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USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (4/1/20)

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 earlier this week. 


As you’ve likely heard, federal and local government officials have announced the coronavirus stay home order is now in place through April 30, 2020.  While we previously announced classes would remain online through the remainder of the Spring semester, USciences non-essential faculty and staff will continue telecommuting practices through April 30, 2020, or until further notice. 


Reporting COVID-19 

  • As discussed in prior communications, persons with positive COVID-19 symptoms and/or test results should continue to report their health situation to the University. 
    • Faculty and staff should contact their direct supervisor and Ruth Roberts.
    • Students should contact Dr. Barb Siebert at students-healthinfo@usciences.edu. Dr. Siebert is available to assist with student’s healthcare needs. 
    • Going forward, contact tracing and notification will only occur in instances when contact was made in the 14-day window (this will be rare given the large majority of the University has been off campus since 3/16/20 or before). Notification to clinical sites will also continue to occur, when applicable.  
  • Anyone affected by COVID-19 should continue to follow updated CDC guidelines and once in the recovery phase of illness should review recommendations for discontinuation of transmission-based precautions. Please continue to observe proper social distancing, handwashing, isolation and quarantine procedures accordingly.


Protecting Ourselves and the Community

  • As recommended previously, 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.


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. USciences will not tolerate discrimination of any kind, including discrimination or harassment associated with concerns about COVID-19. 


Requests for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Thanks to the generosity of the USciences community, we have gathered more than 32,000 items of PPE to donate to the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Emergency Management to be distributed to healthcare institutions in need. Items collected by various University departments include gloves, N95 and surgical masks, Tyvek suits, booties, and safety glasses.
  • The response thus far has been tremendous but please take one more look in your departments to see if there is anything more to offer.  For those on the front lines of this crisis, every one of these items is critical. 
  • 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.


Student Credits 

  • The University is going to issue ​partial credits for on-campus housing, parking, and meal plans. The Student Accounts Office at USciences will be applying a credit to the Spring 2020 student account for those who qualify. If you have a balance due on your account, the credit will be applied to the balance and any excess funding will be sent to you.
  • ​Proportional adjustments will be made to Housing Grants for students that received one as part of their ​Financial Aid award package.
  •  If you have funds remaining on your Declining Balance (DCB) plan (DCB250, DCB450, DCB850) and are a returning student, the balance will be available to you for the next academic year. If you have remaining DCB funds and are graduating, a credit will be applied to your account.
  • Direct Deposit is strongly recommended. All students are encouraged to participate in the electronic direct deposit program for their student account refunds and club activity reimbursements. Should there be any disruptions in mail or other services as a result of developmentssurrounding COVID-19, direct deposit will ensure a quick and reliable method to receive payments in a timely manner. Students who are currently receiving a paper check (who are NOT already signed up for direct deposit), can access the following link to sign up for this service, Colleague Self Service- Banking Information. 


Census 2020: Where Do You Count?

  • Students, even if you have returned home during COVID-19, the U.S. Census Bureau officials say that students who are living away from home should be counted at their on-campus or off-campus college address.
  • An accurate count of students is critical for Philadelphia. Student populations factor into disaster planning and emergency response, public health analysis and planning, infrastructure planning, government funding allocations, and many more policy and program decisions.
  • If you live on campus USciences will send information directly to the Census Bureau and there is no need for further action.  Students living in on-campus housing should not complete the census online or by telephone.
  • Students who live off-campus, but who have returned home should use their Philadelphia address and follow theCensus Bureau instructions for Responding to the 2020 Census without a Census ID number. Students still living at their off-campus residences should have received Census information in the mail.

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.


Thank you for your attention and stay safe, 

The COVID-19 Task Force