In-Person Instruction Returns in Fall 2021

We at USF can’t wait to see you on campus in the fall. Classrooms, offices, and residence halls have been set up to best protect students, faculty, and staff. To help the whole community stay safe, we will follow the procedures and protocols set forth by health officials.

Please use this site as your single source for all announcements and actions related to in-person instruction this fall. And please note that all plans are subject to change.

Fall 2021 Campus Reopening FAQ

Course Delivery

We have several tools that will help us remain safe and healthy while resuming the in-person campus experience. Classrooms have been reconfigured to meet physical distancing requirements and capacities for the rooms have been adjusted in our course scheduling systems. An expanded schedule has been created for fall 2021 to allow courses that would normally meet during congested times to meet earlier in the morning, later in the evenings, or on Saturdays. The temporary change to the schedule will allow us to both reduce foot traffic that would impact offices and provide more options for identifying space for in-person courses. Campus services necessary to meet this expanded schedule will also make key adjustments.

We have also invested in new hyflex (hybrid-flexible) classrooms, portable equipment, and faculty training initiatives. We will be able to accommodate cohort models in which different groups of students join classes in-person on specific days, while participating remotely (either synchronously or asynchronously) on other days. Several non-academic spaces have been converted to classrooms and we are also studying the possibility of conducting classes outside. Deans will be able to make adjustments to course modalities for pandemic-related reasons during the transitional fall 2021 semester. Finally, faculty, librarians, and staff who are unable to teach and work in-person for documented medical reasons will be able to request an accommodation through the Office of Human Resources.

  • In-Person Socially Distanced Instruction is what we call formats in which a class meets on-campus in-person for every class session.
  • Hybrid instruction is what we call formats in which a class consists of a mixture of on-campus in-person and remote/online learning.
    1. The class does not meet on-campus every session. Some instructors may choose to deliver remote/online sessions through remote synchronous meetings (e.g., via Zoom) or through asynchronous work for all students in the class.
    2. The instructor is on campus for every class session. Half of the students in the class meet in-person on one set of days (cohort A) while the other half of the students in the class (cohort B) are asynchronous. The cohorts switch for the next class session. Like HyFlex instruction, the instructor always holds classes in-person for at least half of the class.

      Generally, curriculum content in hybrid courses is delivered less than 50%, but more than 0%, through remote/online learning and at least 50% of curriculum content is learned through on-campus in-person instruction. For fall 2021 only, up to 50% of instruction may be delivered through remote/online learning.
  • HyFlex instruction is what we call formats in which a class meets on-campus in-person for every class session, with synchronous remote participation for some students.
  • Remote instruction is what we call formats in which a course is taught basically the same way it can be as an in-person course, but every class session is delivered remotely with synchronous meetings (e.g., via Zoom). There could be some additional asynchronous learning. Emergency remote is a form of remote instruction that is implemented quickly in response to an emergency situation.
  • Online instruction is what we call formats in which a course has been designed (and approved) specifically to be taught completely online, primarily through asynchronous learning with some synchronous elements.

USF plans to resume substantially in-person curricular offerings in the fall 2021 semester. More than 70 percent of courses in the fall course schedule feature some in-person element, including traditional in-person instruction, hybrid, and HyFlex.

Possibly. If the situation with COVID-19, including vaccines, changes, or if public health guidance requires a change to our fall plans, we will quickly adjust. We are committed to communicating our plans as early as possible to all members of our community. While we cannot predict with certainty what USF will look like in the months ahead, we have made informed plans, are in regular communication with public health officials and other experts, and are prepared to adjust our plans as necessary based on the course of the pandemic and the availability of COVID-19 vaccines.

Deans are working with their faculty on options for students who must continue online, including offering remote sections of courses and the ability to join an in-person class remotely, also known as “hyflex” technology.

COVID-19 Prevention

To open safely this fall, USF is building upon current COVID-19 testing procedures, contact tracing protocols, and safety measures, including face coverings, physical distancing, hygiene practices, and vaccinations to name a few. Classes, residence halls, and dining facilities have been set up to best protect students, faculty, and staff using the above guidelines. This includes lowering the capacity of many of our classrooms and eliminating triples in our on-campus housing. While we cannot predict with certainty what USF will look like in the months ahead, we have made informed plans, are in regular communication with public health officials and other experts, and are prepared to adjust our plans and procedures as necessary based on the course of the pandemic and the availability of COVID-19 vaccines.

Yes. We are planning for fall using the current guidelines for in-person instructional delivery provided to schools by the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH). This approach to planning for fall in-person instruction, including continuing to follow current guidance on safety measures (physical distancing, face coverings, etc.), has been vetted by and is supported by SFDPH. Please note that although the CDC advised in late April that face coverings are not necessary outside, USF continues to require face coverings both outdoors and indoors in keeping with SFDPH guidance.

USF is monitoring vaccine accessibility for those 16 years of age and older, who are now eligible to be vaccinated. We continue to advocate that all our community members be vaccinated when it is their time and continue to follow all science-based safety measures. We are monitoring what is happening in other states and countries and will have vaccination sites upon arrival for our students who may not have had access to the vaccine. They will be able to receive the vaccine when they arrive at USF.

We will continue to consult with experts about mandating the vaccine and will share additional information in the coming months. Please also note that USF will follow all legal exemption requirements.

USF is targeting regular double occupancy in residence halls for academic year 2021–22. Triples will not be an option at this time to help ensure safety and maintain health and safety protocols, as outlined by the city and county public health officials.

We are continuously assessing testing procedures as vaccinations become more available and as testing requirements change based on vaccination rollout.

In addition to testing, USF will rely upon students’ self-monitoring of symptoms to limit the transmission of the virus. Students will self-monitor and report the presence or absence of symptoms of COVID-19 every day, beginning on the first day of return to campus. Students will self-report symptoms through the Dons Health Check online survey. All students must remain at home or in a designated isolation space if they test positive for COVID-19. 

The university is considering a number of options in regards to testing different segments of the USF community as needed. All testing plans and protocols will comply with San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) guidance for institutions of higher education. Residential students who self-disclose symptoms will be sent an in-home test kit to take and be mailed by the university.

Unvaccinated students arriving from outside of California to live in on-campus housing are expected to quarantine for 14 days. Students living in on-campus housing will quarantine either in their unit or in a room designated for quarantine as the situation dictates.  Quarantine accommodations will be provided for the 14 days prior to any orientation activities or the start of classes. While in quarantine, meal delivery service will be available. 

Unvaccinated students arriving from outside of California and living off-campus are required to quarantine for 10 days. They may quarantine in their off-campus residence. 

Fully vaccinated students will not need to quarantine.

Despite the many steps USF is taking to prevent the transmission of the virus, the presence and transmission of COVID-19 on campus is likely, if not inevitable, during the ongoing pandemic. Therefore, the university has developed protocols for contact tracing, isolating people who contract COVID-19, and helping people who become exposed to COVID-19 to self-quarantine.

  • Students who are diagnosed with COVID-19 will be required to isolate. Students living on campus will isolate in a self-contained space designated by USF and students residing off campus will isolate off campus.
  • Students who are diagnosed with COVID-19 will be asked to provide information about other people with whom they have been in close contact during the time when they may have been infectious and able to transmit the virus.
  • Campus isolation or quarantine procedures will likely require students to move to a different residence for the isolation or quarantine period. USF will provide food meal drop off, and trash pickup, and health and wellness monitoring for students isolating or quarantining.

For those who believe they qualify for an accommodation to their work, as required by law, USF will engage in the interactive process to determine if accommodations are necessary, reasonable, and feasible. The process for requesting an accommodation is detailed on myUSF. This process will determine if a reasonable accommodation can be made to remove barriers so the employee can perform the essential functions of their job. The objective of the process is to remove obstacles that keep employees from performing their jobs. Employees who want to explore this process can contact leaves@usfca.edu.