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USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (4/1/2021)

To: All Staff, Faculty, and Students

As the weather is getting warmer, the number of COVID-19 cases has begun to increase in Philadelphia and nationally; this has been particularly notable in the 20 to 34-year-old group. On Monday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Wallensky dramatically expressed her concerns regarding a potential fourth surge.  The Task Force wants to remind our campus community to continue to be vigilant and safe whether on-campus or off-campus. 

In recent weeks we have seen a number of exposures to COVID-19 from friends, family members, or personal contacts within our community. We are strongly recommending that during this time you reduce your exposure to people outside your “bubble” as much as possible. 


With the spring holidays upon us, if you plan to return home we recommend the following.

Contact members of your immediate household and confirm that:

o    No one has had contact with anyone who is presumed or confirmed positive for COVID-19;

o    No one is currently experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19; and

o    Your immediate household members are willing to participate in safe practices such as wearing masks, social distancing, and practicing good hygiene. 

  • Limit contact to immediate household/family members.  DO NOT take this as a time to socialize in person with old friends from home or extended family. Avoid going to parties or gatherings at private residences, bars, and restaurants.
  • When masks cannot be worn (ex. during a meal), remain at least 6ft. apart and whenever possible stay in a well-ventilated area.
  • Consider the number of people invited to the holiday dinner you will be attending. The more people from multiple or different households attending the gathering increase the risk of exposure. Keep in mind that people may be asymptomatic and not appear sick yet still shed the virus.


As a reminder, students or employees who suspect that they have been exposed to COVID-19, are symptomatic, or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 are required to complete the COVID-19 Screening Form.

After submitting the screening form, a clinician from SHAC will follow up for further assessment and when necessary, establish a quarantine/isolation plan. Users should take the time to thoroughly complete the form, which will be used for clinical follow-up and contact tracing efforts.  

Students and employers are also encouraged to notify their primary care provider of their illness symptoms. Students who have had close contact with an individual with a known positive COVID-19 diagnosis, or who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, are not permitted to attend class on campus or attend clinical experiential learning rotations but may attend class via distance learning if able. 


Campus COVID-19 Guidelines

Masks continue to be required on the USciences campus— indoors and outdoors—unless individuals are eating, or in their own single office or residence hall room.  Even those who are vaccinated must follow these guidelines, as many of our community members are still unvaccinated and may be high risk.   

Similarly, social distancing and hygiene must be maintained as per our guidelines.

In situations where social distancing is not possible (e.g., some teaching labs), additional PPE such as face shields should be worn.

 The CDC has provided new guidance for those who are vaccinated, including allowing small gatherings indoors without masks or physical distancing.  However, this guidance cannot yet be applied to the USciences campus because of the presence of many unvaccinated community members. To date, our campus community has had success in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 on our campus under our campus guidelines. Therefore, we are not altering our current guidelines.


USciences COVID-19 Information


Thank you for your ongoing attention and support,

COVID-19 Task Force