Communications from Campus

<3/24/20>

South Dakota Mines Moves All Classes Online in Response to COVID-19

As COVID-19 further impacts this state and region, the South Dakota Board of Regents announced effective immediately, all public university courses will continue by remote delivery through the remainder of the spring semester. Face-to-face instruction will not resume this semester.

“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.”

Because state officials anticipate an increase in COVID-19 infections for at least the next eight weeks, spring 2020 commencement ceremonies will be postponed. Further details will be shared as new plans are confirmed.

Our priority is to ensure that instruction continues through the remainder of the spring semester. If a student decides to withdraw completely from the university on or before March 28, the student may qualify for a refund. More information is available at https://www.sdsmt.edu/Emergency/COVID-19-FAQ/#Refunds

South Dakota Mines will work with students to retrieve their belongings from the residence halls, facilitating a move-out process that allows for appropriate social distancing, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More information is available at https://www.sdsmt.edu/Emergency/COVID-19-FAQ/#Housing

All campus events have been canceled through May 15, and all campus buildings and facilities will remain closed to the public and to students.

“We urge our students, faculty and staff to adhere to the recommendations of the CDC and stay home. Social distancing will play a critical role in controlling the spread of this virus,” says Rankin. “It’s important to remember that this isn’t forever. By making these sacrifices now, we speed the progress toward a return to normal. And we very much look forward to having our Hardrockers back on campus next year.”

To learn more about South Dakota Mines response to COVID-19, visit sdsmt.edu/emergency. Students with questions or concerns may email president@sdsmt.edu.


<3/19/20>

Campus continues remote operations in accordance with Governor's Order
Email sent from President Rankin

Dear Campus Community:

South Dakota Mines will continue suspension of campus operations through March 27 per Governor Noem’s updated order (2020-06). 

Employees should follow the guidelines listed below. Each unit’s vice president will provide guidance regarding essential and non-essential personnel.  

Essential Personnel

  • Essential personnel who must perform their work on site should report to work as scheduled unless directed otherwise.
  • Essential personnel that are able to perform their job duties remotely must work remotely.

Non-essential Personnel

  • Non-essential personnel should not physically report to campus and are ordered to work remotely, if possible.  

All campus buildings and facilities will remain closed to the public and to students. Several student services are available online including the library, counseling, and the career center. 

At this time, there is no change to the online class schedule. Mines will continue with the plan to offer classes remotely March 23-April 3. The BOR and presidents will review this plan on Friday, March 27, to determine if this should be extended.  

Again, we strongly recommend students, faculty, and staff remain off campus. If necessary, faculty and staff may come in to get materials, record lectures, or upload documents for online delivery and to ensure items get mailed, processed, etc. but please check with your supervisor before coming to campus. Student organizations and teams, as well as departments, are encouraged to meet virtually and should not come to campus for meetings.

We appreciate everyone’s patience as this situation continues to unfold. Remember to check the FAQs on our website for information and updates.

Best, 

Jim Rankin, PhD PE

President
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology


<3/16/20>

South Dakota Mines Goes to Online Classes March 23-April 3
Email sent from President Rankin

Like other universities around the nation, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is taking steps to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Effective March 23, 2020, the university will transition to online delivery for all courses for a period of two weeks. Course delivery will occur primarily through D2L and Zoom. Given the fluid situation and recent guidelines from the CDC, the Board of Regents and campus presidents will review the situation weekly and decide whether to extend the online delivery for an additional time. We plan to allow faculty, staff, and students a two-week notice before face-to-face classes resume.

This week, March 15-21, we have suspended most campus operations per Governor Noem and directed non-essential personnel to work remotely. On-campus student activities such as CAMP projects, EPICS projects, senior design projects are also suspended this week. The campus will resume operations on March 22. Students should not resume campus activities until further notice.

If you are currently off-campus, we strongly recommend you stay where you are, including those living off-campus in Rapid City, until in-person classes resume. If you are living on campus and can return home, we recommend you do this. Students who have no other options can remain in the residence halls. Please ensure your options do not compromise the health of loved ones who may be in a high-risk category.

Although classes will not be taught face-to-face in the coming weeks, campus will open on March 22 to ensure South Dakota Mines is able to fulfill its educational and research mission. Faculty, staff, and researchers should report to work as usual on March 23. Keep in mind the latest CDC guidelines and general precautions to remain healthy (do not come to campus if you are sick).

Student services are available and university offices can be contacted via email and phone. Check the online directory for contact information. Course instructors will be in contact with students concerning updated plans for any exams previously scheduled for March 16-20, along with completion of laboratory and project-based coursework, and any changes to the syllabus.

Again, this schedule change will not affect the remaining semester calendar which will conclude at the end of finals week, which is May 8, 2020.

We are facing a situation that is unprecedented in recent history. We recognize the move to online classes poses challenges for many. We will strive to provide a top-quality education to all students despite these challenges. As scientists and engineers, we pride ourselves in tackling difficult problems. We hope the Mines community will come together, be patient, and work to build the best outcome possible in this difficult time.

Please remember things are changing quickly. Thank you for your patience as we assess the situation, make decisions, and communicate to campus. Stay up to date on campus announcements at  https://www.sdsmt.edu/emergency/


<3/13/20>

Campus moves to remote operations in accordance with Governor's Order
Email sent from President Rankin 

Dear Campus Community:

Although there are no presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus, SD Mines business operations will be conducted remotely from 12:00 am on Sunday, March 15 to 11:59 pm Saturday, March 21 in accordance with Governor Noem’s Executive Order 2020-05. As a result, all campus buildings will be closed to the public. All work-related, out-of-state travel scheduled during the timeframe above is prohibited.

Employees should follow the guidelines listed below. Each unit’s vice president will provide guidance regarding essential and non-essential personnel.  

Essential Personnel

  • Essential personnel who must perform their work on site should report to work as scheduled unless directed otherwise.
  • Essential personnel that are able to perform their job duties remotely must work remotely.

Non-essential Personnel

  • Non-essential personnel should not physically report to campus and are ordered to work remotely, if possible.  

Employees working remotely next week should take what they need before they leave today. Please plan to check office voicemails frequently or forward office phones to cell phones. All employees not taking administrative leave should report hours as normal. 

Faculty need to continue preparing for online course delivery from home if possible. All ITS training for D2L and Zoom will continue as scheduled and will be offered via Zoom.

Research activity can continue as needed. 

Students who are living in the residence halls will continue to have access to dining services.  

All admissions and athletic visits for next week have been cancelled. 

Please continue to reference our coronavirus resource page at https://www.sdsmt.edu/emergency/and monitor your email for additional updates, which will be shared as often as possible.


<3/12/2020>

University COVID-19 response
Email sent from President Rankin
 

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff, 

COVID-19 is causing challenges for universities and campus communities that we all are working to address. It’s important that we are patient and that we pull together to help one another. Mines has been closely following the latest developments and information about COVID-19 while working through plans for managing our operations forward to reduce the risk to our community and our region. I want to be up front and say that we do not yet have all the answers to the questions you likely have at this point. Please check the coronavirus emergency webpage regularly for updates. We will also communicate via email when new developments arise.

As you know, there have been confirmed cases in South Dakota; however, there are no presumptive or confirmed cases on campus.Our primary goal is to minimize the impact of COVID-19 to the health of our community. We will also strive to deliver on our education mission. We want our students to complete the spring semester and to stay on schedule to graduation.

UNIVERSITY ACTIONS

SPRING BREAK EXTENSION & UNIVERSITY OPERATIONS

Spring break will be extended to March 20 and there will be no academic instruction during that time period. The extension will provide additional time to assess our academic and campus operations. Classes will resume on Monday, March 23. We strongly urge students to stay home and not return to campus until then. However, we realize some students may not have an alternative. For these students, the residence halls and dining services will reopen at 8:00 am on March 15. Additional information will be sent directly to students living in the residence halls and apartments. 

This schedule change will not affect the remaining semester calendar which will conclude at the end of finals week, which is May 8, 2020.

The university will remain open. Faculty, staff, and researchers should continue to report to work as usual, keeping in mind general precautions to remain healthy (do not come to work if you’re sick). Human Resources will send additional information.

At this time, ITS and academic departments are preparing for online course delivery if that option becomes necessary. These efforts include ensuring that we have the tools, training, and support needed to move seamlessly to this mode of course delivery. 

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS AND GUIDANCE

All university-affiliated international travel is suspended until further notice.

Anyone (faculty, staff, students) traveling from a high-risk area or country subject to a Level 2 or 3 Travel Health Notice from the CDC is required to self-quarantine for 14 days off campus prior to returning to Mines.

All non-essential, university-affiliated domestic travelis suspended until further notice. Travel deemed essential will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. For questions about what qualifies as essential and non-essential travel, please contact the appropriate VP from your unit.

We ask all members of our campus community (faculty, staff, students) to limit their personal out-of-state travel, and to avoid the high-risk U.S. cities and states currently hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. As of this writing, the CDC is reporting the highest reported infection numbers in the states of California, Washington and New York.

All non-essential personal travel to international destinations is strongly discouraged at this time. As stated, anyone traveling from a country subject to a Level 2 or 3 Travel Health Notice from the CDCwill be required to self-quarantine for 14 days off campus prior to returning to Mines. All travelers returning from other international destinations are asked to self-quarantine off campus for 14 days prior to returning to Mines. This will allow time to assess your health situation and symptoms, as well as emerging information on possible infections connected to your travel destinations, flights and more. 

The CDC is offering very explicit warningsabout planned travel aboard cruise ships. In keeping with their guidance, Mines is advising against cruise ship travel. 

If you have any issues, students can contact the Dean of Students and faculty/staff can contact Human Resources.

CAMPUS EVENTS AND VISITORS

Today and in the days and weeks ahead, we will be carefully reviewing events scheduled to take place on campus. If these events are non-time critical or non-essential in nature, we may ask that they be held virtually or postponed. We will provide a daily update as decisions are made.

As previously stated, visitors traveling from a country subject to a Level 2 or 3 Travel Health Notice from the CDC will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days off campus prior to visiting Mines.

If you have an event planned that is not included on the university calendar or was not scheduled via the scheduling office, please contact the scheduling office so it can be reviewed.

For cancellations, see www.sdsmt.edu/emergency

PRESERVING YOUR HEALTH—AND OUR COMMUNITY’S WELL-BEING

PREVENTION

Previous campus updates have detailed the ways in which we can individually and collectively take steps to help our community stay as healthy as possible. Please continue to follow these simple, basic practices, which include frequent handwashing, covering your cough with a tissue or inner elbow, and staying home when sick. On campus, Facilities Services has been doing a deep clean of all common areas and classrooms.

IF YOU’RE NOT FEELING WELL

If you have been exposed to COVID-19, have the flu or a fever, please do not report to work. Human Resources will be sending information soon.

As stated above, our primary goal is to minimize the impact of COVID-19 to the health of our community and to our ability to deliver on our education mission. I ask all of you to commit to doing what is needed to meet that goal, recognizing that it will likely cause disruption to and deviation from our normal routines and practices.

Thank you for your attention, care and concern. Please continue to reference our coronavirus resource page at https://www.sdsmt.edu/emergency/and monitor your email for additional updates, which will be shared as often as possible.