You are in our thoughts every day, as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses and new local, state and federal directives are put in place. Our primary concern remains your safety and health, and the safety and health of our employees and communities. We know that you are very aware of the responsibility to adopt social distancing policies to protect your own safety and the safety of others. To that end, Governor Newsom joined a growing list of public officials requiring the adoption of community-wide stay-at-home measures to halt the spread of the virus.
It is hard to believe, but it was just two weeks ago that USC began testing online learning with the expectation that classes would resume on campus a week or two after Spring Recess. And it was less than a week ago that the coronavirus had progressed so fast that we made the decision to extend online and remote learning for the rest of the semester. State and federal orders issued just yesterday restricted public activities and travel much further. While these orders allow USC to continue to perform essential functions to support on-campus residents, online and remote learning, the expectation is to eliminate as much activity as possible on and off campus.
All of this is why we must re-evaluate our earlier decision to accommodate – where possible – requests from students who said they needed to continue living in university housing. We developed the original policy to help reduce financial and travel burdens for our students when we were still planning to return to in-person classes in mid-April.
However, the health crisis has worsened significantly, and we now need to find a long-term housing solution that both works for each of you and reduces significantly the numbers of students still living in university housing. We understand for some of you, particularly given new travel restrictions, that remaining here may be the only solution for now. For those who need to stay, please be aware that we will likely need to move you to a different room.
Importantly, we will continue to provide housing, food, and support for as long as you are in residential housing. USC Student Health will remain in operation to serve students. We will take additional measures to ensure social distancing, adjust to reduced staffing levels, and be consistent with the state orders now in place to protect the public health. And we expect you to be responsible partners with us, and make sure that you are not inviting guests or other non-resident students into your rooms. We need every resident to take this seriously.
In order to effectively help us protect the community, we need you to do the following:
- If you believe your circumstances require you to remain in USC Housing, please submit a new request via this survey in the USC Housing application portal detailing those circumstances. Requests must be submitted by Sunday, March 22nd at 5:00pm. Responses to the request to remain in university housing will be reviewed within 24 hours.
- While exception requests are being reviewed, residents will be allowed to remain in university housing. Responses to requests may include the requirement to relocate to another building due to LA County Department of Public Health guidance.
- If you are presently occupying your USC Housing space and have the ability to leave campus to go home to your permanent address, we need you to do so. We understand this may be complicated and time-consuming as arrangements are made, but please let us know you are able to leave via the survey in the USC Housing application portal. We will work with you for an orderly transition consistent with public health guidelines.
- In order to help us effectively manage this situation, we are asking all housing residents not submitting an exception request, to please also complete the survey in the USC Housing application portal. This is essential for our public health effort, and we thank you in advance for your cooperation.
Throughout this process, we will remain committed to supporting every resident. Please be assured that we will do all we can to help you. Again, please contact USC Housing at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance if you are experiencing difficulties with this process.
As we have stated in emails to residents this past Tuesday and Wednesday, we reiterate that students who left university housing for Spring Recess, or have already returned to their permanent residences, cannot return to campus at this time. We are keeping rooms locked and your belongings safe. If you have an immediate health or safety reason to access your room, please contact USC Housing at: email@example.com or call the USC COVID-19 24-hour hotline at (213) 740-6291. We know you want your belongings, and we will find a safe way to arrange this, but for now we need you to wait and be patient.
For those of you who will remain in University Housing, we fully expect you to be responsible and practice social distancing. We have been saying all along that residence halls may only be accessed by residents who have received permission to stay and have remained on campus. For health and safety reasons, no guests nor students seeking to return after having traveled during recess will be granted access to residence halls. We need every resident to take this seriously. Failure to do so could result in a student conduct action.
We understand how confusing and troubling all these changes are, and that many of you are far away from family and concerned about them too. This is not what we wanted for you. We promise to work with each of you to develop a plan. We plan to move as quickly as possible to minimize disruption associated with moving, so you can concentrate on your studies. We also will work with you to seek accommodations in classes where needed. We greatly appreciate your cooperation as we do all that we can to support the university during this crisis.