Spring 2021 FAQs




Will my class be online, hybrid or on-ground?
Spring 2021 classes are marked to be delivered with either a hybrid or online modality. Please refer to the USC Schedule of Classes to determine how your class or section is categorized. If a class or section is marked as hybrid, classes would only begin on-ground once the university receives approval from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to move to Phase 3 of the University’s reopening guidelines.

What does hybrid mean?
If cleared by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the hybrid modality includes a combination of online and on-ground class time. Each instructor will have the autonomy to determine which class meetings will be on-ground and which will be online, once clearance to hold classes on-ground is given. Until the university is allowed by the county to begin on-ground classes, instruction will be entirely online.

What will an on-ground hybrid class be like?
Faculty members who teach hybrid classes have the option to be physically present in the classroom, or they may teach from a remote location. Additionally, when on-ground instruction begins, safety protocols must always be observed to ensure the health and safety of our SDA community. These include mandatory mask-wearing and physical distancing in the classrooms. Additionally, due to reduced capacity in the spaces to allow for appropriate physical distancing, it is possible that only portions of the class will be able to be in the space during a class.

How do I notify my faculty if I am going to participate in a class online or hybrid?
Students will need to declare their level of involvement at the start of the term. It is important that you explore this option thoroughly and communicate your needs to the faculty member so that they can plan accordingly. For example, in a performance class, if you intended to start hybrid and are paired for in-person scenes and pivot to online, this may cause a slight disruption. We know plans may change, but we hope you take this into consideration.

How will USC or SDA support students who need wireless support?
For students who need support with internet access, we encourage them to contact the University’s Basic Needs Office for details at https://studentbasicneeds.usc.edu/resources.

What will the grading system be next semester?
Students will be expected to take their courses adhering to the general grading policy outlined by the USC Schedule of Classes.

How will professors prevent student burn out regarding screen time? Will all the class hours be through Zoom or will professors assign independent class projects in preparing monologues and such?
While the times of our courses will not change, professors have been asked to re-design the structure of each class to accommodate breaks. In addition, the faculty have been given the freedom to re-work assignments or projects to provide more direct contact on a 1-to-1 basis, as well as maximize in-class time.

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What facilities will be open (even by appointment basis) and will the campus itself be open?
Due to county and state restrictions, once the university has been given clearance by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, we will only be able to allow some of our design labs to be open. Performance studios will not be open for use.

What about campus housing?
The University has not received permission from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to resume residential life. Please visit https://we-are.usc.edu/faqs/housing-dining-faq/ for the most up-to-date information on housing.

For when students return to campus, can you outline the protocols around COVID-19, as well as what support will be in place if they become sick?
For information on USC’s plan towards health and safety, including contact tracing and support for those who fall ill, please visit https://we-are.usc.edu/health-and-safety/.

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Shouldn’t each student proceed as they feel is best for them?
Yes – students are free to make the decision that best fits their interests and needs. Before any decision is made, we strongly encourage each student to connect with their academic advisor to know the impact any decision will have on their academic progress.

If a student takes a leave of absence, is their place guaranteed when they come back?
Students who wish to take a Leave of Absence (LOA) will need to abide by the LOA policy outlined at https://arr.usc.edu/services/leave-of-absence/generalinfo.html.

Any student exploring this option is strongly encouraged to connect with their academic advisor to understand the academic impact to their degree progression and expected graduation date.

For any newly admitted spring admit first-year or transfer student, you will need to follow the policies outlined by the USC Office of Admissions.

Will students in the BFA programs be allowed to take a Leave of Absence?
Based on feedback from students, we will be allowing students currently enrolled in any of our BFA programs to submit for a Leave of Absence for the spring semester. Students who take a leave beginning spring 2021 will only be allowed to return to their respective program in spring 2022. This is to ensure alignment with your curricular progression. A petition to submit for a Leave of Absence can be submitted to the Office of Admissions & Student Services. It is important to note that any decision to take a leave should be heavily considered as it will impact your time to degree and may have implications on your financial aid. We encourage you to connect with your academic advisor and the Office of Financial Aid prior to finalizing your decision.

How is SDA providing support towards academic advisement?
Our advisors have created several opportunities for students to engage via virtual 1-on-1s or by appointment. To schedule an appointment, please visit uscsda.fullslate.com. If a student is not able to connect with their direct advisor via email, they are encouraged to contact sdainfo@usc.edu to accelerate their inquiry.

For actors, would there be a way to register for non-performance classes this fall and take them at a later date?
Given the structure of our curriculum, this is possible in some cases, but not in others. Several challenges arise for particular cohorts regarding degree progression, as well as space and faculty availability. Before any decisions are made, we strongly encourage each student to connect with their academic advisor to understand the impact this will have on their degree plan.

That said, utilizing the online modality has shifted to exploring the innovative possibilities for students – especially in performance classes. The online modality encourages our artists to truthfully and authentically communicate thought and action – both verbally and non-verbally, in similar – and different – ways than they would be asked to in a classroom. This can still be done using a virtual platform. Actors will be charged to use their imagination. Whether in the classroom or not, students are asked to endow the space with the specifics to the scene (e.g., props, costumes, etc.). These are skills our students will continue to develop and hone.

According to some of our faculty members, the online modality holds actors more accountable for finding active specific personal choices. It compels artists to live actively moment-to-moment and really commit to engaged connection to their partners through the Zoom lens.

Is it possible to still apply to the fall or spring term at BADA in London for this year or summer?
BADA is not available for the spring term. But they are planning to offer a full schedule for fall 2021. Students interested in exploring this option will be encouraged to attend our information session in spring 2021.

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Can you arrange for online mixers within SDA and with SCA so that students can meet each other virtually?
As in the fall, we will continue to work with SCA in creating programming that bridges the two communities. For news and updates about these efforts, we encourage you to review the SDA Weekly newsletter.

Will the Career Center continue to help students find internship placements in L.A.?
Yes – our Career Center will remain active and continue to engage with students via a virtual modality. Internships are managed through our Director of Internships Meghan Laughlin. She will continue to support students in any opportunities that are presented to SDA or via the students.

What health services are available to students?
USC health services are currently open and available if students have any support or healthcare needs at https://studenthealth.usc.edu. Additionally, Counseling and Mental Health Services invites students for virtual “Let’s Talk” sessions. Students can log in to usc.edu/myshr to sign up and get the Zoom link. Students can drop in and share what they are going through with the current disruption from COVID-19 and social distancing, in a discussion facilitated by a clinician. Full schedule and updates will be posted at https://studenthealth.usc.edu/lets-talk-drop-in-schedule-for-students.

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Is it still possible to apply for the SDA Emergency Funds?
Students may submit an application for any SDA Emergency Funds via the SDA student portal at https://sdastudents.usc.edu. Any award distributed will need to be coordinated with their USC Financial Aid package.

What can the School do to assist with the extra cost incurred on housing due to the change in the School’s decision to move courses online?
Our intention and planning was directed towards having an on-campus experience. However, given the heightened conditions and risk that COVID-19 presents, we have had to pivot to an online experience. For students who have run into issues related to housing leases, we encourage those students to contact the University’s Basic Needs office for direction on how to manage these contracts. They can be reached at https://studentbasicneeds.usc.edu/about. More information was shared through a communication from the Financial Aid Office on July 17 – available at https://coronavirus.usc.edu/2020/07/14/7-14-update-from-financial-aid-office.

Will USC reduce tuition for the 2020-2021 academic year?
Please visit the University’s Student FAQs for the answer to this and other questions at https://we-are.usc.edu/faqs/students-faqs.

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Still have a question? Please submit it at https://uscsda.formstack.com/forms/covidasksda