USC announced Friday it is planning for a full return to campus life in the fall semester, including in-person classes and residential life.
According to an email sent to students by USC President Carol Folt, planning for protective measures such as a campus vaccination operation, testing program and physical distancing measures, as well as classroom and outdoor facility reconfiguration, are already underway.
“Given the decline in cases and the vaccine rollout, we are planning for a full return to campus for the Fall semester, with in-person classes and residential life,'' Folt wrote.
The email cited a decline of more than 80% of new coronavirus cases from the mid-December peak, along with a decrease in hospitalizations, and noted that vaccines are currently in short supply but are expected to improve over the next few weeks.
According to the email, the university's vaccination operation will be able to inoculate up to 1,200 people a day once COVID-19 supplies are more readily available.
While USC does not expect to get approval for in-person classes in the current semester, Folt said the county is expected to update guidelines soon to allow the university to open facilities such as libraries, swimming pools, outdoor recreation areas and study canopies at a reduced capacity.
The USC bookstore opened this week for appointment shopping.
The university is also developing multiple plans for commencement for the classes of 2020 and 2021 and considering options such as using the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for an in-person event with limited guests along with an immersive virtual celebration. The school plans to update its commencement plans in mid-March.
“With conditions improving and vaccine distribution now being ramped up, many of us are feeling a sense of hope about this pandemic that we haven't felt for a long time.” Folt wrote. “We are cautiously optimistic and are doing everything to make sure our plans for a return are fully realized.”
Folt promised regular updates about plans.
“In the meantime, we urge you to continue taking every possible measure to ensure you remain safe and healthy in the coming months,” she wrote.