Dear Members of the USF Community,
Based on the surge of COVID-19 cases in San Francisco and California, Gov. Newsom’s announcements yesterday about rolling back the state’s reopening plans, and specific instructions issued to higher education institutions today by the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH), it is clear that we need to pivot to USF’s operations being primarily remote for the fall 2020 semester.
This means nearly all academic courses will be online — save for certain exceptions such as those in clinical nursing programs. In addition, the majority of faculty and staff will work remotely at all of our locations. The Department of Homeland Security’s order that international students take in-person classes or risk deportation has been rescinded, so our international students will be able to take remote classes this fall.
Students with residential housing for the fall will receive additional communication from Student Life.
At this point, SFDPH cannot tell us when we will receive clearance from the state to reopen campus for in-person instruction, so we are planning to conduct the entire fall semester remotely. We know plans need to be made and want to provide as much time as possible to our community members.
We have been communicating and planning since the spring to include an on-the-ground option for the fall if permitted to do so by the authorities. Unfortunately, the rapidly changing information and data regarding the pandemic’s resurgent course requires us to pivot from that plan to our other remote plan.
I know you have many questions regarding this decision. Please be aware that we were preparing for this in all our contingency planning. Members of the cabinet, leadership team, and working groups will work together to detail all aspects of how we will proceed with the new academic year. Students, faculty, and staff will receive information and guidance in the coming days and weeks.
I know this news is disappointing for many, and I thank you for your patience as we implement and finalize all the details of our revised fall semester plan. Watch for communications from me and Interim Provost Cannon, as well as from your supervisors, deans, faculty, or academic advisers. The coming semester will be very different for all of us, but together we will provide excellent academic and co-curricular programming and a safe working environment for all.
Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J.