We are deeply troubled by the updated guidance that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released Monday requiring international students to take at least one in-person class to maintain their visa status. Given the broad range of courses being offered, both in person and online, we are optimistic we will be able to support our international students to study in person safely if they wish, but it may take a few days.
Our decisions for the fall semester require that we remain nimble, especially as COVID-19 cases in Southern California continue to rise. Reducing on-campus density in buildings, outdoors and during activities will be needed to ensure your safety and to comply with L.A. County Department of Health guidelines.
Felicia Washington, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, and Charles Zukoski, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, share an important update with faculty and staff on COVID-19 training and daily wellness checks.
As we begin a phased approach toward resuming some on-campus activities, Provost Charles Zukoski shares the progress we have made in a number of areas.
USC has a potential budget gap of $300 to $500 million in FY 2021. The gap arises from lost revenues and increased costs associated with COVID-19. We are preparing for a prolonged economic recovery that could impact our finances for several years. We remain confident that we can close this gap for FY 2021, and over the next year, develop plans to emerge stronger from the pandemic.
President Folt shares some of the key Project Restart decisions that the university has made so far. While we still have many details to work out, we are planning for an in-person fall semester for students beginning on Aug. 17, 2020. This is a week earlier than originally scheduled.
We established Project Restart, which is comprised of working groups involving over 100 faculty, staff, and students. These teams are charged with envisioning how we can return each specific element of university life to on-campus operations. The teams are planning in great detail, considering contingencies, and preparing us to be both nimble and thorough in our approach.
USC Student Health is conducting a study to estimate the percentage of USC students who have developed antibodies (a marker of exposure) to the virus that causes COVID-19. This study may help us learn more about infection rates of COVID-19 on the USC campus and among USC students and help the university prepare for the physical re-opening of the University Park Campus.
Even as the challenges continue, the spirit, creativity, and generosity of Trojans everywhere are a force for good. President Folt shares several stories that lift our spirits and remind us that our empathy, creative thinking, humor, and progress in science and medicine will get us through this crisis stronger and more united than ever.
Watch a video from President Carol Folt to discover how you can help USC students, health care workers, community members and employees who are most affected by COVID-19.