President Richard Englert announced Tuesday morning that Temple plans to reopen for the Fall Semester. The email comes after weeks of planning by Temple’s Return Team. President Englert says the plan was based in part on recent decisions by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.
In the expectation that conditions will improve, the semester is set to begin as scheduled on August 24. The university will be following four public health pillars to ensure the health and safety of everyone:
- Face coverings will be required in all buildings and encouraged everywhere on campus. Masks will be available to those who need it.
- Frequent hand washing is encouraged and the university will be installing hand sanitizer stations throughout campus.
- Social distancing tactics, such as spacing in classrooms and plexiglass shield installations, will be done to ensure there is a safe space between people.
- Monitor your personal health daily for symptoms and seeking from a medical professional.
Similar to how many states are re-opening, Temple University will be utilizing a five-phase approach to opening campus. Each phase will allow additional people on campus in a controlled fashion.
Senior music education major, Ashwin Suseedran, is excited to get some sort of on-campus experience.
“Even if they’re letting some of us come in and they’re ending the lectures around Thanksgiving,” he says. “I think it’s very beneficial to still have this kind of dense, academic environment in some fashion.”
Temple is currently in Phase One. This phase slowly adds small teams of construction facilities workers who are making small changes to ensure safety, such as separation in places where necessary and removing some seats in public spaces.
The second phase will start this month and allow an increase in research activities in places such as the Lewis Katz School of Medicine and Kornberg School of Dentistry.
Phase Three will begin on June 23 and allow a small number of College of Public Health Summer II classes to be held in person. Phase Four anticipates growing the number of people on campus by August 1 as people move in.
The final phase will occur as students move into residence halls on their assigned dates in mid-to-late August. With reduced infection rates and approval from authorities, Temple plans to have a mix of in-person and online classes.
Large classes will continue online and in various break-out sessions. Smaller classes will occur in person and hybrid fashion.
Assistant Professor of Journalism Saleem Ahmed has expressed concern about how his production classes will proceed.
“The reporting classes, where you’re going out into different communities and you have to interview people,” Prof. Ahmed says. “I think we’ll still have to figure out some of those challenges.”
An important change has been made to the Fall Semester calendar. At the end of the day on Friday, November 20, the university will end on-campus presence and finish the semester remotely. The University says that decision was aimed at reducing public health risks and minimize the possibility of a recurrence.
TSG Director of Communications, Ammani Ahmad-Khan, has a positive outlook as to how fall semester will look, despite the change.
“It’s definitely going to be a shift in culture for not only Temple Student Government but organizations all over campus. But it’s not impossible and it definitely can be done.”
Any university-sponsored international travel remains suspended for students through August 15. Temple University Japan and Temple Rome’s situations are continuing to evolve. Decisions will be updated on the 15th of every month based on international, national, state, and local guidance.
President Englert said he will be sending updated emails over the next few weeks.