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USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (3/17/2020)

To: All Staff, Faculty, and Students


A lot has happened in the last 72 hours, and we wanted to provide the University community with a few reminders and updates from the COVID-19 Task Force after our meeting yesterday.  We want to reiterate that, while USciences operations have changed dramatically over the last week, we remain open and committed to providing the best possible educational experience to our students.  The response from the entire community – students, faculty, and staff - during this very challenging time has been exceptional, and we are all grateful for everyone’s patience and extraordinary efforts. We also ask that you take care of yourselves, your families, and each other - both emotionally and physically - during what is likely to be an extended period of remote operations.  Remote or on-campus, we are a strong team and we will continue to do great work regardless of our proximity!


NEW City of Philadelphia restrictions

· Yesterday, the City of Philadelphia announced new restrictions on business activity, effective Monday, March 16 at 5PM (City of Philadelphia Restrictions).  

· In order to align with this guidance, we ask ALL departments that continue to have employees on-site to review the necessity of on-campus activity and reduce as much as possible, effective immediately. Only essential employees or those with VP approval should be on campus at this time. 

· Additional guidance will be sent out to supervisors from Human Resources.

· Please remember that sick time and Paid Time Off practices remain in effect as they normally would if you are unable to work due to illness and/or have other pre-approved time off.


Campus Services

· Note that a number of campus services have changed operating hours based on above restrictions and more stringent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommending that gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people.

· We have updated this information on the Campus Operations site; please check this information prior to going to campus offices.

· For essential and approved employees or students coming to campus, Public Safety walking escorts continue to be available at any time upon request.  Please call 215-895-1117 to arrange for escort.  


Residential Students

· Current Residential Students

Given the above restrictions, all residential students currently on campus are being asked to remove their belongings if possible and return home by Sunday, March 22nd at noon.  If students are unable to remove their belongings they should contact Reslife@usciences.edu.  The Department of Residence Life will provide additional guidance along with checkout instructions following this communication.  


· Residents who are currently out of town should not return to campus at this time. The Department of Residence Life will contact you with instructions on returning to campus to retrieve your possessions.  Your belongings are secure and we ask that you wait until Residence Life contacts you with further information, so that we can focus on assisting our remaining students in residence.


Short-term Leave of Absence Policy

· Students are reminded that if they become ill for any reason, the University has a short-term leave of absence (SLOA) policy.  

· This policy allows students to take up to 10 business days away from coursework to focus on their wellness.   Upon returning from SLOA, students are responsible for contacting their course instructors regarding missed coursework or examinations.  

· More information on the policy is available in the Student Handbook on page 119.   

· Students should contact their College Dean’s Office to begin the SLOA request process. 

Facilities changes

· As of Monday, March 16, the CDC now recommends no more than 10 people in any gathering.

· In order to adhere to this guidance, we are closing Wilson Dining Hall for on-site dining effective immediately; we encourage students to order grab and go food per the below process (shared on Friday by Dining Services):

· Choose which meal period form to use:

    https://forms.gle/Jj4mGMXGBKfF57DY6 used for breakfast/brunch

    https://forms.gle/dpKUrBTXMgYkMZ5S6 used for brunch/lunch/dinner

· All sections of form MUST be completed

· Forms must be filled out and link sent no later than 12:00PM the day prior to pick up request

· Forms received after 12:00PM may not be filled

· All pickups will be at Wilson Dining front concierge kiosk at the pickup time selected

· Seating has been removed from Starbucks and TastyDrakes to eliminate any gathering in that location; take-out service will continue.

· Coffee Lab in STC and Wilson Express remain closed until further notice.


Library updates

· The Joseph W. England Library building is closed to all faculty, staff, and students until further notice.

· Interlibrary Loan will continue to operate for electronic materials only. At this time we are unable to process physical book loans.

Possible COVID-19 contacts/infection

· As stated previously, individuals with respiratory symptoms, with or without fever, should not come to campus or participate in-person in any educational activities, and should be evaluated by their primary care physician. 

· Any individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, have known contact with someone who has tested positive, or have had secondary contact with someone who has tested positive, should notify their dean or supervisor immediately and refrain from coming to campus for 14 days, regardless of presence of symptoms.

· Individuals returning from or having close contact with someone returning from a country designated by the CDC as having “Widespread sustained spread and restrictions on travel to the United States” (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html) in the last two weeks should notify the dean or direct supervisor of this travel/contact immediately, regardless of whether any respiratory symptoms or fever are present. 

· These individuals are prohibited from coming to campus for 14 days from date of return to the U.S. (or date of contact with such an individual), and should make arrangements to work completely remotely, even in the absence of symptoms. 

· Note that the list of countries falling into this high-risk category is expanding rapidly, and as of late last week also includes most of Europe.

· These guidelines apply to all students and employees – even employees who are considered “Essential Employees.”

Penn Medicine Ambulatory Testing Sites

· As of today, Penn Medicine will be opening two drive-up, ambulatory COVID-19 testing sites, one in Radnor and one at 4122 Market Street (parking lot). 

· See Penn COVID-19 Testing for details.


All University community members should continue to monitor and follow CDC guidance, including practicing good hygiene and social distancing, whether on- or off-campus.


Valerie P. Weil, MD

Chief Financial & Operating Officer


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

Director, Student Health

Student Health & Counseling