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USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (4/29/2020)

To: All Staff, Faculty, and Students


It’s Finals Week!  It’s the busiest time of year for our students and faculty, and in the current unprecedented global situation, it is likely to be even more stressful than usual.  If you haven’t watched the fun Finals Week message from some of USciences’ high energy faculty and staff, take a look here - it will cheer up your day!


And, in related news, USciences’ Virtual Commencement 2020 is three weeks from today-- Wednesday, May 20th at 1:00 p.m. Plans are underway to make this virtual ceremony as student-focused and celebratory as possible. We will be sharing a link to the ceremony with the USciences community soon, and we will also livestream to the public atyoutube.com/usciences. Graduating students should check their email for more details. We will hold an in-person ceremony at a later date, when it is safe to do so. 


Help us congratulate the Class of 2020 today by submitting video messages for the class here!   


Future Planning

  • Governor Wolf released his “Process to Reopen Pennsylvania” last week, a plan that outlines a regional approach to reopening businesses and lifting some social restrictions.  

  • The current guidance suggests that areas of the state that have very few COVID-19 cases may begin to relax restrictions as early as May 8.  Given the high number of cases in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties, there is no expectation that our region will relax the existing restrictions in the near term, but the Task Force continues to monitor local, state, and federal guidance related to this topic.


Financial Resources for Students

  • The COVID-19 Emergency Assistance fund helps with education-related expenses associated with the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.  This fund is reserved for students who are currently enrolled in a program that met on campus prior to the transition to online classes.  We are currently working on a process for eligible students to apply for these funds, and expect to communicate it to students within the next two weeks.

  • All students may access the USciences Student Emergency Fund for urgent financial needs.  This fund is available to all students, including those who may not qualify for Title IV/CARES Act funding (e.g., international or undocumented students).  Interested students should reach out to Joe Canaday, Executive Director of Student Success & Student Ombudsman atj.canada@usciences.edu.  


Wellness Resources

  • The Office of Health and Wellness google site has a variety of wellness resources - check out the “Staying Well While Staying Home” tab for links to virtual events like Zoom fitness classes, Friday lunchtime meditation, and cooking demos, as well as useful articles and links. There is a tab specifically for students and one for faculty and staff as well. 


Student Leadership Awards

  • Even though our time on campus this semester was cut short, we are extremely proud of the accomplishments of our student organizations and student leaders. We received over 200 nominations for Student Leadership Awards this year! 

  • Since we can’t be together to celebrate, our winners will be announced on theUSciences Instagramaccount by the end of the week. Stay tuned!


Reporting COVID-19 Positive Tests

  • The USciences community has been extremely fortunate to have had very few cases of COVID-19, with all known cases making a full recovery.  However, we must continue to be vigilant, especially as planning begins for a return to campus.

  • All students, faculty, and staff should continue to notify SHAC if you have been found to be COVID-19 positive via testing or are presumed positive based on symptoms.


USciences COVID-19 Information

  • Information about the University’s status, FAQs, and links to governmental sites are available on our COVID-19 webpage.

  • COVID-19-related campus messages are 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.  


The COVID-19 Task Force