The University of Southern California will resume in-person classes for the fall semester, officials announced Tuesday, with face coverings a mandatory requirement.
The semester will begin on Aug. 17, a week earlier than originally scheduled, according to an announcement from university president Carol Folt. The university transitioned to online instruction in mid-March as concern over COVID-19 spread increased.
All classes and final exams will end before the Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 26 and the fall break will be eliminated.
“By ending the semester before Thanksgiving, we are aiming to minimize the spread of the virus, particularly as the flu season commences,” Folt’s statement said.
The university president said that the plan is contingent on a number of factors, including the continued spread of COVID-19, and health orders from state and local authorities.
“So, things could change, but we are excited to move forward and to have you back,” she said, adding that the university is also working on a contingency plan in case there is another surge in COVID-19 cases.
Almost every undergraduate in-person class will also be offered online to provide flexibility, according to the statement. Some will offer a mix of both online and in-person aspects, such as an online lecture with in-person discussion or lab sessions.
Meanwhile, graduate and professional programs are developing their own calendars, and they may differ from university-wide programming.
“Each member of our community will be asked to agree in writing to follow campus and public health policies and guidelines, if they wish to return to campus activities,” Folt said.
Orientation for new students will begin the week of August 10 and will be conducted online.
Information on registration and move-in dates for housing will be made available soon, according to Folt. Residence halls and on-campus dining facilities will be altered to reduce density.
USC announced on May 14 that it was increasing tuition by 3.5% for the 2020-2021 academic year whether or not classes were to be held online.