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 of any size are prohibited.
  • 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
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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
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Phase 4

Fight On

Most operations re-open with health guidelines in place.

Returning functions: academics, research, athletics

  • Working at home continues for most personnel.
  • All individuals are required to wear a face covering/PPE while on campus, meet influenza and COVID-19 vaccination policy requirements, observe physical distancing requirements and complete daily symptom check as posted and communicated in TrojanLearn.
  • Expanded model of on-campus and online classes, events and activities with physical distancing and indoor and outdoor capacity limits. In-person, indoor instruction at 50% capacity with distanced seating.
  • Most on-campus research resumes, closely following the Research Ramp-Up process, which includes school-approved PI/lab/group-level plans and University-approved school-level plans, as well as minimum 6ft. physical distancing, PPE, signage, and other health & safety measures.
  • Approved libraries are open with 6 ft. physical distancing at 75% capacity.
  • University housing and dining halls are open with capacity limits and enhanced safety provisions. Other dining venues are open following the current County opening and occupancy guidelines. The bookstore is open at 75% capacity with physical distancing and facial coverings.
  • Visitors to campus are permitted as part of approved and permitted activities. 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 activities as approved, resume with plans for physical distancing with an approved risk mitigation plan.
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Phase 5

Welcome Back

Fully operational with health and safety guidelines in place.

  • Faculty and staff support fully in-person operations. The actual split between remote and in-person work will be determined and communicated by unit leadership based on restart guiding principles.
  • All faculty, staff, and students must be fully vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious exemption.
  • Individuals who are not fully vaccinated (i.e., those who qualify for a medical or religious exemption) on all campuses are required to wear a facial covering indoors and outdoors when distancing cannot be maintained and be tested regularly (1/week for faculty/staff/graduate students and 2/week for undergraduates).
  • All faculty, staff, students, and guests stay home if they are sick. Faculty, staff, and students complete daily symptom check through Trojan Check.
  • All faculty, staff, and students complete safety training before coming to campus through TrojanLearn.
  • On campus, indoor instruction resumes at full capacity.
  • University housing reopens with normal occupancy for fully vaccinated students with enhanced cleaning and public area closures.
  • Approved libraries are open at full capacity.
  • University dining venues are open at full capacity following the current County opening and occupancy guidelines. The bookstore is open at full capacity.
  • Visitors to campus are permitted as part of approved and permitted activities. 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 activities as approved, resume with approved risk mitigation plan. Athletic training facilities to support allowable USC Athletics workouts.
  • Fitness centers reopen.
  • COVID testing is available at no charge to faculty, staff, and students who are not fully vaccinated or who experience symptoms. Faculty, staff, and students who have been present on campus must report covid diagnoses through the covid hotline.
  • USC retains flexibility to adapt its operations as conditions may require.

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)