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USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (8/20/2020)

To: All Staff, Faculty, and Students

The COVID-19 Task Force continues to monitor events in our region and nationally, including some local university closures in our immediate neighborhood.  We will continue to assess our institutional situation and make decisions based on the best evidence available that allows us to continue to deliver, safely, our mission to educate our science and healthcare professions student body.

Review the “Return to Campus Guidelines”

We continue to update the Return to Campus Guidelines as necessary; the updated PDF and webpages are available at Campus Guidelines. This week’s updates include changes to CDC isolation/quarantine guidance and information on the ARC operations and protocols, in addition to information regarding triggers for a transition to expanded or fully remote operations. These guidelines should be your primary and first source for information regarding our return to campus plan. Campus will be alerted when new information is added.

Penn Transit Shuttle

The Penn Transit Shuttle is scheduled to resume service throughout University City beginning the week of Monday, August 24th. Penn Transit has committed to providing safe and healthy transportation, using CDC-recommended products, increased frequency of disinfection, and enhanced attention to high-touch areas. Penn Transit is also being proactive in asking their riders to provide assurances that they are symptom free and have been self-monitoring for exposures and symptoms. University of the Sciences community members will be asked to give a verbal attestation at the time of service of their active self-monitoring for COVID-19 exposures and/or symptoms. Please see the Penn Transit Website for information on routes, ridership requirements, and safety.

Update on campus signage and hand sanitizer stations

Signs with information about face coverings, hand hygiene, social distancing, and wellness checks have been placed in all campus buildings.  Hand sanitizer stations have been mounted on the walls or on stands in public areas of all buildings as well.  Directional floor signage will be installed late this week and through next week in larger classrooms, stairwells, and public areas.

Clinical rotations

Students on clinical rotations, even in other states and regions, must continue to follow USciences guidance related to COVID-19.  This includes wearing of masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing, and self-monitoring.  In addition, students should refrain from accepting food from patients or eating in clinical areas.  The latter is a Joint Commission and OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen standard, and will reduce the risk of exposure to airborne pathogens while eating.

Face coverings

We remind the campus community that face coverings/masks are required at all times on campus. - whether inside or outside.  The only exceptions to this are a) when individuals are in a single office without risk of being within 6 feet of others, and b) while eating and socially distanced.  

Two masks will be distributed to each student at the beginning of the semester.  Please note that students should arrive on campus wearing their own mask, as both USciences and the City of Philadelphia require face coverings. Additional information on mask distribution to students will be shared closer to the start of the semester.

Most departments have already received delivery of masks for their employees.  Any employees who have not received these masks should reach out to their supervisors. Employees who need face shields (in addition to masks) should reach out to their department head, chair, or dean; this item has been ordered in bulk centrally.  Please note that face shields are not a replacement for masks but should be worn in addition to masks in situations where close contact may not be able to be avoided (e.g., clinical settings or lab work).

Questions regarding housing and residence halls

Any questions related to housing and the student residence halls should be sent or referred to Residence Life at reslife@usciences.edu.  Residential students should monitor their USciences’ email for important information regarding the fall semester move-in process.

USciences COVID-19 Information

  • Updated COVID-19 campus guidelines are available here.

  • Information about the University’s status, FAQs, and links to governmental sites are available on the 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.  

  • Information on Pennsylvania travel restrictions and quarantine requirements are available at the PA Department of Health website.  

The COVID-19 Task Force