travel will be evaluated and limited. An extended spring break period will allow faculty and staff to adjust programs and coursework, adapt instructional methods, and prepare other appropriate responses to COVID-19 going forward. For students who are on campus, essential services such as food service and residence hall accommodations will remain available.

Please review the following information concerning the COVID-19 situation.  It’s important to consider what you can do to help maintain the health of our community. You can carry the virus and not yet have symptoms so be considerate of those around you who may be more susceptible. If you have traveled over the past week, please provide updates and be aware of your health changes over the next 14 days.

BHSU is following South Dakota Department of Health and CDC guidelines for institutions of higher education. We will post timely updates on our web page  If you have not subscribed to the campus alert system, please do so to receive any immediate announcements.

This is a developing situation. The health and safety of our campus community remains our top priority. I realize these changes create difficulties in planning and scheduling. Thank you for your flexibility and understanding as we continue to monitor and respond to this rapidly changing situation. Updates will continue to be provided. 

Laurie Nichols

Guidance to help Prevent the Spread of Infection from the CDC

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home and do not travel or go to work or school when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and then throw the tissue in the trash. Then wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Maintain a safe social distance.

Guidance if You Are Sick

  • If you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath don’t come to class. Call student health services at 642-6520 to share your symptoms and to possibly schedule a diagnostic test. They will direct you with next steps around self-quarantine and tips for recovery. For 84% of coronavirus patients, the symptoms are mild and recovery can occur at home. If your symptoms are not improving, please call a healthcare professional.

Monday, March 16, 2020

BHSU will teach classes online March 23-April 3 to mitigate spread of COVID-19.  This decision was reached as a Board of Regents system.

Beginning Monday, March 23, Black Hills State University will move to an online delivery of all courses for a period of two weeks, through April 3.  Course delivery will occur primarily through the Desire2Learn learning management system and Zoom video conferencing platforms. Since Spring Break is being extended and no classes are being held this week, your syllabus schedule will change accordingly. There are no assignments due. Check with your faculty member or the D2L page for details.

Thank you for your continued willingness to adapt to the unprecedented situation. Please reach out to faculty and staff as you have questions.  Together we will work through the challenges and find solutions to ensure your classes can continue and students are able to complete this semester on schedule.

Although classes will be online through April 3rd, the BHSU campus will remain open to ensure BHSU is able to fulfill its educational and research mission. In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, students are encouraged to stay at their permanent residences until Sunday, April 5. We realize this may not be possible for all students. Students who are planning to come back to campus next week should email with details and fill out theTravel Reporting form.

Residence halls and Dining Services will remain open with modified hours and options. Counseling services are available on an as-needed basis and by scheduling in advance at 642-6520. The Library remains open for faculty, staff and students. The Young Center is reviewing plans and may be open limited hours next week. Health Services is available by phone at 642-6520. 

Due to the ever-changing situation, the SDBOR will revisit the situation and communicate any changes in course delivery again on March 27. This will allow faculty, staff, and students a nine-day notice before face-to-face classes resume. 

The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff throughout the state is our top priority and we continue to monitor the situation and adapt accordingly. Check the page for updates. Thank you for your continued adaptability.

Laurie Nichols

Notes for Faculty/Staff:

·Non-essential employees who are working from home should forward your phones. Here’s a link to instructions. The Help Desk is available to assist email

Please review events scheduled in your area and keep us updated if events are postponed or cancelled. Email changes to and the changes will be noted on the Campus Calendar

GENERAL Questions



Q - How will I be notified of changes in class delivery or other important campus news?

A – BHSU faculty and staff receive the Faculty Campus e-Update email on Tuesdays which includes important and timely campus news. Special Editions of the Campus e-Update will also be sent to your email.

Urgent campus information is sent through the Campus Alert System. If you haven’t already, please sign up for Campus Alerts. Family members are also welcome to sign-up.

The COVID website is updated on a continual basis. Check for latest updates.

Q - How will I know which events have been canceled?

A – The Campus Calendar is updated frequently with cancellations and postponed event information.

Visitors & Events

Q - I am a visitor to campus. What do I need to know?

A – Most events on campus are canceled. Whether or not you are exhibiting symptoms, visitors (including contractors and consultants) who have been in locations with an elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure within the past 14 days are not allowed to visit campus or attend university events. In addition, visitors who have had direct contact with a patient confirmed to have COVID-19 or with someone who is under care for suspected exposure to COVID-19 are not allowed to visit campus or attend university events within 14 days. You should contact the organizer of your campus event or program for further directions on rebooking your visit. We have alerted our consultants and contractors of these requirements.

Q - Are summer camps and conferences canceled?

A - Black Hills State University summer camps and conferences, including academic camps, sports camps and other gatherings, are canceled through June. BHSU will continue to monitor and evaluate the potential for alternative camp dates. 

Q - Where can prospective students who are considering Black Hills State University go for information? 

A - Our admissions staff is happy to answer your questions. Email or visit their website

Other Student Information

Q - Are advisors available to help with Registration?

A - Advisors are available for virtual sessions by phone, email, or Zoom. You can register now for summer 2020 classes on campus and online. Self-service registration for fall 2020 and spring 2021 is underway. Check for your registration time. Please contact your advisor for assistance.

Q - I have some concerns about disability needs. Who can I contact?

A - BHSU’s Disability Coordinator, Jenn Lucero, is available.  Should you have any concerns regarding your disability and/or adjustment needs, please do not hesitate to contact her. Please call 605-642-6099 or email:

Q - Can I still get help from the Math and Writing Centers?

A - Students who need assistance with math and writing can still access tutoring through the Math Assistance Center and Writing Center via distance. To request assistance, call or email the centers:

Math Center: or 605-642-6076

Writing Center: or 605-642-6922

Q - Do students have access to the library? 

A – The Library is open. See the library website for hours and resources:

Q - Do students have access to counseling services? 

A - Yes. The counseling office is open by phone at 642-6520 to schedule appointments.

Q - If I’m in a club or organization on campus, will those meetings and/or events continue as planned?

A - Please contact your specific club or organization for more direct information. 

View More Information for Fall 2020 - Applied and Admitted Students FAQ


University Response

Q - How is the university working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the university community?

A – BHSU is requesting anyone (faculty, staff, students) traveling from a high-risk area in the U.S. or a country subject to a Level 2 Travel Health Notice from the CDC to self-quarantine for 14 days off campus. If you have traveled to a Level 3 area, the CDC requires you to self-quarantine at home for 14 days from the time you left the area and practice social distancing.

Faculty, staff, students, and visitors who have had direct contact with a patient confirmed to have COVID-19 or with someone who is under care for suspected exposure to COVID-19 are not allowed to visit campus or attend university events within 14 days of such contact. 

RESOURCE: BHSU Employee Return to Work Training Guide

Q - How are classrooms, residence halls, bathrooms and other buildings being cleaned in order to reduce the risk of infection?

A - The university has implemented a robust cleaning and sanitation effort in all residence halls, dining areas, classrooms, restrooms and common spaces, including building entries, lobbies, corridors and elevators. The university will continue to evaluate our processes and remain flexible to ensure effectiveness. 

Housing & DINING

Q – Are there on-campus housing options available during summer break?

A – Yes, BHSU Residence Life does offer summer accommodations to BHSU students and limited options for BOR students. BHSU houses summer residents in the Yellow Jacket Apartments. To ensure proper social and physical distancing measures can be followed, BHSU is limiting occupancy to 2 residents/apartment. Please contact BHSU Residence Life for an application and further information.

Q – Is Dining open?

A – No. BHSU Dining Services have ceased operations for the summer. If Dining re-opens in July, it will be reserved specifically for summer guests housed on campus.

Q – Will the BHSU Residence Halls be open for the fall semester?

A – BHSU Residence Life, in conjunction with campus and community partners, is developing plans to safely and responsibly welcome students back to campus in the fall. Please pay special attention to your Yellow Jackets e-mail throughout the summer for updates.

Q - What if I wasn’t able to return to campus and retrieve my belongings?

A - Your health and safety is our first priority. If you are unable to retrieve your belongings, please contact BHSU Residence Life. Residence Life will work with you to formulate a plan that works best for you. All residence halls remain locked and secure. We will not relocate, pack, or ship anything without speaking with you first.

Q - Did the university reimburse the meal plan and residence hall fees to students?

A - The BHSU Business Office, Residence Life, and Dining Services have finished the refund process for the Spring 2020 semester. For all students who met the requirements and communicated with BHSU refunds have been processed and assessed to your student accounts as outlined on our COVID-19 refund policy. The credits were applied to outstanding balances first. If the credits created an overall credit balance on your account, you were be issued a refund. If you have questions concerning your refund, please contact BHSU Residence Life or the BHSU Business Office.

All university-affiliated international travel is suspended until further notice.

If you have traveled to a Level 3 area, the CDC requires you to self-quarantine at home for 14 days from the time you left the area and practice social distancing.

The university is requesting anyone (faculty, staff, students) traveling from a high-risk area subject to a Level 2 Travel Health Notice from the CDC to self-quarantine for 14 days off campus.  

Faculty, staff, students, and visitors who have had direct contact with a patient confirmed to have COVID-19 or with someone who is under care for suspected exposure to COVID-19 are not allowed to visit campus or attend university events within 14 days of such contact.

All non-essential personal travel to international destinations is strongly discouraged at this time.

The CDC is offering very explicit warnings about planned travel aboard cruise ships. In keeping with their guidance, BHSU is advising against cruise ship travel.

All non-essential, university-affiliated domestic travel is suspended until further notice. Travel deemed essential will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. For questions about what qualifies as essential and non-essential travel, please contact the appropriate VP from your unit.

The university is requesting anyone (faculty, staff, students) traveling from a high-risk area in the U.S. to self-quarantine for 14 days off campus.  

If you develop symptoms:

  • Call your health care provider immediately and tell them about any recent travel or exposure.
  • Individuals who are concerned that they have COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider via phone before going to a clinic or hospital to prevent spread in healthcare facilities.
  • Avoid contact with other people.
  • Follow the directions of your provider and public health officials.
  • Wear a facemask where social distancing is difficult.

CDC recommends wearing facemasks in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

COVID-19 (formerly known as novel coronavirus 2019 or 2019-nCoV) was first identified in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

More Information: Situation Summary from CDC


Beginning June 1st, we will be re-opening the Young Center with limited operations. This includes the fitness center areas only for member, staff, and community use. With the hard work of our university and facility services staff, we will be providing all appropriate supplies and procedures to ensure safety for all. The following information provides Young Center hours of operation, along with further details for what to expect.

Young Center Hours of Operation

  • Weekdays – 6am-6pm
  • Weekends 8m-12pm

Young Center Operations

  • Main entrance access only (by Lyle Hare Stadium)
  • Hand sanitizer at front desk and fitness center entrances
  • Restrooms open only – Locker rooms will remain closed
  • All surrounding venues will remain closed
  • Staffing – Main front desk and upstairs fitness center desk
    • One spray bottle and towel provided for each fitness center guest
    • Additional instructions will be provided for use
  • All areas will be properly cleaned and sanitized by custodial staff throughout the day
  • It is strongly recommended to follow safe social-distancing practices during your time in and around the Young Center (Thank you!)

Fitness Center Capacity

  • 10 person maximum allowed in fitness center upstairs
  • 16 person maximum allowed in varsity weight room
  • Please, feel free to call ahead to check on capacity – 605-642-6096
  • These numbers will be possibly be adjusted per recommendations through June


  • If you do not wish to restart your membership, please let us know ASAP so we can ensure your membership dues/dates are not restarted.
  • All memberships will be prorated based on your previous expiration date and the Young Center closure duration. We will honor all punch passes, week passes, and certificates. Please, ensure you have your parking passes visible inside your vehicles.
  • Prorate example #1: If member had an annual membership
    • Add 77 days to their membership end date (March 15 – June 1)
  • Prorate example #2: If member had a random end-date
    • Add prorated amount of days to their membership end date
    • For example: If end-date was April 10th, take 16 days from March and 10 days from April for a total of 26 days, and add it to June, so the new end-date would be June 26th.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the South Dakota Department of Health recommend employers be prepared if the campus is impacted by COVID-19. In consideration of these important resources, the following information is specific to employment activities at BHSU.

Current Status of University Response - Employees

For the latest, please refer to the  latest updates located at the top of this page. BHSU’s policies are available to respond to contagious illnesses and in many cases, the employee will need to use leave in accordance with SDBOR Policy 4:25, including caring for family or other appropriate absences. BHSU will continue to update the campus regarding changes in operating status.

General Guidance

If an employee is ill and not feeling well, they should stay home from work. An ill employee should notify their supervisor via standard communication methods prior to their normal work hours and use any leave that they might be eligible to use for an illness. This will help keep others at BHSU healthy. BHSU understands individuals may be experiencing heightened levels of anxiety during this time and encourages employees who feel anxious or worried about friends and family due to COVID-19 contact South Dakota Employee Assistance Plan.

Returning from Travel and Self-Isolation

If an employee returns from a location that the CDC advises self-isolation, the employee and supervisors should follow CDC travel health guidance related to voluntary self-isolation or not returning to work for the period of time advised.  If an employee self-isolates based on these guidelines and/or is required to stay at home, they should use available approved leave (See Emergency Sick Leave) and monitor their health during travel and for the recommended 14 days after return. Supervisors should contact BHSU Human Resources with questions.

Going Forward - Stay Informed, Be Prepared

Given the fluidity of the situation, the most up-to-date information about BHSU’s preparations in response to COVID-19 are  posted on this page. Should BHSU change operational status, then essential employee rules should be followed, in accordance with SDBORPolicy 4:40

The virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another, within about 6 feet, but some studies indicate the virus can also remain airborne for hours, so facemasks are recommended, especially where social distancing is difficult or impossible.

We understand that some BHSU community members are concerned. If you would like to talk with someone, support is available to students through Student Health Services or the Student Counseling Center. Employees who feel anxious or worried about friends and family due to COVID-19 can contact the South Dakota Employee Assistance Plan.

For current information about this evolving public health situation, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2019 Novel Coronavirus page.

The South Dakota Department of Health has created a website with information about COVID-19

The U.S. Department of State has a website with travel notices and updates. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces (e.g., door knobs, tables, keyboards, light switches). Use a disinfectant registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or a 10% bleach/water solution to clean surfaces.

Please avoid putting disinfectant gels or liquids on electronics and other equipment, including elevator buttons, unless they have been indicated as safe to use on those devices. BHSU custodial services have implemented extra measures to clean and disinfect surfaces in public areas that are touched frequently.

Below are some resources and information from the Board of Regents office regarding the emergency sick leave and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that has been developed as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

For more information, or to see if you are eligible, please contact Kasey Salazar in Human Resources at

The university encourages members of our community to think carefully about the risks of traveling while the COVID-19 outbreak continues to develop. Not only may there be a potential risk to your personal health, but there also may be additional travel restrictions imposed by many countries, including the United States. We ask all members of our campus community (faculty, staff, students) to limit their personal out-of-state travel. 

This is a rapidly developing situation and even though a location may be accessible now, that could change during your trip. Airlines are limiting seating and altering flights and this also could impact your plans. 

BHSU is following South Dakota Department of Health and CDC guidelines for institutions of higher education.  If you have not subscribed to the BHSU campus campus alert system, please do so to receive any immediate announcements.