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A Message from President Paul Katz - 6/25/20

Good afternoon, everyone.  I trust this message finds you well, safe and hopeful.

As you’ll read in this week’s COVID-19 Task Force’s message below, we remain cautiously optimistic about our region’s transition to the (not really back to the old “normal”) GREEN phase in late July. Coupled with this plan are our Return to Campus Guidelines and the myriad of actions that need to take place in order for us to return to campus safely. You all know the information regarding the uptick in new cases that is being seen in some regions - this worrisome change mandates that we remain vigilant regarding the projected course of the pandemic.

Despite growing and compelling data about reduction of the spread of the disease associated with physical distancing and the use of masks (The Lancet), adherence to this guidance remains quite variable in the U.S. As we return to campus and to Philadelphia, let us commit as a community to a “social compact” where we pledge to protect ourselves and each other by following our Guidelines and the national and local recommendations and regulations whether we’re on or off campus. Our first pandemic-related goal of ensuring the health of our campus community must remain our top priority.

The other topic that must go on as a focal point for USciences is how we plan as a campus united to address issues of racism, social justice and equity.  I want to thank those of you who have taken time following my message from last week to complete the survey we created regarding actions we can take. To date, we have received some great suggestions from students, faculty and staff. We will keep this survey open at least until July 3rd, so please take time to share your ideas. I was on a Zoom call yesterday where a leader of one of our higher ed neighbors opined regarding the challenges in planning a return to campus that “…if everything is a priority then nothing is a priority”. The truth in that statement cannot deter us from addressing this most critical priority.

I haven’t done so recently, but I will close with a quote:


Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.

We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

Barack Obama

Thank you for your commitment to each other, our University and our community.

Stay strong. Stay safe. Stay connected.


Paul Katz, MD



If you haven’t yet had a chance to review the COVID-19 Return to Campus Guidelines, please do so at USciences.edu/CampusGuidelines.  All employees are required to review this information and will be required to complete mandatory training (available via BizLibrary or other instructions provided or forthcoming if part-time) prior to coming on campus.

 All supervisors should have received an email from Ruth Roberts, Director of Human Resources, on Monday, with additional information on departmental planning for returning to campus.  In addition to those directions, supervisors should assess their departmental needs (faculty and staff) for cloth masks for employees and email requests to Mike Lapotasky, Director of Public Safety (m.lapotasky@usciences.edu). The Department of Public Safety is working with the Office of Purchasing and Auxiliary Services to package and distribute branded cloth masks to all employees who will be on campus through their departments.  Information on student mask distribution will be communicated shortly.

The City of Philadelphia is currently in a modified YELLOW phase of reopening, with some additional activities permitted as of June 26, and with potential plans to transition to GREEN phase later in July.  Please note that the University guidelines may be more restrictive than either the Philadelphia or Pennsylvania guidance (but cannot be less restrictive).  The GREEN phase is not a return to “normal” but is intended to establish and maintain an environment with a lower risk for disease transmission. Information on guidance for the City of Philadelphia is available here.

USciences COVID-19 Information