26 posts categorized "COVID-19"

04/01/2020

USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (4/1/20)

To: All Staff, Faculty, and Students

 

We have a number of important updates and reminders for the campus community today, following our weekly COVID-19 Task Force meeting earlier this week. 

 

As you’ve likely heard, federal and local government officials have announced the coronavirus stay home order is now in place through April 30, 2020.  While we previously announced classes would remain online through the remainder of the Spring semester, USciences non-essential faculty and staff will continue telecommuting practices through April 30, 2020, or until further notice. 

 

Reporting COVID-19 

  • As discussed in prior communications, persons with positive COVID-19 symptoms and/or test results should continue to report their health situation to the University. 
    • Faculty and staff should contact their direct supervisor and Ruth Roberts.
    • Students should contact Dr. Barb Siebert at students-healthinfo@usciences.edu. Dr. Siebert is available to assist with student’s healthcare needs. 
    • Going forward, contact tracing and notification will only occur in instances when contact was made in the 14-day window (this will be rare given the large majority of the University has been off campus since 3/16/20 or before). Notification to clinical sites will also continue to occur, when applicable.  
  • Anyone affected by COVID-19 should continue to follow updated CDC guidelines and once in the recovery phase of illness should review recommendations for discontinuation of transmission-based precautions. Please continue to observe proper social distancing, handwashing, isolation and quarantine procedures accordingly.

 

Protecting Ourselves and the Community

  • As recommended previously, we all should be behaving as if we are already infected: isolating as much as possible, practicing rigorous hygiene, limiting travel outside our homes, and following the external guidance from the CDC and other reliable sources that has been provided to us.

 

USciences Policy on Intolerance

  • We again remind all members of our community that COVID-19 can cause infection in anyone, regardless of race, nationality, or ethnicity. USciences will not tolerate discrimination of any kind, including discrimination or harassment associated with concerns about COVID-19. 

 

Requests for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Thanks to the generosity of the USciences community, we have gathered more than 32,000 items of PPE to donate to the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Emergency Management to be distributed to healthcare institutions in need. Items collected by various University departments include gloves, N95 and surgical masks, Tyvek suits, booties, and safety glasses.
  • The response thus far has been tremendous but please take one more look in your departments to see if there is anything more to offer.  For those on the front lines of this crisis, every one of these items is critical. 
  • Process for donation
    • Departments with surplus supplies should package and bring them to the Rosenberger Gymnasium at Alumni Hall (open 24/7) for donation. 
    • Please call ahead to the Public Safety dispatch at 215-895-1117 when ready. An officer will meet donors at the Alumni loading dock on Woodland Avenue (where DPS patrol vehicles park).
    • PPE type, manufacturer, model and quantities among other info should be entered by the donating department’s representative in the Google tracking sheet here.
    • Please note that OEM is not accepting any home-made PPE at this time.

 

Student Credits 

  • The University is going to issue ​partial credits for on-campus housing, parking, and meal plans. The Student Accounts Office at USciences will be applying a credit to the Spring 2020 student account for those who qualify. If you have a balance due on your account, the credit will be applied to the balance and any excess funding will be sent to you.
  • ​Proportional adjustments will be made to Housing Grants for students that received one as part of their ​Financial Aid award package.
  •  If you have funds remaining on your Declining Balance (DCB) plan (DCB250, DCB450, DCB850) and are a returning student, the balance will be available to you for the next academic year. If you have remaining DCB funds and are graduating, a credit will be applied to your account.
  • Direct Deposit is strongly recommended. All students are encouraged to participate in the electronic direct deposit program for their student account refunds and club activity reimbursements. Should there be any disruptions in mail or other services as a result of developmentssurrounding COVID-19, direct deposit will ensure a quick and reliable method to receive payments in a timely manner. Students who are currently receiving a paper check (who are NOT already signed up for direct deposit), can access the following link to sign up for this service, Colleague Self Service- Banking Information. 

 

Census 2020: Where Do You Count?

  • Students, even if you have returned home during COVID-19, the U.S. Census Bureau officials say that students who are living away from home should be counted at their on-campus or off-campus college address.
  • An accurate count of students is critical for Philadelphia. Student populations factor into disaster planning and emergency response, public health analysis and planning, infrastructure planning, government funding allocations, and many more policy and program decisions.
  • If you live on campus USciences will send information directly to the Census Bureau and there is no need for further action.  Students living in on-campus housing should not complete the census online or by telephone.
  • Students who live off-campus, but who have returned home should use their Philadelphia address and follow theCensus Bureau instructions for Responding to the 2020 Census without a Census ID number. Students still living at their off-campus residences should have received Census information in the mail.

As a reminder, all of our COVID-19-related campus messages continue to be 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.  Additional information about COVID-19 and links to governmental sites is available on our COVID-19 webpage.

 

Thank you for your attention and stay safe, 

The COVID-19 Task Force

03/24/2020

USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (3/24/2020)

To: All Staff, Faculty, and Students

We have a number of important updates and reminders for the campus community today, following our weekly COVID-19 Task Force meeting yesterday.  

 

Commencement and Conferment

  • Yesterday, President Katz informed the Class of 2020 of the difficult decision to move Commencement to a live-streamed, virtual ceremony on May 20, 2020, when the graduates will be granted their degrees.

  • When it is safe to gather together again, USciences will host an in-person ceremony as well.  The details of this activity will be developed over the coming months.

  • For students celebrating Conferment, the ceremony will be rescheduled to a new date during the upcoming fall semester so we can honor the students reaching this important milestone in their education.

 

Reporting COVID-19 Positive Tests

  • Student health is currently tracking nine individuals who are symptomatic or have tested positive for coronavirus.   

  • We remind all students, faculty, and staff to notify your supervisor (in the case of faculty and staff) or Student Health (email Student Health) (in the case of students) immediately if you are symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19. 

  • Regardless of whether you have been on campus in the past several weeks, it is important to notify us if you are symptomatic or confirmed positive by testing so that we can complete contact tracing.

  • SHAC and the Office of Human Resources will reach out to all identified direct contacts of COVID-19 positive individuals and provide additional guidance.

  • Faculty and students are reminded that they should not go to clinical sites if they have been in contact with a COVID-19 positive individual, have symptoms, or have tested positive for COVID-19.  Students should contact Student Health (via email Student Health) or their primary care provider for further directions and assessment; faculty and staff should contact their primary care provider.

 

Protecting Ourselves and the Community

  • As an additional reminder, we all should be behaving as if we are already infected: isolating as much as possible, practicing rigorous hygiene, limiting travel outside our homes, and following the external guidance from the CDC and other reliable sources that has been provided to us.

  • Anyone who is symptomatic with respiratory symptoms (cough or shortness of breath) and fever should behave as though positive for COVID-19, and should self-isolate and reach out to their primary care provider or Student Health. Although testing is limited in many areas, individuals should check locally for available testing sites if indicated; the University does not have direct access to COVID-19 tests. 

  • For those individuals who are symptomatic and/or tested positive for COVID-19 it is important that you take your temperature twice a day, once in the morning and again in the evening until you are afebrile for at least 48 hours without the use of antipyretic medications.  Once your temperature returns to normal (98.6 or lower) for 48 hours consecutively you are no longer shedding virus or considered contagious. 

 

USciences Policy on Intolerance

  • We again remind all members of our community that COVID-19 can cause infection in anyone, regardless of race, nationality, or ethnicity; it is not a virus specific to any one group of individuals.  

  • USciences will not tolerate discrimination of any kind, including discrimination or harassment associated with concerns about COVID-19.  This is a time when members of the University should rally together to support one another, and we hope and expect this will continue to be the case.   

 

Philadelphia Restrictions on Business Activity

  • The City of Philadelphia issued a clarifying order (summarized here) on restrictions of business activity.

  • The Stay at Home order prohibits walk-in takeout orders, requiring all food to be pre-ordered on the internet or via phone, or via drive-thru.

  • Businesses are permitted to have essential personnel on-site (e.g., public safety and facilities services), and also may continue to perform essential operations on-site if they cannot be done remotely.

  • As directed previously, any non-essential personnel planning to be on-site should obtain permission from their Vice President.

 

Package Delivery

  • We continue to have a significant volume of deliveries to the mailroom – particularly from Amazon.  Please check your Amazon default delivery addresses and update as appropriate; make sure you do not have USciences as your default address at this time.  Deliveries to campus should be limited to those very few students remaining in the residence halls and a small number of departmental deliveries.

  • Departments should review any recurring orders/deliveries to assure that unnecessary materials are put on hold.

  • Environmental Health & Radiation Safety/Central Stockroom request that laboratory departments review any outstanding orders that may be scheduled for delivery.  Orders should be cancelled if possible, particularly those with perishable materials, given the current restrictions to on-site work.

 

Dining Services

  • Sodexo Dining Services will continue to provide takeout only food for students on campus.  Per the City of Philadelphia guidance, all orders must be placed via online forms here Meal Orders.

  • Please note the cutoff times for meal orders:

    • Brunch – order by 3:00 pm the day before pickup; pickup 10:30 am or 1:00 pm

    • Dinner – 9:00 am the day of pickup; pickup 4:00 pm

 

Information Technology Services

  • IT has a very small number of laptops still available for use by those who have no other way to work remotely.

  • Faculty and staff should submit any additional requests for laptops by close of business Wednesday, March 25 via the Help Desk.

 

Requests for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • The City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has requested donations of PPE and other materials for distribution to healthcare institutions in need (see details here).

  • In order to best coordinate with local officials and assure that materials are delivered to those institutions with the greatest need, USciences will be donating these needed supplies through Philadelphia OEM.

  • Process for donation

    • Departments with surplus supplies should package and bring them to the Rosenberger Gymnasium at Alumni Hall (open 24/7) for donation. 

    • Please call ahead to the Public Safety dispatch at 215-895-1117 when ready. An officer will meet donors at the Alumni loading dock on Woodland Avenue (where DPS patrol vehicles park).

    • PPE type, manufacturer, model and quantities among other info should be entered by the donating department’s representative in the Google tracking sheet here.

    • Please note that OEM is not accepting any home-made PPE at this time.

 

As a reminder, all of our COVID-19-related campus messages continue to be 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.  Additional information about COVID-19 and links to governmental sites is available on our COVID-19 webpage.

 

Thanks again to the entire community for continuing to support one another during this unusual and challenging time.  

 

Valerie P. Weil, MD

Chief Financial & Operating Officer

 

Barbara M. Siebert, DNP, CRNP, FNP-BC, CNE

Director, Student Health

Student Health & Counseling

 

03/19/2020

Important Message regarding PA Governor Tom Wolf's Order

Dear Campus Community, 

The public was notified earlier this evening by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf that "all non-life-sustaining businesses" in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania must close their physical locations beginning at 8 pm on Thursday, March 19 (today).  See the below link:

https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/spl/pennsylvania-shutdown-lifesustaining-businesses-tom-wolf-shut-down-20200319.html

We are working with our governmental and community contacts to get additional clarification, but at this time we believe our critical functions of public safety, food service, facilities and support services, vivarium, and residence hall operations will continue to be permitted to operate.

However, this order does require that any other functions cease on-site operations promptly, as the enforcement of non-compliant businesses will begin as of 12:01 am on Saturday, March 21.

We will continue to update the campus community as we gain more clarity about this order and its impacts on the University. 

 

Valerie P. Weil, MD

Chief Financial & Operating Officer

USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (3/19/2020)

To: All Staff, Faculty, and Students


We have a number of additional important updates today for the campus community.  


USciences policy on intolerance

  • Unfortunately, we have recently been notified of an incidence of racially intolerant social media messaging from a member of the USciences community, and the University is currently responding to this.

  • We remind all members of our community that COVID-19 can cause infection in anyone, regardless of race, nationality, or ethnicity; it is not a virus specific to any one group of individuals.  

  • USciences will not tolerate discrimination of any kind, including discrimination or harassment associated with concerns about COVID-19.  This is a time when members of the University should rally together to support one another. This incident is counter to our institutional values as a community that celebrates inclusion and diversity.     


COVID-19 positive patients

  • The University was alerted today that a second USciences student tested positive for COVID-19.  The student experienced respiratory symptoms last week and has been resting at home since Friday, March 13.  

  • At this time, we have contacted all known contacts to the student identified yesterday as being COVID-19 positive.  In addition, all campus locations where this student was present over the last two weeks have been disinfected.


Ongoing campus notification

  • With the escalation of positive COVID-19 tests - not only in our community, but regionally and nationally - we will be focusing on outreach to known primary contacts of COVID-19 positive individuals in the future, and will not continue to notify the broad USciences community of each incident reported to the University.  


Short-term Leave of Absence Policy

  • Students are reminded that if they become ill for any reason, the University has a short-term leave of absence (SLOA) policy.  

  • This policy allows students to take up to 10 business days away from coursework to focus on their wellness.   Upon returning from SLOA, students are responsible for contacting their course instructors regarding missed coursework or examinations.  

  • More information on the policy is available in the Student Handbook on page 119.   

  • Students should contact their College Dean’s Office to begin the SLOA request process.

  
Recommendations for the community

  • Based on public health data available at this time, viral shedding occurs in asymptomatic patients, and may occur up to an average of 11 days prior to symptoms in those who ultimately develop symptomatic illness.  Given this, we all should be behaving as if we are already infected:  isolating as much as possible, practicing rigorous hygiene, and limiting travel outside our homes.

  • Anyone who is symptomatic with respiratory symptoms (cough or shortness of breath) or fever should behave as though positive for COVID-19, and should self-isolate and seek testing. Individuals should check locally for available testing sites; the University does not have direct access to COVID-19 tests. 

  • Students should email the Student Health Center if they have respiratory symptoms (cough or shortness of breath), fever, or contact with COVID-19 positive patients. 

  • Faculty and staff should contact their primary care provider and notify their supervisor of any respiratory illness or positive COVID-19 testing. 


The majority of our remaining residential students will be departing campus by the end of the weekend, and we wish all a safe and speedy journey.  For those students or employees who may be living with someone who is sick, the CDC has provided a guide for Disinfecting Your Home.


As a reminder, we will be posting all of our COVID-19-related campus messages 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.  Additional information about COVID-19 and links to governmental sites is available on our COVID-19 webpage.


Valerie P. Weil, MD

Chief Financial & Operating Officer


Barbara M. Siebert, DNP, CRNP, FNP-BC, CNE

Director, Student Health

Student Health & Counseling

03/18/2020

USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (3/18/2020)

To: All Staff, Faculty, and Students

Today we were notified that a non-residential USciences student has tested positive for COVID-19.  The student has been forthcoming with recent activities, which included attending a social gathering between two Greek organizations believed to have been held at the Pi Lambda Phi off-campus residence on Thursday, March 12.  We are in the process of notifying known direct contacts, following our existing protocols. The student is resting at home and no longer in contact with anyone in the University community. Protecting the anonymity of affected students or employees  is critical, and we ask that you respect this student’s privacy in what is certainly a difficult time.

As in previous messages, we want to reiterate the CDC recommendation for ongoing social distancing (at least 6 feet) and avoidance of gatherings of more than ten people to reduce the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.  Any individuals developing respiratory symptoms and fever, with or without known contact with COVID-19 positive patients, should isolate at home and contact their primary care physician.  

We have a few other updates and a clarification for the campus community today.  

 

Given the ongoing reduction of on-site students and employees, we are reducing dining service hours as noted below to better manage these resources:  

  • Starbucks and TastyDrakes

    • Through Sun, March 22 – Takeout only on a regular schedule

    • Beginning Mon, March 23 - Closed until further notice

  • Wilson Dining Hall

    • Through Fri, March 20 - Takeout only on a regular schedule

    • Sat, March 21 and Sun, March 22 – reduced hours 10 AM through 5 PM (brunch 10 AM – 2:30 PM; Dinner 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM)

    • Beginning Mon, March 23 – 10 AM through 5 PM (brunch 10 AM – 2:30 PM; Dinner 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM)

  • Coffee Lab (STC) and Wilson Express - Closed until further notice.

  • We encourage students to take advantage of the online ordering option for Wilson Dining Hall. 

  • All seating areas remain closed until further notice

 

Please continue to check the Campus Operations page for hours of operation of these and other campus services.

To clarify yesterday’s messaging regarding working on campus, please note the following:

  • Employees who need to return to campus to pick up items intermittently (e.g., departmental mail pickup) or on a one-time basis to pick up materials for remote use do not need to obtain permission from their VP.

  • Non-essential employees who plan to work on campus routinely (whether full-time or on a specific schedule) should obtain VP approval prior to doing so.  This should be an extremely limited number of individuals, particularly given the City of Philadelphia guidance issued this week.

We have gotten a number of questions regarding refunds for parking, room, and meal plans.  At this point we continue to prioritize the health and safety of the entire campus community and delivery of our educational programs.  However, we will be addressing these issues in the near future, and ask for your patience as we work through the complexities of them. We regret that we cannot respond to individual questions on this topic at this point – but will communicate broadly as soon as we are able in order to ensure the entire community receives the same information.

As stated yesterday in President Katz’ message, no decisions have been made at this time regarding Commencement and Conferment ceremonies, but this decision will be forthcoming. 

 

Valerie P. Weil, MD

Chief Financial & Operating Officer

 

Barbara M. Siebert, DNP, CRNP, FNP-BC, CNE

Director, Student Health

Student Health and Counseling

03/17/2020

On-campus Move Out and Closing Procedures for Spring 2020

Dear Resident Students,

By now, you have received communication from both Dr. Katz and the USciences COVID-19 Task Force regarding the continued modification of on-campus operations. As indicated, all students currently residing on campus are being asked to remove their belongings (if possible) and return home. Please review the below information thoroughly for instructions on how to proceed.

When do I need to move out of University housing if I am still on campus?

If you are currently physically residing on campus, we request that students move out of University housing by Sunday, March 22, at noon.

What if I already left but did not take my belongings with me?

Residents who are currently out of town should not return to campus. The Department of Residence Life will contact you with instructions on returning to campus to retrieve your possessions. Your belongings are secure and we ask that you wait until Residence Life contacts you with further information, so that we can focus on assisting our remaining students in residence.

What is the checkout process for my residence hall?

We are arranging for a 100% express checkout option that requires little or no person-to-person contact. Checklists are provided below for each building.

    Living & Learning Commons - click here

    Osol Residence Hall - click here

    Wilson Residence Hall - click here

Once you’ve completed the checklist, submit the express checkout form. This confirms to Residence Life that you are no longer on campus.

What if I can leave but I cannot take my belongings with me at this time?

If you can leave campus but it is not possible for you to remove your belongings, complete as much of the checkout checklist as possible but then indicate on your express checkout form that you were unable to transport your belongings. Your belongings will be secured in your current room assignment and we will then ask that you wait until Residence Life contacts you with instructions for retrieving your possessions at a later time.

What if I already completely moved out of my residence hall room?

If you have already completely moved out of your residence hall room, simply submit the express checkout form. This confirms to Residence Life that your belongings have been removed and that you are no longer on campus.

What if it is not possible for me to return home at this time?

We understand that certain circumstances may make returning home difficult or unsafe at this time. Please complete the Extended Stay Request form by Thursday, March 19, at 5p for consideration. Residence Life will work to confirm your status within 24 hours of receiving your request.

What if I am an international student?

International students that reside in the halls should contact Bill Keyes at w.keyes@usciences.edu with questions or concerns. If you would like to be considered for an extended stay, please complete the Extended Stay Request form by Thursday, March 19, at 5p. Residence Life will work to confirm your status within 24 hours of receiving your request.

For students receiving an exemption to remain on campus, will dining be available?

Food service will be provided to students as long as they remain on campus.

Am I allowed to have family and friends help me move out?

Yes, although the University encourages all residents and their families to practice responsible social distancing during the move out process.

We know that you have many questions and thank you for your patience. Please refer all questions related to residence life and move out to reslife@usciences.edu. Our team will work to address your inquiry as soon as possible.

We have also compiled resources below that you may find helpful related to storage, travel, WiFi/cell phone coverage and other essentials. 

Sincerely,

Dominic Viola

Director of Residence Life

 

Resources

Travel

Airlines - Frontier

https://www.flyfrontier.com/students-fly-free/?mobile=true&utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=Organic+Social_StudentsFlyFree_3.13.20

· Students fly free to nearly 100 destinations, purchase before March 23rd, 2020

· Promo code: FLYFREE

 

Car Rental - Enterprise

https://www.enterprise.com/en/car-rental/deals/young-driver.html

· Reduced rental car age to 18

· Standard driver and credit requirements apply

· Expires 5/31/2020

Storage

U-Haul

https://www.uhaul.com/Articles/About/20625/College-Students-U-Haul-Offers-30-Days-Free-Self-Storage-amid-Coronavirus-Outbreak/

· Free storage for 30 days

Wi-Fi

ComCast

https://corporate.comcast.com/covid-19

·Xfinity wifi hot-spots available to anyone, including non-subscribers, for free for the next 60 days

· Giving all customers unlimited data for the next 60 days

· No disconnects or late fees for customers who cannot pay their bills

Internet Essentials

https://www.internetessentials.com/covid19

· New customers will receive 60 days free internet

· Increased speed for new and current customers

Cellular Service/Mobile Phones

AT&T

https://about.att.com/pages/COVID-19.html

· Suspending termination of wireless, home phone, or broadband service when customers cannot pay their bill due to COVID19

· Waiving late payment fees

· Keeping public wifi hot-spots open to all

T-Mobile

https://www.t-mobile.com/brand/ongoing-updates-covid-19 icid=MGPO_TMO_P_CUSTSUPT_K49SR0SE1EB2Z9F6E20091_HP

· All current t-mobile customers have an unlimited data plan for the next 60 days

· Adding additional data to hot-spot users

· Free international calling to level-3 countries

Verizon

https://www.verizon.com/about/news/update-verizon-serve-customers-covid-19

· Waiving late fees for the next 60 days for customers

· Will not terminate service to customers who are not able to pay their bill due to COVID-19

Sprint

https://newsroom.sprint.com/covid-19-updates-sprint-responds.htm

· Unlimited data for customers for 60 days

· Waiving late fees for the next 60 days for customers

· Will not terminate service to customers who are not able to pay their bill due to COVID19

· Free international calling to level 3 countries

· Additional mobile hot-spot data for 60 days

USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (3/17/2020)

To: All Staff, Faculty, and Students

 

A lot has happened in the last 72 hours, and we wanted to provide the University community with a few reminders and updates from the COVID-19 Task Force after our meeting yesterday.  We want to reiterate that, while USciences operations have changed dramatically over the last week, we remain open and committed to providing the best possible educational experience to our students.  The response from the entire community – students, faculty, and staff - during this very challenging time has been exceptional, and we are all grateful for everyone’s patience and extraordinary efforts. We also ask that you take care of yourselves, your families, and each other - both emotionally and physically - during what is likely to be an extended period of remote operations.  Remote or on-campus, we are a strong team and we will continue to do great work regardless of our proximity!

 

NEW City of Philadelphia restrictions

· Yesterday, the City of Philadelphia announced new restrictions on business activity, effective Monday, March 16 at 5PM (City of Philadelphia Restrictions).  

· In order to align with this guidance, we ask ALL departments that continue to have employees on-site to review the necessity of on-campus activity and reduce as much as possible, effective immediately. Only essential employees or those with VP approval should be on campus at this time. 

· Additional guidance will be sent out to supervisors from Human Resources.

· Please remember that sick time and Paid Time Off practices remain in effect as they normally would if you are unable to work due to illness and/or have other pre-approved time off.

 

Campus Services

· Note that a number of campus services have changed operating hours based on above restrictions and more stringent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommending that gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people.

· We have updated this information on the Campus Operations site; please check this information prior to going to campus offices.

· For essential and approved employees or students coming to campus, Public Safety walking escorts continue to be available at any time upon request.  Please call 215-895-1117 to arrange for escort.  

 

Residential Students

· Current Residential Students

Given the above restrictions, all residential students currently on campus are being asked to remove their belongings if possible and return home by Sunday, March 22nd at noon.  If students are unable to remove their belongings they should contact Reslife@usciences.edu.  The Department of Residence Life will provide additional guidance along with checkout instructions following this communication.  

 

· Residents who are currently out of town should not return to campus at this time. The Department of Residence Life will contact you with instructions on returning to campus to retrieve your possessions.  Your belongings are secure and we ask that you wait until Residence Life contacts you with further information, so that we can focus on assisting our remaining students in residence.

 

Short-term Leave of Absence Policy

· Students are reminded that if they become ill for any reason, the University has a short-term leave of absence (SLOA) policy.  

· This policy allows students to take up to 10 business days away from coursework to focus on their wellness.   Upon returning from SLOA, students are responsible for contacting their course instructors regarding missed coursework or examinations.  

· More information on the policy is available in the Student Handbook on page 119.   

· Students should contact their College Dean’s Office to begin the SLOA request process. 

Facilities changes

· As of Monday, March 16, the CDC now recommends no more than 10 people in any gathering.

· In order to adhere to this guidance, we are closing Wilson Dining Hall for on-site dining effective immediately; we encourage students to order grab and go food per the below process (shared on Friday by Dining Services):

· Choose which meal period form to use:

    https://forms.gle/Jj4mGMXGBKfF57DY6 used for breakfast/brunch

    https://forms.gle/dpKUrBTXMgYkMZ5S6 used for brunch/lunch/dinner

· All sections of form MUST be completed

· Forms must be filled out and link sent no later than 12:00PM the day prior to pick up request

· Forms received after 12:00PM may not be filled

· All pickups will be at Wilson Dining front concierge kiosk at the pickup time selected

· Seating has been removed from Starbucks and TastyDrakes to eliminate any gathering in that location; take-out service will continue.

· Coffee Lab in STC and Wilson Express remain closed until further notice.

 

Library updates

· The Joseph W. England Library building is closed to all faculty, staff, and students until further notice.

· Interlibrary Loan will continue to operate for electronic materials only. At this time we are unable to process physical book loans.

Possible COVID-19 contacts/infection

· As stated previously, individuals with respiratory symptoms, with or without fever, should not come to campus or participate in-person in any educational activities, and should be evaluated by their primary care physician. 

· Any individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, have known contact with someone who has tested positive, or have had secondary contact with someone who has tested positive, should notify their dean or supervisor immediately and refrain from coming to campus for 14 days, regardless of presence of symptoms.

· Individuals returning from or having close contact with someone returning from a country designated by the CDC as having “Widespread sustained spread and restrictions on travel to the United States” (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html) in the last two weeks should notify the dean or direct supervisor of this travel/contact immediately, regardless of whether any respiratory symptoms or fever are present. 

· These individuals are prohibited from coming to campus for 14 days from date of return to the U.S. (or date of contact with such an individual), and should make arrangements to work completely remotely, even in the absence of symptoms. 

· Note that the list of countries falling into this high-risk category is expanding rapidly, and as of late last week also includes most of Europe.

· These guidelines apply to all students and employees – even employees who are considered “Essential Employees.”


Penn Medicine Ambulatory Testing Sites

· As of today, Penn Medicine will be opening two drive-up, ambulatory COVID-19 testing sites, one in Radnor and one at 4122 Market Street (parking lot). 

· See Penn COVID-19 Testing for details.

 

All University community members should continue to monitor and follow CDC guidance, including practicing good hygiene and social distancing, whether on- or off-campus.

 

Valerie P. Weil, MD

Chief Financial & Operating Officer

 

Barbara M. Siebert, DNP, CRNP, FNP-BC, CNE

Director, Student Health

Student Health & Counseling



 

An Important Update About the Spring Semester

Sent on Behalf of the Office of the President

Dear Campus Community, 

The University leadership team, our COVID Task Force, and I have been constantly evaluating our response to the rapidly changing guidance regarding coronavirus (COVID-19). While we don’t know when this public health crisis will come to an end, we are cognizant of the impact these massive changes have had on our campus operations and want to ease any concerns about the remainder of the spring semester. 

Today, I am announcing that we will continue online and virtual learning through the end of the spring semester, including final exams. All faculty and staff should continue to telecommute until otherwise advised to return to campus. We are also strongly urging researchers to wrap up any studies and experiments that require a physical presence in the laboratory, no later than Sunday, March 22nd. Our Accepted Student Days scheduled for Saturday, March 21st and April 4th will be delivered virtually to prospective students, however, presenters should confirm arrangements with the Office of Enrollment Management.

USciences is also considering all options for University events, however, no decisions have been made at this time regarding Commencement and Conferment ceremonies, but this decision will be forthcoming. 

Protecting the health and safety of all of our campus community is our primary concern and through these actions, we continue to minimize the potential for person-to-person spread of the virus. The University operations remain open and we remain committed to providing a high-quality educational experience that will prepare our students to be future leaders in their fields. 

Please continue to monitor usciences.edu/coronavirus and your email inbox for regular updates about the University’s response to this crisis. If you have any questions or concerns, faculty and staff should contact their dean or supervisor.  Students can contact their faculty with course-specific questions or Student Affairs at 215-596-8950 or email Dean Radish at r.radish@usciences.edu to be referred to the appropriate office.  Further communication will follow this email with information specific for our students currently residing on campus.   

I know that this change will be disappointing for many of you as it is for me. The vibrancy of our on-campus community, particularly as our beautiful quad is in bloom, is the highlight of this job for me. I encourage each of you to continue to connect with your classmates, colleagues, and communities through our virtual platforms. Together as a community, we can support one another through this unprecedented time. 

 

Paul 

Paul Katz, MD

President

 

 

03/14/2020

USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (3/14/2020)

To:  All Staff, Faculty, and Students

 

As we enter the next phase of COVID-19 response, both at USciences and globally, we want to update the community regarding campus guidance related to self-isolation and presence on campus.  We are providing this interim guidance in advance of our regular Monday COVID-19 Task Force meeting based on additional federal guidance and the rapidly changing situation.

 

Travel-related campus restrictions

  • Individuals returning from or having close contact with someone returning from a country designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as having “Widespread sustained spread and restrictions on travel to the United States” (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

    ) in the last two weeks should notify the dean or direct supervisor of this travel/contact immediately, regardless of whether any respiratory symptoms or fever are present. 

  • These individuals are prohibited from coming to campus for 14 days from date of return to the U.S. (or date of contact with such an individual), and should make arrangements to work completely remotely, even in the absence of symptoms. 

  • Note that the list of countries falling into this high-risk category is expanding rapidly, and as of late last week also includes most of Europe.

 

COVID-19 diagnosed individuals/contacts

  • Any individuals who a) have been tested as COVID-19 positive, b) have known contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or c) have had secondary contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 (i.e, have contact with someone who has had direct contact with a positive test patient) should notify their supervisor immediately and refrain from coming to campus for 14 days, regardless of presence of symptoms.

  • Deans or supervisors shall notify Human Resources (regarding employees) or Barb Siebert (regarding students) so we can reach out and determine any other contacts who should be notified and/or isolated.

 

Other respiratory illness

  • Individuals with respiratory symptoms, with or without fever should not come to campus or participate in-person in any educational activities, and should be evaluated by their primary care physician.  

 

All University community members should continue to practice good hygiene and social distancing, whether on- or off-campus.



Valerie P. Weil, MD

Chief Financial & Operating Officer

 

Barbara M. Siebert, DNP, CRNP, FNP-BC, CNE

Director, Student Health
Student Health and Counseling

03/13/2020

USciences COVID-19 Task Force Update (3/13/20)

To:  All Students, Faculty, and Staff

 

On behalf of the COVID-19 Task Force

Good afternoon!  Campus has been a busy place over the past week, preparing for many major changes in our operations.  We want to thank all of our faculty and staff for taking on the monumental task of changing so many things all at once - even as we all anxiously attend to the news from the rest of the country and the world.  We also want to thank our students for their patience and tolerance for lots of ambiguity as we finalize all of these plans.  

We wanted to issue some additional information regarding campus services, as well as one correction on information sent out yesterday.  Onsite office hours and contact information is now also posted at Campus Operations - COVID-19, and will be updated as necessary.

Controller’s Office Functions (Kline Hall)

  • **Correction** The Cashier’s Office will be open (on site) Mon/Weds/Fri from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm.
  • Student Accounts will be staffed with someone on site from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday.
  • Accounts Payable will be on site Wednesday mornings and will be available normal working hours remotely.
  • Checks for student refunds and Accounts Payable will be printed once per week; we encourage individuals to sign up for direct deposit for their own reimbursements and utilize EFT for vendor payments when possible.
  • Student reimbursements will continue electronically as previously established.
  • Payroll will be available normal working hours remotely; all communications should be via email.  
  • Grant Accounting will be available during normal working hours remotely; all communications should be via email
  • Accounting staff will be on site daily, Monday to Friday.

Print Shop/Mailroom

  • As per yesterday’s message, the Mailroom will be open Mon/Weds/Fri from 10 am to 4 pm
  • The University Print Shop hours are the same as the Mailroom, but until further notice services will be limited to standard printing of an essential nature only.
  • Specialty printing (postcards, other non-standard size items) will not be available.
  • Personal printing will not be supported at this time.

Information Technology/Academic Technology Services

  • Access to our full-functionality University-wide Zoom license is now available on the One Campus portal (https://usciences.onecampus.com). You will need to log in first, and then search for Zoom.
  • One Help Desk staff will be on site during normal working hours, Monday to Friday.
  • Remote Help Desk staff will respond to requests for help during normal working hours, and are able to remote into individual’s home computers (with permission) to help with technical issues.
  • Requests for AV and instructional design assistance should continue to be submitted via the Help Desk and will be routed appropriately.


Human Resources 

  • Human Resources will be operating via normal working hours. Ruth Roberts, HR Director is the main point of contact at 215-596-8697 or 267-939-1651 and Nancy D’Aversa for recruiting and hiring matters at 215-596-8931. 

Federal Work Study

  • The Offices of Financial Aid and Payroll are reviewing federal guidance for Federal Work Study and clarifying what the University is permitted and required to do under the current unusual circumstances.
  • We have prioritized this issue and will have additional communication as soon as we have more information.

Dining Services

  • Sodexo will be altering some operations for the coming weeks.
  • Importantly, Starbucks (and TastyDrakes) remains OPEN with regular hours during the week.  Weekend volume will be reviewed and we will assess for possible reduction in hours.
  • Wilson Dining Hall remains open on a regular schedule, and we encourage students to take advantage of the online ordering option shared by Mary Policastro earlier today, in order to reduce congregation in public spaces.
  • Coffee Lab (STC) and Wilson Express will be closed after today (Friday) until further notice.

Student Affairs

  • The Office of the Dean of Students will be staffed and serve as a hub for referrals to all Student Affairs services Monday through Friday 9 am until 5 pm (hours may vary based upon demand).   The main contact number for Student Affairs is 215-596-8950.
  • All Student Affairs Offices can be accessed by students, staff and faculty using phone or email contacts Monday through Friday 9-5 pm.

SHAC

  • Students can access services by appointment only by using the following contact information.
    • Student Counseling - 215-596-8536
    • Student Health - 215-596-8980 or by accessing the Student Health Portal

Provost Office

  • Provost Office staff will work remotely during normal business hours. All communications should be via email.
  • Registrar’s Office: Beginning Monday March 16, the Registrar’s Office staff will be working remotely.  Requests for Current Enrollment Verifications and Official Transcripts can be submitted to the Student Clearinghouse https://www.studentclearinghouse.org/students/Transcripts may take up to 2-3 days to be processed during this period of intermittent staffing due to the Coronavirus.
  • Please refer to the Registrar Office Google site for additional information.   
  • All other inquiries can be addressed to Registrar@USciences.edu.  Voice messages left at 215.596.8813 will be answered in the order received.  

Office of the General Counsel 

  • In-person office hours will be Mon/Wed/Thurs from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.  
  • Contracts should continue to be sent to OGCContracts@usciences.edu
  • OGC personnel will be reachable by email during business hours.

We continue to work on open issues and will continuously reassess many of the processes and procedures that we’ve put in place over the coming days and weeks.  If and when we make changes that impact the community, we will promptly share that information via email and, if emergent, via text messaging.  As before, all of these communications will be archived on the Public Safety Emergency Blog at COVID-19, as well as on our website as Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Updates.  Tips for working and studying remotely are posted at USciences Working Remotely.

Our next communication will follow our COVID-19 Task Force meeting on Monday, March 16, unless more urgent communications are required earlier.

Thanks again to everyone for their hard work, patience, and humor through this challenging time.  I’m confident that we will come out on the other side of this as a stronger, wiser, and more resilient institution, with students who are prepared for anything!