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To: All Staff, Faculty, and Students

Welcome back to all!

We hope you had a healthy, restful and relaxing summer, and are ready to embark on the new academic year!  If you’ve been on campus this week, you’ve likely noticed many changes. In addition to welcoming everyone back, the COVID-19 Task Force wants to share some additional information about adjustments to campus operations and important information on reducing the risk of transmission.

Many universities across the country have had outbreaks as students have returned to campus, including some within the City of Philadelphia.  The institutions of higher education in the City have been in contact with both each other and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health throughout the summer and as the semester starts, in order to share learnings and minimize the risk for additional transmission - both on our campuses and across the City.

The good news is that classrooms and on-campus settings have not been found to be areas of significant transmission - at least in Philadelphia.  However, outbreaks do seem to be driven both by students living in off-campus settings as well as smaller, more intimate social gatherings - as small as 3-4 people.  Asymptomatic and presymptomatic transmission appears to be a significant source of infection.  Given this, each of us need to behave as if everyone is potentially infected.  This is the same message that we shared in the spring - and reinforces our guidance to wear masks at all times unless you are in your own private office or room.  Challenging as it may be to maintain for the long haul, face coverings/masks, physical distancing, and good hand hygiene are critical to limiting the transmission of COVID-19 until a vaccine is widely available - even in an off-campus apartment or house.


Study Spaces

  • We will continue to offer spaces on campus for students to study or to stream remote courses. When students are utilizing study spaces on campus they must:
  • Wear a mask at all times - even when in a private study room
  • Maintain social distancing of 6 feet between individuals
  • Keep occupancy of study spaces to no more than 25% of pre-pandemic capacity (updated maximum capacity signage has been placed in public and study areas)

As a reminder there are several locations on campus that have been identified as places where students can study:

  • J.W. England Library
  • Athletics Recreation Center (ARC) Lobby
  • STC Atrium/Study Rooms
  • 2nd floor above Tasty Drakes
  • Quad Dining Tent - *available only outside of dining hours or scheduled programming*
  • Outdoor tables throughout campus - Parenti Plaza, D’Angelo Mall, LLC Courtyard, Patio @ the ARC
  • Whitecar/McNeil 2nd floor Terrace 

Alumni Hall Testing Center (commuter students only)

The Alumni Hall Testing Center is prioritized for students who are commuting to campus. We ask that Residential Students use spaces within their residence halls or any of the other identified locations for group or individual study.  


Disinfecting/cleaning materials

Custodial services has placed disinfecting wipes and gloves in each classroom.  These are available to wipe down your personal space within the classroom.  We ask that you do not remove these materials from the classroom, so they may be available for fellow students and faculty to protect themselves as well.  


]Dining Services

It’s hard to miss the new dining tent that’s now in the Quad.  This is available for socially distant dining (minimum of 6 feet between individuals) as well as for study outside of dining hours).  Please do not relocate chairs and tables in this area, as they have been placed to maximize distance between diners. Listing of hours for the various food service locations (including the Wilson Dining Hall, Wilson Express, Coffee Lab, and Starbucks) around campus is here.  


Dining Reimbursements from Spring ‘20

All students with a meal plan in Spring ‘20 (Ultimate 700, 11MP,  5MP or 3MP) were given refunds that included their unused declining balance. There were no funds that rolled over to  Fall ‘20 for these meal plans.

All students with all DCB plans in Spring ’20 (250DCB, 450DCB, or 850DCB) who did not graduate had all unused funds rollover for Fall ‘20.

Any questions related to meal plan funds should be directed to Mary Policastro, Assistant Director of Auxiliary Services at m.policastro@usciences.edu


Griffith Hall Traffic flow

Our campus buildings now all have directional signage designed to maximize one-way traffic flow and minimize cross traffic during “rush hour” between classes and at the beginning and end of the day.  Most of these directional signs are self-explanatory, but Griffith Hall is one of our more complex buildings to navigate, so we wanted to provide some additional guidance to campus.

The Griffith Hall Main Entrance (by the circle) is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. At this entrance, those entering the building should use the center doors. Those exiting the building should use doors to either side to exit to the circle.

The doors at 43rd Street and D’Angelo Mall are for entry only.  After 5 p.m., when the Main Entrance doors are closed, please exit via the back stairways that lead to the Griffith/Griffith Annex Alley near IT/Kline and the EHRS/Chemical Stockroom.

ADA access to Griffith Hall is located at the ramp in the Griffith/Griffith Annex Alley just off of the Griffith Hall parking lot.

In an emergency situation, and in all campus buildings, please exit via the closest safe exit, regardless of COVID-19 traffic patterns.

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Student Handbook

The 2020-2021 edition of the USciences Student Handbook is available at: https://www.usciences.edu/student-life/student-handbook.pdf.  


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 our COVID-19 webpage.
  • Urgent 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.  

Thank you for your ongoing attention and support,

COVID-19 Task Force