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03/12/2020

USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (3/12/20)

To:  All Students, Faculty, and Staff:

As we continue to monitor the global public health situation, we have accelerated some of the changes necessary to minimize the potential person-to-person spread of COVID-19. The following measures are being implemented out of an abundance of caution and concern for the health and safety of the University community. There are currently no reported cases of COVID-19 at USciences.

Travel/Conferences/Events

  • As of today, any University-sponsored travel, to any location, international or domestic, is prohibited until further notice; this includes previously-scheduled travel. 
  • Due to the significant risk of transmission of COVID-19 in large groups, University-sponsored, in-person attendance at large conferences (>100 attendees) is prohibited.  
  • Athletic practices and games have been suspended until further notice.
  • Most on-campus events have already been cancelled through April.  Any departments with remaining events are strongly advised to cancel.  Please email Director of University Events Michele Albert (albert@usciences.edu) with any changes to your events so she can assure service requests are updated.

Campus Facilities/Public Safety

  • As shared yesterday in a message to students, beginning Monday, March 16, the ARC will be closed.  This is being implemented due to the nature of the equipment and to the resilience of COVID-19 on hard surfaces.
  • The J.W. England Library will close Sunday, March 15 at 11:59 pm and will remain closed until further notice.  Electronic resources remain available as usual.
  • The Mailroom is in the process of setting up account logins for the USPS Stamps.com program so that individuals can print postage from their homes or offices, if desired.  The Mailroom will continue operations on a reduced schedule beginning Monday, March 16, with services available on Monday/Wednesday/Fridays from 10 am to 4 pm.  Departments should arrange for someone to periodically pick up mail during these times to assure important mailings are not missed.
  • Waste management (trash and recycling) will continue to operate as normal.
  • The loading dock will remain open for deliveries.
  • Public Safety will continue to monitor buildings as usual; concierge operations in some buildings will be temporarily reduced or eliminated in order to redeploy resources to residence halls. All services provided by Public Safety will remain operational. This includes emergency medical response, walking escorts both to and from campus, and access requests. University City District services and Penn Transit Shuttle will also be operating as normal.
  • The ID Badge Office in Wilson Hall will remain open during normal business hours.

Purchasing/Finance

  • The finance team has set up a process to track expenses that are unique and necessary for the emergency management of this crisis.  A unique spend category (SC0296) has been set up to track those expenses that are unusual and unique to this situation.  These costs will be drawn from cost center budgets, and will be reviewed at the end of the year for movement into a project account for potential state and/or federal reimbursement. Budget Officers will be receiving a separate communication from Josh Caulder from the Budget Office.
  • Environmental Health & Radiation Safety Central Stockroom requests that laboratory departments be judicious in purchasing during this period, as we have limited staff on campus to deal with receivables.  For perishable or temperature-sensitive items, please contact Renee Siegel (siegel@usciences.edu) and Dennis Collins (dcollins2@usciences.edu) before ordering to assure prompt pickup and appropriate handling.
  • Bulk purchasing of items such as hand sanitizer or masks should only be done through central University departments (SHAC, public safety, facilities).
  • The Cashier’s Office in Kline Hall will be open Mon/Wed/Fri from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm.

Remote Technology

  • For faculty requiring Zoom for teaching/meetings, IT is in the process of embedding Zoom into Blackboard; this functionality should be available shortly. 
  • For staff or students who need Zoom for meetings, the IT Department is in the process of setting up an internal link on OneCampus to directly log into the application.  We expect this to be finalized by Monday, March 16.  In the interim, free accounts with slightly reduced functionality are available at zoom.us.  If you need greater functionality than the free accounts before Monday, please submit a help desk ticket and IT will manually set up your USciences account.
  • Office phones may be forwarded if desired.  Instructions for doing so are posted at https://sites.google.com/usciences.edu/workingremotely/forwarding-your-phone.
  • Additional resources for working and studying remotely are available at https://sites.google.com/usciences.edu/workingremotely/home
  • Files saved on your OneDrive may be accessed through the portal (https://usciences.onelogin.com/portal/) by clicking the “Office 365” button and then clicking the “OneDrive” tile.   

Academics

  • Per the Interim Provost’s message yesterday, didactic coursework for students will be online as of Monday, March 16, with some lab work transitioning as well. Instructors will be reaching out to students with details and updates on specific courses, including didactic, laboratory, and clinical work.

Resource Information:

You can find the latest information on the spread of COVID-19, CDC travel guidance, and the World Health Organization recommendations at the following sites.  Please check these sites often for important updates.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

 

Valerie P. Weil, MD

Chief Financial & Operating Officer

 

Barbara M. Siebert, DNP, CRNP, FNP-BC, CNE

Director, Student Health and Counseling