USC announced a number of returning on-campus activities in an email from the Provost to students on March 5. This follows an email on Feb. 19 announcing that Los Angeles County approved additional on-campus activities, as COVID-19 cases remain much lower than at their January peak.

Since then, the bookstore opened for appointment shopping and recreational sports facilities began reopening on a reservation basis on Feb. 26 for the first time since campus access was restricted in March 2020. 

Effective immediately, school-operated outdoor canopies will be available for small, socially distanced instruction and studios, maker spaces and music and dance rooms will be available for limited capacity and use. Additional information about these facilities will be sent out by individual schools.

Doheny and Levey Libraries will open at a limited capacity on March 15. Students will be required to make reservations for either independent study at Leavey or research in the special collections and archives in Doheny. The email also mentioned that additional reopenings on both the University Park and Health Sciences Campus will be phased throughout the spring and summer semesters.

Students, faculty and staff must make reservations to access these facilities, as well as complete the daily Trojan Check and associated requirements — an influenza vaccination, daily wellness assessment, compliance with COVID-19 testing requirements and COVID-19 training through Trojan Learn.

The university asked that only students who “currently live in communities adjacent to our campus utilize these facilities” due to current CDC and California guidelines to minimize travel. USC has made other efforts to limit travel during the pandemic by eliminating the traditional spring break in favor of wellness days scattered throughout the semester.

Some schools have already begun communicating some plans and programmings.

Dean Willow Bay announced a series of on-campus programs for USC Annenberg students in an email to graduating seniors and graduate students on March 3.

Annenberg’s programming, which kicks off March 8, will range from career advising to pilates sessions intended to support students’ “mental and physical well-being,” Bay wrote in the email.

Each session will be limited to 10 participants in keeping with public health guidelines, and RSVP links were provided in the email.

Dean Bay’s email came a day after President Carol Folt posted a video to Twitter to showcase the new tented areas for outdoor activities on campus.

“We just want you to know it is going to be ready,” Folt said in the video. “We are going to welcome you as soon as you can, and next year we’re going to be together doing all the things that we do as USC and the Trojan family.”

Interim Dornsife College Dean of Undergraduate Education Emily Hodgson Anderson emailed students March 5 plans for co-curricular and extracurricular activities outside on campus.

“We anticipate being sanctioned to permit activities falling under the dual headings of instructional support (office hours or supplementary instruction) and co-curricular events,” Hodgson Anderson wrote.

These events may provide welcome change for the USC community, after almost a year of online school that poses logistical, technological and emotional challenges.

“As we make our way through the spring semester, I want to congratulate you as students on your perseverance thus far,” Hodgson Anderson wrote. “College can often be challenging, and your cohort has handled unprecedented challenges; you have been deprived for almost a year of the social, and often most wonderful, aspects of a college experience.

The email from Provost Charles Zukoski made it clear that these changes are the beginning of resumed campus activities. “We hope to expand campus activities even further in the coming weeks and look forward to welcoming everyone back to campus in Fall 2021,” Zukoski wrote.