USC announced students will have three weeks to register classes as Pass/No Pass for the upcoming fall semester in an email from Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Charles Zukoski to USC faculty on Aug. 17.
In a reversal from academic policies adopted during the pandemic, students now have until Sept. 10 to register their classes as Pass/No Pass or drop courses without affecting their transcript.
Following the onset of the pandemic, USC extended the deadline for registering classes as Pass/No Pass during the 2020 spring semester. The university continued the policy throughout the 2020-2021 academic year as classes were held online.
The email stated students will not be required to provide a formal medical excuse to be absent from their classes for reasons related to COVID-19. This includes students who’ve contracted the virus or are feeling unwell, as well as those who may need to self-isolate due to a recent positive exposure.
USC encouraged professors to provide classroom material to students with COVID-related absences.
USC released a faculty FAQ for any classroom-related concerns for the upcoming semester. Classes will continue to be held in person regardless of if a student or multiple students test positive for COVID-19 unless the university provides different instructions.
The Student Health Center will direct students who are feeling unwell to complete and submit the self-verification Absence Excuse form to their instructors. Professors are barred from inquiring about test results, medical information and vaccination statuses due to patient privacy laws.
Fully vaccinated faculty and staff are currently not required to test on a weekly basis.
Provost Zukoski also stressed the importance of protecting free speech and academic freedom on campus in his email. With mask mandates and vaccine requirements creating contention in college campuses and school districts across the nation, USC encouraged faculty to facilitate conversations in their classrooms while adhering to USC’s Code of Ethics.