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6 posts from June 2020

06/18/2020

IMPORTANT UPDATE: USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (6/18/2020)

To: All Staff, Faculty, and Students

We have an important update today that impacts the entire campus community.  As discussed in prior communications, the COVID-19 Task Force has been working to finalize our interim guidance for return to campus.  That guidance is now available for your information here, and includes a link to download a pdf if preferred.  Please review this document as soon as possible, in advance of returning to campus, and refer back to it as often as needed.  As discussed previously, limited reopening will occur on Monday, June 29, with a ramp-up of on-site operations after that date.

It is critical for supervisors and department leadership to review these guidelines immediately, as planning for your departments must be within this framework.  Employees in your areas will be looking to you for direction on departmental operations.

There is a required online training module that must be completed by employees before returning to work. More details will be forthcoming from Human Resources.  Additional information for students will be shared shortly.

We have a few other updates for campus:

Residence Hall Student Belongings Retrieval

  • We were able to allow students to begin picking up their belongings last week, and so far it’s been a success.  Maintaining physical distancing, over 100 students and their families returned to campus to get their items.  We expect the remaining belongings to be removed prior to the July 4th holiday.

  • Please refer to the separate communication sent by Residence Life for additional information about item retrieval and safety precautions being implemented throughout this process.  

  • All questions should be directed to reslife@usciences.edu.

Emergency Funding for Students 

  • Students who applied for CARES Act funding by May 31 will be receiving funds shortly.  Approximately $300,000 in grants were provided to 219 students.  We continue to accept additional requests from students.  More information is available here.

  • The University has been able to provide over $90,000 to students through the USciences Student Emergency Fund in recent months.  Currently, there are no funds available in the Student Emergency Fund.  If more funds become available students will be notified.  

USciences COVID-19 Information

  • Thank you to supervisors and employees for tracking their COVID-19 related hours in the past, that action is no longer necessary. 

  • 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.  

  • Resources to promote well-being for students, faculty, and staff are posted on the Office of Health and Wellness google site. 

 

The COVID-19 Task Force

06/15/2020

USciences Return to Campus Planning for Fall 2020

To the USciences Community:

I hope this message finds you well. The recent months have been challenging, to say the least. I am very proud that the two primary goals we set at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have been met - to ensure the health and safety of our University family, and to continue to offer the same excellent education for our students.

Our third and most recent goal is to prepare for the Fall semester and a return to on-campus operations -  I am writing today to update you on our progress toward this milestone.

Our plans are to open campus and resume many in-person activities for the fall semester. 

The USciences COVID-19 Task Force, deans, faculty, and University leadership have been working diligently over the last few months to establish plans for a safe return to USciences this Fall. We plan to open in August with in-person instruction, conducting research in our laboratories, opening offices, and welcoming students to our residence halls and other facilities, while balancing the health and safety of our community. We have been in close contact with representatives from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia and we will   follow the guidelines established for colleges and universities while continuing to offer the highest quality learning to our students.

It is important to remember that these plans may change due to conditions beyond our control - such as a resurgence of the virus or changes in local regulations. We will continue to monitor the public health situation, communicate regularly with the campus community, and alter our guidelines as needed to ensure the ongoing safety of all. 

Classes will be delivered in a mixture of online and in-person formats for the Fall semester. The in-person portion of laboratory courses will be focused on those skills requiring a hands-on approach. By creatively arranging our facilities, we will be able to accommodate in-person instruction for some smaller courses. Larger lecture-based courses will be held online until the time when it is safe to resume these in our classrooms. Smaller classes will be held in-person and plans are being readied for physical distancing and the appropriate recommended safety features.

 While there are still many details to work out, we are planning for the semester’s courses to begin as scheduled on August 31 with most of the in-person instruction conducted prior to the Thanksgiving holiday in order to minimize the spread of the virus as flu season begins.   

Throughout this unusual chapter in the University’s 200-year history, we are focused on maintaining the outstanding education and student experiences that are hallmarks of USciences. We will continue to uphold this focus despite the unknowns that lie ahead of us. I am encouraged by and grateful for the community of individuals who make up our  family. I know that we will continue to support one another as we have in the past.

Thank you and I look forward to seeing you all soon on campus.

  

Stay strong. Stay safe. Stay connected.

 

Paul

Paul Katz, MD

President

06/04/2020

USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (6/4/2020)

To: All Staff, Faculty, and Students

 

It’s been a difficult week for many of our community members, and we hope the resources that the University offers will be of help to some or all of you.  We did want to continue to provide updates in this communication focused on the coronavirus pandemic and the University’s response.

 

The City of Philadelphia today confirmed that it will align with Governor Wolf’s recommendation to move to the YELLOW phase as of Friday, June 5 - more details are here.  However, at this point, the City has also extended the mandatory citywide curfew from 8:00pm through 6:00am Friday (details here).  

 

The transition to YELLOW in the City does not allow gatherings at this time, nor does it change recommendations on face coverings and social distancing.

 

Residence Hall Student Belongings Retrieval

 

  • Unfortunately, due to the current civil unrest in the City of Philadelphia, we will need to delay retrieval of student belongings.   All students who were scheduled to pick up belongings this week will unfortunately have to reschedule.  Residence Life has contacted these students and will create additional time slots as necessary.

  • Residence Life will continue to monitor the situation and reach out to students if additional future time slots are impacted.

  • If you have not yet signed up for a time slot, please note the below:

    • a limited number of students will be permitted to check out at one time (maximum of one per floor in each residence hall). 

    • Click here to sign up for a date and 2-hour time slot to retrieve your belongings. You must select a time slot that corresponds to your building/floor. If there is no slot that corresponds to your floor under a given time, it means that the time slot for your floor has already been taken.

  • Please refer to the separate communication sent by Residence Life for additional information about item retrieval and safety precautions being implemented throughout this process.  

  • All questions should be directed to reslife@usciences.edu.

 

Clinical Education

  • PA sites: students can go to clinical sites in Pennsylvania now. We should be able to resume limited, in person instruction on campus in our clinical programs after the University opens back up for limited operations. June 29th is our target date for this, subject to change if local or state guidance is amended.

  • NJ sites: a request for a waiver was sent to New Jersey last Friday afternoon. All students scheduled for NJ sites are paused at this point and any students currently at these sites have been recalled pending notice from the State. Updates will be sent as soon as we hear from NJ about the waiver application.

  • Outside of PA/NJ: if the region or state is not yet “open,” fieldwork coordinators will need to review local guidance for students in fieldwork. If there is no specific guidance, students may participate in this educational activity. (For those states or regions that are “open”, e.g., Florida, if local guidelines permit students to do fieldwork or are silent on the topic, students may continue to their assigned clinical sites.)

  • REMINDER FOR ALL CLINICAL SITES:  University guidance does not permit students to have direct contact with patients who test positive for active COVID-19 (i.e., active viral load). They may (and are encouraged to) work on teams that are taking care of COVID-19 patients, as long as direct contact does not occur.

 

Return to Campus Planning

  • The COVID-19 Task Force continues to update procedures for limited reopening of campus in the summer (after June 28th) and expanded opening into the fall.  The City of Philadelphia issued guidance for institutes of higher education in the City on Friday, May 29 and the State issued guidance yesterday. We are incorporating this into our internal documents. We anticipate releasing the plan to the campus in the coming weeks.

  • As previously noted, we do not envision any reopening for non-essential personnel prior to June 29, with the potential for some limited on-site operations after that date.

  • Governor Wolf’s current and updated guidance for the state is provided here.

  • The City of Philadelphia’s guidance will be shared when it is public.

  • The Task Force and academic leadership continue to plan for modified on-campus delivery of the fall semester; more information will be shared with the release of our Return to Campus guidelines in the next several weeks.

 

CARES Act Funding for Students 

  • Students who applied for CARES Act funding by the May 31 deadline will be notified in the coming weeks of whether they will receive funding.  We expect to distribute the majority of these funds before June 30, 2020.

 

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 University's Wellness Resources are available to students, faculty, and staff.  Please don't hesitate to take advantage of them.

 

The COVID-19 Task Force




06/03/2020

Civil Unrest - 6/4/2020

With civil unrest remaining a possibility in areas of Philadelphia and based on reports from law enforcement, all campus-based University operations are suspended for tomorrow, Thursday, June 4, 2020. Only life/public safety essential personnel should report to campus tomorrow. 

USciences Department of Public Safety is patrolling along with our public safety partners from University City District, Philadelphia Police and UPenn Police as we continue to monitor activities on and around campus with increased patrols. Please remain alert, avoid crowds and continue to comply with the COVID-19 Stay-At-Home order. 

USciences Department of Public Safety will continue its efforts to ensure the safety and security of our community. While we encourage community members to stay at home, please remember to request a walking escort should you need to leave your home outside of curfew hours. This can be requested by dialing 215-895-1117 or x1117 from any campus phone. The curfew for tonight, June 3rd, begins at 6:00pm.

06/02/2020

Civil Unrest - 6/3/2020

Civil unrest is expected continue this evening in parts of Philadelphia. Based on reports from law enforcement, all campus-based University operations are suspended for tomorrow, Wednesday, June 3, 2020. Only life/public safety essential personnel should report to campus tomorrow. 

USciences Department of Public Safety is patrolling along with our public safety partners from University City District, Philadelphia Police and UPenn Police as we continue to monitor activities on and around campus with increased patrols. Please remain alert, avoid crowds and continue to comply with the COVID-19 Stay-At-Home order. 

USciences Department of Public Safety will continue our efforts to ensure the safety and security of our community. While we encourage community members to stay at home, please remember to request a walking escort should you need to leave your home outside of curfew hours. This can be requested by dialing 215-895-1117 or x1117 from any campus phone. The curfew for tonight, June 2nd, begins at 8:30pm.

06/01/2020

Civil Unrest - 6/2/2020

Civil unrest is expected to continue this evening in many parts of Philadelphia. Based on reports from law enforcement, all campus-based University operations are suspended for tomorrow, Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Only life/public safety essential personnel should report to campus tomorrow. 

USciences Department of Public Safety is patrolling along with our public safety partners from University City District, Philadelphia Police and UPenn Police as we continue to monitor activities on and around campus with increased patrols. Please remain alert, avoid crowds and continue to comply with the COVID-19 Stay-At-Home order. 

USciences Department of Public Safety will continue our efforts to ensure the safety and security of our community. While we encourage community members to stay at home, please remember to request a walking escort should you need to leave your home. This can be requested by dialing 215-895-1117 or x1117 from any campus phone.