University of San Diego

Office of the President

Dear USD Campus Community:

In my communication to you this past Thursday, I stated that we needed to do everything we can to mitigate our campus exposure to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and be prepared to respond immediately to any emergencies in a timely fashion. While we still have no known confirmed cases of the virus on our campus, I am writing to inform you of new proactive measures recommended by our COVID-19 Action Team for our campus community. The following decisions are informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California Department of Public Health, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency and our own medical advisers:

  1. Remote Teaching. USD has the ability to implement remote teaching by using platform tools such as Blackboard and/or ZoomPro. We have asked all faculty and students to be prepared and capable of implementing remote teaching by March 23 should we decide to move in this direction. We will assess whether to mandate campus-wide remote teaching for all courses by March 23. While most classes continue to meet in person on our campus, a number of our faculty have already initiated remote teaching. Students with a chronic disease or special circumstances who believe it is unsafe for them to attend class should contact their dean’s office.
  2. Campus Events. We are limiting campus events and access to campus from outside groups. Further communication will be forthcoming regarding these changes.
  3. Liturgies. Until further notice, Founders Chapel religious liturgies will continue as scheduled. Current liturgical safeguard guidelines will remain in force. Scheduled religious life events, such as weddings and baptisms, will be permitted.
  4. Travel. All university related international travel is prohibited, as well as non-essential domestic travel, until at least April 13. All personal international travel is strongly discouraged. As applicable, consult with your vice president or dean to determine whether your university related domestic travel is essential. We strongly encourage you to consider alternative methods, like teleconferencing.
  5. Remote Working. Employees age 60 or older or employees with chronic diseases at higher risk may choose to work from home, following supervisor approval. Information on obtaining access to the USD network remotely can be found here. Employees and supervisors who have questions can contact the Employee Relations team in Human Resources at (619) 260-4594.
  6. Enhanced Campus Cleaning. We are using the CDC-recommended cleaning materials that are effective against numerous pathogens, and we are increasing the frequency of cleaning throughout campus, specifically in classrooms, doorknobs, high traffic areas and other common areas.

We understand the significant value of learning face-to-face in the classroom and our strong faculty-student engagement. We also recognize that this situation is rapidly changing and calling on us to implement extraordinary and temporary measures to support the wellbeing of our community. We understand that these decisions cause significant disruption to our Torero family, but we believe these actions will mitigate risk and are short term.

I want to thank the members of our COVID-19 Action Team. They will continue to meet daily and assess the circumstances and adjust our decisions accordingly. In the coming days, I will be meeting with students, faculty and other leaders to keep them informed on our developments. More information about our efforts can be found on our COVID-19 website.

While people may have different views on how to respond to this health emergency, I ask that we work together and demonstrate our resilience in the face of this urgent challenge. Please join me in praying for those impacted by COVID-19 or those experiencing heightened anxiety or discrimination. Let’s reaffirm our commitment to respect the dignity of every person during this difficult time.


James T. Harris III, D.Ed.

University of San Diego

Office of the President
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492