USC lifts mask mandate for fully vaccinated students and employees

The university will have its first in-person classes since Spring 2020 this week.

Ahead of the second summer session, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Charles Zukoski announced in an email to all USC employees that USC will lift its mask mandate, effective immediately, for those who are fully vaccinated and have submitted proof to the USC student health portal.

Students and employees visiting campus still must complete daily symptom self-checks on TrojanCheck as well as provide proof of full vaccination.

Those who are not vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors -- even with TrojanCheck compliance and daily testing -- and may be unable to participate in some activities and events that require fully vaccinated status.

Masks will still be required on public transit and in healthcare settings, including USC shuttle buses and Keck Medicine of USC facilities.

“Our vaccination and masking policies are focused on keeping the Trojan community safe, enabling the university to meet our teaching, research, and community engagement missions, and being compliant with the latest health guidelines,” reads the email.

This announcement follows Los Angeles County and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation of continued mask wearing, regardless of vaccination status, due to the Delta variant of COVID-19.

USC will still encourage mask wearing as an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other airborne illnesses and has not released a comment on the new variant.

According to the email, compliance with USC’s COVID-19 vaccination policy is mandatory and students will be required to update their vaccination status on their student health portal by July 15. The policy “strongly encourages” students and employees to receive the vaccine when eligible. After Aug. 1, exemptions will only be granted for “recognized and approved medical or religious reasons.”

Those who receive the vaccination through USC will automatically satisfy the requirement and those who receive the vaccination at another facility will be required to submit documentation through the student health portal.

Those who fail to comply with the policy will be unable to access USC facilities, campus or housing.

The COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Fall 2021, which was announced on June 18, will require students and employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or submit a medical or religious exemption form by July 15 in order to secure a housing assignment. USC Housing is still evaluating if quarantine arrangements can be made for international arrivals who have housing contracts with the university.

USC is continuing to plan for a full return to in-person activities on campus for the fall semester.