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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

  • If Pennsylvania is in the “Yellow Phase” as of Move-In Day in August 2020, we will extend the event to a 5-day process from August 24-28 (Monday-Friday) to facilitate required physical distancing. 
  • If Pennsylvania is in the “Green Phase” as of Move-In Day in August 2020, we will extend the event to a 2-day process from August 27-28 (Thursday-Friday) to facilitate required physical distancing.
  • There will be no volunteers to assist with moving in the “Yellow Phase,” and volunteers will be limited in the instance of “Green Phase.”  Students and families should plan accordingly. 
  • Residents will be provided a revised “What To Bring” list to include a reusable digital thermometer (non-mercury thermometer) , sanitizing wipes, tissues, hand sanitizer, among other items.

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 

A detailed isolation/quarantine process has been developed by SHAC, Residence Life, and DPS to address residential students who become exposed to COVID-19, those who become symptomatic, and those who test positive. This process is consistent with CDC recommendations.  

Testing and quarantine process

  • Students will be tested immediately for COVID-19 via a nasopharyngeal swab by a SHAC clinician.
  • Students must quarantine for 14 days after their last contact with the source patient.
    • Students who live within 300 miles of campus will be required to return to their permanent address via transport by a family member and maintain the CDC quarantine guidelines in their home.  Students will be required to quarantine in a  designated residential facility until their family arrives to transport them home. 
    • Students who live beyond 300 miles should return to their permanent address, if possible. However, if this is not feasible, they will be required to remain in a designated residential facility in quarantine until their COVID-19 test result is obtained and symptoms evaluated according to the CDC guidelines for quarantine.  
  • 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 facility with necessary support services provided including SHAC TeleHealth

Students with COVID-19 negative results

Students will be permitted to discontinue quarantine procedures and resume usual campus activity if they remain asymptomatic, and are medically cleared by the Director of Student Health.

Students with COVID-19 positive results: 

  • Students will be required to isolate under CDC guidelines for isolation
    • Residential students with a permanent address within 300 miles of campus will be required to return to that address (via transport by a family member) to isolate. Students will be required to reside in a designated residential facility in isolation until their family arrives to transport them home. 
    • Students who live beyond 300 miles should make every attempt to leave campus to return to their permanent address for isolation.  However, if this is not feasible, they will be required to remain in a designated residential facility in isolation.
  • Isolation must be maintained until the following conditions are met:
    • at least 3 days after resolution of fever and improvement of respiratory symptoms, and  
    • at least 10 days have passed since the symptoms started. 
  • Students remaining on campus in isolation will be provided a single bedroom in a designated residential facility with necessary support services provided including SHAC TeleHealth.
  • Students in isolation on campus will have their symptoms monitored regularly, and if symptoms worsen/advance they will be sent to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for evaluation and treatment. 
  • Students will be permitted to discontinue isolation procedures and resume usual campus activity once they have met the CDC Guideline Criteria for isolation (noted above) and once medically cleared by the Director of Student Health. 

Athletics and Campus Recreation

Athletics

The University will monitor guidance from both the NCAA and our athletic conference (CACC) regarding student sports for the fall semester, and will update the community as appropriate.

Athletic and Recreation Center (ARC)

The ARC will remain closed for recreational activity per the Pennsylvania “Yellow Phase” restrictions on indoor recreation centers. Campus Recreation will continue with virtual group fitness classes. 

The ARC may be repurposed for non-recreational activities, including classroom teaching and studying.  Communications regarding permitted use will be shared with campus as guidance changes.

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

  • If local and state guidance does not permit eating of meals in common areas, 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

  • If both local and state guidance permits eating of meals in common dining areas, a minimum of 6 foot distances between chairs will be maintained.  
  • 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.  
  • 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.  

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 not permitted during the “Yellow Phase” of reopening in Pennsylvania). 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 Medical Remote & On Campus Services 

Student medical services

For medical/health concerns 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 one business day 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 offices will open in accordance with the guidelines listed here with limited/ staggered staffing. 
  • Students are seen by appointment only for medical services while COVID-19 health and social distancing precautions are in place. During this time online self-scheduling will be unavailable.  Students must schedule appointments by calling 215-596-8980. 
  • Medical appointments will be addressed via Telehealth until social distancing guidelines are relaxed.  Clinicians will provide Telehealth sessions to conduct a COVID-19 risk screening assessment and triage for all patients with a health issue via Zoom and/or phone.  After being screened and evaluated, patients will be provided an on-site appointment at SHAC only when medically indicated. 
  • SHAC will provide COVID-19 viral testing for students exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 as indicated. COVID-19 testing for screening asymptomatic 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 support services for mental health and wellness

For students 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:

  • SHAC offices will open in accordance with the guidelines listed here with limited/ staggered staffing. 
  • Teletherapy sessions will continue (unless clinically contraindicated) until social distancing guidelines are relaxed. 
  • Staff will be available for emergency walk-ins.