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07/30/2020

USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (7/30/2020)

Dear USciences Students, Faculty and Staff, 

As we enter August and “back to school” season,  much anticipation is building toward the start of our semester on August 31. Sincerest gratitude to the many faculty and staff who have been preparing for this unique semester for many months now in order to safely deliver the best experience for our students. And thanks to our students for your patience during this challenging time.

Recently the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Health approved our plan to return to campus. Many thanks to our COVID-19 Task Force for putting this together.  Be sure to review the Return to Campus Guidelines published online. Dean of Students Ross Radish will continue regular communications with students to ensure we are all prepared to return to campus safely.

The Leadership Team and I remain committed to our values and to continuing our rigorous, high-quality USciences education, even when offered in some non-traditional ways due to the pandemic. Communications went out to the students last week regarding these plans. Our hybrid approach will include some on-campus experiences, online courses, and coursework that is a mix of the two. All student schedules will be updated in WebAdvisor with information about course modality this week. 

Tuition and fees support a variety of services and expenses at the University, both on-ground and online. These cover not only facility usage, but technology and services that support remote education and other student needs.  While the ultimate cost to deliver all of these services will likely be higher in the coming year, the University has committed to keeping both tuition and fees flat, with no increases for the 2020-21 academic year.

We will continue to monitor state and local guidelines as well as recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization regarding COVID-19. This ever-changing situation requires that we remain flexible and adaptable. 

I had the first meeting with the Diversity and Inclusion Council (David Forde, Ruth Roberts, Tyan Thomas, and student representative Massandje Dosso) last week to charge them with the responsibilities I’ve recently written about. The Council will be engaging multiple internal and external constituencies in this process - students, faculty, staff, student organizations, the Board of Trustees, and our local and regional community - as they launch their work to gather information and solicit input. You will be hearing more from them soon.

On August 19 at 3 p.m. we will be holding an additional virtual Town Hall for faculty and staff. Please be on the lookout for more details as well as information about question submission. 

I’m keenly aware of the toll that the last several months have taken on everyone - it is unprecedented. I hope that in the midst of your preparation for the start of classes and the coming semester you are continuing to take time for self-care and self-reflection. Please try and find ways to separate your work life from your personal life - it’s more challenging while we’re at home, which makes it even more critical that we all commit to doing so.

Finally, the recent death of civil rights icon John Lewis has been on my mind and I’m sure in many of your thoughts. It’s an important time for us to remember the contributions he and many others made to address issues of racism, diversity, and equity, but much remains to be done.

The journey of his casket across the Edmund Pettus Bridge was a memorable moment that I won’t forget.

So for this week’s quote, I chose this:

 

"You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone – any person or any force – dampen, dim or diminish your light. Study the path of others to make your way easier and more abundant."

John Lewis -  "Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America"

 

Stay Safe. Stay Strong. Stay Connected. 

Paul

Paul Katz, MD

President

 

COVID-19 Task Force Update (7/30/2020)

 Review the Approved Return to Campus Guidelines

The Task Force has shared an updated USciences Return To Campus Guidelines document available online. This document was recently given support from the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Health. 

Appointments at Campus Offices

In an effort to limit in-person interactions at many on-campus offices including the controller’s office, financial aid,  registrar’s office, and student affairs you will be asked to make an appointment in advance, rather than walk-in or drop by the office.  You are encouraged to do this for all offices. More information will be available on the Working Remotely website as the semester approaches.

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