Provost Update: Fall 2021 Schedule and USF Together

Dear USF Community,

I write to update you about questions that have emerged while we continue with remote instruction and plan for in-person instruction this fall. My regular updates are posted on the USF Together section of myUSF.

Fall 2021 Course Schedule

The fall 2021 course schedule is now live. The schedule is the result of a tremendous amount of work by our faculty and staff. More detailed messages about the schedule from deans, department chairs, program directors, and academic staff will be sent as we continue to move toward a primarily in-person fall term. I wanted to highlight two features of the fall 2021 course schedule:

  1. We have redesigned our classrooms to meet current San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) social distancing requirements. Classrooms that could not be converted to meet these requirements will not be used for classes, reducing the available inventory of instructional spaces. Consequently, we had to expand the schedule into mornings, evenings, and Saturdays. I realize that this will be new and difficult for many and I appreciate the shared sacrifices that people are continuing to make. We are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to return in the future to the pre-pandemic course schedule in terms of days and times that classes are offered.
  2. While the majority of courses will meet in person at least once a week, the schedule includes five modalities to meet the needs of our schools and programs: in-person (with social distancing), HyFlex, hybrid, remote, and online. Definitions of these modalities and a video guide to help with registration can be found on USF Together.

Campus Access

We are in constant communication with the SFDPH about use of indoor and outdoor spaces on campus. As we continue to prioritize health and safety and needs of students, we will announce plans regarding libraries, summer events, and fall orientations in the coming weeks. At this time, outdoor gatherings are still limited to no more than three households. Hence, the university cannot sanction class-related meetings for faculty and students, even if those meetings are outside. Similarly, the university is not yet permitting room reservations for non-instructional activities in the fall 2021 semester (e.g., orientation to a particular academic or co-curricular program, meet-and-greets for members of a student organization, etc.). Further information about reservation options for on-campus spaces will be provided in the coming weeks.

As of now, most buildings will remain closed until at least June 2021 as we do not know what operations will be permitted after June. Faculty and staff will be able to retrieve items from their offices during the week of May 17–21, 2021.

USF Together

USF’s COVID working groups are developing comprehensive information regarding curricular, co-curricular, and work practices as we prepare for fall 2021 and beyond. This information, which will be posted on USF Together, will include details on all aspects of working, teaching, and gathering on campus. It will be updated as new guidance is released by local and state officials, including evolving requirements in San Francisco for social distancing, which impacts overall campus capacity limits.

Vaccine Availability

USF strongly encourages all who are able to get a vaccine to do so. All university employees are included in phase 1B of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine priority list and are now eligible to be vaccinated. You can use this link to sign up for notifications regarding eligibility. As you review all publicly available information, please note that the distribution process for the vaccine is evolving in San Francisco and across California. For the latest eligibility in your county, please check your local health department’s guidance. At this point in time, the university does not plan to require its employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

California is making all residents age 16 and over eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning April 15, 2021 — and some counties are making those residents eligible even sooner. We hope that this increased eligibility gives more of our students the chance to get the vaccine prior to coming to campus in the fall. We are continuing to monitor vaccination eligibility of our student population and working with our contacts to ensure access. Residents of other states should monitor updates from their local public health departments regarding vaccine eligibility.

Thank you for your continued engagement and input as we refine plans for a safe and successful transition to in-person teaching, learning, and working this fall. I will continue to keep you updated as new information becomes available.

Tyrone H. Cannon
Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs