Most undergraduate classes will be held online, according to an email the Office of the Provost sent to the USC Community Wednesday night.
“While not what we hoped, we are now recommending all undergraduates take their courses online, and reconsider living on or close to campus this semester,” Provost Chip Zukoski and Senior Vice President David Wright wrote in the email. “We are continuing with limited in-person, on-campus activity because we believe we can keep students, researchers, staff, and faculty safe with our low-density plan.”
The letter also stated that a revised class schedule will be available July 8. Some courses will be offered in a hybrid format, splitting time between in-person and online class, and the university anticipates that 10-20% of classes will be fully in-person, on-campus. In-person classes will be limited to courses that require face-to-face interaction (such as labs and performance-based classes) and independent research that requires facilities and equipment students can only access on campus.
This decision comes in the wake of a 52% spike in COVID-19-related hospitalizations in California over the past 14 days. Gov. Gavin Newsom has already shut down indoor activities in 19 counties, including Los Angeles County, this week. The county has not yet approved USC’s plan to return to campus.
On-campus housing will be limited to single-person occupancy, with a number of rooms left vacant to provide emergency quarantine space if necessary. The university is encouraging all students who live in the Los Angeles area—or have classes exclusively online—to consider completing their courses from home. The deadline to back out of USC Housing contracts without losing one’s deposit is July 15.
Given the decreased availability, priority will be given to existing housing applicants who require in-person coursework, those with named scholarship or in athletic programs, those who require special accommodations and international students.
Students will likely be required to make an appointment in order to use campus services such as the student health center, library spaces and dining facilities.
In order to account for proper distancing and sanitization, food at dining halls will be pre-packaged and available through multiple pick-up options, including outdoor distribution.
The email announced the university would offer financial and technical support for domestic and international students with connectivity issues and a new scholarship that can provide for up to two free online classes in the 2021 summer session. More details on these actions will be released in the future.