Dr. Sarah Van Orman treads carefully around the word “normal” when she describes what the fall 2021 term will look like at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and other colleges nationwide.

In the era of covid, the word conjures up images of campus life that university administrators know won’t exist again for quite some time. As much as they want to move in that direction, Van Orman said, these first steps may be halting.

“We believe that higher education generally will be able to resume a kind of normal activity in the fall of ’21, and by that I mean students in classrooms and in the residence halls, others on campus, and things generally open,” said Van Orman, USC’s chief health officer. “But it will not look like the fall of 2019, before the pandemic. That will take a while.”

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