3/10: Update to University Policies and Plans Related to COVID-19

MEMORANDUM

To: USC Community

From: Charles F. Zukoski, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Date: March 10, 2020

Subject: Update to University Policies and Plans Related to COVID-19

We are continuing to monitor closely developments regarding the COVID-19 outbreak with your health and safety at the forefront of our decision-making. Our highest priority is your well-being, and the well-being of anyone who visits our campuses.

While there are no cases of COVID-19 at USC, health authorities announced yesterday the first possible case of community transmission in Los Angeles County. We believe the risk to our students, faculty, and staff remains low, but it is our responsibility to you and our greater community to be proactive in our efforts to encourage social distancing as a means of preventing the spread of illness. At the same time, we are committed to continuing the academic excellence and vital work of the university.

As a result, we are taking the following measures, but please be aware that as we learn more, we may need to make changes to these dates.

  • We made the decision today to continue online classes after Spring Recess, from March 22 through March 29. We encourage students not to return to campus during this time but to take their classes remotely. Accordingly, when departing for Spring Recess, students should take all necessary items essential to continuing their education, such as laptops, textbooks, and study materials.
  • We understand that some students remain on campus during Spring Recess. Residence halls, clinics, libraries, and recreational facilities are following their usual Spring Recess schedules. Please see the link for dining hall hours and locations.
  • All university-sponsored events, on and off campus, between March 11 and March 29 will be canceled or postponed until a later date. Exceptions will be made for academic performances and recitals. Attendance will be limited to the families of participating students. Please contact your dean’s office for information.
  • Intercollegiate athletic events will continue as scheduled on campus but without spectators until March 29. Attendance exceptions will be made for the families of our student-athletes. These events will be streamed so that our Trojan fans can watch online. Athletic events not on our campus will be subject to the attendance policies of the PAC-12, the NCAA, and the host institution.
  • All domestic and international university-related, non-essential travel for students, faculty, and staff is suspended until March 29. 

This is a challenging time for all universities and organizations that bring together a large, highly mobile population, and we appreciate your patience and support as we navigate this uncharted territory. We ask for your patience and collaboration as we work through difficult issues related to the continuity of all of our academic programs.

During Spring Recess, we will assess our classroom and lab experiences in an effort to improve our online instruction. We have already learned that in laboratory and clinical settings, we must follow professional standards and appropriate hygiene, including frequent handwashing and social distancing.

Please check your email regularly during Spring Recess for any updates.

Events
Our events webpage contains additional information.

For university-related event questions, please email studenthealth@usc.edu and your inquiry will be routed to the appropriate department.

Travel
Personal: We strongly advise against personal international travel for students and employees over Spring Recess.

Professional: Only essential professional travel will be allowed for faculty, staff, and graduate students. Essential travel is generally defined as travel that is required to preserve the safety or results of a research subject or research activity that cannot be postponed. All faculty and staff must have written approval from their dean or supervisor for reimbursement of essential travel expenses. Graduate students require written approval from their faculty-sponsor and dean.

Study Abroad: Students who were studying abroad in CDC Level 3 countries have already returned, and the university is closely monitoring the situation in other countries. Any students abroad who wish to return home voluntarily should contact their USC program advisor to discuss their academic continuation options.

Health Notice
Students, faculty, and staff who have been notified by public health authorities or others that they may have had exposure to COVID-19 must follow appropriate self-isolation instructions and notify the university by calling the COVID-19 hotline at 213-740-6291 or by emailing studenthealth@usc.edu.

Please remember to take care of yourself, and use common sense hygiene practices. Please stay home if you are sick, wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cover your cough with your elbow or a tissue, and avoid touching your nose and mouth.

For students who are ill and feel they need medical care, please call or schedule an appointment online at usc.edu/myshr; an advice nurse is available 24/7 by calling 213-740-9355 (WELL). Faculty and staff should contact their personal healthcare provider.

Further Resources
We encourage you to visit the website we have dedicated to this situation. For questions, please call the COVID-19 hotline at 213-740-6291 or emailstudenthealth@usc.edu. For information related to Keck Medicine of USC employees, please see this memo.

cc:
Office of the President
Academic Deans
President’s Senior Leadership Team
Provost’s Leadership Team
Academic Senate
Staff Assembly
GSG President
USG President