June 16, 2021
As the state continues to relax pandemic restrictions, many of you have asked if there is a specific date when USC will return to normal operations. While we are ramping up in-person activities throughout the summer and preparing to welcome students back to campus in August, the simple answer is that there is not one date when we will flip a switch at USC and resume in-person activities. Instead, those dates will be set by individual units through their centrally approved resumption plans. In the coming days, we will provide additional guidance about any changes in campus health requirements, including the use of facial coverings, physical distancing, and Trojan Check. Today, we wanted to share an update on our resumption planning process and vaccination policy.
Individual schools and administrative departments have been asked to create resumption plans that are to be submitted to the Office of the Provost to support fully in-person operations in August (the undergraduate Welcome Experience begins on August 14 and classes start August 23). Once approved, detailed unit plans will be communicated by your respective school or department, including specifics on when, where, and how you will work going forward. Unit leaders have been asked to provide as much notice as possible – no fewer than two weeks – before you are asked to start shifting away from remote work.
As USC prepares for a return to largely in-person activities, we will assess unit plans based on the following priorities:
- Maintaining the excellence of USC’s core mission of education, research, and service
- Ensuring the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors
- Complying with the law and applicable federal, state, and local regulations
In addition to adhering to the three criteria listed above, we have asked school and department resumption plans to weigh how changes will affect employee satisfaction and productivity, financial costs and savings, and environmental sustainability. Because USC is a large and complex organization with both extensive in-person operations and online offerings, there inevitably will be variations in how and where some of you will work.
Finally, we ask for your patience. This planning process is new for the university (as it is for all organizations emerging from the pandemic) and we want to get it right, which will take time and some trial and error. We plan to start slowly and carefully to ensure we are prepared for the impacts of any decisions that are made. It is realistic to expect that these plans will evolve during the next academic year and that there will be adjustments at both the unit and institutional level.
Vaccine Policy – New July 15th Deadline
Finally, as a reminder, compliance with the university’s COVID-19 vaccine policy is mandatory. Please submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination or personal declination by July 15. HR partners will monitor compliance and reach out to those who do not submit their vaccination status by the deadline. If necessary, we will implement enforcement measures to ensure compliance with the vaccination policy. (Note: declinations forms are no longer accepted, as of revised university policy dated June 29)
- If you received your vaccination(s) at USC Student Health or Keck Medicine of USC, your records will be updated automatically.
- If you received a vaccination elsewhere, upload a photo of your vaccine card to the “Upload Documents” section of MySHR.
- If you are choosing not to be vaccinated at this time, complete the personal declination form and upload it to MySHR. Also note that you’ll be required to continue weekly testing for COVID-19. (Note: declinations forms are no longer accepted, as of revised university policy dated June 29)
Charles F. Zukoski
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Felicia A. Washington
Senior Vice President of Human Resources