Temple University unveils plans for students to return for fall classes

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Temple University has unveiled its plans to bring back students for the fall semester.

In a letter to the community, President Richard Englert laid out the phased approach to reopening.

The fall semester is set to begin on August 24. There will be blended learning, with classes being taught both in person and virtually.

"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 said.

The university is preparing a complete employee guide that will include personal health and safety information as well as instructions for faculty and staff requiring accommodations.

RELATED: Temple University students making the best of virtual graduation

He said the community must practice these four public health pillars of face coverings, hand washing, social distancing, and monitoring your own health.

Temple will have masks available for those who don't have and for those visiting campus. There will also be hand sanitizer stations throughout the campus.

The university is currently in Phase 1 of its reopening plan. The school has installed plexiglass shields at reception areas and is removing seats from public spaces.

In Phase 2, which begins this month, research activities will be increased including at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine, where they are focusing on COVID-19.

Phase 3 begins on June 23 with the start of the Summer II session. While almost all classes will be online, there will be a small number held on campus. These classes, primarily taught through the College of Public Health, require in-person instruction, Englert said.

During this phase, the university will be pilot testing a number of protocols and procedures in preparation for larger numbers of students in the fall.

In Phase 4, Englert said Temple anticipates growing numbers of people on campus beginning August 1 as students move into the neighborhood.

The final phase will begin as students move into university residence halls in mid-August on dates as they are assigned, followed by fall semester classes beginning on Aug. 24.

Englert said there will be a mix of in-person and online classes. Very large classes will occur online while others will be a hybrid.

RELATED: Temple University students graduate in backyard of Doylestown home

One change will occur with the fall break beginning at the end of the day on Friday, November 20.

"Rather than send everyone home and bring them back, it would be best to end the campus presence early to reduce public health risks. The remaining week of classes, study period and finals would then be conducted remotely," Englert said.

University officials will use the extra time to assess the fall semester and finalize plans for the spring.

Temple will continue to monitor for cases of the virus on campus. The coronavirus testing site will move out of the fourth floor of 1700 N. Broad St. and into a space that will become available on Cecil B. Moore Avenue, on the street level of the Morgan Hall tower. The Health Services team will be bringing on a contact tracing unit.

As for international campuses, Englert said restrictions in both Tokyo and Rome are slowly being lifted, and "each campus is carefully making plans for the fall."

Online: Temple University
Copyright © 2020 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.