Procedures, protocols, and systems to support you this fall

Dear Members of the USF Community,

As USF opens the fall semester, we are facing the dual crises of the continuing pandemic and an early beginning of the wildfire season with accompanying rolling blackouts and power outages. For those of you who live in the Bay Area, we know you may also face technological and personal challenges that both of these situations bring.

We want to remind all students, faculty, and staff of the USF procedures, protocols, and systems in place to support you during this time — especially in the event that remote classes are disrupted or power outages directly affect you.

Faculty and staff: USF is not able to provide access to your individual offices this semester and has closed many buildings on campus, per San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) guidelines. USF has been approved for remote teaching only and must keep the number of on-campus personnel to a minimum.

During a power outage, faculty and staff who need alternative space and access to better WiFi, can follow the existing instructions on how to reserve office and classroom space in select buildings that remain in use this fall. The university will prioritize room reservation requests that are needed to directly support online learning. All allowable spaces can be reserved through EMS, the university’s room request software system. EMS can be accessed via EMS Book a Room on myUSF or the university’s EMS mobile application. EMS is the only way that faculty and staff may reserve teaching and work space on campus this semester. In all cases, only the individual with valid One Card access may reserve and use the space. Visitors are not permitted to use university space. Everyone who comes to campus must follow safety protocols, including completing a health screening prior to arrival on campus. In addition to booking a room, your One Card will only work if you have completed the Dons Health Check survey.

One-time requests for access to other campus spaces will be considered for emergencies only. Please send requests to your supervisor’s office, along with the date and time you need to access the campus building(s). Relatively few requests can be approved so that we can continue to adhere to shelter-in-place mandates. 

Again, anyone approved to come to campus must follow safety protocols including the health screening. 

Staff: Please contact your supervisor if power outages prevent you from completing assigned work on time. Supervisors will work with you to develop alternate plans. 

Students: Please be aware that you may not be able to connect remotely with your professors due to possible power outages. Faculty have been encouraged to include alternate plans for asynchronous work should blackouts interfere with their ability to conduct classes or respond to questions. If operations at the university are widely affected, the university will message you directly and post information on social media. 

Please refer to the Aug. 18 email for more detailed information. If you are personally impacted by California’s fires, please reach out

Finally, we encourage all students, faculty, and staff to confirm that you are able to access Canvas, Zoom, and your USF email on your phone. Canvas and Zoom offer mobile apps to check course materials and send messages if you don’t have access to a computer or electricity. (Note: Zoom will significantly reduce your battery life so it is best to avoid extended synchronous meetings if you don’t have power.) Contact the ITS Help Desk at (415) 422-6668 if you need assistance.

Thank you for your attention to these protocols and procedures. We know that USF will emerge from these crises stronger than ever in large part thanks to your dedication and care for each other.  


Tyrone H. Cannon, Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Julie Orio, Vice President of Student Life


P.S. We remind you that our regional utility, PG&E has resources on its website for preparing for and tracking rolling blackouts and power outages.