USF updates campus plan for fall semester

July 29, 2020

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The University of Saint Francis will begin its fall semester on Monday, Aug. 24, with several adjustments in place related to COVID-19 pandemic precautions.

These new procedures are designed to promote safety and health in the USF community and to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. All decisions were made to follow the best practices outlined by government and health officials and with guidance from the State of Indiana and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We want to assure the community that USF will operate in the safest way possible to protect the health of everyone on campus while helping our students achieve academic success,” said USF President Rev. Dr. Eric Albert Zimmer. “We are prepared to make further adjustments if the situation changes.”

USF will follow these procedures in key areas:

Face coverings and social distancing
Face coverings will be required for all students, faculty, staff and visitors in indoor spaces on campus, and in outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible. USF will initially provide face coverings for students, faculty and staff. Disposable face coverings will be available for visitors if needed. Exemptions to the face covering requirement will exist for those with medical conditions where masks are not advised, when engaged in strenuous physical activity and when eating or drinking. USF will comply with all State of Indiana social distancing guidelines.

Academic schedule
The semester will begin with on-campus courses on Monday, Aug. 24. Courses will be conducted in-person, online or hybrid (partially in-person, partially online). Undergraduate in-person courses in Fort Wayne and Crown Point will end on Friday, Nov. 20, with in-person final exams ending on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Online finals and submission of remaining work will occur during the week of Nov. 30. After Thanksgiving break, undergraduate students will not return to campus until the spring semester. Graduate courses, Virtual Campus courses and on-ground courses at St. Elizabeth School of Nursing in Lafayette, Indiana, will proceed with their standard fall schedules.

Classroom capacity and dining
USF has adjusted its classrooms to promote social distancing and limit the number of students in a room at one time. USF’s food service vendor, Creative Dining, has created a more distanced seating arrangement in Trinity Dining Hall and the Hideout. Overflow seating will be available in the Cougar Den and “Grab and Go” meals will be available in all three locations.

Campus cleaning
USF has increased the level of disinfecting on high-touch surfaces during its regular cleaning schedule. Hand sanitizers are available throughout the campus.

Residence halls
Residential students were given the option of requesting a single room for purposes of social distancing. Common spaces will have restrictions and no guests will be allowed until further notice. All residents will complete a student screening form prior to move-in and on a regular basis throughout the semester. Residence halls will close for the semester on Nov. 25.

The Athletics Department continues to work with the NAIA and the Crossroads League to follow protocols for competition. Beginning Aug. 15, student-athletes may practice consistent with any health and safety protocols for all fall sports. Parkview Sports Medicine has provided guidelines for USF to follow for meetings, practices and team activities.

The NAIA has postponed national championships in cross country, men’s soccer, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball to spring 2021. A decision on the football national championship will be made Friday, July 31. The NAIA granted conferences autonomy to consider the regional impact of COVID-19 in order to determine the timing of its regular-season competition. The Crossroads League is currently committed to fall regular-season schedules. Procedures for spectators at home USF competitions will follow local health department recommendations.

Update (Aug. 1): The USF football schedule has been moved to the spring, along with the NAIA football national championship tournament.


Founded in 1890 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition, the University of Saint Francis offers more than 70 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs through the School of Health Sciences, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership and School of Creative Arts. In addition to its traditional programs, USF designs focused curricula for working adults in Fort Wayne, Crown Point and online. USF Downtown houses the university’s business and music technology programs while offering enhanced internship and networking opportunities for students. The University of Saint Francis campus experience includes 18 athletic programs boasting two individual and four team NAIA national championships and is recognized as an NAIA Five-Star Champion of Character institution. Approximately 2,200 students from a broad geographic region attend USF.