USF announces plan to return to on-campus instruction in fall

April 30, 2020

USF COVID-19 Update

University of Saint Francis President Sister M. Elise Kriss, OSF, sent an update to students, faculty and staff today about the university’s plan to return to on-campus instruction this fall.

Her letter outlines the details:

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

As we conclude the 2019-2020 academic year, we all recognize that it was a challenging and unprecedented spring semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the dedication and hard work of everyone in the University of Saint Francis community – students, faculty and staff – we were able to quickly transition to remote instruction immediately after spring break.  This mode of learning will continue through the summer sessions. Thanks again for your creativity and persistence in this effort.

We plan to return to on-campus, classroom instruction with the fall semester and we look forward to welcoming our new and returning students to campus in August.  This decision is predicated, of course, on following the guidelines and recommendations of federal, state and local health and government authorities. On-campus, face-to-face instruction might look different than it did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The world has changed, and higher education is no exception. USF is committed to adjusting to this “new normal” and implementing the most efficient and productive approaches to provide our students with the high-quality education for which the university is known.

USF will pursue the best ways possible to provide for the educational needs of our students as well as the health and safety of everyone on the USF campus. We have all learned to practice social distancing and to take other precautionary measures to deal with the pandemic. We will continue to follow the recommendations for best practices provided by health professionals. For example, the use of face coverings may be required at times, and there will likely be a limit to the number of people who can gather in a single place. The emphasis on regular disinfecting of USF facilities will also continue. Should a student, faculty or staff member contract COVID-19, we will have the appropriate protocols in place to deal with this situation in conjunction with local health authorities.

Providing high-quality instruction to our students remains our most essential work. Being on campus with access to our state-of-the-art facilities and laboratories will benefit our students in achieving their academic goals. It is vital that they have the best learning environment possible in order to thrive. They are the future researchers, medical personnel, business leaders and community leaders who will be at the forefront of positive change in our communities, our state, our country and the world.

Many of you stepped forward during this crisis to serve our students and one another in many new ways. Those actions reflect your commitment to our mission and values, and they send a strong message about how dedicated the USF community is to make the world a better place. We are proud and grateful for what you have accomplished during these difficult times.

Please join me in prayer for all who have been impacted by COVID-19 around the world, and for all of us in our university community as we prepare for 2020-2021 academic year. Our enrollment projections for the fall look good now, but time will tell.  We are very excited about the opportunity to connect in person with our new and returning students.

All updates related to the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to be available at the University News site at

God’s blessings and much peace,

Sister Elise

Sister M. Elise Kriss, OSF
President, University of Saint Francis