What to know: Fall 2020 JacksRBack plans


J. Michael Bertsch, Managing Editor

With just three weeks until the start of the semester, South Dakota State University’s plan moving forward with the Fall 2020 semester covers many elements of on-campus life. 


The South Dakota Board of Regents (SDBOR) has revised the academic calendar to help minimize travel and exposure to COVID-19 while maintaining a 75 class-day academic semester. 

The Fall 2020 academic calendar is now:

  • August 19, Wednesday: Instruction begins
  • September 7, Monday: Labor Day (class day)
  • October 12, Monday: Native American Day (class day)
  • November 11, Wednesday: Veterans Day (class day)
  • November 25, Wednesday: Non-class day
  • November 26-29, Thursday – Sunday: Thanksgiving recess
  • November 30-December 1, Monday – Tuesday: No classes; Final exam preparation
  • December 2-8, Wednesday – Tuesday: Online/remote final exams 

In addition to the updated calendar, the student density within classrooms will be decreased in accordance with CDC guidelines. Changes to courses include:

  • Classes moved to different buildings/rooms on campus
  • Decreases in enrollment capacities for some courses
  • Change of class times
  • Change in course delivery mode

There are three primary delivery modes: 

  • Face-to-face
  • Hybrid courses, both face-to-face classroom and online/remote learning elements
  • 100% online courses, either synchronous or asynchronous

Class schedules and delivery modes are being updated, and students should regularly check their course schedule on Banner to see the status of their courses.

Not only have course schedules changed, but many classrooms have seen an update. Student desks have been moved at least six feet apart in many classrooms and, in rooms where six feet of space isn’t possible, acrylic shields have been erected to separate and protect students. 


Move-in for new students is scheduled Aug. 14-16, whereas returning students can register to move-in Aug. 17-18. All students living on campus must register for their move-in time through MyState. Students moving in are allowed two guests over the age of 18 to assist with moving. 

Residents halls will have the maximum occupancy of shared spaces posted, and all suggest a limit of one person in the elevators at a time. 

On-campus quarantine and isolation housing (QIH) is available in the Wecota annex to any student if they meet any one of the following criteria: 

  • The student has been tested for COVID-19 and believes they are positive until test results are received
  • The student has receive a positive or inconclusive COVID-19 test from a medical professional
  • The student has been notified by any state’s Department of Health of potential exposure.


Textbooks can be purchased online-only through the University Bookstore website. Shipping is free on all orders and is estimated to take an average of five days. Students can also make an appointment to pick up orders from the bookstore after a three-day processing period. 


If a student does not have access to a personal computer, one can be rented for free from the university by completing the technology request form found on MyState. 


All students, faculty and staff at SDSU will receive a JacksRBack kit, containing two face coverings, a digital thermometer, hand sanitizer and multiple COVID-19 information sheets.


SDSU has uploaded several videos to the JacksRBack website to help students, faculty and staff understand the changes coming for Fall 2020. 

Before the start of the Fall 2020 semester, SDSU suggests all students and faculty self-isolate for 14 days before returning to campus.