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10 posts from October 2020

10/30/2020

City-Wide Curfew 10/30 at 9 p.m.

Dear Campus Community,
 
The City of Philadelphia has issued a city-wide curfew which will go into effect on Friday, October 30 at 9:00 p.m. through 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 31. 

Starbucks and Tasty Drakes will close at 8 p.m. Other dining services will run on a normal operating schedule. 

Essential personnel are excluded from this curfew, but any employees traveling after 9 p.m. should be prepared to show documentation of this status.
 
Department of Public Safety is in contact with the Philadelphia Police Department and our other University City partners and will share urgent information as needed through our Department of Public Safety Emergency Text Messaging, the Department of Public Safety Emergency Blog, and email. 
 
University of the Sciences
Department of Public Safety & Preparedness

For emergencies on campus: Dial 9-1-1 and then USciences DPS at 215-596-7000

10/28/2020

City-Wide Curfew 10/28 @ 9 p.m.

Dear Campus Community,
 
The City of Philadelphia has issued a city-wide curfew which will go into effect on Wednesday, October 28 at 9:00 p.m. through 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 29. 

All on-campus dining areas, including Wilson Cafeteria and TastyDrakes/Starbucks, will be closing at 8 p.m. today (10/28) and reopening with regular hours starting tomorrow (10/29) morning.

Essential personnel are excluded from this curfew, but any employees traveling after 9 p.m. should be prepared to show documentation of this status.
 
Department of Public Safety is monitoring protest activities in Philadelphia with the Philadelphia Police Department and our other University City partners and will share urgent information as needed through our Department of Public Safety Emergency Text Messaging, the Department of Public Safety Emergency Blog, and email. While there are no known events planned in Clark Park or immediately adjacent to campus, there is always the possibility that protests can expand and migrate to our area.
 
University of the Sciences
Department of Public Safety & Preparedness
 

For emergencies on campus: Dial 9-1-1 and then USciences DPS at 215-596-7000

Civil Unrest in Philadelphia (10/28/20)

Dear Campus Community,

University of the Sciences Public Safety continues to monitor unrest in areas of the city as it occurs. Over night, we tracked pockets of unrest that all avoided our immediate area. USciences remains open this morning for those with a need to be on campus. We ask that all community members use caution, remain aware of their surroundings, and check local media and ReadyPhila.gov for updates regarding areas of the city to avoid for safety, traffic, clean up, or other disruptions. USciences Public Safety and our partners continue to protect our campus and we will keep the community updated.

Remember to dial 9-1-1 for all emergencies and then Dial the Sciences DPS Emergency line at 215-596-7000

Thank you for your kind attention in this regard.

University of the Sciences

Department of Public Safety

10/27/2020

Civil Unrest in Philadelphia (10/27/20) Message 2

Dear Campus Community,

Philadelphia Police have sent messaging via ReadyPhiladelphia requesting residents in the 12th, 16th, 18th, 19th, 24th, 25th & 26th Districts to remain indoors except when necessary. This includes our campus which is in the 18th district.

These areas are experiencing widespread demonstrations that have turned violent with looting. If you aren't registered with ReadyPhiladelphia through OEM please sign up.

University of the Sciences Public Safety and UCD Public Safety along with Philadelphia and U Penn Police are patrolling the area. Please report any disturbances to 9-1-1 first and then USciences DPS at 215-596-7000.

University of the Sciences 

Department of Public Safety

Civil Unrest in Philadelphia (10/27/20)

Dear Campus Community,
 
The Department of Public Safety is monitoring the protest activities occurring around 52nd and Samson Streets, as well as potential protests planned for this evening.  While there are no known events planned in Clark Park or immediately adjacent to campus, there is always the possibility that protests can expand and migrate to our area.
 
We ask our campus community to take extra caution this evening and over the coming days as we approach the election, especially if you live or travel through the vicinity of planned protest activities.
 
We will continue to monitor the situation with the Philadelphia Police Department and our other University City partners, and will share urgent information as needed through our Department of Public Safety Emergency Text Messaging, the Department of Public Safety Emergency Blog and email.
 
University of the Sciences
Department of Public Safety & Preparedness
 
For emergencies on campus: Dial 9-1-1 and then USciences DPS at 215-596-7000
 

USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (10/26/2020)

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

The COVID-19 Task Force wanted to provide an interim update to the campus this evening, as well as let you know about a change in the way we will be communicating going forward.

We have had a number of new cases arise on campus over the past several weeks, with a  positive test coming in over the weekend and additional students being placed in isolation or quarantine (statistics in the table below)  Several test results are still pending, which will likely increase our number of positive cases through the week.  These cases seem to primarily be related to small group gatherings off-campus.  There does not appear to be any transmission related to either the classroom/teaching lab setting, or research labs and offices.  

Our contact tracing team has reached out to direct contacts of those testing positive already; those individuals who had high-risk contact have been placed in quarantine and are awaiting testing.

While the case numbers on our campus remain small, given the increasing cases both nationally and locally, we continue to urge all of our community members to continue adhering to recommended protective measures (masks, distancing, hygiene) in order to prevent this spread from becoming uncontrolled on our campus. Small gatherings with those outside of your household, even among friends, can increase the risk of transmission.  

We will continue to monitor case reports over the coming weeks and will assess any need for changes in our operations on an ongoing basis.

 

COVID-19 Cases

 

Students

Employees

New cases since 10/23/2020

1

0

Total cases since 8/28/2020

24

0

 

In order to assure awareness of case trends, we will be publishing a dashboard in the coming days that the USciences community can access at any time, with case information that will be updated daily.  More information on how to access this dashboard will be shared in the coming days.

We have also heard from many of you that the amount of information shared in our communications over the past weeks and months has sometimes been overwhelming.  Moving forward, we want to make sure that any information shared by the Task Force is not only timely but of significance.  Therefore, while the Task Force will continue to meet weekly, we will only send out campus communications when there is information of a critical nature to be shared.  We hope this small change may alleviate some of the stress and workload for you all.

Thank you for your ongoing support for each other and for the University,

 

The COVID-19 Task Force

10/23/2020

USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (10/23/2020)

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

 As you no doubt have read and heard, there are concerning trends in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths nationally. And while we have done quite well as a University community, there are additional indicators that warrant our heightened vigilance.

 We have seen an increase this week in the number of USciences students requiring isolation. As of the sending of his message, there are 20 students in isolation because of symptoms or test positivity; last week, there were 4. The Task Force appreciates that these students have come forward, which will facilitate contact tracing and hopefully mitigation of additional viral transmission. Affected students all took appropriate precautions to isolate and/or quarantine, and reported their symptoms in a timely fashion as instructed. 

 While some test results are still pending for these individuals, there has been test confirmation of infection in about one-half of the group. Initial investigation has suggested that these cases were not a result of failure to follow University guidelines. We have no employees either in isolation or quarantine.

 Results of additional contact tracing will be monitored closely over the next few days, and any changes to campus operations will be shared promptly with the campus community.  At this time we recommend continuing to follow our guidelines as directed.   

As we enter the colder months of the year, it becomes even more critical to maintain compliance with face coverings, social distancing, and hand hygiene, as well as daily monitoring; these are the practices that have protected us through the spring, summer, and fall - and will continue to be critical to protecting the community as we enter the winter. These practices remain every bit as critical as at any time since the pandemic began.

 We know that many of you are looking forward to some Halloween fun next week - whether with family, friends, or neighbors.  Keep in mind that COVID-19 does not take any time off for holidays - so enjoy socially distanced festivities responsibly while continuing to maintain healthy practices!

  

COVID-19 Cases

 

Students

Employees

New cases since 10/15/2020

8

0

Total cases since 8/28/2020

23

0

 

COVID Alert PA app

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has released the “COVID Alert PA” mobile application where individuals can report their symptoms and be notified if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. This app is available through the USciences mobile app or in the app store on your device. If you already have the USciences app, you’ll need to install the latest update to see the COVID Alert PA app.  We encourage the entire community to review information about the app at the PA Department of Health website.  

 

Academic Calendar

Revisions to the spring semester 2021 calendar have been approved and communicated to faculty, staff and students. The start date is January 25th, 2021. Please check here for an updated academic calendar for spring semester 2021.

 

Faculty/Staff - please refer to the email sent by the Registrar on Thursday, October 15 for detailed instructions on selection of course modality.

 

Students - please refer to the email sent by the Registrar on Tuesday, October 20 for detailed instructions on registering for spring semester courses.

 

Wellness during COVID-19

Thanks to all of the faculty and staff who participated in the Wellness survey -there was a very good response.  The Health and Wellness Committee is reviewing the information now, and will also be sending out a survey to students on a similar topic. The Committee will share more information on the survey results soon.

We remind our community of the many resources available for support both during the pandemic and beyond. 

  Please explore the Office of Health and Wellness site for tips, tricks, and resources.  This is available to the entire community – students, faculty, and staff.

  Follow SHAC on Twitter and Facebook for tips and helpful links.

  Employees may access and explore ESI’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for a variety of resources, including emotional well-being, work-life balance, legal resources, financial education, pet help, as well as a variety of training resources. 

 Please take advantage of these valuable resources!

 

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

  Wellness tips are posted at the Office of Health and Wellness google site.

  Information about health and counseling services is posted at the SHAC google site.

  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

10/19/2020

USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (10/15/20)

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students, 

This fall, we have seen that the number of COVID-19 cases is rising regionally and nationally. We must remain steadfast in the behaviors that help to protect our community from the spread of the virus as we approach the end of the semester. It is because of this vigilance that we have seen fewer new cases in our community this week - however, we cannot let up. 

We ask our community to continue to abide by important health behaviors: 

  • Wear a mask whenever outside of your home or residence hall room. Masks and social distancing is necessary when participating in social activities. Specifically, this includes when you may be studying or in the presence of other students who do not reside in your living unit.
  • Wash your hands often, wash your mask, avoid touching your face, and when needed, use hand sanitizer.
  • Every day before leaving your room, take your temperature, assess any symptoms, and take stock of how you feel. If you don’t feel well, don’t leave!
  • Stay physically distant from individuals who live outside of your home. Have anyone visiting your home or residence wear a mask and maintain 6 feet social distance at all times. 

In addition to protection from the coronavirus, these healthy behaviors will also protect against the spread of seasonal flu. If you have not already done so, we encourage our campus community to get the flu vaccine this year.  Most health insurance plans will cover the flu vaccine, and it is widely available at pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription. 

Refrain from participating in recognized high-risk activities that have contributed to the spread, including:

  • Small groups studying together, indoors, without social distancing or masks
  • Recreational group athletic activities 
  • Casual interactions between residence hall or apartment neighbors without social distancing or masks. 

 

The University Community will continue to enforce mask-wearing on campus. When wearing a mask, the mask should cover your mouth and nose completely.

 

It is on all members of our community to hold each other accountable to ensure individuals are wearing masks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  Students who are not wearing a mask per University guidelines will be referred to the University Student Conduct Process.  Faculty and staff not wearing a mask may be referred to Human Resources.

 

Any employee or student who has tested positive, has COVID-19 symptoms, or has had direct exposure to an individual who tested positive or has COVID-19 symptoms is asked to contact Dr. Siebert immediately at b.siebert@usciences.edu for a COVID-19 screening and necessary contact tracing. 

 

If a faculty or staff member becomes aware of a student with symptoms or with known contact with a positive case, please notify Dr. Siebert and include the student’s name and email address.

 

COVID-19 Cases

 

Students

Employees

New cases since 10/8/2020

1  

0

Total cases since 8/28/2020

15

0

 

Employee Access to the ARC

Faculty and Staff may now utilize the Athletic Recreation Center facilities to exercise between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

 

All individuals utilizing the facility are required to follow the protocols outlined on page 28 of the Return to Campus Guidelines.  Please remember that masks are required at all times, even while exercising, and locker rooms are open for changing and restroom use only. 

 

Wellness during COVID-19

We remind our community of the many resources available for support both during the pandemic and beyond.  

  • Please explore the Office of Health and Wellness site for tips, tricks, and resources.  This is available to the entire community – students, faculty, and staff.
  • Follow SHAC on Twitter and Facebook for tips and helpful links. 
  • Employees may access and explore ESI’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for a variety of resources, including emotional well-being, work-life balance, legal resources, financial education, pet help, as well as a variety of training resources.  

 Please take advantage of these valuable resources!

 

USciences COVID-19 Information

 

Thank you for your ongoing attention and support,

COVID-19 Task Force

10/12/2020

USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (10/9/2020)

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students, 

 

As discussed last week, the University was notified of a number of new COVID-19 cases in our student population. Through our contact tracing process, several additional individuals who were exposed have been identified and have been placed in quarantine. 

 

Our investigation has found a number of recognized high-risk activities that have contributed to the spread among the affected individuals in our community, including:

  • Small groups studying together, indoors, without social distancing or masks

  • Recreational group athletic activities 

  • Casual interactions between residence hall or apartment neighbors without social distancing or masks

 

While we understand the desire to participate in these types of activities, we are now seeing the impact of ignoring protective guidance on the health of our community.  As we have seen repeatedly elsewhere, and now here, COVID-19 moves quickly.  While we hope to be able to complete the Fall semester as planned, we are reassessing our ability to do so in the face of increased positive tests among our campus community.  We are monitoring the situation daily with our Philadelphia Department of Public Health partners and will share any changes in campus schedules and plans with the community promptly.

 

We ask our community to continue to abide by important health behaviors: 

  • Wear a mask whenever outside of your home or residence hall room. Masks and social distancing is necessary when participating in social activities. Specifically, this includes when you may be studying or in the presence of other students who do not reside in your living unit.



  • Wash your hands often, wash your mask, avoid touching your face, and when needed, use hand sanitizer.


  • Every day before leaving your room, take your temperature, assess any symptoms, and take stock of how you feel. If you don’t feel well, don’t leave!


  • Stay physically distant from individuals who live outside of your home. Have anyone visiting your home or residence wear a mask and maintain 6 feet social distance at all times. 


  

We encourage student organizations to continue to meet virtually. Plans for limited outdoor in-person activities will be reviewed beginning next week, and are subject to approval from the Director and Coordinator of Student Activities.  We are working with our athletic conference and are having ongoing discussions regarding Spring semester athletics, particularly in light of recent COVID-19 cases  within our campus community.  We expect to have a decision on participation soon.

 

Any employee or student who has tested positive, has COVID-19 symptoms, or has had direct exposure to an individual who tested positive or has COVID-19 symptoms is asked to contact Dr. Siebert immediately at b.siebert@usciences.edu for a COVID-19 screening and necessary contact tracing. 

 

If a faculty or staff member becomes aware of a student with symptoms or with known contact with a positive case, please notify Dr. Siebert and include the student’s name and email address.

 

COVID-19 Cases

 

Students

Employees

New cases since 10/1/2020

 4

0

Total cases since 8/28/2020

14

0

 

 

Wellness during COVID-19

We remind our community of the many resources available for support both during the pandemic and beyond.  

  • Please explore the Office of Health and Wellness site for tips, tricks, and resources.  This is available to the entire community – students, faculty, and staff.

  • Follow SHAC on Twitter and Facebook for tips and helpful links. 

  • Employees may access and explore ESI’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for a variety of resources, including emotional well-being, work-life balance, legal resources, financial education, pet help, as well as a variety of training resources.  

 Please take advantage of these valuable resources!

 

USciences COVID-19 Information

 

Thank you for your ongoing attention and support,

 

COVID-19 Task Force



 

10/05/2020

USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (10/1/2020)

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students, 

Our USciences  Community has shown great vigilance in the last month since classes resumed as part of our goal of keeping everyone healthy and safe. Unfortunately, it only takes one incident or exposure to put our entire University and our neighbors at risk. As we have seen repeatedly,  COVID-19 moves quickly, and we must act responsibly to help prevent infection and virus dissemination. It is up to us all to ensure we can continue our Fall semester as planned. 

The University asks our community to continue to abide by important health behaviors: 

  • Wear a mask when outside of your home or residence hall room both indoors and outdoors. 


  • Wash your hands often, wash your mask, avoid touching your face, and when needed, use hand sanitizer.

  • Every day before leaving your room, take your temperature, assess any symptoms, and take stock of how you feel. If you don’t feel well, don’t leave!

  • Stay physically distant from individuals who live outside of your home. Have anyone visiting your home or residence wear a mask and maintain 6 feet social distance at all times. 


This week, the Task Force was notified of several new cases among students who are now in isolation and several more who are now in quarantine. The University has performed contact tracing to notify anyone who was in contact with the individuals. Additional cleaning procedures have been implemented. 

Any employee or student who has tested positive, has COVID-19 symptoms, or has had direct exposure to an individual who tested positive or has COVID-19 symptoms is asked to contact Dr. Siebert immediately at b.siebert@usciences.edu for a COVID-19 screening and necessary contact tracing. 

 

COVID-19 Cases

 

Students

Employees

New cases since 9/24/2020

7

0

Total cases since 8/28/2020

10

0

 

While the desire to spend time with friends and classmates is strong, staying committed to physical distancing is the best way to keep our community healthy. This and the other behaviors listed are the only ways to ensure our campus can remain open as planned through the Thanksgiving holiday.

Small, indoor social gatherings have been linked to COVID-19 outbreaks at campuses across the country and were believed to be the cause of COVID clusters resulting in the closure of Temple University in August. On- and off-campus in-person student activities or social gatherings continue to be prohibited and anyone found to be engaged in these risky behaviors will face consequences.

Due to the increase in cases this week, all student organizations need to continue to meet virtually until further notice.

Outdoor activities and keeping a social distance from those who live outside of your household are better options. Tented areas on campus  -- on the Quad and D’Angelo Mall -- are available for studying and physically distant socializing in small groups with a mask worn at all times.

The USciences community must demonstrate how much we value the science behind preventing the spread of COVID-19. It is not just about your safety, but the safety of those around you. In the same way that you are vaccinated to protect against the spread of disease to yourself and others, you must take the proper precautions against COVID-19.

As future healthcare and science leaders and those who support them, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard than our peer institutions.

In order for us to continue with our current Fall plan, there can be no deviation from the University guidelines that are available to everyone. None.

I thank those of you who have been strictly adhering to best practices and guidelines for your support; unfortunately, the failure by a few may impact many.

 

Thank you for your cooperation and support,

 

Paul

 

Paul Katz, MD

President

 

Wellness during COVID-19

We remind our community of the many resources available for support both during the pandemic and beyond.  

  • Please explore the Office of Health and Wellness site for tips, tricks, and resources.  This is available to the entire community – students, faculty, and staff.
  • Follow SHAC on Twitter and Facebook for tips and helpful links. 
  • Employees may access and explore ESI’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for a variety of resources, including emotional well-being, work-life balance, legal resources, financial education, pet help, as well as a variety of training resources.  

 Please take advantage of these valuable resources!

 

USciences COVID-19 Information

 

Thank you for your ongoing attention and support,

 

COVID-19 Task Force