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05/13/2020

USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (5/13/2020)

To: All Staff, Faculty, and Students

 

Last week, Pennsylvania Governor Wolf updated his Stay-at-Home message, extending the order for southeastern Pennsylvania, including the City of Philadelphia, through at least June 4.

(full text at https://www.governor.pa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/20200507-TWW-Stay-at-Home-Order-Amendment.pdf).  At this time, there is not a specific date identified for moving to the “Yellow” phase for the Philadelphia region (when some restrictions will be lifted).

 

Commencement 2020 

  • One week from today – Wednesday, May 20 we will celebrate Virtual Commencement. Our live event stream will begin at 1 p.m., but you can log on beginning at 12:30 p.m. to see special messages from  the USciences community. Our virtual ceremony will have lots of surprises for everyone, and our commencement speaker, Michael Smerconish, promises to deliver a terrific message to the Class of 2020, their family and friends, and the entire USciences community. 

  • An electronic invitation will be sent to the members of the Class of 2020 tomorrow and an invitation to the entire campus community will follow.

 

Summer & Fall Classes and Return to Campus

  • Summer 1 and Summer A classes are all being delivered online.

  • Summer 2 classes will be delivered online, with the exception of a few lab courses. At this time, we are reviewing options to either deliver these laboratory courses on campus during Summer 2, or later in the fall. Much depends on the state and citywide guidance, and we will update the campus as soon as we have additional information from these sources. 

  • As noted before, decisions for our return (including delivery of the fall semester) will be driven by two critical factors:  a) the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, and b) our mission to deliver the highest quality education to our students.

  • Processes for return to campus for all departments will be under guidance of the CDC, OSHA, and other governmental entities, and only at such time as both the Pennsylvania Governor and the Mayor of Philadelphia have permitted a return to on-site operations.  However, we will begin specific planning for this return over the coming weeks. 

 

Financial Resources for Students

  • COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund - Supported through the federal CARES Act, 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.  An email will be going out shortly to all students with a link to the application for these funds.

  • USciences Student Emergency Fund (SEF) - Students may also 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 at j.canada@usciences.edu.

  • All refunds for rooms, dining, and parking have been processed for students.  Students with questions on this topic should email studentaccounts@usciences.edu for the speediest and most informed response.  

 

Residence Halls/Student Personal Belongings 

  • The Residence Life team continues to monitor Governor Wolf’s guidance and will share specific timing on moveout plans as soon as permitted.

  • Students should monitor their USciences email for additional information about this process.  Students with questions should contact reslife@usciences.edu.

 

Procurement

  • As we develop plans to return to campus, all departments will need to consider supply inventories - specifically Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, or cleaning supplies.  As we return to campus and identify supply needs through the summer, please coordinate purchase of these items at an institutional level.

  • All purchasing of these items should be coordinated through the Director of Purchasing and Auxiliary Services, Vince Horn (v.horn@usciences.edu). 

Reporting COVID-19 Positive Tests

  • Despite the relatively low number of known coronavirus cases in our University community, 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