USF Announces Fall 2020 Opening Plan

University of St. Francis (USF) President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D., announced on July 15, 2020, through an email to the school community details on USF’s plan for re-opening campus in August. The letter read as follows:

Dear Members – both NEW and RETURNING – of the University of St. Francis (USF) Community,

I hope this communication finds you enjoying a safe, healthy summer.  As USF continues through its Summer semester and prepares for the Fall semester, I would like to share with you our official, approved plan for our Fall re-opening.  This plan – and its supporting documents – are the result of the work of dozens of faculty, staff, administrators, and other members of the USF community over the past few months and for which we are extremely grateful.

  • “Guidelines for the Fall 2020 Opening” booklet (available at stfrancis.edu/saints-united) – This eight-page booklet offers a quick review of the present status of the guidelines and changes in practices and procedures included in the University of St. Francis Preparedness Plan, which the USF community can anticipate with the opening of campus in August.
  • “University of St. Francis Preparedness Plan” (available at stfrancis.edu/saints-united) – This document offers a comprehensive review of the details used as the basis of the “Guidelines for the Fall 2020 Opening” booklet. Important to note is that, while the plan has been approved by the Will County Health Department, it will continue to evolve and be revised as “best practices” change.
  • stfrancis.edu/saints-united – This web page will offer updated, electronic versions of the content in the “Guidelines for the Fall 2020 Opening” and the “University of St. Francis Preparedness Plan” for the opening of campus in August. The page is currently under construction and will be up and running in the coming days.

In addition to these publications, I ask that you also note the following important items:

  • On Monday, August 3rd, the offices of many of our office-based employees will re-open and resume their on-campus responsibilities. If you need to meet with any of these individuals, please be sure to contact them in advance via email or phone to arrange for an appointment.  Please contact the office staff member with whom you wish to meet by phone or online.  On-campus visits will require face masks and physical distancing.
  • Everyone – students, faculty, administrators and staff – will have to sign an electronic “commitment to return to campus” indicating that you have read and understood our four “general practices” and are willing to live by them.
  • Fall semester 2020 classes will begin on Monday, August 24th. If you have any questions about your schedule, please contact your academic advisor.
  • When you return to campus, you will notice a variety of new directional and informational signage regarding the University’s ongoing efforts to maintain a healthy and safe environment for students, employees, alumni, and friends of USF. Please be mindful of these signs and adhere to the information that they are used to convey.
  • USF’s Fall Break (originally scheduled for October 19th through 23rd) is being moved and shortened to Tuesday & Wednesday, October 6-7th. This means the semester will now end one week earlier on Friday, December 11th.
  • All on-campus, face-to-face classes will move to an online format after Thanksgiving Break, which begins on November 26th. This change applies to the two final weeks of the semester (the last week of classes and finals week). Student athletes in fall sports will be able to stay on campus and participate in late-season games, as necessary and as scheduled.
  • Shortening the semester in this way also allows us to move Commencement to Saturday, December 12th.

Our successful return to campus will require the continued, collective efforts of the entire USF community to protect ourselves and each other.  We each have a part to play in keeping one another safe, and it is imperative our entire USF community understand and fulfill their role to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

As we continue in what has been an unprecedented Centennial year, know that our new, on-going Centennial goal is to have a 100%-safe fall semester.

Collectively, we can make our return to campus safe and successful!  

Collectively, we are Saints United!

Welcome home, Saints!

Peace and all good things,

Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D.
President

Fall Re-opening Plans Update

Dear Members of the University of St. Francis Community –

This is the latest update in the series of communications about our operations that we have been providing since early March. It shares important information about the University of St. Francis’ plans for the Fall 2020 term.

USF Plans to Re-open Its Campuses This Fall…

Illinois (and other Midwestern) health officials have announced plans allowing businesses, schools, and universities to re-open in various ways. In most cases, the State is allowing physical locations like stores and schools to re-open with some restrictions on the total number of people attending an event. USF has planned for re-opening campus buildings beginning August 3rd with restrictions to the size of classes, team meetings, and other gatherings to keep the number in large spaces to less than 50 – in coordination with the transition of our region to “Phase 4” on June 26th, per Governor Pritzker’s announcement earlier today.

Reducing Class Sizes, Changing the Calendar, Making Campus Safe…

This summer, University staff members have gone from building-to-building and room-to-room, counted socially-distant seats, and planned where access and exit points will be located. Classrooms and labs are being changed to allow students to work at a safe distance from others, while preserving the welcoming and active learning environment that makes USF a great university.

As with almost every other US university – both public and private – our University is modifying slightly its Fall 2020 term calendar to adapt for COVID-19 and to mitigate against its spread by providing a larger gap between the end of the Fall 2020 term and the beginning of the Spring 2021 term.  Specifically,

  • USF’s Fall Break (originally scheduled for October 19th through 23rd) is being moved and shortened to Tuesday & Wednesday, October 6th & 7th. This means that Fall 2020 classes in ALL formats will now end one week earlier on Friday, December 11th.
  • All on-campus, face-to-face classes will move to a fully-online format, as necessary, after Thanksgiving Break, which begins on November 26th. This change applies to the two final weeks of the semester (the last week of classes and the week of finals).  Residents will be asked to move out after this date.
  • Shortening the semester in this way also allows us to move Commencement to Saturday, December 12th.

(Student athletes in fall/winter sports will be able to stay on campus and participate in games, as necessary.)

These changes are part of a larger, overall plan to re-open the University to both students and faculty members beginning on August 3rd.  Additional details of the plan will be shared with our USF community in the coming weeks. Please know that we are working to create a vibrant campus and to provide high-quality learning experiences for all students, while adhering to the “Restore Illinois” guidelines presented by Governor Pritzker, as well as the “best practices” guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We continue to adapt, plan, clean, and make our campus buildings into a safe environment for students to live and learn with us.

We look forward to seeing you this fall!

Peace and all good things,

Arvid C. Johnson
President

USF Planning to Resume In-Person Courses and Campus Life This Fall

Joliet, Ill. – Summer courses at the University of St. Francis (USF) opened in an online-only format this week as a continuation of the university’s response to challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. With just over 90 days before fall classes begin, USF officials are working on plans to safely welcome the school community back to campus this fall.

Two task forces, one focused on academics and the other focused on co-curricular and campus life, are currently researching and planning for what a return to campus in the fall might look like. While details for those plans are continuing to come together and will be shared throughout the summer months, USF President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D., wants to let current and prospective students know that Joliet’s only four-year university is preparing for a return to campus in the fall.

“It is our goal and hope to welcome students, alumni, employees and the entire USF community back to campus for the Fall 2020 semester. We are currently planning for a number of contingencies for fall classes, all that include a primary focus on continuing to offer our students a world-class educational experience rooted in Franciscan values and that takes place in a safe and healthy environment. While guidelines established by the State and local health officials will ultimately determine if and when college and university campuses in Illinois can open, we are working diligently to be prepared for re-opening campus when that official determination is announced,” Johnson said.

To make USF’s spring even more unique, the university is in the midst of celebrating its centennial. Most events to date have been rescheduled, while others such as commencement have been transitioned to a successful virtual format. Regardless, Johnson is confident that the USF community will continue to make the most of a truly unique year.

“As our centennial year continues, the response of our USF community reminds me of the important roles that resiliency, dedication, determination, and faith have played in shaping our 100-year history. I am both proud of and inspired by how we, as a university community, continue to navigate this challenge and know that our successors will one day look back with pride and inspiration, as well,” Johnson said.

Updated information on USF’s plans for the fall and its ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found at the university’s website, stfrancis.edu/emergency-alerts.

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Currently celebrating 100 years of higher education rooted in Franciscan values, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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