Faculty/Staff FAQ

Updated Emergency Paid Sick Leave Guidelines:

SDBOR will allow leave eligible employees to use the remainder of their originally provided 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave through March 31, 2020 for their own positive COVID diagnosis.  If an employee utilized the Family Leave – COVID 19 in 2021, that time will be deducted from their 80 hours.  This leave is NOT available for those who have to take time for the care of family members, employees may use sick leave to take care of immediate family members due to COVID-19 related issues (care for immediate family members during quarantine/illness, school closures, daycare closures, etc…).  In addition, employees may NOT use the COVID related sick leave if they are identified as a close contact and are under quarantine, it is only for a positive test result.

For any questions please contact Kasey Salazar in Human Resources at 605-642-6497.


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



Update on remote work and administrative leave

In coordination with Governor Noem’s Executive Order 2020 - 12, the South Dakota Board of Regents will extend remote work through May 31st, and if we are unable to accommodate remote work then non-essential employees will be granted paid administrative leave. Essential employees should continue to work as scheduled and in line with the workplace guidelines provided, which may include reporting to the workplace if essential functions cannot be adequately performed remotely. As in previous weeks, supervisors will be evaluating the work that must be completed and will communicate with employees on essential or non-essential status, and expectations on reporting to work to ensure essential functions of the institution are being met, which may change from day to day. In addition, your supervisor will communicate with you if there are additional duties that require your assistance during this period of time. 

This is an evolving situation, so in the event that the landscape surrounding COVID-19 changes, the Board of Regents may adjust this plan as necessary. We will make every effort to keep you timely informed as this fluid situation continues to evolve. Updates surrounding COVID-19 can also be found on this webpage. Please monitor and review this site and related communications you receive. 

We understand that the spread of COVID-19 may impact you and your families whether related to work changes, school and daycare closures, or illness. Should these things happen, please discuss options for leave usage with your supervisor and the BHSU Human Resources Office at 642-6549.   

Thank you for your flexibility as this situation continues to evolve.  

President Nichols



BHSU Employees:

Thank you for all you are doing to ensure our students have access to their classes and can stay on track with their educational goals. The coronavirus pandemic is challenging all of us to be innovative and creative in our work and home life. I’m gratified to hear so many examples of how the BHSU community is responding and providing exceptional service to our students and ensuring the campus needs are being addressed.

Yesterday the Governor extended remote working arrangements for state employees.  As a follow up, during a daily conference call held with University Presidents and Board of Regents staff, it was decided to extend the current status of working remotely through May 15. Please maintain regular contact with your supervisor as we work through the challenges of working remotely for this extended time period.  Supervisors should be in contact with each employee who reports to him/her and be providing work assignments and expectations.  While the work is happening at home, we need to continue essential functions so the University continues operations. 

A group of “essential employees” are working on campus and some essential employees are working remotely and are “on call” to come to campus. Please note that the classification of employees who are “essential” and “non-essential” can change at any time depending on what is needed on campus. This is a fluid classification. Please stay in contact with your supervisor and you will be notified if your position changes from nonessential to essential (or vice versa).

We appreciate everyone’s flexibility and hard work as we transition through this unexpected change. We know it’s difficult but please continue to practice social distancing and remaining at home as much as possible as we do our part to flatten the curve of coronavirus spread.

Please let me know if you have questions and concerns.


Laurie S. Nichols 




The Board of Regents office, in consultation with the six University Presidents, have determined that all Regental institutions including BHSU will continue with our current staffing plan again next week (March 23-27).  “Essential” personnel will report to work (or in some cases work from home and be on-call). “Non-essential” personnel will work from home. Please continue to work closely with your supervisor on details such as work expectations while you work from home.  In addition, expect that modifications may be needed to those employees who are considered to be “essential” or “non-essential” in classification.

Spring semester classes will resume on Monday, March 23, but will be delivered via distance or on-line.   Academic support services will be available to students and faculty, and residence halls will be open to those students who need to return to campus.

I appreciate all you are doing to ensure we are ready to have classes available online starting Monday, March 23rd and continuing through April 3. This continues to be a changing situation and I’ve been in regular contact with the Board of Regents staff, state officials, and others to make decisions as needed. 

I continue to be impressed with the high level of adaptability by our faculty and staff. This is unprecedented and it’s gratifying to see the quick responses and positive approach by our faculty, staff and students.

Monument Health announced this morning that they now have drive-through COVID-19 testing available for those who are concerned that they may have symptoms. There’s still a need to qualify for the testing. Please call 1-800-279-1466 for the Monument Health Hotline and Triage.

Residence Life continues to work with students as needed for housing and with questions.  Foodservice is available at the Student Union, but with modified service due to the virus.

The www.BHSU.edu/COVID19 page continues to be updated on a regular basis. Events are being updated on the Campus Calendar (www.BHSU.edu/calendar) as cancellations and postponement decisions are made. Send changes to web@bhsu.edu  Faculty and staff are encouraged to consider possible virtual options for events and meetings. I’ve decided to keep the March 30th Town Hall meeting and host that through Zoom. I hope you will join us for the discussion.


Laurie Nichols

Please note:

  • The Library is closed for the remainder of the week and will be open next week for students.
  • The Young Center will remain closed this week and next.
  • The last day to drop a full-term class and receive a W grade has been extended from April 6 to April 14. Through April 6, students can drop using SNAP Self-Service. During the extended period of April 7 through April 14, students will need to contact the Registrar's office in order to drop a class. The point of contact is Brenna.Sadowski@bhsu.edu.
  • If you have traveled more than 100 miles from Spearfish since March 1, 2020, please complete the Travel Reporting form.  Knowing the locations of where our community members have traveled will help us monitor and keep our community safe should this virus reach campus.




Thank you for your immediate attention to the message on Friday and for your flexibility in seeking innovative ways to work remotely for the next week. It’s important for all of us to do our part to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in coordination with the Governor and the President’s emergency designations.

A small group of us met yesterday to discuss plans and identify essential personnel who will address specific needs during the extension of Spring Break. All essential personnel have been contacted by their supervisors with more detailed instructions for the week. (There will NOT be a meeting for essential personnel on Monday morning.)

If you have not been notified, you’ll be working remotely as non-essential personnel. Please see the FAQ below with answers to some of the questions you probably already have. This is a developing situation so the guidelines may adapt as we move forward.  Non-essential personnel are encouraged not to come to campus this week. Facilities Services will be doing a deep cleaning of the campus.


Laurie Nichols


Should I come to campus?

If your supervisor has NOT asked you to come to campus, you should work remotely this week. If you need something from campus, you can retrieve it but you are encouraged not to be on campus. Essential employees have been contacted by their supervisors with specifics.

Faculty: It’s preferred that you work remotely if possible.  If you need to come to your office for access to laboratory, computer, software, etc., that’s okay. Try to minimize your time on campus and while on campus stay in your lab/office with the door shut. Limit social interaction as well as use of public spaces such as the hallway, restroom, etc.

What tasks should I do?

Work with your supervisor to determine your priorities this week. Both essential and non-essential employees are still expected to work.  The location is the only thing that differs. Essential employees who are working at home may be asked to come into the office.  The University will be open for normal business hours; those working from home are expected work those hours. Please have your office phone forwarded to your home or cell phone.

Is the campus closed?

No. The campus is open on a limited basis staffed by essential employees.  BHSU should provide services as normal as possible. Some locations are closed including the Young Center, the Little Jackets Learning Center, and Einstein Bros. Bagels. 

How long will I be working from home?

The decision has been made for this week. Evaluation is on-going and when additional decisions are made, that will be communicated through email and on the website.

What about my timesheet for this month?

Timesheets must be submitted on SNAP by Monday, March 23 by 9:00 a.m. MT.  All approvals must be in that same day by 2:00 p.m. MT.  Supervisors need to work with their employees on submitting their timesheets appropriately.  Both essential and non-essential employees who are working next week, no matter the location, will submit as they normally would.  



Greetings BHSU Faculty and Staff,

Following Governor Noem’s executive order of a state of emergency, BHSU is instituting several initiatives designed to help minimize the spread of COVID-19. 

  • Employees are being asked to work from home, except essential personnel, for one week (beginning at 5 p.m. today and ending at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 20).
  • Today, please take whatever you will need to complete your work at home and forward office phones to remote location.
  • Please clean off your desk and working space; deep cleaning will take place next week.
  • If your office is fully staffed by non-essential personnel, your office will be closed next week. Before you leave today, post a note on your door with a number the public may call in order to reach staff.
  • All work-related out-of-state travel for next week is cancelled.

Essential personnel:

Essential personnel will be notified by Sunday afternoon with additional details and plans for a Monday morning meeting. Essential personnel may also be able to work from home, if that’s a viable option.

Thank you for continued patience and dedication during this time of uncertainty. Please take care of yourself and your family. Continue to check your email and the www.BHSU.edu/COVID19 website for additional updates. I appreciate all you do for BHSU.

Laurie Nichols 



Good afternoon,

As you know, South Dakota has its first confirmed cases of COVID-19.  Black Hills State University and the Board of Regents are working closely with the SD Department of Health and other agencies to ensure that we have a safe and healthy workplace.  We will make every effort to keep you informed as this fluid situation continues to evolve. Our goal is to communicate effectively, and work together to ensure we can do our jobs and care for our families.

The University leadership and Board of Regents have elected to extend the break for students from classes through March 20, 2020, to allow for further assessment of the COVID-19 situation, and prepare for alternate operations on campus should the need arise. Faculty and staff should report to work as scheduled.   

We understand that the spread of COVID-19 may impact you and your families whether related to work changes, school and daycare closures, or illness. Should these things happen, please discuss options for leave usage and/or working remotely with your supervisor and human resources office.  

Success will require all of us to be flexible, patient, and understanding as the situation develops. Please communicate with your supervisor and human resources office if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 or have recently traveled to a highly impacted area. If you are immune compromised or believe you or a member of your household may have the virus or is diagnosed with COVID-19, please work with your medical provider to determine next steps and communicate your needs with your supervisor and the human resources office.

In response to this health event, all non-essential international travel will be cancelled, and domestic travel will be limited and evaluated on a case by case basis, until further notice. We will continue to work with the Department of Health to provide guidance on decisions related to travel for work and protocols for return.  If necessary, we are committed to supporting our employees and intend to utilize short-term remote work strategies where possible for individual positions and circumstances. 

Please take common sense steps to limit the COVID-19 virus’ impact on you and others:

  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Cover your mouth with tissues when you sneeze and immediately discard them in the trash
  • Avoid people who are sick with respiratory symptoms
  • Frequently clean touched surfaces

If you experience symptoms (ex. cough, fever, or shortness of breath), please call your primary care provider before going to the clinic or another facility. If you do not have a primary care provider, we recommend utilizing telemedicine options included in our health plan. The state health plan will cover 100% of the costs for lab tests related to COVID-19 diagnosis. It will also cover medical expenses connected to a COVID-19 diagnosis under normal plan benefits.

Additional information about COVID-19 is available from the Department of Health or Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Direct your questions for your specific situation to your supervisor or human resources office.  

Thank you for your help and flexibility as this situation continues to evolve.  

Kayla Bastian
System Director of Human Resources
SD Board of Regents

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-quarantine, the employee and supervisors should follow CDC travel health guidance related to voluntary self-quarantine or not returning to work for the period of time advised. If an employee self-quarantines based on these guidelines and/or is required to stay at home and self-isolate due to testing positive, they should work with their supervisor, as well as BHSU Human Resources to determine the appropriate course of action. If the position is one that has the ability to work remotely, and can effectively do so, the supervisor may allow them to work from home for the time period they are advised to quarantine. If working remotely is not an option the employee would need to utilize the available approved leave options which may include Emergency Paid Sick Leave, Comp Time accruals, Sick Leave accruals, and/or Annual Leave accruals. The employee should monitor their health during travel and for the recommended 14 days after return. Supervisors and employees should contact BHSU Human Resources with any 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