A month after announcing a return to an in-person fall semester, the University of Southern California has reverted back to mostly online classes.
Undergraduate students will primarily take courses online come August and on-campus housing and activities will be limited, an email from the provost’s office said.
“Public health guidelines continue to change, and Los Angeles County has yet to approve our plans for returning to full campus operations,” the email reads. “Los Angeles is experiencing an alarming spike in coronavirus cases, making it clear we need to dramatically reduce our on-campus density and all indoor activities for the fall semester.”
The university is now recommending all undergraduate students take their courses online, and reconsider living on campus for the semester.
Housing availability will be cut to less than half of normal capacity because the city “expects USC to hold a number of rooms vacant to provide quarantine space should a surge occur during the semester,” the email says. Students were encouraged to cancel their housing contracts by July 15 to get a full refund.
A revised schedule of mostly online classes will become available by July 8. Courses in a hybrid format combing in-person and online instruction will also be offered.
“We anticipate that 10-20 percent of our classes will be conducted in person, on campus,” USC said. “These will be primarily face-to-face labs, studios, performance, and other courses involving hands-on work, and independent research studies that require facilities and equipment only available on campus.”
Plans for graduate programs will be addressed by the individual school and program, the university said.
Financial and technical support for both domestic and international students who have connectivity or hardware issues was set to be expanded through an application process, according to the university.
A new scholarship to provide up to two free online classes in the 2021 summer session will also become available.
And, a new online portal for students is being built “to serve as a virtual quad and promote social engagement,” the university said.
The university announced on June 2 that it planned to resume in-person classes in August with mandatory face coverings and physical distancing in place.