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USC Recent Happenings & News

CADREAMINCADREAMIN 6196 replies114 threads Senior Member
It may be good to have a dumping ground for things going on at USC that may not warrant their own thread, but are good to put out there. So when current parents like myself (and many others on here) get an email from the administration, or anyone sees an article about something USC, there is a place to discuss some of this random/unexpected information. For example, the recent changes to financial aid, or other policy updates that can be important but short lived, and often get buried in the class of 20xx Applicant thread. Or just random rumors/thoughts/views/comments that don't fit elsewhere. Not sure if it will be that active, but it could be for things that could affect both current students and/or applicants.

Or maybe I didn't want to feed the fire (like online news is doing) and title this thread about the virus, ha. So, to start it off, I thought I would mention that in relation to the Covid-19/CoronaVirus situation, USC is experimenting (beta-testing I suppose), by having classes go to an online format Wed-Friday of this week. This is the week before spring break which will allow some students to get a jump on travel (home or elsewhere) a few days early, if they so choose and schedule allows. I am fascinated with the process to get this kind of thing in place at such a large school (I understand UW going to all online classes starting Monday.)

I also understand that some students in study abroad were asked to return. Again not sure if all, or just hot spots like Italy. Maybe others have more info to share.

Here's the info on changes to this week:

3/6: Campus-wide Test: Classes Temporarily Move Online Effective March 11-13
MEMORANDUM

To: USC Community

From: Charles F. Zukoski, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Date: March 6, 2020

Subject: Campus-wide Test: Classes Temporarily Move Online Effective March 11-13

As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation evolves, your safety and wellbeing are our main priority. As a result, we continue to take precautionary measures to ensure that we are prepared for any potential disruptions to teaching and learning at USC.

There are no cases at USC of COVID-19. As you may be aware, California and Los Angeles County have declared states of emergency, though we are mindful that there is no immediate threat to the general public.

Our university must be nimble and flexible in the event that we need to make any further changes to the semester. We have about 7,000 lecture classes this spring. We need to test our technical capabilities to ensure academic continuity in an online environment should there be a disruption.

With this in mind, we will test our online lectures and seminars starting Wednesday, March 11 through Friday, March 13. The online modality will replace in-person classes for those three days. Please work with your instructors if special technical accommodations may be needed.

I emphasize that this is a test of our capabilities. The university is fully functional. Student residential colleges, dining halls, offices, libraries, health centers, and recreation and athletics facilities are open. Campus events are scheduled to take place as planned. Employees are expected to be at work.

Should students’ academic schedules only include lectures and seminars, students need not remain on campus as these will be held online.

All faculty are being required to switch to a Blackboard or Zoom platform (or another school-specific online learning system) so classes and office hours can continue online. Please review the March 2 memo for important guidance on how to do this, along with this resource from the Center for Excellence in Teaching. It is also important to record your classes on Zoom.

During Spring Recess, we will review feedback from faculty, students, and staff to determine how to improve the online experience. Should the situation erode and we need to take stronger measures, we will be able to smoothly and quickly adapt, having tested our resources for three days.

I am proud of how supportive our community has been. We will continue to follow the guidance of our health experts and we will take every step possible to ensure the wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff.

Please continue to check your email including during Spring Recess for updates.

Class Schedule

Monday, March 9 through Tuesday, March 10 – Normal classroom activities
Wednesday, March 11 through Friday, March 13 – Online testing; lecture and seminar classes will be held online
Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20 – Spring Recess
Monday, March 23 – Classes scheduled to resume in person
Resources: USC’s official page on COVID-19 has all the latest messages and status updates. Check it frequently. For questions, please use the COVID-19 hotline: 213-740-6291 or email: [email protected]

Hygiene practices: Please remember to take care of yourself, and use common sense hygiene practices. Please stay home if you are sick, wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cover your cough with your elbow or sleeve, and avoid touching your nose and mouth.

Travel recommendations: We strongly advise against international travel for students and employees over spring recess. USC Chief Health Officer Sarah Van Orman provided details in her March 4 memo.

cc:
Office of the President
Academic Deans
President’s Senior Leadership Team
Provost’s Leadership Team
Academic Senate
Staff Assembly
GSG President
USG President

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Replies to: USC Recent Happenings & News

  • TeriYaki1TeriYaki1 49 replies0 threads Junior Member
    It’s so...comforting to see a familiar poster! Once again, you’re here to guide and calmn. Thank you! From one parent to another.
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  • COmama24COmama24 62 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for posting-great idea. I know I am guilty of trying to figure out little clues along the way (good/bad signs). My daughter received the postcard for the SDA open house and she was wondering if that was at all a clue. This is our first "rodeo" going through the college process. It's been exciting/torture along the way. :) I wonder if the virus and this change in class scheduling will impact timing on decisions at all?
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  • CADREAMINCADREAMIN 6196 replies114 threads Senior Member
    edited March 7
    Hi @TeriYaki1 ! How is your D doing? Hope her experience has been good! Rooting for @usctransfer88 this year!

    @COmama24 The postcard has always been the only clue they give and it's been a good one! (FA inquiries don't mean much.) I do think the notification process will be affected by all going on, not dramatically, but by a couple days. I am hoping they get info out earlier so they can deal with the online stuff, I don't see it being later than the usual 23rd-25th.
    edited March 7
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  • WonderfulJourneyWonderfulJourney 55 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Yes, we received the SDA Open House Invite as well. It seems like when I asked if anyone else received it, there was crickets on the thread but for two other people @COmama24 being one of them. Hoping it is still an early indicator, fingers crossed!
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  • TeriYaki1TeriYaki1 49 replies0 threads Junior Member
    D transferred Fall 2019! She’s curently in an on campus apt and doing fine. Thanks for asking! COVID19 has been worrying me as she’s in LA and we are in Hawaii. She was going to spend spring break in Florida, but has decided to come home instead. Still...the air travel and airports... Try to keep safe everyone. FIGHT ON! ✌🏼
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  • CADREAMINCADREAMIN 6196 replies114 threads Senior Member
    edited March 8
    @TeriYaki1
    With classes going online this week, mine drove home today instead of flying to PNW with friends. Such a shame they had to change plans, but she gets a big spring break this way. They are young, they will be fine! I guess good news is you get to see her and you might even save some money (maybe not with last minute flight change though)???? But ya, the flying is germiest part - but again, it should be fine for many.
    edited March 8
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  • CADREAMINCADREAMIN 6196 replies114 threads Senior Member
    edited March 8
    @WonderfulJourney The one thing with colleges is they are machines and do the same thing year after year. If it meant something for the last 10 years (and the invite has) there is no reason to think it doesn't this year. They are really predictable. But they have to say it doesn't mean anything if asked. Just like the April 1 notification date, it's foo-foo. But every year 10 kids on here will say they called and were told April 1st. And it always comes out a week or two before that. They don't know admissions is just trying to get them off the phone to deal with other things!

    But truth is, there is no way to relax until that white (or yellow for spring admits) box arrives and you have it in hand!
    edited March 8
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  • WonderfulJourneyWonderfulJourney 55 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited March 8
    One would think so. Here's hoping I can report that the tradition continues! @CADREAMIN
    edited March 8
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  • CADREAMINCADREAMIN 6196 replies114 threads Senior Member
    Just a bit more info on online class rollout for anyone interested. I am fascinated that all these schools can pull this off, but there are certain to be some bumps along the way.....feel bad for the kids that are packing their dorm at Harvard with 4 days notice, such a quick action and abrupt end to their school year....is it really necessary? We will see what USC does after spring break.

    https://laist.com/2020/03/10/usc_online_classes_coronavirus.php

    And some professor perspectives:

    http://dailytrojan.com/2020/03/10/faculty-respond-to-virtual-class-testing-period/
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  • CADREAMINCADREAMIN 6196 replies114 threads Senior Member
    Well, D is home till end of March as they extend online class conversion till then:

    To: USC Community

    From: Charles F. Zukoski, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

    Date: March 10, 2020

    Subject: Update to University Policies and Plans Related to COVID-19

    We are continuing to monitor closely developments regarding the COVID-19 outbreak with your health and safety at the forefront of our decision-making. Our highest priority is your well-being, and the well-being of anyone who visits our campuses.

    While there are no cases of COVID-19 at USC, health authorities announced yesterday the first possible case of community transmission in Los Angeles County. We believe the risk to our students, faculty, and staff remains low, but it is our responsibility to you and our greater community to be proactive in our efforts to encourage social distancing as a means of preventing the spread of illness. At the same time, we are committed to continuing the academic excellence and vital work of the university.

    As a result, we are taking the following measures, but please be aware that as we learn more, we may need to make changes to these dates.

    We made the decision today to continue online classes after Spring Recess, from March 22 through March 29. We encourage students not to return to campus during this time but to take their classes remotely. Accordingly, when departing for Spring Recess, students should take all necessary items essential to continuing their education, such as laptops, textbooks, and study materials.
    We understand that some students remain on campus during Spring Recess. Residence halls, clinics, libraries, and recreational facilities are following their usual Spring Recess schedules. Please see the link for dining hall hours and locations.
    All university-sponsored events, on and off campus, between March 11 and March 29 will be canceled or postponed until a later date. Exceptions will be made for academic performances and recitals. Attendance will be limited to the families of participating students. Please contact your dean’s office for information.
    Intercollegiate athletic events will continue as scheduled on campus but without spectators until March 29. Attendance exceptions will be made for the families of our student-athletes. These events will be streamed so that our Trojan fans can watch online. Athletic events not on our campus will be subject to the attendance policies of the PAC-12, the NCAA, and the host institution.
    All domestic and international university-related, non-essential travel for students, faculty, and staff is suspended until March 29.
    This is a challenging time for all universities and organizations that bring together a large, highly mobile population, and we appreciate your patience and support as we navigate this uncharted territory. We ask for your patience and collaboration as we work through difficult issues related to the continuity of all of our academic programs.

    During Spring Recess, we will assess our classroom and lab experiences in an effort to improve our online instruction. We have already learned that in laboratory and clinical settings, we must follow professional standards and appropriate hygiene, including frequent handwashing and social distancing.

    Please check your email regularly during Spring Recess for any updates.

    Events
    Our events webpage contains additional information.

    For university-related event questions, please email [email protected] your inquiry will be routed to the appropriate department.

    Travel
    Personal: We strongly advise against personal international travel for students and employees over Spring Recess.

    Professional: Only essential professional travel will be allowed for faculty, staff, and graduate students. Essential travel is generally defined as travel that is required to preserve the safety or results of a research subject or research activity that cannot be postponed. All faculty and staff must have written approval from their dean or supervisor for reimbursement of essential travel expenses. Graduate students require written approval from their faculty-sponsor and dean.
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  • WWWardWWWard 3124 replies15 threads Senior Member
    All so sad... especially for any and all students impacted across the country. College is a special time, and this is all just so unfair.

    Our prayers most significantly go out to the friends and families of the 1000 or so Americans who have actually been directly impacted to date by this virus.

    The scenario at Harvard and at any schools contemplating the same decision is significantly unfair. And it does not yet seem warranted. I feel for those seniors especially.

    As for USC, yes - it looks like I need to change a return flight for my daughter from FL to the 29th vs the 22nd. But will I have to do so yet again? It's the uncertainty and turmoil that is so disruptive and unfortunate.

    Oh well... we have no other recourse but to react to the decisions made by others. Here's hoping that a vaccine is finalized as soon as possible.
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  • CADREAMINCADREAMIN 6196 replies114 threads Senior Member
    edited March 11
    Agree, I can't imagine students being told to be out of the dorm by Sunday and their college year just ripped away. I don't get it. And not everyone has a happy/easy home to return to, so they are just flung out into renters/crash pad limbo. And what about the money they paid for housing? (not to mention the education...) Seems too much too soon with a lot of herd mentality going on.

    Hope D flies Southwest or some other airline where change is not penalized and the fares don't keep going up!
    edited March 11
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  • nvadadnvadad 7 replies0 threads New Member
    A Likely Scenario?
    I know no one has crystal ball now. For non-seniors, do you think USC will likely to extend this eLearning till May? I guess it may not be a big deal for students living in CAL. However, for east-coasters, cleaning up and vacating the dorms might be the only thing I can think of in May.
    @CADREAMIN and @WWWard: would you think it's a high risk to take if students whose homes are far away pack everything and vacate the dorms now? Personally I think USC will likely follow what Harvard is doing and have every come back to school in May to simply vacate dorms.
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  • CADREAMINCADREAMIN 6196 replies114 threads Senior Member
    edited March 11
    I hope not. I hope they see taking away their planned place to live for the next 2-3 months is more risky than having them stay. The young aren't as impacted by this whole thing so I don't get these moves at all. Let them finish their year, if they get it, it's a flu for them typically right? These drastic measures at colleges seem insane to me, but what do I know? I must be missing something. I hope they just don't follow Harvard off a cliff. It's sad for the students that this special college year/time comes to abrupt end whether a freshman or a senior, or inbetween. I can see sticking them with online classes, but I sure hope they don't ask students to move out. It's not like everyone can pack up and drive home, geez. And wow, ya, it's an unique time, but paying all that for online education, and losing money on housing too, ugh and ouch.
    edited March 11
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  • nvadadnvadad 7 replies0 threads New Member
    @CADREAMIN : Thanks for reply!
    I don't see USC would order students vacate dorms before the end of the semester either. Don't see USC would go that route yet. However, I am just wondering whether USC would likely to extend eLearning til semester end and order students to vacate by early-mid May, which is more costly and unnecessary to far-away students. In other words, I am afraid that USC leadership simply tries to buy more time now but fails to think this through from non-local perspective.
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  • Marcie123Marcie123 433 replies33 threads Member
    My D is a student ambassador and just gave her final tour for a while. They had to get permission from Carol Folt to give tours today and then they are suspended until the end of March. After that things will be reassessed. The office remains open so she does not think decision notifications will be delayed although she doesn’t know when that will be.

    She said she had a great group from Arizona today who were very grateful the tour was not cancelled. She said if that’s her last tour until next semester, it was a good one to end on. If you are the Arizona family, this USC mom thanks you!
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  • trojantransfer1trojantransfer1 15 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Any idea if this will have an effect on when people will hear back from Admissions?
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  • CADREAMINCADREAMIN 6196 replies114 threads Senior Member
    edited March 11
    ^^^From what I heard today, not at all. Admissions is still doing their thing - it's the rest of the school dealing with all the adjustments. In admissions, it's business as usual.

    @Marcie123 awe, that's sad things just end like that! Will she do it again next year for sure? I feel for the athletes at the schools - the Ivy's just cancelled practices and competitions for athletes, ugh. Many kids are finishing their athletic careers at various schools (versus going on to pro) and it is likely after 15 years of effort - then it just stops suddenly. Too sad. Probably lots of versions of this in all kinds of college endeavors and goals.

    I still think Harvard pulled the trigger too early, now anyone that doesn't follow suit is given the stink-eye. I know colleges are like one big petri-dish, but this isn't affecting that part of the population - idk, just seems like too much over-reaction too fast, but maybe it will prevent things from getting out of hand. idk, big price to pay it seems.

    @nvadad
    I think (and would hope!) USC is well aware of it's population and the hardships pulling a Harvard would create for students far from home, internationals, lower income and many others that can't just afford to rent elsewhere or change flight plans. I hope things settle and my D is able to go back with everyone else and return to some kind of normal this semester, but I think finishing with online classes is certainly a possibility. Still hope they can do those at USC rather than from home or wherever! But she's in off campus housing, so different I suppose than for those in dorms. So many things to consider!
    edited March 11
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  • Marcie123Marcie123 433 replies33 threads Member
    @CADREAMIN she will definitely work in the admissions office next year. She loves it!
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  • evergrngranite13evergrngranite13 17 replies0 threads Junior Member
    @CADREAMIN Thank you for sharing information and the opportunity to talk about what's going on at USC w/ the coronavirus. I've been following the thread for admissions because 4 years after my DD applied to USC, my DS is hoping to follow in her footsteps. Your presence then was quite calming while we waited for a decision, and it is now.

    My daughter is a senior* now, living in an apartment, and planning to spend spring break in Hawaii. I might be encouraging her to come home if she was living in a dorm, but since we are in Seattle, the current epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, Hawaii is probably the better destination for her break.

    Looking past spring break, I am wondering for the first time whether USC will hold graduation this year. I have the sense that there's a lot of wisdom, and some good sources, on this board.

    *She has loved USC. Fantastic professors, programs, opportunities, support, friends for life.
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