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07/30/2020

USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (7/16/2020)

To: All Staff, Faculty, and Students

Updated “Return to Campus Guidelines”

The Task Force has updated USciences’ Return to Campus Guidelines; the updated PDF and webpages are available at Campus Guidelines.  The updates include recommendations for daily health checks for all campus community members, notification requirements, as well as additional details on contact tracing and testing.  Additional detail is provided on cleaning and disinfection, particularly of high-touch areas, as well as related to building traffic flow and signage.  

International students

On Tuesday, July 14, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement backtracked on guidance announced the previous week that would have required international students return to their home country if coursework were entirely online.  At this point, international students and institutions of higher education will continue to operate under the more flexible guidance provided in March.  

Changes to guidance from the Pennsylvania Governor

PA Governor Wolf released updated guidance on Wednesday, due to the alarming increase in cases both in Pennsylvania as well as nationally.  The new executive order includes the following restrictions:

  • Indoor dining continues to be permitted but is limited to 25% capacity
  • Alcoholic beverages are permitted to be served on-site, but only with full meal service
  • Telework should be implemented wherever possible
  • Indoor gatherings are restricted to 25 people or less (including event staff)
  • Outdoor gatherings are restricted to 250 people or less (note that the City of Philadelphia has restricted outdoor gatherings to 50 people or less)

The full guidance is available here.

Travel restrictions

At this time, the University is following recommendations of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania regarding quarantine after travel to states with high incidence of COVID-19.  The recommendation is for a 14-day home quarantine upon return.  This guidance covers all campus community members.  Please see the PA Department of Health website for the most up to date list.  

New Jersey also has quarantine recommendations, which should be reviewed by individuals residing in that state. Given the escalating cases nationally, travel to any location should be limited to that which is truly essential, and the potential impact of a two-week quarantine should be considered.

The Task Force is looking at these dynamic restrictions in the context of students who may be returning to campus after clinical fieldwork from locations on the quarantine list and will work to formulate specific guidance in those situations. In addition, we are working with both the City and the Commonwealth of PA to better understand options for students who live in high-risk states, and what measures both the university and affected students may need to take to maximize everyone’s safety upon return to campus.  Additional communication to students will be forthcoming.

 

Cancellation of fall athletic competitions

On Monday, July 13, the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Presidents Council – of which USciences is a member – announced that intercollegiate competition will not occur during the Fall 2020 season “due to safety concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.”  Additional information is expected from the CACC later this month, addressing potential new opportunities for athletes in fall and winter sports.  At this time, there are no announced changes to the spring sports schedules.

 

City of Philadelphia event restrictions

Tuesday, the City of Philadelphia announced a moratorium on public events larger than 50 people.  While, as a private entity, USciences is not bound by this moratorium, we plan to continue to adhere to local guidelines, particularly as they relate to public health.  As per the published Return to Campus Guidelines, non-essential visitors are prohibited, and any essential visitors to campus must adhere to safety and hygiene guidelines.  Events on campus will be limited for the remainder of the calendar year in order to maximize campus safety.

 

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