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USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (3/24/2020)

To: All Staff, Faculty, and Students

We have a number of important updates and reminders for the campus community today, following our weekly COVID-19 Task Force meeting yesterday.  


Commencement and Conferment

  • Yesterday, President Katz informed the Class of 2020 of the difficult decision to move Commencement to a live-streamed, virtual ceremony on May 20, 2020, when the graduates will be granted their degrees.

  • When it is safe to gather together again, USciences will host an in-person ceremony as well.  The details of this activity will be developed over the coming months.

  • For students celebrating Conferment, the ceremony will be rescheduled to a new date during the upcoming fall semester so we can honor the students reaching this important milestone in their education.


Reporting COVID-19 Positive Tests

  • Student health is currently tracking nine individuals who are symptomatic or have tested positive for coronavirus.   

  • We remind all students, faculty, and staff to notify your supervisor (in the case of faculty and staff) or Student Health (email Student Health) (in the case of students) immediately if you are symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19. 

  • Regardless of whether you have been on campus in the past several weeks, it is important to notify us if you are symptomatic or confirmed positive by testing so that we can complete contact tracing.

  • SHAC and the Office of Human Resources will reach out to all identified direct contacts of COVID-19 positive individuals and provide additional guidance.

  • Faculty and students are reminded that they should not go to clinical sites if they have been in contact with a COVID-19 positive individual, have symptoms, or have tested positive for COVID-19.  Students should contact Student Health (via email Student Health) or their primary care provider for further directions and assessment; faculty and staff should contact their primary care provider.


Protecting Ourselves and the Community

  • As an additional reminder, we all should be behaving as if we are already infected: isolating as much as possible, practicing rigorous hygiene, limiting travel outside our homes, and following the external guidance from the CDC and other reliable sources that has been provided to us.

  • Anyone who is symptomatic with respiratory symptoms (cough or shortness of breath) and fever should behave as though positive for COVID-19, and should self-isolate and reach out to their primary care provider or Student Health. Although testing is limited in many areas, individuals should check locally for available testing sites if indicated; the University does not have direct access to COVID-19 tests. 

  • For those individuals who are symptomatic and/or tested positive for COVID-19 it is important that you take your temperature twice a day, once in the morning and again in the evening until you are afebrile for at least 48 hours without the use of antipyretic medications.  Once your temperature returns to normal (98.6 or lower) for 48 hours consecutively you are no longer shedding virus or considered contagious. 


USciences Policy on Intolerance

  • We again remind all members of our community that COVID-19 can cause infection in anyone, regardless of race, nationality, or ethnicity; it is not a virus specific to any one group of individuals.  

  • USciences will not tolerate discrimination of any kind, including discrimination or harassment associated with concerns about COVID-19.  This is a time when members of the University should rally together to support one another, and we hope and expect this will continue to be the case.   


Philadelphia Restrictions on Business Activity

  • The City of Philadelphia issued a clarifying order (summarized here) on restrictions of business activity.

  • The Stay at Home order prohibits walk-in takeout orders, requiring all food to be pre-ordered on the internet or via phone, or via drive-thru.

  • Businesses are permitted to have essential personnel on-site (e.g., public safety and facilities services), and also may continue to perform essential operations on-site if they cannot be done remotely.

  • As directed previously, any non-essential personnel planning to be on-site should obtain permission from their Vice President.


Package Delivery

  • We continue to have a significant volume of deliveries to the mailroom – particularly from Amazon.  Please check your Amazon default delivery addresses and update as appropriate; make sure you do not have USciences as your default address at this time.  Deliveries to campus should be limited to those very few students remaining in the residence halls and a small number of departmental deliveries.

  • Departments should review any recurring orders/deliveries to assure that unnecessary materials are put on hold.

  • Environmental Health & Radiation Safety/Central Stockroom request that laboratory departments review any outstanding orders that may be scheduled for delivery.  Orders should be cancelled if possible, particularly those with perishable materials, given the current restrictions to on-site work.


Dining Services

  • Sodexo Dining Services will continue to provide takeout only food for students on campus.  Per the City of Philadelphia guidance, all orders must be placed via online forms here Meal Orders.

  • Please note the cutoff times for meal orders:

    • Brunch – order by 3:00 pm the day before pickup; pickup 10:30 am or 1:00 pm

    • Dinner – 9:00 am the day of pickup; pickup 4:00 pm


Information Technology Services

  • IT has a very small number of laptops still available for use by those who have no other way to work remotely.

  • Faculty and staff should submit any additional requests for laptops by close of business Wednesday, March 25 via the Help Desk.


Requests for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • The City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has requested donations of PPE and other materials for distribution to healthcare institutions in need (see details here).

  • In order to best coordinate with local officials and assure that materials are delivered to those institutions with the greatest need, USciences will be donating these needed supplies through Philadelphia OEM.

  • Process for donation

    • Departments with surplus supplies should package and bring them to the Rosenberger Gymnasium at Alumni Hall (open 24/7) for donation. 

    • Please call ahead to the Public Safety dispatch at 215-895-1117 when ready. An officer will meet donors at the Alumni loading dock on Woodland Avenue (where DPS patrol vehicles park).

    • PPE type, manufacturer, model and quantities among other info should be entered by the donating department’s representative in the Google tracking sheet here.

    • Please note that OEM is not accepting any home-made PPE at this time.


As a reminder, all of our COVID-19-related campus messages continue to be posted at the USciences Public Safety Emergency Blog.  Status of campus operations, as well as tips for working and studying remotely are posted at the Working Remotely website.  Additional information about COVID-19 and links to governmental sites is available on our COVID-19 webpage.


Thanks again to the entire community for continuing to support one another during this unusual and challenging time.  


Valerie P. Weil, MD

Chief Financial & Operating Officer


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

Director, Student Health

Student Health & Counseling