Roadmap to Reopening

Last edited Tuesday, June 2nd 2020

This living document will be regularly reviewed and updated to provide a roadmap for navigating the COVID-19 pandemic at the University of San Francisco. The goal of this document is to facilitate an effective path forward in a rapidly changing environment. This document will be continually informed by additional local, state, and federal information and guidance.

USF Guiding Principles of Decision Making

  • Health, safety, and wellbeing of the entire community is of the utmost importance
  • Strive to uphold USF’s mission and values
  • Preserve the institution's financial footing
  • Utilize science and data in decision-making, while remaining rooted in compassion, empathy, and respect for everyone in the community
  • Comply with local, state, and federal public health orders and guidance

Additional Context

  • COVID-19, a novel coronavirus infection emerging in 2019, has led to an unprecedented infectious disease risk for all persons. The duration of this pandemic remains unclear, and the situation continues to evolve. COVID-19 will peak in different states at different times and will impact each institution of higher education across the country differently. Public health guidance, scientific knowledge, and clinical best practices will change, so these guidelines may require updates or risk quickly becoming obsolete. The road to recovery will be long. We can anticipate restrictions and limitations in activities will be in place for the next 12–18 months, if not longer.
  • The high-touch, highly interactive, mobile, densely populated living and learning environment typical of most campuses is the exemplar of a congregate setting with multiple risk factors for ready transmission of COVID-19.
  • Protecting our most vulnerable populations (medically susceptible, undocumented, students of color, underinsured, non-traditional, older, DACA, and homeless students, faculty, and staff members) is a moral and ethical obligation. Some vulnerable individuals may need to observe ongoing physical distancing for a prolonged period of time.


Potential Key Dates for Decisions

All dates subject to change based on local and statewide guidance.

  • June 1 - Status of Housing Occupancy (all singles vs doubles) for undergraduate students
  • June 15 - Formalized Fall 2020 Instruction (Remote, hybrid, etc.) for undergraduate students. Graduate students will receive on-going updates from their individual program/graduate school, or USF campus/location office.
  • June 15 - Status of Orientation (in-person, remote) for undergraduate students. Graduate students will receive Orientation updates from their individual program/graduate school or USF campus/location office.
  • July 1 - Return of Workforce Notice
  • July 31 - End of USF Remote work guidance
  • August 1 - Goal for on-ground pre-orientation programs for undergraduate students

Current Status (May 2020)

Currently all instruction is being taught remotely. 

Campus Status
Only essential employees are coming to campus.

Residential housing is available for students who did not have an option to leave campus.

Limited food services operations are open in the Market Cafe for take out service from 8a.m.-3p.m. for residential students and essential employees on-campus. 

Fall 2020 Operations

As of May 2020 USF is planning to conduct as much in-classroom instruction as safely possible at all USF locations.

August 1, 2020 is the targeted date for the undergraduate residential return to campus and on the ground undergraduate pre-orientation programs.

View timeline of past events

Current Working Groups

As the university navigates the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of working groups have been established and are meeting regularly to plan and coordinate responses. Additional information and membership can be found on the COVID-19 Working Groups page. This document will inform the work of the working groups and the working groups will inform this document.

Governmental Public Health Guidelines Used for Reopening / Loosening Restrictions

Six Critical Areas for California Reopening per Governor Newsom

  1. The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed
  2. The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19
  3. The ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges
  4. The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand
  5. The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing
  6. The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary

Five Bay Area Criteria for Loosening Restrictions

  1. The total number of Cases in the community is flat or decreasing, and the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 is flat or decreasing for at least a 14-day period
  2. Hospital capacity - Public health officials want to keep that occupancy rate below 50%
  3. Testing - Goal is 200 tests/day per 100,000 residents
  4. Contact tracing - “90-90-90-90” target for contact tracing: They must reach 90% of all newly diagnosed COVID-19 patients; they must make sure that 90% of those patients are able to safely isolate; they must reach 90% of the patient’s close contacts; and they must make sure that 90% of those contacts go into quarantine for two weeks
  5. Personal protective equipment - All hospitals, outpatient medical clinics, skilled nursing facilities and first responders must have a 30-day supply of personal protective equipment 

Public Health Considerations

  • Personal strategies for limiting COVID exposure. These strategies are things that everyone within our USF Community can undertake in order to limit the risk of exposure community-wide
    • Social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from other people) 
    • Not gathering in groups and avoiding crowded places and mass gatherings, 
    • Limiting travel 
    • Using cloth face masks in public
    • Frequent proper personal handwashing or use of hand sanitizer
    • Staying home if feeling unwell and getting tested
  • USF-initiated strategies for limiting exposure
    • Continued use of teleworking where possible to limit number of people on campus
    • Frequent cleaning of shared spaces and surfaces
    • Robust social distancing measures across campus
    • Promotion of education, resilience, and countering stigma attached to COVID-19
  • COVID-19 testing, isolation, contact tracing, and isolation and quarantine. USF is working closely with the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH).
  • Special populations. Any lifting of control measures (e.g., stay-at-home orders) must consider vulnerable subgroups within the population (e.g., persons > 65 years of age, those with pre-existing medical conditions) and special instructions or requirements for such subgroups.

Issues, Challenges, and Questions That Must Be Addressed in Any Reopening

These are the everchanging and difficult issues, challenges, and questions that the various working groups at the University are working through to provide as safe a learning and working environment as possible for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors.
As plans and policies are developed for these issues, this document will be updated to reflect as appropriate.

Potential Public Health Fundamental Capabilities That Are Being Planned For

Lead: Public Health Working Group

Note: As of May 19, 2020 the San Francisco Department of Public Health has not released specific guidance. The following has been gathered from actions that other public health departments have provided. The Public Health Working Group is planning for all scenarios.

  • Testing procedures for students, faculty, and staff to be done in conjunction and following the lead of SFDPH
  • Effective contact tracing capacity of all potential close contacts of positive cases.
    • To be done in conjunction and following the lead of SFDPH
  • Enforced isolation and quarantine of positives and close contacts, with daily telehealth monitoring of symptoms.
  • Possible individual symptom-reporting systems for the USF Community to be further defined per guidance from the City and County of San Francisco. 
  • Consistent implementation of social distancing and universal masking at all times except when alone in a room.
  • Intense and frequent cleaning / sanitation of facilities.
  • Availability of sufficiently trained staff equipped with proper PPE for their job function. As USF does not have a healthcare facility onsite, any health care would be done off-campus
  • Extensive education and socialization of students, faculty, and staff of policies and expectations we have of each other.

Academic Classes and Additional Academic Components

Leads: Continuity of Instruction and Fall 2020 Social Distance Operations Working Group

The University of San Francisco is working to conduct as many in-person classes on campus in Fall 2020 as safely possible. The planning is primarily focused in two directions: 1) The shelter in place orders are not lifted in local campus areas by the start of Fall semester and 2) the shelter in place orders have been lifted but there must be social distancing. 

Various working groups are combining efforts focused on promoting social distancing within academic spaces while balancing that with course load, classroom availability, etc. This data, in addition to input from deans and faculty members, will help guide course modality at the individual school level. The University is preparing for a number of scenarios including any new interruptions to on the ground activities. 

The following are key academic settings that the University’s various working groups are working to develop plans - and contingencies - for conducting in-person classes.

  • Traditional lecture settings
  • Lab components
  • Seminars
  • Art studio spaces
  • In-the-field work to include practicums, clinicals, course-related internships, and other course work done not in traditional USF classrooms

It is important to note that these discussions are including the University’s additional locations (Downtown San Francisco, Sacramento, Orange County, Pleasanton, De Anza College, and Santa Rosa Junior College). Santa Rosa Junior College made the decision to go remote for the remainder of the 2020 calendar year and the University is currently working through how this impacts our community in the North Bay.

Steps Taken

As new information becomes available and decisions are made, the following steps will be updated.

  • All academic space is being inventory to ensure safety and adherence to public health guidance (social distancing, etc.).
    • Lecture settings
    • Labs
    • Seminars
    • Studio art spaces
  • The same is being done for off campus academic components.
    • Practicums
    • Nursing clinicals
    • Etc.
  • Plans are being developed on how we deliver faculty interaction when/if our student community is divided between remote and on-campus experiences
    • To include international students unable to return or other students who opted to remain remote

Residential and Dining Activities


Leads: COVID-19 Management Team & SHaRE
Student Housing and Residential Education (SHaRE), in conjunction with the COVID-19 Management Team, are developing plans as they relate to the safe housing of residential undergraduate students for the 20-21 academic year. These plans will include the following:

  • Development of Move In Day procedures to ensure social distancing and health and safety associated with University allocated resources, namely move-in bins. 
  • Thinning out the density of our residence halls – No triple rooms for academic year 20-21. Decisions regarding occupancy to be made by June 1, 2020.
  • Proper handling of shared restroom facilities (e.g., usage limitations, cleaning by each student after use, shift schedule)
  • Closure of common area gathering spaces not needed for essential functions (e.g. floor and hall lounges and lobby area furniture)
  • Creating designated space and facilities to house infected (isolated) and quarantined students (separate from other students and each other) and the associated policies and procedures 
  • Working with the Office of Student Conduct, Rights and Responsibility (OSCRR) to identify updates to residential policies that may need adjusted in light of needs within shared residential living areas
  • Intense and frequent cleaning / sanitation of facilities
  • Connecting to off campus housing and enforcement of new norms there
  • Development of robust resources and services for students living off-campus

Additional Items being worked on:

  • Implementation of move-out and move-in procedures
  • Review of existing housing inventory; evaluate ability to have double occupancy rooms vs single occupancy 
  • Creation of residence hall policies that promote social distancing and would potentially assist in contact tracing, if needed
  • Evaluation of potential for additional residential capacity in adjacent properties
  • Usage limitation on residential common spaces
  • Shared bathroom protocols; scheduling usage, scheduling cleaning
  • Identified spaces for self-quarantine and COVID+ isolation 
  • Appropriate messaging/interventions for off-campus undergraduate student population

Dining Activities

Lead: COVID-19 Management Team
Events Management and Guest Services and Bon Appetit will continue to provide safe spaces for members of our community to dine. Per current City and County of San Francisco health orders, the Market Cafe has moved to takeout dining only and is prepared to continue to do so during the academic year. Additional plans are being developed to help promote social distancing within the dining areas that may include the following:

  • Continued takeout dining including pick up only stations
  • Expansion of takeout dining options
  • Moving to cashless operation with all cashiers behind plexi sneeze guards
  • Directional signage to encourage directional flow beginning at entry points
  • Maintaining six feet of distance in line
  • Removal of tables for more socially distant dining options and expanded pick up points (city guidance permitting)
  • Timed seating to allow for more people the possibility to eat within the dining areas (city guidance permitting)
  • All dining staff will be required to complete an extensive Pandemic/COVID-19 training prior to re-employment. 
  • All cleaning and disinfectant wipe downs will be recorded and time-stamped
  • Prior to the day’s work beginning all employees will be temperature scanned and surveyed for symptoms 

Non-Academic and Student Support Services

Leads: COVID-19 Management Team and Facilities

As new information and decisions are made, these will be updated.

  • All space is being inventoried to ensure safety and adherence to public health guidance (social distancing, etc.).

Events and Meetings

Lead: COVID-19 Management Team

In order to keep social distancing, all meetings and gatherings will continue to be conducted via Zoom, even when all participants may be on campus. These guidelines will be updated to coincide with any updated public health directives received from the City and County of San Francisco.

Events Management and Guest Services is currently evaluating major functions (i.e., Job Fairs) to see the feasibility of still running these in person with social distancing guidelines.

Co-Curricular Activities, Advising, and Student Support

Leads: Virtual Engagement Working Group, COVID-19 Management Team

The USF experience transcends the classroom, to include an individual's immersion in campus and city activities. While planning is underway for the safe resumption of academic activities, the University is also planning on how to maintain the high touch sense of community that brought each and every one of us to USF and what keeps us here. Currently information for faculty, staff and students is available on one landing page, Dons Connect.

Key co-curricular activities include:

  • Student Organizations
  • Public lectures and seminar series
  • Events and Fairs
  • Other student activities (e.g., Orientation)

Key questions being worked through

  • How do we conduct student activities while ensuring safety and adherence to public health guidance (social distancing, etc.)? How do we deliver student activities if our student community is divided between remote and on-campus experiences?
  • How do we deliver programming in a remote or hybrid format that fosters connection, engagement, etc.?
  • How do we foster a sense of what San Francisco is as their community, including civic engagement and campus community?
  • How do we handle large-scale campus traditions?


Leads: Athletics Department, COVID-19 Management Team

The Athletics Department is working with the NCAA and the West Coast Conference (WCC) to determine the best way to keep our student-athletes, coaches, and staff safe. More information to follow.

Koret Health and Recreation Center

Leads: COVID-19 Management Team and Koret Staff

Koret Health and Recreation Center is monitoring and adhering to local guidance. Remote engagement continues for faculty, staff, students and community members.

Libraries and Study Space

Leads: COVID-19 Management Team and Library Staff

As new information and decisions are made, these will be updated.

  • All space is being inventoried to ensure safety and adherence to public health guidance (social distancing, etc.).


Lead: COVID-19 Management Team

USF Travel Guidance (as of May 1, 2020)

Employee Return to Campus Plan

Leads: COVID-19 Management Team, Public Health Working Group and Human Resources

The University is planning on a phased return of staff to campus in order to keep with the City and County of San Francisco and the State of California’s public health guidance. 

Members of the COVID-19 Management Team and HR are meeting to create a phased return to work plan.