Dear Trojan Community,
We are pleased to confirm that USC will resume in-person learning as planned on Monday, January 24. Between 70 to 80 percent of our students already have returned to their USC housing, both on and off campus. We are grateful to our faculty and staff who have been working hard to keep our community tested and safe during these past two weeks.
As many of you have been reading, Omicron cases have started to decline on our campuses, in the surrounding community, and across California, which is good news. It may take some time, however, before case counts drop to levels we saw during the fall. While Omicron causes less severe illness for many, it is still highly infectious. That means some members of our community are testing positive, in quarantine, or dealing with illnesses or exposures within their households.
We are committed to supporting those in our community who may be managing these situations and preventing spread, and we all need to adjust our expectations as we come back. You should expect that some classes may temporarily move online until they can be conducted safely in person. Each school, working with our health officials, will have the discretion to de-densify workspaces and move a class online – even outdoors – for a short period of time, if needed. The deans are working hard to ensure that faculty have the resources and flexibility to manage their classes so that there is no interruption to students’ educational progress.
Other campus services likely will be a little slower than normal due to personnel shortages or because departments have been given the ability to reduce density in the workplace, so it might take longer to answer a phone and some offices may not be fully staffed. We ask for your continued patience and understanding as we manage our return and do everything we can to continue to keep our campuses safe for our students, staff, faculty, and communities.
We are going ahead with in-person Spring New Student Convocation on Tuesday (also streamed online) with enhanced safety protocols, including spacing and masking, because it will take place in Bovard Auditorium. Please know that in the next few weeks some events may need to be rescheduled or cancelled on short notice.
Maintaining in-person learning, maintaining continuity of research, and returning to a full slate of activities are priorities that require everyone coming together and taking the necessary steps to protect each other. Our community expectations include:
- Being up to date on your COVID-19 vaccination and boosters. Please update your vaccination records on MySHR to ensure continued access to campus.
- Following the university’s masking guidelines at all times. While indoors or in crowded outdoor spaces, you must wear a surgical mask, KN95, or N95; cloth face coverings by themselves are no longer permitted.
- Adhering to testing guidelines for all students, faculty, and staff.
- Completing your TrojanCheck every day before accessing campus.
- If you are sick, please stay home and get tested for COVID-19. Students, faculty, and staff who test positive should notify USC Student Health immediately through the COVID-19 hotline at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow these instructions for a positive test.
We will, of course, continue to closely monitor the situation, seek input and follow guidelines from our public health experts, and follow guidance from state and county health authorities. If you have questions regarding COVID-19 protocols, please contact the COVID-19 response center at (213) 740-6291, or email@example.com.
In closing, we all need to be flexible as we navigate the challenges of this latest phase of the pandemic. Be good to one another and find ways to demonstrate kindness, understanding, and grace despite the challenges. With everyone’s cooperation, we will have a successful semester and come out of this stronger.
Charles F. Zukoski
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Sarah Van Orman, MD, MMM, FACHA
Chief Health Officer, USC Student Health, Division Chief for College Health, Keck School of Medicine of USC
cc: Office of the President
President’s Senior Leadership Team
Provost’s Leadership Team