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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




New cases since 10/15/2020



Total cases since 8/28/2020




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