USC launches initiative to prepare to reopen campus

The University has launched Project Restart, an initiative comprising faculty, staff and student working groups, to offer recommendations regarding the return to classes in the fall, Provost Charles Zukoski announced in a communitywide email Thursday. Remote instruction will still continue through both summer sessions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

USC will continue to offer all degree programs and courses during the fall semester, according to the email. The University is looking into several possible scenarios for the return to campus and plans to release more information next month.

“We are planning for a full return to campus operations when it is safe to do so, including all academic programs, athletics, and large-scale gatherings,” the email read. “Most importantly, our commitment to providing an exceptional education, in and out of the classroom, is unchanged.”

Most or all classes will offer online equivalents next semester, the email read. Administrators are working to plan for populations with unique circumstances, including at-risk students and faculty, people with disabilities and international students who may not be able to return by August due to visa restrictions.

“Our goal is to make our restart as safe, efficient, and speedy as possible, and, as you can imagine, the logistics of bringing back tens of thousands of people with different needs are very complex,” the email read.

Project Restart is composed of more than 100 members divided into committees including a public health policy advisory, undergraduate and graduate programs and an academic quality work group. 

Only employees who have received permission to return to work on campus may do so, according to the email. As of now, the California stay-at-home order has been loosened for several low-risk businesses, but no changes to campus access or nonessential University workers’ resumption of in-person activities have been announced.