COVID-19 and Campus Protocols

Dear Members of the USF Community,

As we prepare to welcome new and returning students to campus for the 2021–2022 academic year, we recognize that members of our community may have concerns around the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in California and nationwide, and in particular the highly transmissible delta variant. In planning for the semester, we continue to focus on doing everything we can to keep our entire community — students, faculty, staff, parents, family members, and visitors — as safe and comfortable as possible. We are grateful for your patience and understanding as we adjust precautions and safety procedures in response to the evolving public health situation and guidance from health officials. It will take all of us to ensure our community is living the Jesuit values of cura personalis and being “persons for and with others.” 

We begin with a few updates and reminders:

Update on Fr. Fitzgerald
We are pleased to report that Fr. Fitzgerald, who despite being fully vaccinated received a positive COVID-19 test last weekend, is feeling much better. All his symptoms have gone. He is continuing his 10-day isolation period, and will be safely back to his campus routine very soon.

Daily Dons Health Check 
Each day, all faculty, staff, and students who are on campus or plan to come to campus must complete symptom monitoring using the Dons Health Check. All members of the USF community must avoid coming to campus if they do not feel well. Family members are also expected to monitor their symptoms, and should not come to campus if they are not feeling well or have had contact with someone who has had COVID-19 in the last 10 days. Family members will be receiving additional information regarding orientation early next week. Protocols are in place for visitors, guests, and vendors. Students who are exhibiting symptoms will be guided by Student Life staff through the process of being tested for COVID-19 and will quarantine.

Face Coverings 
While indoors: As shared with you on July 29, USF is now requiring that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear face coverings while indoors in all campus buildings. This requirement extends to all campus locations and includes all faculty, staff, students, vendors, and guests. Face coverings can be removed when eating. Additional information has been shared with residential students regarding face coverings and when they can be removed. As anticipated, the City of San Francisco has also instituted its own indoor mask mandate citywide

At outdoor events: In addition, USF will now require face coverings to be worn at all outdoor events on campus. This will help us mitigate how many times a face covering will need to be taken on and off during orientation and larger outdoor events. After orientation, face coverings are not required outdoors when moving between buildings.

Teaching and Learning
The Continuity of Instruction workgroup is researching ways to aid instructors teaching in-person courses while wearing face coverings, including the use of amplification devices and clear masks. The deans and their staffs are estimating the need for such equipment during the fall semester and will order supplies in advance. Deans will send information to faculty about the process to request equipment. Many HyFlex classrooms have amplification built into the classroom. Students who may need additional assistance in the classroom should reach out to Student Disability Services.

Upcoming Orientation Events
Whether they are held indoors or outdoors, all orientation events will meet all state and local guidelines. None of the events being planned meet public health officials’ definition of a “mega event” (that is, 5,000 attendees indoors and 10,000 outdoors). As a further precaution, we are expanding the footprint of both our indoor and outdoor events. Food will be served outdoors and in separate areas. Indoor events will also be livestreamed. Students will receive additional information about guidelines and expectations for social events during orientation. 

Campus Space
Our priority continues to be ensuring that space for students’ experiences — that is, classes, study spaces, and locations for socializing, dining, and housing — is safe and readily available. Faculty and staff are being asked to move divisional and group meetings to Zoom, in order to provide sufficient space for student activities and events on campus. We are fortunate that construction on the new dining area on Lone Mountain is complete. That beautiful new space will provide even more food options and gathering spaces for our students. Finally, we want to note that the President’s Cabinet has determined that, in an additional effort to preserve sufficient space for student needs, USF will not sponsor or host third-party or non-USF related events on campus this semester.

After a year of response and change, a transitional semester where some staff will be remote or hybrid will continue to ensure both our community’s health and welfare, and our emphasis on student success. Faculty and staff should contact Human Resources with specific questions or concerns. As we return to campus, some employees may need to request accommodation due to a medical disability. If you need to initiate such a request, you can do so at to begin this good-faith, interactive process.

Cases and Contact Tracing
We continue to work with the San Francisco Department of Public Health to monitor and assist with any and all cases of COVID-19 that may occur on campus. We have a robust contact tracing process in place. It is important to report the results of a positive test, either by emailing or by answering the appropriate question in the Dons Health Check survey. Any close contacts will be notified and guided through next steps.

Vaccination Reminder and Vaccination Dashboard
As a reminder, students are required to be vaccinated (unless they have a documented medical, religious, or personal exemption). Faculty and staff must attest to their vaccination status, and we strongly urge all members of the community to be vaccinated. Unvaccinated students will receive additional information regarding expectations and any additional requirements. Thank you to everyone who has already met this requirement. Members of our community can track the vaccination progress of USF through our vaccination dashboard. As a reminder, vaccination clinics will be available for students who were not able to receive the vaccine prior to coming to USF. Quarantine procedures, consistent with local and state guidance, are also in place.

Local and State Guidance
Public health guidance may change depending on the course of the virus; we expect adjustments and will continue to communicate any and all updates to our protocols and processes. We appreciate everyone continuing to read and follow all updates.

In Conclusion
As we take precautions to keep one another safe, we are living our Jesuit values and being of service to one another. USF can put proactive measures in place on campus, and will continue to do so, but it is ultimately up to each of us to help ensure the safety and well-being of all members of our community.  

We know these continue to be challenging times and we thank you all for making adjustments in your lives to ensure the safety of all members of our community. Please be sure to continue to reference the resources on USF Together. Updates are made regularly. 

We look forward to seeing you on campus in the coming weeks.

Chinyere Oparah, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Julie Orio, Vice President of Student Life