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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 Katz, MD