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June 02, 2020

Temple University plans to hold some in-person classes this fall

Large classes will continue to be held remotely

Education Temple University
Temple University fall 2020 semester Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

Temple University is planning to resume some in-person classes this fall, albeit with strict health and safety guidelines in place.

Temple University is planning to resume some in-person classes when the fall semester begins Aug. 24—with several changes in place.

Large courses will be held online and in various breakout sessions, President Richard Englert announced Tuesday. But others will be conducted in-person or in a hybrid fashion.

Still, in-person classes will be discontinued after Nov. 20, when the university's fall break begins. Students will not return to campus following the Thanksgiving holiday, an effort to reduce public health risks. Instead, all classes and exams will be conducted remotely until the semester ends. 

Before in-person classes resume this August, Temple will undergo a multi-phase reopening plan to ensure that health and safety guidelines are in place and can be followed by those on campus. 

The University said that it is currently in the first reopening phase, which means that essential medical and safety staff, as well as small construction teams and facility workers, are allowed on campus to help prepare it for in-person classes to resume.

The second and third phases will begin later this month, meaning that select research and clinical activities can resume on campus and summer classes can be held. The vast majority of summer classes will take place online, while a select few can occur on campus.

The fourth phase is expected to begin around August 1 as students return to campus for the fall semester, and the final reopening phase will commence as classes resume and students move into dorms in mid-August.

“While many questions remain, I am confident we can open on time as a residential university, and operate in a way that reduces the risks to our community’s health while continuing to offer quality educational experiences to our students,” Englert wrote in a message sent to the Temple community.

Students and faculty will be required to wear face coverings in buildings, and masks are highly encouraged to be worn across campus. Masks will be made available for anyone who does not have one, including visitors. Whether students will be required to wear face coverings in dorms is still undecided, University officials said.

Hand sanitation stations will be installed throughout the campus. Reminders will be posted urging people to avoid touching their faces after touching surfaces. Markers will be placed on floors and walls to remind people to practice social distancing, and plexiglass is being installed in common areas to ensure separation where social distancing is difficult to enforce. Some seating areas in public spaces have also been removed.

Temple plans to ramp up its coronavirus testing and contact tracing capabilities, Englert said.

University officials also encourage people to wash their hands frequently, take their temperatures regularly and watch for COVID-19 symptoms. 

The University said that it has been and will remain in constant contact with local and state officials over its plans for resuming classes this fall.

All University-sponsored or funded international travel remains prohibited through June for faculty and staff, and through August 15 for students. The school is also strongly discouraging domestic travel too. 

"As you can see, we are working to ensure an educational experience that is both safe and fulfilling," Englert said. "Some of the best minds at the university are at work on the task, and I have been truly impressed by their commitment and passion. This is the kind of challenge that rallies the Temple community to be its best. And by providing for multiple scenarios, we will be ready should circumstances change."

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