BHSU to start earlier and hold classes over some holidays

Black Hills State University is expanding its course offerings this summer to help students,...
Black Hills State University is expanding its course offerings this summer to help students, both incoming and current, and those looking to make a career change to have the most productive summer ever. More than 100 BHSU courses are offered online this summer. (Black Hills State University)(KOTA)
Published: Jun. 3, 2020 at 2:03 PM MDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Black Hills State University, along with the five other Regent universities in South Dakota, will have a modified calendar the Fall 2020 semester.

BHSU plans to start classes on campus Aug. 19, 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 seven instructional days that remain in the fall semester. BHSU classes 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. After the Thanksgiving holiday, students have several non-class days available as they prepare for final exams Dec. 2-8. The BHSU campus will be closed between Christmas and New Year’s Day to facilitate deep cleaning and other preparations for the spring semester.

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 highly recommending face masks are worn by everyone on campus.

BHSU is working with Monument Health to establish protocols that are consistent with guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 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.

Joe Rainboth, BHSU Admissions director, noted that there’s still time to get registered for fall classes. He stated that some students in the Black Hills region have decided to stay closer to home and are enrolling and transferring to BHSU this semester. Students interested in transferring can contact the Admissions office (

) to request a review of their transfer credits.

“I encourage students to continue their higher education plans through this time of uncertainty. Earning a degree, whether it’s an associate, bachelor, or masters level, will open doors to opportunities to begin a new career or advance in your work,” Rainboth said.

Rainboth added that there’s a high level of interest in the Applied Health Sciences two-year degree that is used as a starting point for nursing and other health professional careers. He’s also seen an increased interest in the two-year degree in Business Administration-Management. Both of those programs are offered in Rapid City as well as on the Spearfish campus and have options for online classes.

“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