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USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (5/6/2020)

To: All Staff, Faculty, and Students


We made it through Finals Week – and just a few short weeks until the members of the Class of 2020 officially become graduates of USciences!  While this is far from the typical end of the academic year, it is a huge milestone for our talented and hardworking students – and we are proud of them all and know they will be moving on to make a difference in the world, even as that world has changed so dramatically.


Commencement 2020

  • Virtual Commencement planning is well underway! We are working to create a virtual stage and each graduate is submitting a photo, which will be displayed on the screen when their name is called. 

  • We will be sending an electronic invitation to the members of the Class of 2020 that they can forward to family and friends, inviting them to celebrate their achievement.   

  • An invitation will also be emailed to campus so the USciences community can join together in cheering on our graduates. 

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


Financial Resources for Students

  • The COVID-19 Emergency Assistance fund (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.  Students will receive instructions to apply for assistance later this week via email.

  • 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 has developed a plan that will coordinate students retrieval of their personal belongings in our three on-campus residence halls, as soon as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania permits us to do so. 

  • The plan is designed to maintain social/physical distancing guidelines while permitting students and a limited number of family members to retrieve their belongings efficiently from their dorm rooms.

  • While we do not yet have a clear timeline from the Governor, students should monitor emails for additional guidance about this process; we will share information as soon as we are able.  Students with questions may contactreslife@usciences.edu.



  • As we develop plans to return to campus, all departments should be reviewing supply inventories and identifying needs, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, or cleaning supplies.

  • All purchasing of these items should be coordinated through the Director of Purchasing and Auxiliary Services, Vince Horn (v.horn@usciences.edu).  Please reach out to Vince and let him know of your department’s specific needs so that he may coordinate across the institution.


Return to Campus Planning/Fall Semester

  • Many of you are wondering about our plans to return to campus, and what the fall semester will look like.  

  • Our decisions for the fall 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.

  • We don’t believe the above two factors are mutually exclusive, and our faculty and academic leaders are working hard to develop multiple scenarios that will allow us to meet both criteria.

  • That said, we are optimistic that we will be back on campus in the fall – but likely with some modifications to allow us to meet health and safety guidelines.  

  • We will be communicating more details in the coming weeks.


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