Return to Campus Guide

Last updated September 19, 2020

Table of Contents


Guide introduction

The opening of Fall Semester will be unlike any in the history of the University of Cincinnati. Nearly every aspect of our campus community has been affected by the pandemic. But these changes, no matter the size or scope, must never keep us from being Bearcats. Our family is over 365,000 strong, and we will persevere by the wisdom ingrained in our university’s seal: strength in unity.

Foremost, to every Bearcat near and far, I want to say thank you. Thank you for your versatility and resilience in overcoming the challenges we have witnessed since March. And thank you for your patience and understanding as we worked diligently to build out multiple, inclusive processes to support our planning efforts.

To prepare for our multi-phased approach to returning to campus, we relied on the advice and insight of more than 180 members of our community who served on more than a dozen teams and working groups. We never would have completed this guide without them.

Every step, we have been monitoring the virus, engaging with state and local officials and learning from our medical experts in the Academic Health Center. And every conversation begins and ends with the same conclusion: all of us have a vital role to play in protecting the health and safety of ourselves and those around us. That necessarily means washing hands, wearing facial coverings, physical distancing, staying home when sick, self-reporting COVID-19 symptoms and not becoming complacent about the need to protect one another.   

Phase One of the plan, launched on June 1, has successfully returned our researchers to campus. A special thanks to the Office of Research for partnering with our research faculty and staff to point the way forward with a stepwise approach. Phase Two and Phase Three, commencing on July 1 and August 3, respectively, will see certain segments of our faculty and staff return to campus. To maintain a lower density on campus, supervisors will use alternating groups, flexible schedules, remote work and other alternatives. With the start of the fall semester on August 24, planning for Phase Four remains on track.      

For teaching and learning, we are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment, while delivering the highly respected experiential and co-curricular education for which UC is known. Accordingly, we have planned an approach with a combination of online, hybrid, HyFlex and face-to-face course offerings, along with an adjusted calendar as well as enhanced health and safety measures. Academic units are preparing to offer the majority of courses online and are developing all modes of teaching in ways that achieve academic excellence and student learning outcomes while supporting health and safety for all.

Given the fast-changing nature of this pandemic, we know this Return to Campus Guide will need to be updated in the weeks and months ahead. Please continue to consult our public health website for relevant information and updates.

In sum, this document describes how we will operate moving forward. As we study the details and prepare our respective parts, let us never lose sight of the bigger picture—of who we are and why we matter. Here is a compilation of more than 100 stories involving UC faculty, students, staff and alumni who have decided to fight this pandemic with the very best of their hearts and heads. It is an essential reminder to the world: Bearcats never stop believing in the power of the human spirit.

With Gratitude, 

Neville G. Pinto