University of San Diego unveils plan to reopen campus in August

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SAN DIEGO — The University of San Diego is planning to reopen for the fall semester, unveiling a roadmap Thursday which includes a number of changes to campus life.

University of San Diego President James T. Harris III.

University officials say its six-point plan for bringing students back to the private Catholic campus is the best way to ensure the health and safety of the community. In a statement, USD President James T. Harris III said Toreros have “demonstrated great resilience” in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, but that “we must now focus our attention on the future.”

All university residence halls are being limited to one or two students per room, the university said. USD also has identified space on campus for isolating students who need to be quarantined, and will be adhering to state and local guidelines on social distancing in classrooms.

Officials also have announced a change to the university’s academic calendar for undergraduates to start Aug. 17, allowing the fall semester to end ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The changes are intended to help limit the spread of the virus, Harris said.

“While we can’t predict the future impact of the COVID-19 virus, I am optimistic that if conditions allow us to gather this fall, we will be prepared and ready,” he said.

That’s good news for students such as Adrian Jimenez, who said he’s looking forward to his freshman year at USD.

“At least I get to experience the freshman, the first-year experience here on campus, not online,” Jimenez said.

Earlier this week, the California State University system including San Diego State and Cal-State San Marcos announced they plan to primarily hold fall classes online. Online learning has been a challenge for some, but USD senior Chris Farrand said he’s gotten the hang of it.

But Farrand also is eager to return to the classroom — with a little extra spacing.

“I understand it’s scary, but at some point I feel like we have to continue to try to move on,” he said.

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