University of San Diego

Office of the President

Dear USD Campus Community:

When the university announced its six-point plan in the spring for reopening the campus this fall, we intentionally placed the health and safety of our campus first. Over the summer, we have been closely monitoring the recommendations from the state and the orders from county health officials as well as watching what was happening on campuses across the country. In late July, we announced that we would begin the fall semester with remote instruction and invited a limited number of students with special circumstances to live on campus. We also stated we would continue monitoring the situation in San Diego County, and if we felt there was an opportunity to pivot to a different model, we would do so.

In the past week, we were informed that San Diego County was recently taken off the State of California’s watch list and there are new state COVID-19 industry recommendations, as well as new orders from San Diego County that enable us to make a decision to initiate a limited return to campus. Although San Diego County is still operating under stay-at-home orders, we believe at this time we can move forward safely with a few in-person class offerings as well as allow a limited number of students to move onto campus.

We are now in the process of extending this housing option to all students who have previously indicated interest in on-campus housing for the fall semester. We also have decided that move-in weekend will be scheduled for September 18-20. On-campus housing under a single occupancy model is limited, and therefore, it is unlikely we can accommodate all requests. Priority housing will be given to first- and second-year students, those who live in a different time zone than San Diego, and those students taking labs and capstone courses. Please note that no student is required to move to campus at this time, and we will honor your housing for the spring semester whether you plan to return to campus now or in the future. Our Residential Life Team will be available this weekend to respond to inquiries at 

As you know, we have put in place several health and safety measures across campus, and those have been updated based on the current situation. One of the changes is that COVID-19 testing will now be required for those students moving into the residence halls, and flu vaccines are strongly recommended prior to move-in weekend. COVID-19 testing will be available on campus during move-in weekend. Please note that the university does not intend to close the campus if county or state COVID-19 data reflect a growing trend of cases or outbreaks.

Our student support facilities including the new Learning Commons, University Center, the Student Life Pavilion and outdoor activities and recreation, will be available to students. We are also developing some options for campus activities that can be conducted safely in this environment.

We are coordinating with some faculty who will transition to in-person instruction beginning the week of September 21 for certain labs, capstone projects and other specialized courses. A vast majority of courses will continue under remote instruction for the remainder of the fall semester. It is our intent to return to campus in the spring, but that decision will be re-evaluated based on the impact of the pandemic and state and county orders at that time.

It is important to re-emphasize that while we are able to make the decision to initiate a limited return to campus, San Diego County is still operating under stay-at-home orders. We are also closely monitoring universities across the country who are reversing decisions to bring students back on campus, and hope to learn how best to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the likelihood of a similar scenario from happening at USD. 

A successful return to campus starts with personal responsibility and recognizing how your actions impact those around you. It is imperative that students comply with the protocols outlined in the student guide for the fall semester as well as the student pledge to embrace all health and safety measures for the benefit of all Toreros.

These are very difficult times, and I know this has not been easy on anyone. Please know that the safety and wellbeing of our campus community is a top priority, and we do not take these issues lightly. We are grateful for the great work of our task forces that have helped prepare for the fall semester, and we believe this work will benefit us as we make this transition. We will continue to keep in close, weekly contact with state and county officials to monitor trends related to the pandemic. A COVID-19 monitoring website is being developed to allow our campus community to have access to the latest information about the spread of the disease on campus and across the county.

You can find the latest information on our transition plans on the Torero BluePrint website. While our return to campus is limited, this is a step in the right direction and will inform our decision making in the future. As a campus of Changemakers, I know we can count on each other to do our part to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our campus and have a successful fall semester.


James T. Harris III, D.Ed.


University of San Diego

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