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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. Markings will be placed 6 feet apart where possible outside of the residence halls (e.g., the Living & Learning Commons courtyard) so that residents may remain properly distanced from one another.

The Living & Learning Commons courtyard will have one path for walking up (ramp) and one path for walking down (stairs).  All individuals should follow these marked paths, unless a physical limitation prevents one from doing so.

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.

Move-in day

Residence Life looks forward to welcoming new students to campus with an extended move-in process taking place from Monday, August 24 through Friday, August 28. All residential students can expect to receive additional communication in the coming weeks about signing up for a move-in time slot, move-in day logistics, and how the Residence Life experience will be modified this semester in response to the ongoing pandemic.

Move-in for new students will be completed in three phases:

August 24-26 - Optional Early Item Drop Off (New Residents of LLC Only)

Residents will be able to sign up for a 2-hour time slot to move-in their items only.  Students who take advantage of this option will then return to campus as early as Friday, August 28 at 5p and no later than Saturday, August 29 at noon to participate in Welcome Weekend activities. This option allows for optimal social distancing as we will only permit a maximum of 4 students to move-in per floor during any given time slot. We encourage all new residents who reside close to campus to take advantage of this option.

August 27 - Move-in for Special Student Populations (Honors students, Athletes, and Out of State Students)

Honors students, athletes and out of state students will be able to sign up for a 1.5 hour time slot to move-in to their Fall 2020 assignment.

August 28 - Move-in Day General for Remaining new LLC Residents and new Wilson/Osol Residents

Residents will be able to sign up for a 1.5 hour time slot to move-in to their Fall 2020 assignment.

Returning students will receive separate communication regarding their move-in options. 

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. When possible, 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 1-2 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. 
  • In the Living & Learning Commons, the central stairwell and elevators will be used for students to go up, and the elevators and tower stairwells will be used for students to go down. Tower stairwells, normally reserved for emergency exit only, will be temporarily used for exiting if Pennsylvania is still in the “Yellow Phase” during the fall semester as this will allow for more aggressive physical distancing. 

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 for 14 days after their last contact with the source patient or after symptoms began.
  • Residential students will be required to remain in a designated residential facility in quarantine for 14 days (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 14-day 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 below protocols will be used for residential students in quarantine/isolation (aligned with CDC guidelines; students must be medically cleared by the Director of Student Health prior to cessation of quarantine/isolation.

  • If the student tests positive for COVID-19
    • Students will be placed in a single bed isolation room in the designated facility.
    • Students will be provided with necessary support services such as daily meal delivery, laundry service, internet access, a microwave/refrigerator unit, and SHAC TeleHealth checkups.
    • 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 yours have passed without a fever of 100.4 or greater (without use of fever-reducing medications), and other symptoms are improving
    • Students with worsening symptoms will be sent to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for evaluation and treatment.
  • In the absence of symptoms, and regardless of testing status (positive/negative), students exposed to someone with known COVID-19 must quarantine for a full 14 days after the last known exposure. 
  • The CDC has noted that under the new guidelines, "it is possible that a person known to be infected [through testing] could leave isolation earlier than a person who is quarantined because of the possibility they are infected."

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.
  • 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).

Athletics and Campus Recreation

Athletics

The University will monitor guidance from both the NCAA and our athletic conference (Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference - CACC) regarding student sports.  As of the most recent CACC Presidents Council update on July 13, 2020, intercollegiate competition in the CACC will not occur during the Fall 2020 season due to safety concerns.  As of this date, spring sports in the CACC are not affected.

The University will not be hosting intramural or club sports for the fall 2020 semester and will re-evaluate for spring 2021 based upon guidance available at that time.  The University will not hold individual skills training for student athletes/intramural athletes during the fall 2020 semester.

Athletic and Recreation Center (ARC) and Campus Recreation

ARC Facility Hours beginning Sunday, August 30th
Sunday: 4p-8p
Monday-Friday: 8am-12pm, 12:30p-4p, 4:30p-6p (closed for 30 minutes every 4 hours for detailed cleaning of high-touch areas)
Saturday:  Closed

General guidelines:

  • The ARC will be open for use by students only at this time.
  • Face coverings – Current city guidelines require the wearing of face coverings at all times in gyms, including while exercising. If participants do not feel comfortable with face coverings during cardio workouts, they are encouraged to work out outdoors with social distancing.
  • 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.
  • 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 with virtual GF classes – no in-person group fitness for the month of September. We will re-evaluate in October.
  • If/ when we can do in-person classes:
    • The group fitness class limit per city guidelines is currently 10 per class.
    • We will consider using outdoor spaces, the Arena, or the Rec Gym for group fitness classes to give ample room for 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 use minimal equipment.  
  • Personal training will be available as long as proper 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 22.
  • 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.

Dining and Meal Plans

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

Student clubs and organizations are encouraged to hold meetings and events virtually. All RSOs/Greek Life gatherings must be held virtually through the end of September 2020.  After October 1, if appropriate based upon City/state guidance, requests to host in-person events will be evaluated on an individual basis.  If and when in-person RSO/Greek Life 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/Greek Life 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. 

When in-person RSO/Greek Life gatherings are permitted, student leaders must attend a training on current event planning guidelines prior to submitting an event request. Any general campus guidelines for in-person meetings will be in effect for RSO/Greek Life 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 meetings of RSOs/Greek Life must be approved and registered.

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 (e.g., gatherings of more than 25 people are currently not permitted). Students are encouraged to follow current guidelines with respect to social distancing, face coverings, and personal hygiene at all times.  RSOs/Greek Life organizations that do not follow local, state, or federal guidelines may be held accountable through the appropriate University process.

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 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  session.
    • 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. Arrangements will be made for an immediate phone or video session.