Colleges continue with online classes to avoid COVID-19

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and the five other state universities will continue with online classes through the end of the spring semester. (KOTA TV)

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN/KOTA TV) - Following Gov. Kristi Noem’s executive order, the six state universities will continue online classes through the end of the spring semester May 8.

Originally, traditional classes were expected to return after a two-week online stint but because of the increasing number of coronavirus cases, online classes will continue.

Students may qualify for credits to their accounts in the following areas:

- 50% housing credit, except for those students approved for emergency housing at the close of the extended spring break;

- Pro-rated credit for meal plans not utilized and full credit on unused flex dollars;

- Pro-rated credit for parking permits, equal to 50% of the spring semester.

Black Hills State University will also postpone its May commencement, combining it with the fall ceremony Dec. 12. The School of Mines and Technology spring commencement is also postponed but a new date has not been announced.

“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.”

BHSU is working to set up a system so students can move out of residence halls. Students may set up appointments to move out seven days a week; with hours ranging from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students who have to stay in the residence halls through the end of the semester will be allowed to do so.

The School of Mines will work with students to retrieve their belongings from residence halls. Students are able to self-select a day to move-out through an email they received. Move-out is available Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through May 8.

“The Board of Regents has made a very difficult decision during an extraordinary time in our history,” says Jim Rankin, president of South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. “The coronavirus pandemic has challenged us in countless ways, but the health and safety of our students, staff, faculty, and community is paramount. We understand the disappointment people must feel, but we will get through this together.”