11/18: Spring COVID-19 Safety Planning

To: USC Community

From: Sarah Van Orman, MD, MMM, FACHA, Chief Health Officer for USC Student Health, Division Chief for College Health, Keck School of Medicine of USC

David Wright, Senior Vice President, Administration

Date: November 18, 2020

Subject: Spring COVID-19 Safety Planning

Dear USC Community,

We hope this finds you healthy, safe, and well. As we near the conclusion of the Fall semester, we want to take this opportunity to share an update regarding COVID-19 safety and operational measures planned for the Spring semester.

Spring 2021 will begin remotely
As you heard from Provost Charles Zukoski last week, we will likely begin the Spring semester remotely. While we hope for a different outcome, cases are again surging across Los Angeles County, and it is unlikely that bringing additional students to campus will be advisable for the near future. We are, however, continuing to prepare our physical spaces for in-person attendance in academic instruction and activities; if and when conditions improve, the University will be ready to safely re-introduce additional in-person activities.

Living on or near our campuses in Spring 2021
Given current public health guidance, USC Housing is not able to accept applications for new residents for the Spring semester at this time. Students who were previously granted a hardship exception this Fall are permitted to continue living in university housing for the Spring.

We know that a number of you are considering leases in private housing near campus. Given the surge in cases that resulted in our need to begin the semester remotely, our advice is to stay in your current environment and delay entering into a binding lease agreement for local housing.

Health requirements
The University is taking steps to maximize the health and safety of our campus communities for the time when we are able to increase campus density. For the Spring 2021 semester, all USC students will be required to update their current addresses in OASIS by January 15, 2021.

Students residing locally on or near campuses and on-site employees will be eligible for access to university facilities and services—including isolation and quarantine facilities and COVID-19 testing—as permitted by the University and approved by local public health officials, provided they meet the requirements for access:

  1. Immunizations, including influenza
  2. Required COVID-19 testing
  3. Completion of symptom check systems (Trojan Check), and
  4. Compliance with student conduct expectations and policies

Additional information on these four requirements follows:

1) Immunizations: All USC students will be required to complete their required immunizations. Measles and mumps (often combined with rubella as a two-dose MMR vaccination), varicella (chicken pox), meningococcal disease (for students under 21), TB tests (for students from specific international countries), and the seasonal influenza (flu). Additional requirements apply to students in the health professions degree programs.

Students are strongly recommended to complete vaccination requirements in advanceofthe Spring semester. For students who are unable to receive vaccines in their home locations, vaccinations will be available by appointment only in USC Student Health. As previously announced, all on-site faculty and staff are required to complete the seasonal influenza (flu) requirement through the end of the Spring 2021 semester.

2) Surveillance Population Testing: Undergraduate students who reside in USC Housing or come onto our campuses will be required to test twice weekly for COVID-19. Graduate and professional students, faculty, and staff who come onto our campuses will be required to test once weekly. These required tests will be provided by the University at no cost to our current students, faculty, and staff. Additional details on testing operations will be announced in December.

Keck Medicine of USC employees will continue to be supported through their established protocols involving daily screening, ensuring appropriate PPE and distancing is maintained throughout facilities, and rigorous contact tracing and testing based on exposure tracking through Employee Health Services. Practices are routinely evaluated for effectiveness, and adjustments are made where appropriate.

3) Symptom Check (Trojan Check): Just as we currently require for the Fall semester, all students, employees, and visitors this coming Spring will be required to complete a daily symptom check prior to entering facilities on our campuses. In order to access Trojan Check, students and employees must first complete the appropriate “Health, Hygiene and Safety” online module, accessible through Trojan Learn.

4) Expectations and Policies: Shared Accountability: For those who are currently living or working on or near our campuses, as well as for all of you we hope to welcome back soon, you are accountable for prioritizing the health and safety of those around you. All students, faculty, and staff coming onto our campuses must agree to uphold the Trojan Commitment , a pledge to abide by a set of safeguards that maximize the health and safety of the entire USC community.

Student fees
Given the continuing economic impact this pandemic is having on students, the University has extended to the Spring 2021 semester only, its prior reduction of combined central student fees of $100, including health and activities fees. Student health care services and programs will continue to be available in person and remotely, and the University will continue to offer engagement opportunities through virtual live events, performances, speakers, and more.

In-person events and gatherings
The current Los Angeles public health orders include restrictions on events and gatherings. In alignment with these directions, USC has prohibited all university-sponsored on and off-campus events until we receive further public health guidance. Gatherings are defined by the County of Los Angeles and by the University as more than two people within six feet of each other for 15 minutes or longer. The only exceptions that may be granted for the near future are related to instruction, training, and operations that are considered essential. For additional details, please consult the official university guidance.

We will keep you apprised of any further developments. In the meantime, we hope you continue to stay safe and stay well during the Winter break.