Masks optional on campus beginning May 10
Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to our students this semester. Saturday’s commencement marks the conclusion of the academic year. I congratulate the students who are completing their degree as well as the faculty and staff who provided added support during a most unusual year.
A Board of Regents system-level protocol that required face coverings in all public indoor spaces on campus since last fall is ending and all six public universities are becoming mask optional.
At BHSU, plans are in place to transition to normal campus operations on Monday, May 10th. Several changes will be made starting this coming Monday:
• Facemasks will be optional for all buildings on campus in Spearfish and Rapid City.
• Summer camps and other events will be held on campus throughout the summer months.
• COVID approved work-from-home accommodations will end and all employees will return to working from their assigned office or work place.
If you have not already received your vaccination, I highly encourage you to get vaccinated. Vaccinations are readily available in Spearfish and Rapid City.
We will continue to monitor the situation and respond accordingly. I wish you all a wonderful summer.
President Laurie Nichols
Students and Employees who have a positive COVID-19 test are asked to fill out this secure private form to self-report your case.
If you are experiencing any COVID -19 symptoms:
Please call Student Health Services at 605-642-6520 or 605-642-6406 if first line is busy. The staff there will assist you in getting tested. Alternatively, you can email Sara.Gottlob@bhsu.edu and she will respond by the next day.
In partnership with Monument Health, Department of Health and the State of South Dakota, BHSU has arranged for students to be tested free of charge through the Monument Health COVID testing drive-through locations in Spearfish and Rapid City.
We have created a FAQ page to answer your questions. If you have a question not covered there, our admissions staff is happy to answer your questions by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 605.642.6131.
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 U.S. Department of State has a website with travel notices and updates.
Like anything in life, nothing is a 100% guarantee, but with your help and cooperation, we’re confident that our residence halls will continue to be a safe, healthy, and educational living environment.
Due to increase in Covid cases, BHSU is cancelling events and adding mitigation efforts
With more than 40 COVID cases at BHSU and a significant jump this week, we are increasing mitigation efforts to reduce further spread of COVID.
The CDC recently updated their close contact definition, noting that 15 minutes cumulatively (rather than consecutively) is now considered a close contact. Please note this and make necessary changes. Keep a 6-foot distance and wear your mask. See CDC guidelines.
We will watch our active COVID cases closely next week and adapt this plan accordingly. It is my hope that we can relax these more stringent requests as cases begin to decline. With four more weeks of on-campus classes for fall semester, it’s important that we work together to flatten the curve and reduce our numbers of COVID cases. Thank you for everything you do to keep each other safe from the transmission of the virus.
President Laurie S. Nichols
We are looking forward to the Fall 2020 semester. In less than a month, we’ll be welcoming students back to campus.
BHSU is following South Dakota Board of Regents protocol concerning face masks on campus. The SD BOR has announced a tiered approach for campuses. See details about Levels 1 through 4 below. All campuses will begin the semester at Level 3 which requires face masks in all public indoor spaces on campus.
All Faculty and staff will be provided with a BHSU branded face mask. Masks will also be available at the University Bookstore before the semester begins.
The current level (and details) will be available at www.BHSU.edu/MaskUp. Throughout the semester campuses may be at differing tiers depending on the situation on their campus and in their communities. If BHSU recommends making a change in level, that recommendation will be forwarded to SD BOR Executive Director Brian Maher who will make the final decision and communicate changes to the Board.
In addition, BHSU has been proactive in other ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. These measures have included determining classroom capacity to allow for appropriate distancing, modifying classroom layouts, managing section sizes, utilizing hybrid options for classes and advising hours, and creating classroom sanitation guidelines on the Spearfish campus and at Black Hills State University-Rapid City.
See the BOR announcement
Read the SD BOR full guidelines
Level 1: Face masks required in all classroom/lab settings in which the course delivery/experience necessitates close proximity and/or physical contact, leaving CDC recommended social distancing inherently impractical. Courses impacted at this level are those which require individuals to be in close proximity for hands-on teaching and learning, equipment use, practical experiences, etc., and would include, but aren’t limited to:
Level 2: Face masks required in all public areas of buildings on campus in which courses/labs are held (e.g., classrooms, hallways and common areas). In addition to the classroom/lab buildings, Level 2 also requires the wearing of face masks in other indoor campus settings in which 30 or more individuals congregate/interact and maintaining CDC recommended social distancing is difficult (e.g., grab and go in the dining facility, large indoor meetings/events, hallways which are congested during certain time periods, etc.). If in effect, each institution shall identify and post on its web page the common areas on campus subject to, and the requirements of, the Level 2 protocol, to include the process for requesting an accommodation in accordance with the ADA or other applicable law.
Level 3: Face masks required in all public indoor spaces on campus. If in effect, each institution shall post on its web page the areas on campus subject to, and the requirements of, the Level 3 protocol, to include the process for requesting an accommodation in accordance with the ADA or other applicable law.
Level 4: Face masks required in all public indoor and outdoor areas on campus. If in effect, each institution shall post on its web page the areas of campus subject to, and the requirements of, the Level 4 protocol, to include the process for requesting an accommodation in accordance with the ADA or other applicable law.
A Message to BHSU Students from Provost Priscilla Romkema
Dear BHSU Students:
We are looking forward to welcoming you back to campus in August and have been making plans and preparations to do that in a manner that provides for the health and safety of our campus and community.
The 2020 Fall Semester COVID-19 Task Force Recommendations are available. Please check this page frequently for updates and additional resources.
Over the next six weeks we will be releasing weekly videos in the Campus e-Update that will provide details about our plans for Fall 2020. Please make sure to check your emails every Tuesday afternoon for important information that you’ll need to know for the upcoming school year. We will discuss:
There is uncertainty going forward in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please know that if adjustments to this plan are necessary, we will communicate any changes to you.
Thank you for your patience and perseverance as we navigate this new path together!
Dr. Priscilla Romkema
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Students, faculty and staff,
We have been notified that a staff member who was on campus last week (Woodburn Hall and the Student Union, briefly) has tested positive for COVID-19. These areas are being thoroughly cleaned.
Due to privacy laws, the identity of the individual will not be noted.
If you were in these areas in that time frame, please begin to immediately self-monitor (check your temperature twice a day and watch for symptoms of COVID-19. You should also wear a mask when you are around others. If you develop symptoms, please immediately quarantine yourself and consult your health care provider.
Everyone on campus is encouraged to wear a mask and continue to practice social distancing as we do our part in stopping and slowing the spread of COVID-19. We are all in this together and it’s important that we look out for each other. Please check with your supervisor(s) if you have any questions or concerns.
For faculty or staff who may be struggling with the uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic, our Employee Assistance Program is available.
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:
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 BHSU.edu/MyBHSU for your registration time. Please contact your advisor for assistance.
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.
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: Jennifer.Lucero@BHSU.edu
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:
Dining is open for students to pick up meals at the following times everyday:
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 HelpDesk@BHSU.edu, LiveChat from the popup on https://www.BHSU.edu/IITS/Services/Help-Desk, or via telephone at 605-642-6580.
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 email@example.com.
If you need to find the contact information for BHSU Faculty/Staff, please use the online directory.
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.”
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 John.Ginther@bhsu.edu 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 www.BHSU.edu/COVID19 page for updates. Thank you for your continued adaptability.
Notes for Faculty/Staff:
Please review events scheduled in your area and keep us updated if events are postponed or cancelled. Email changes to web@BHSU.edu and the changes will be noted on the Campus Calendar www.BHSU.edu/calendar.
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 www.BHSU.edu/COVID19. 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.
Guidance to help Prevent the Spread of Infection from the CDC
Guidance if You Are Sick
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) https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html 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 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html 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 https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/ 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:
BHSU continues to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed. Stay updated: http://www.bhsu.edu/COVID19
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.
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 Kim.Nida@BHSU.edu or 605-642-6113 with questions you may have.