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Return to Campus Update

Coronavirus (COVID-19): The latest updates about USciences return to campus: usciences.edu/coronavirus. The full plan for a phased return of employees and students: usciences.edu/campusguidelines.

Student Affairs Guidelines - COVID-19 Return to Campus

Residence Life

Residence life recommendations are based on guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Association of College and University Housing Officers International (ACUHO-I), the American College Health Association (ACHA) and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH).

Physical distancing/face masks

Physical distancing should be maintained at all times, including entry and exit to and from the residence halls.

Face coverings/masks should be worn at all times on campus, including all residence hall common spaces, including but not limited to laundry rooms, study lounges, lobbies, trash rooms. The exception to this rule is if a student is in their residence hall room alone with limited likelihood of others passing through.

Short-Term Housing

USciences is currently offering a 4-week short-term housing option that coincides with in-person labs (Cohorts A, B, and C). This option includes a meal plan. Pricing for the Living & Learning Commons and Wilson Residence Hall is as follows:

Living & Learning Commons

Single Bedroom: $1,865
Double Bedroom: $1,443

Click here for a virtual tour of the Living & Learning Commons.

Wilson Residence Hall

Single Bedroom: $1,717
Double Bedroom: $1,373

Click here for a virtual tour of Wilson Residence Hall

Meal Plan:  11-Meal Plan (w/ $167 in declining balance):  $845

Space in short-term housing will be first come, first serve and is not guaranteed. If you would like to reserve a spot in short-term housing, please send an email to reslife@usciences.edu, with your requested dates. 

Move-in/Out Process for Short-term Housing Stay

All students moving in for short-term housing are strongly encouraged to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to their move-in date.

Each student is permitted to bring a maximum of two people to assist them with the move in/out process. No other individuals will be permitted to enter the building. Students and their helpers are also asked to complete a self-screening before coming to campus and to sign the Individual Responsibility & Attestation statement.

Students and helpers should review the below questions prior to moving into short-term housing:

  1. In the past 14 days have you or anyone that you have had close contact with experienced any flu-like or respiratory symptoms?
  2. In the past 14 days have you or anyone that you have had close contact with experienced a fever greater than 100.4 degrees?
  3. In the past 14 days have you or anyone that you have had close contact with been presumed or confirmed positive for COVID-19?
  4. In the past 14 days have you or anyone you had close contact with been in isolation or quarantined?

If you or anyone planning to help you move-in/out  have answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, remain home and contact the Department of Residence Life at reslife@usciences.edu to discuss your options.

The following measures have been put into place to promote a safe move-in/move out environment:

  • Plexiglass barriers have been installed at the front of each residence hall
  • Everyone on campus (indoors and outdoors) must wear a face mask/covering. Individuals without a face mask/covering will be denied access to the residence halls and asked to leave campus. 
  • For your convenience, we are providing a limited amount of moving bins. These are first come, first serve, and cannot be guaranteed to be available at the time of your item drop off. We highly recommend bringing your own cart or dolly if available.
  • Elevators should be occupied by only one student (and the people helping them) at one time. If an elevator is occupied, please wait for the next one. You may also use the central stairwell by staying to your right when traveling up or down.
  • Hand sanitizing stations are located in the lobby of each residence hall and by each elevator.
  • Be mindful of all signs and markings to promote proper social distancing (ex. 6ft. apart)

To further promote social distancing throughout the move-in/move-out process, short-term housing students are given a flexible 3-day window to move-in/out. Occupancy/Room management

  • Beds in double rooms in the Living & Learning Commons and Wilson Residence Hall will be spaced at least 6 feet apart. Students will be prohibited from rearranging furniture that would result in beds being closer than the proscribed distance. An increased number of singles rooms will be made available in community bathroom-style residence halls (Wilson Hall).
  • Triple rooms will not be offered during the Fall 2020-Spring 2021 academic year.

Visitation policy

  • Access to residence halls will be limited to residents of the building and essential staff. No visitors or outside guests will be permitted until further notice. This includes students of the University that reside in other residence halls.

Public/Common use spaces

  • Plexiglass shielding will be placed at each residence hall reception desk.
  • Lounge/study spaces will be reconfigured in the residence halls to promote social distancing (allowing students to remain a minimum of 6 ft. apart). In some cases furniture may be removed to promote this goal. Residents should also adhere to any noted occupancy limits for these spaces.
  • Kitchen/Kitchenettes in the Living & Learning Commons (Lobby) and Wilson Residence Hall (3rd Floor) will be limited to one person at a time.
  • Laundry rooms in the Living & Learning Commons and Wilson Residence Hall will be limited to one person at a time. The laundry room in Osol Residence Hall will be limited to two people at a time provided that both students can remain at least 6 feet apart from one another.

Community bathrooms (Wilson Residence Hall)

  • Community bathrooms in Wilson Residence Hall will be cleaned at least twice daily using EPA-registered disinfectants.
  • Bathrooms will be stocked with soap and paper towels and/or automated hand dryers. Trash cans will be emptied regularly. Paper toilet covers will be provided.
  • Viral particles can survive on surfaces of sinks and faucets. Students should use shower caddies/totes or other containers to avoid having toothbrushes and other personal items rest directly on these surfaces.

Residence hall elevators and egress

  • Elevator capacity will be limited to 2 people per car. Tape will be placed on the floor of elevator cars marking out appropriate spacing.
  • In the Living & Learning Commons and Osol Residence Hall residents are encouraged to take the stairs, when able, staying to the right hand side when walking up and down. All stairwells in the Living & Learning Commons are both directions (up and down).
  • In the Living and Learning Commons:
    • Main entrance doors accessed via the courtyard will be for entry only.
    • Access the 1st floor lobby using the middle stairwell and the elevators. Exit from the 1st floor lobby via the double doors onto 46th Street.
    • Stairwells are located on the far east and west sides of the building. These stairwells exit directly onto Woodland Avenue.
  • In Wilson Residence Hall:
    • Please note the doors marked for entry and exit at the front of Wilson Residence Hall.
    • Access to the residence hall floors will be by elevator only (except in the event of an emergency).
  • In Osol Residence Hall:
    • The main doors accessed via 42nd Street will be for entrance and exit. Please be mindful of other residents entering and exiting to maintain proper social distancing.

Maintenance Requests

  • Facilities staff will need to access student rooms occasionally to fulfill maintenance requests.
  • When entering a student room, Facilities staff will wear a mask and gloves and will disinfect anything that they touch. Gloves will be disposed of after a single use.
  • Students may remain in the room during the fulfillment of a maintenance request, however, all parties must wear a mask and stay 6ft. apart.

Isolation/quarantine of residential students infected or exposed to COVID-19

The following outline provides the current  isolation/quarantine process as developed by Student Health, Residence Life, and Public Safety to address asymptomatic residential students with recent known or suspected exposure to COVID-19, those who become symptomatic, and those who test positive in order to control transmission. This process is consistent with CDC recommendations

Testing and quarantine process

  • Students who report being exposed to or symptomatic for COVID-19 will be tested for COVID-19 via a nasopharyngeal swab by a SHAC clinician.
  • A COVID-19 Testing tent will be set up in the courtyard outside of Student Health/Whitecar Hall to facilitate safe social distancing and prevention of viral spread while obtaining testing samples. COVID-19 testing will be offered daily via scheduled appointments by the Student Health clinicians.
  • Once students are tested the quarantine process will be required and will be instituted immediately. Residential students will relocate immediately to the designated residential facility on campus to adhere to the CDC Quarantine Guidelines.
  • Students will be required to quarantine/isolate according to the following updated current CDC recommendations:
    • If the student tests positive for COVID-19
      • If no symptoms develop, isolation may be stopped after 10 days.
      • If mild to moderate symptoms develop, isolation may be ended after 10 days if at least 24 hours have passed without a fever of 100.4 or greater (without use of fever-reducing medications), and other symptoms are improving
      • If severe illness occurs, isolation should continue until symptoms have improved and up to 20 days
      • Students with worsening symptoms will be sent to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for evaluation and treatment.
    • If the student tests negative for COVID-19
      • If no symptoms develop, quarantine should be continued for 7 days
      • After stopping quarantine, individuals should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after exposure
      • If symptoms develop during the self-monitoring period, the student should immediately self-isolate and contact SHAC
    • If the student was not tested for COVID-19 (this should be a rare occurrence)
      • If no symptoms develop, quarantine should be continued for 10 days
      • After stopping quarantine, individuals should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after exposure
      • If symptoms develop during the self-monitoring period, the student should immediately self-isolate and contact SHAC
    • Residential students will be required to remain in a designated residential facility in quarantine (if they remain on campus) while awaiting their COVID-19 test result. Symptoms will be evaluated according to the CDC Quarantine Guidelines.
    • All students in quarantine must adhere to the CDC guidelines for quarantine and must check and report temperature and symptoms daily to SHAC.
    • Students in quarantine who remain on campus will be provided a single bedroom in a designated residential quarantine facility with necessary support services provided such as daily meal delivery, laundry service, internet access, a microwave/refrigerator unit, and SHAC TeleHealth checkups.

The CDC continues to endorse quarantine for 14 days after exposure; the Philadelphia Department of Public Health permits the shorter quarantine as an option in order to reduce the economic and other impact to affected individuals.

Contact Tracing and Additional Testing

  • The SHAC clinicians will conduct contact tracing for students suspected of or positive for COVID-19. Further testing will be recommended for all close contacts of students diagnosed with or symptomatic for COVID-19. It is critical for all individuals to cooperate with the contact tracing process, in order to assure notification of potentially exposed individuals and reduce the likelihood of spread of the illness.
  • Expanded testing options may be offered if indicated to asymptomatic residential students in higher density areas who may have had a recent known or suspected exposure to a student who tested positive for COVID-19. This may include testing of all students who were in proximity of another student with confirmed COVID-19 (e.g., those who shared communal living and learning spaces or bathrooms), or testing all students within a shared setting (e.g., testing all residents on a floor, in a building, or in a classroom or laboratory).

Students Living Off Campus

Students who are living off-campus are strongly encouraged to provide their local residential address and phone number to Student Affairs in order to facilitate contact tracing and accurate case reporting, if needed, to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.  This information will be gathered through the spring 2020 COVID-19 Guidelines attestation process.

Student Conduct COVID Response

All members of the University community are expected to abide by recommendations meant to promote and protect the health and welfare of others, including Return to Campus Guidelines, any residence life directives, and/or city/state regulations. Students who are referred to the conduct process for behaviors that allegedly violate the Return to Campus Guidelines, or otherwise jeopardize the health and safety of themselves or others with regards to COVID-19, will be addressed using a level framework of low, mid, and high-concern non-compliance behaviors. 

Sanctions for violations range from a written warning and educational assignment to removal from University housing and possible suspension or expulsion. Sanctions will be assigned according to the leveling guidance, as well as through careful review of the specific circumstances in each report. Details of behaviors and sanction levels can be found on the Office of Student Conduct & Grievances, COVID-19 Reporting & Response webpage.

Pandemic Amnesty

The University wants students to be comfortable coming forward with information regarding potential exposures, the need to be tested, or positive COVID-19 test results. Students who proactively notify SHAC, Student Conduct, or the Dean of Students and cooperate with contact tracing will receive similar exemptions as in the Medical Amnesty policy in the Student Handbook (see AY 20-21 Student Handbook page 39).

For more information about COVID Pandemic Amnesty, please visit the Office of Student Conduct & Grievances, COVID-19 Reporting & Response webpage.

Athletics and Campus Recreation

Athletics

The University is monitoring guidance from both the NCAA and our athletic conference (Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference - CACC) regarding student sports. The University has determined that there will be no Winter sports (basketball, volleyball) for the 2020-21 season based on significant viral transmission nationally at this time. A decision regarding the USciences Spring sports program (baseball, softball, track and field, tennis, golf) will be made early in 2021.

If USciences determines that it is safe to compete in athletics (whether internal/practices or through the conference) all teams will abide by NCAA guidelines, as well as local Philadelphia Department of Public Health guidelines. In the case that those guidelines differ, USciences will abide by the more restrictive.

Athletic and Recreation Center (ARC) and Campus Recreation

The ARC will be closed until further notice due to local PDPH guidance prohibiting the opening of gyms.  If that guidance is amended, the University will reopen the ARC with the below guidelines.  Facility hours will be communicated as appropriate.

General guidelines

  • The ARC will be open for use by University employees between the hours of 8:00am and 4:00pm. Students may utilize the ARC throughout posted hours. .
  • Face coverings – Current city guidelines require the wearing of face coverings at all times in gyms, including while exercising.
  • Locker rooms will be open for changing and using the restrooms. Showers will be closed. Participants will not be able to use the lockers and there will be no locker rentals. Participants will be allowed to bring bags/valuables with them into the gym spaces.
  • There will be no equipment check-out.
  • Water fountains will be available for bottle filling only. Participants must bring their own water bottle.

Check-in

  • Enter through front doors only – exit through front or back door
  • Participants will swipe themselves in at the front desk. There will be hand sanitizer at the front desk. An attendant will be present to check IDs and monitor occupancy numbers.
  • Occupancy numbers for each area will be posted on a white board in the lobby. Students should check the board before going to any ARC space to ensure that there is available space and plan their workout accordingly.
  • The ARC lobby occupancy is limited to 22 people.

Open gym spaces

  • No open gym time in Rec Gym / Arena/ MPR. Gym spaces may be utilized for classes or programming following social distancing guidelines provided by PDPH.
  • The studio will be closed.
  • The indoor track will be closed to running/walking.
    • Some cardio equipment has been moved to track in order to spread it out (maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between machines).
    • Boxes will be taped off on the track that can be used for individual exercises/stretching. Small equipment will be placed in boxed spaces accordingly.

Group fitness and personal training

  • We will continue to hold group fitness classes virtually for the foreseeable future.
  • In-person group fitness classes will be considered based on City guidance for fitness facilities and recommendations from the University COVID-19 Task Force.
  • If/when in-person classes are permitted:
    • Class size limits will follow City guidance (currently 10 per class).
    • As weather, logistics, and space permit, we will use outdoor locations, the Arena, or the Rec Gym for group fitness classes to maximize spacing.
  • Participants will need to bring their own equipment rather than use shared equipment (e.g. personal yoga mat). We will work with group fitness instructors to modify classes so as to minimize the requirement for equipment.
  • Personal training will be available as long as required 6 foot distancing can be maintained between trainer and client as well as other facility users.

Cardio deck

  • Equipment has been moved to be at least six feet apart. Some has been moved into the track.
  • Participants will be limited to one per machine (max. occupancy = 22 ). No waiting for machines on deck.
  • Participants are required to wipe down equipment before beginning and when finished. Sanitizing wipes will be provided. Staff will be assigned to monitor and assist with cleaning.

Weight rooms

  • Equipment has been spaced to ensure proper distancing, and distancing guides will be taped on the floor. Participants are required to follow distancing guidelines and occupancy numbers.
  • Occupancy is limited to no more than one person per designated space, with a maximum occupancy of 15.
  • If we find that occupancy is meeting the maximum at certain times, we will move to a reservation/ appointment system.
  • Participants are required to wipe down equipment before beginning and when finished. Sanitizing wipes will be provided. Staff will be assigned to monitor and assist with cleaning.

All participants are required to comply with safety guidelines, signage, and staff directions. Participants who do not follow the guidelines will be asked to leave immediately and may lose their ARC privileges. Please remember that the situation is fluid and ARC hours, occupancy limits, and guidelines may change without prior notice.

Dining and Meal Plans

As of publication of these guidelines, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health has prohibited indoor dining.  We will update campus as appropriate if that guidance changes.  The below guidelines remain in effect.

As with other high-touch/high-use areas, locations in the dining hall and servery will be frequently disinfected throughout the day, with deep cleaning each evening.

Employees working in the dining hall will have temperatures checked upon arrival at work and departure; individuals with temperature above 100.4 degrees F will not be permitted to work until such time as they are medically cleared.  All employees working in the dining hall are required to wear a face covering supplied by Sodexo.

Students placed in on-campus isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19 illness or exposure will be provided “safe meal” options for dining in their rooms.

If dining in is not permitted

  • Take-out only meals will be provided, with preordering of meals required.
  • When waiting to pick up food, 6-foot distancing must be maintained.

If dining in is permitted

  • Take-out meals will be provided using the preordering process for students who desire this option.
  • A minimum of 6-foot distances between chairs will be maintained. Chairs and tables will be moved (and in some cases, removed) to ensure appropriate distancing.
  • Because wearing of masks is not possible while eating and drinking, mealtimes should be brief; individuals should leave the dining area as soon as the meal is completed and not linger.
  • Neither food nor utensils should be shared between individuals to reduce the likelihood of disease transmission.
  • Maximum capacity of the Wilson Dining Hall will be reduced to 25% to allow for appropriate social distancing.
  • Additional locations for dining, including outdoor tables and tents, will be placed adjacent to Wilson Dining Hall to provide additional seating and reduce the dining hall occupancy demand.
  • Dining hours may be extended if capacity limitations do not allow for all students with meal plans to eat.
  • No self-service (e.g., salad bar) will be permitted.
  • Plexiglass shielding will be provided at check-out registers and other areas where physical distancing is difficult.
  • When waiting in line, either to enter the dining area or to check out, 6-foot distancing must be maintained between diners.

Student Life

High-risk students

Students who are at high risk for complications from COVID-19 infection should assess their level of risk prior to participating in non-essential in-person gatherings/events and carefully assess whether in-person participation is appropriate. Registered Student Organizations (RSOs)/Greek organizations holding in-person events are encouraged to allow members to participate remotely through live streaming, recording, or other use of technology.  Any meeting or event that is required for membership must have a remote participation option available.

Student activities/clubs

 All Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs) and Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) organizations are encouraged to hold meetings and events virtually.  Please contact the Student Activities staff for ideas and assistance in planning virtual activities. If appropriate and based upon City/state guidance and University recommendations, requests to host in-person events will be evaluated on an individual basis.  If and when in-person RSO/FSL gatherings are permitted, indoor gatherings must be limited to 25 individuals and outdoor gatherings must be limited to 50 individuals.  All gatherings must be held in spaces that allow for a minimum of 6-foot social distancing.  These limits may change based on updated governmental guidance.

RSO/FSL sponsored off campus events/excursions will not be permitted. Non-essential visitors to campus will not be permitted and guest speakers should be hosted virtually.

Prior to submitting a request for an in-person event, at least one representative from the organization must attend a training on current event planning guidelines. A trained member of the organization must be present at the event.  Any general campus guidelines for in-person meetings will be in effect for RSO/FSL meetings/events. These guidelines may include (but are not limited to) the wearing of cloth face coverings, social distancing and personal hygiene protocols, room occupancy limitations, limitations on food services, and proper cleaning and disinfecting of areas upon the conclusion of the event.  All in-person RSO/FSL meetings and events must be approved and registered through the Devil’s Advocate, and the event submission must include a plan for how the event will comply with COVID guidelines. Students should feel free to reach out to Student Activities & Campus Recreation staff for assistance in event planning.  Our staff is committed to working with students to ensure safe and enjoyable campus events, however, we reserve the right to postpone or cancel in-person events, or move delivery to a remote platform, if the city or University guidelines become more restrictive. 

Off-campus gatherings

Students are expected to follow all local, state, and federal guidelines with respect to social gatherings, even when off campus and/or in their private residences. Students are encouraged to follow current guidelines with respect to social distancing, face coverings, and personal hygiene at all times.  RSOs/FSL organizations that do not follow local, state, or federal guidelines may be held accountable through the appropriate University process.

The fall semester experience has demonstrated the virus can spread quickly, even in small groups. Please wear face coverings and maintain distance whenever studying or socializing with friends, especially indoors, and refrain from recreational activities that include close contact with others.

SHAC Remote & On Campus Services 

No student will be seen in person at SHAC without an appointment and pre-screening.  Faculty and staff should not walk students over to be seen.

Student medical services

When students are learning remotely

  • It is important that you maintain your relationship with your primary care provider for general care and acute care illnesses, and if indicated, a medical specialist if you have an ongoing chronic condition.
  • For all other health concerns or questions you may email SHAC at student-healthinfo@usciences.edu and either Dr. Siebert or Maureen Hopkins will respond to you within 48 hours to address your health issue or question and advise you accordingly.
  • For urgent health issues contact your Primary Care Provider or go to your local Urgent Care center.
  • For medical emergencies seek care at your local Emergency Department or call 911.

When students are on campus:

  • SHAC hours for student patient care are Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm for TeleHealth/Zoom appointments and lab services only.
  • Students will not have direct access into SHAC unless instructed to do so by a SHAC clinician for a focused exam or to have lab work completed. After hours or on the weekends students can email a SHAC clinician at Student-healthinfo@usciences.edu.
  • Students should call 215-596-8980 to schedule an appointment. Online self-scheduling is not available at this time.
  • Clinicians will provide an initial Telehealth/Zoom session in order to complete a COVID-19 risk assessment and medical evaluation. After Telehealth screening and initial evaluation, students will be provided an on-site appointment at SHAC only when medically indicated for a focused exam or to have lab work obtained.
  • SHAC will provide COVID-19 viral testing for students exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or those who have been exposed to the virus in alignment with current guidance.
  • COVID-19 testing for screening of asymptomatic, non-exposed students is not currently available or recommended.
  • After hours or when SHAC is closed, students may access the local Urgent Care center, Emergency Department, or call 9-1-1 and public safety for emergency services assistance.
  • In the case of an acute emergency at any time, call 9-1-1 and public safety to access emergency medical services.

Student counseling services

When students are learning remotely

  • Students seeking mental health support can call the Counseling Center main line at 215-596-8536 or email shac@usciences.edu for an appointment. Our counselors will conduct a phone screening and assist the student in one of the following ways:
    • Offer a short term, focused, problem-solving
    • Assess the student for the appropriateness of teletherapy. If indicated, conduct a full intake and begin regular web-based therapy sessions.
    • Assist the student in finding a mental health care provider in their local area.
  • In the case of an acute emergency at any time, call 9-1-1 and public safety to access emergency medical services.

When students are on campus

  • All counseling sessions will be conducted virtually (i.e. Teletherapy) until social distancing guidelines are relaxed.
  • If a student is in need of immediate assistance, they can call the main number and ask to be connected to a counselor. If asked to leave a message, please do so and indicate that the issue is urgent. Arrangements will be made for an immediate phone or video session.