To all members of the Temple community:
Like so many of our colleagues around the country, we believed an in-person educational experience could be part of students' lives this fall. Our students told us loud and clear that they wanted to come back to campus, to be together again.
In the last few weeks, as we welcomed back students for the fall semester, we have engaged in extensive testing and tracked the results. Fortunately, those who have tested positive for COVID-19 have shown either no or mild to moderate flu-like symptoms. Each step of the way, our decisions have been data driven. Now, in light of the recent increase in positive test results among our students, and after consultation with our own healthcare professionals and leaders at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, we have concluded that the data indicate it is time to pivot to primarily online education, as we said we would be prepared to do.
That is why we are announcing that the current suspension of all but essential in-person teaching on Temple University's domestic campuses will continue for the remainder of the fall semester. Essentials-only courses are those for which educational objectives cannot be achieved without all or some in-person instruction. We estimate that 95% of courses will be online for the remainder of the semester. Employees currently working on campus should continue to do so until notified otherwise by your supervisor. We will continue to work together as a community to ensure that students receive the quality education they expect from Temple and continue progress toward their degree.
We recognize there will be students in university housing who may want to return home, and for those who choose to leave by Sunday, Sept. 13, we will provide a full refund of housing and meal plan charges for the fall semester. Others may want or need to remain on campus to access available resources or because individual or family circumstances (such as a family member with an underlying health condition) make it more prudent to stay. Those students are welcome to remain, and we will make available the academic and other support services and activities that you need to succeed, including Temple's high-quality health services.
For those students already taking a fully online course load, this will not be a major change. On the other hand, we know this is disappointing for the many students and their families who had hoped for an on-campus experience. Please know that if the data supported a decision to safely continue the fall semester experience on campus, we would have made every effort to do so. Unfortunately, the risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic are simply too great for our students, faculty, staff and neighboring community.
We know you will have additional questions, and we will be in touch in the next few days with more information.
We want to thank our amazing students for how well you have adapted to changing circumstances during the pandemic. The two of us have walked our campus and spoken to so many of you, as you followed our four public health pillars. In the face of these challenges, you continue to embody Temple's motto: Perseverance Conquers. Day after day, you have inspired us.
Finally, we want to thank every member of Temple's faculty and staff for all you've done so far. We know this has not been easy. The university's faculty and staff have worked so hard because we all believe creating the best possible experience for our students is worth the effort.
Be safe, and know that wherever you are learning this fall, we remain together as one Temple community.
Richard M. Englert
JoAnne A. Epps
Executive Vice President and Provost