Phased Approach

Phased Approach

The university will continue to work closely with public health authorities to ensure our return to campus plans align with public health recommendations. Depending on public health guidance, we may need to pause or move back in the phases timeline based on actual conditions.


Phase 1

Safer-at-Home

Safer-at-home orders in place for city and county. All courses are online. Strict protocols around face coverings, physical distancing and increased cleaning are in place.

Access: students, faculty and staff are on campus by exception only.

All faculty, staff and students are expected to leave campus and perform their tasks remotely, whether teaching, learning or working. Exceptions include employees whose roles are deemed essential and that can only be performed on campus, and students with nowhere else to go who receive approval from the university to remain in student housing.

Phase 2

First Steps

Begin increased campus activities with strict physical distancing protocols in place. Most operations remain remote.

Returning functions: research, clinical education, essential Keck healthcare operations.

  • Working at home continues for most personnel. Employees working on campus must be approved by department administration, and locations and hours should be tracked. All employees must complete the TrojanLearn module (Health, Hygiene, and Safety) and use the campus check-in tool for daily access to campus. Work-related travel is limited to essential only.
  • All individuals are required to wear a face covering/PPE while on campus or any USC indoor or outdoor public space (unless alone in an office), observe 6 ft. physical distancing and perform a daily online symptom check, as communicated in TrojanLearn. Events and gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people.
  • Remote instruction continues with limited exceptions when course objectives require in-person instruction. Selected on-campus research resumes gradually with 6 ft. physical distancing and other health and safety measures. Libraries are closed.
  • Approved healthcare operations return. Clinical education resumes as needed for student advancement/graduation requirements.
  • University housing remains with single occupancy and enhanced cleaning. Dining venues remain carry-out only. Bookstore open with capacity limits.
  • USC Athletics practices resume after development and approval of physical distancing plan

Phase 3

Forward Together

Expanded model of on-campus and online learning with moderate physical distancing protocols in place. Increased on-campus operations.

Returning functions: academics, housing, dining halls, athletics

  • Working at home continues for most personnel.
  • All individuals are required to wear a face covering/PPE while on campus or any USC indoor or outdoor public space, unless alone in an office.
  • Expanded model of on-campus and online classes, events and activities with 6 ft. physical distancing and indoor and outdoor capacity limits.
  • Selected on-campus research resumes gradually with 6 ft. physical distancing and other health and safety measures.
  • Approved libraries open with 6 ft. physical distancing.
  • University housing and dining halls are open with capacity limits and enhanced safety provisions. Other dining venues and bookstore are open with capacity limits.
  • Visitors to campus are limited to those essential for operation. Visitors will follow all public health guidance from the City and County of Los Angeles, abide by campus rules and signage and be pre-registered through the Trojan Check Web App or by providing a complete, signed, and printed Coronavirus Screening Questionnaire.
  • USC Athletics voluntary workouts and activities as approved resume with plans for physical distancing and enhanced cleaning

Phase 4

Fight On

Most operations re-open with health guidelines in place.

Returning functions: academics, research, athletics

Phase 4 details are in development as part of the Restart Opening Phase Policy working group. Once Phase 4 details have been determined and approved, they will be published and distributed.


Phase 5

Restrictions Lifted

Full operations of all academics, research, and athletics without additional restrictions or guidelines.

Supporting Phase Information

For those faculty, staff, and students who are working on return to campus plans, the university’s most recent version of the phase guidelines and supporting documentation can be downloaded from the USC Project Restart Sharepoint site. (USC Single Sign On required for access)