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USC Plans Full Return To Campus For Fall Semester

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The University of Southern California is planning a full return to campus for the fall semester, President Carol Folt said Friday in a letter posted on social media.

"With conditions improving and vaccine distribution now being ramped up, many of us are feeling a sense of hope about this pandemic that we haven't felt for a long time," Fold said in the letter. "We are cautiously optimistic and are doing everything to make sure our plans for a return are fully realized."

While Folt said the university did not expect to receive approval for in-person classes during the spring semester, the school would be able to open its libraries, swimming pools, outdoor recreation areas and study canopies at reduced capacity. She also said the bookstore opened this week for shopping by appointment.

"Given the decline in cases and the vaccine rollout, we are planning for a full return to campus for the Fall semester, with in-person classes and residential life," Folt said.

Plans for the campus reopening include a campus vaccination operation that will be able to vaccinate 1,200 people per week when supply becomes available, a testing program run twice weekly for undergraduates and weekly for all others on campus, physical distancing measures along with classroom and outdoor facility reconfiguration to allow students, faculty and staff to return safely.

Folt said that while the school has been developing plans for a possible in-person Spring 2021 graduation ceremony, which will also include the class of 2020, nothing has been finalized.

"We continue to gather input from our community and health authorities on our planning and are taking into account the many variables and potential unknowns," she said. I understand many of you have possible travel plans in the balance.

"Please keep in mind that if we can host an in-person commencement, capacity will be extremely limited," Folt continued. "We will let you know where our discussions stand by mid-March."

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