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Student Affairs Guidelines - COVID-19 Return to Campus

Required COVID-19 Vaccinations

Once obtained, all USciences students are required to upload proof of COVID-19 vaccination to the Student Health portal and enter the dates of vaccination onto the COVID-19 vaccine page. Documentation of a booster must be entered by 2/15/2022 or as soon as eligible. The exception to this requirement are students who are fully online and will not participate in any on-campus activities. Students who have questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 vaccinations should contact Student Health (SHAC). 

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).

Face Masks

All individuals must wear high quality (surgical, N95/KN95) face coverings/masks at all times indoors when on campus in all living/learning areas, 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. Those who are not vaccinated will be required to be double masked, i.e., to layer two face coverings, when indoors. 

Visitation policy

Residents will be permitted to sign in day guests who are current USciences students to their residence hall provided that guests adhere to all COVID-19 guidelines and residence hall policies. 

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 are up to date on COVID-19 vaccines and who have been exposed to a known positive COVID case but do not exhibit symptoms must complete a COVID-19 screening form and obtain a COVID-19 test on day 5 after exposure. Asymptomatic students may remain in their assigned room, attend classes, meals, and other essential activities. Masks should be worn when around others. If the day 5 test is negative, the student may resume normal activities. If the test is positive or if symptoms develop, the student must follow the procedures for symptomatic/positive students below.

Unvaccinated students who have been exposed to a known positive COVID case must complete a COVID-19 Screening Form immediately, quarantine for 5 days either at home or at a designated area on campus and obtain testing from a SHAC clinician or testing site at home on day 5 after exposure. Students should monitor for symptoms for 10 days, and if symptoms develop, procedures for symptomatic/positive students will apply. 

Any students (vaccinated or not) who report symptoms of COVID-19 must complete a COVID-19 Screening Form immediately, isolate for 5 days either at home or at a designated area on campus, and obtain testing from a SHAC clinician or at a testing site at home. COVID-19 testing will be offered daily via scheduled appointments by the Student Health clinicians.

All COVID-19 test results should be emailed to Dr. Siebert at b.siebert@usciences.edu and uploaded to the Student Health portal

Students will be required to quarantine/isolate according to the following updated current CDC recommendations:

  • Students who are up to date on COVID vaccinations and exposed to COVID-19:
    • Complete the COVID-19 Screening form and monitor for symptoms for 10 days after exposure. Students may remain in their assigned housing, and attend essential activities such as classes, work, and meals.
    • Wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days any time you are around others.  Do not go to places where you cannot wear a mask.
    • A COVID-19 test should be administered 5 days post exposure. If the test is positive, email Dr. Siebert immediately with the result and follow CDC isolation protocols (below).
    • If symptoms develop during the self-monitoring period, the student should email Dr. Siebert at b.siebert@usciences.edu and follow guidance for symptomatic/positive students below.   
    • Email test results to Dr. Siebert at b.siebert@usciences.edu
  • Students who are not vaccinated or up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations and are exposed to COVID-19:
    • Complete the COVID-19 Screening Form immediately and await a SHAC clinician to contact you for guided directives.
    • Start the 5-day quarantine protocol and obtain a COVID-19 test on day 5. Do not come to campus until cleared to do so by your PCP and a SHAC clinician.
    • Quarantine may be ended after 5 days providing you remain asymptomatic with a negative test.
    • Wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days any time you are around others.  Do not go to places where you cannot wear a mask.
    • If symptoms develop or a positive test is obtained during the quarantine period, the student should immediately self-isolate and contact Dr. Siebert at b.siebert@usciences.edu (see protocol below for symptomatic/positive test results.)
    • Email test results to Dr. Siebert (b.siebert@usciences.edu) and upload results to the Student Health portal.
  • Vaccinated and Unvaccinated students who develop symptoms of COVID-19 or diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, and/or tests positive for COVID-19:
    • Complete the COVID-19 Screening Form immediately and await a SHAC clinician to contact you for guided directives.
    • Notify your primary care provider of your symptoms
    • Start a 5-day isolation protocol and do not come to campus until cleared to do so by your PCP and a SHAC clinician.
    • Wear a well-fitted mask if you must be around others in your home/isolation location.
    • Obtain a COVID-19 test.
    • If the test is positive, isolation may be ended after 5 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 the individual is cleared by their primary care provider and a SHAC clinician to return to campus.
    • If the test is negative: individuals must continue to isolate for 5 days. isolation may be ended after 5 days if at least 24 hours have passed without a fever of 100.4 or greater (without use of fever-reducing medications).
    • Wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days any time you are around others.  Do not go to places where you cannot wear a mask.
    • Email test results to Dr. Siebert (b.siebert@usciences.edu) and upload results to the Student Health portal.

Students needing quarantine or isolation may do so either at home or at a designated area on campus. Students residing on campus for quarantine or isolation who experience worsening symptoms will be sent to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for evaluation and treatment.

All students in quarantine and isolation must adhere to the CDC guidelines for quarantine/isolation and must check and report temperature and symptoms daily to the SHAC clinician.

Students in quarantine who remain on campus will be provided a single bedroom with necessary support services provided such as daily meal delivery, laundry service, internet access, a microwave/refrigerator unit, and SHAC TeleHealth checkups.

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 unvaccinated 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.

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.  

Student Conduct COVID-19 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 21-22 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. 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 open for use by students and employees in accordance with local Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) guidance for the operation of gyms and recreational activities. If PDPH guidance differs from University guidance, the more restrictive guidance will apply.  All individuals are required to wear a mask when inside the ARC using the gym and participating in recreational activities.

Group fitness and personal training

  • Group Fitness Classes are in person, instructors and participants are required to wear masks at all times.
  • Personal training is available in-person.  

Cardio deck/Weight rooms

  • 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 January 17, 2022, per the Philadelphia Department of Health, all businesses that sell food and drink for on-site consumption must require documentation of COVID-19 vaccination by patrons.  While this regulation is in effect, Starbucks/Tasty Drakes will provide take-out only service; no on-site dining will be permitted in this location.  The Wilson Dining Hall will continue to operate as previously; service is limited to USciences students and employees.

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.

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.

Additional dining guidance

  • Take-out meals will be provided using the pre-ordering process for students who desire this option.
  • Single use utensils will be available upon request.
  • Food should not be shared between individuals.
  • No self-service (e.g., salad bar) will be permitted.
  • Plexiglass shielding will be provided at check-out registers.

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.  

Student activities/clubs

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 face coverings, 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 PDPH 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. RSOs/FSL organizations that do not follow local, state, or federal guidelines may be held accountable through the appropriate University process. 

The virus can spread quickly, even in small groups. All individuals must wear face coverings whenever studying or socializing with friends, especially indoors. 

SHAC Remote & On Campus Services

No student will be seen in person at SHAC without calling for an appointment and pre-screening for COVID-19 symptoms.  Faculty and staff should not walk students over to be seen without calling first.

Student medical services

  • 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.
  • To schedule an appointment for health concerns or questions, you may call 215-596-8980 or 215-596-7133, or email SHAC at student-healthinfo@usciences.edu. A SHAC staff member will respond to you within 24 hours to address your health issue or question and advise you accordingly. Inquiries made by email or left via voicemail over the weekend will be addressed on the following workday.
  • SHAC hours for student patient care are Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.  After hours or on the weekends for non-urgent or non-emergency health issues students can email a SHAC clinician at Student-healthinfo@usciences.edu. Inquiries will be addressed on the following workday.
  • All students or employees who suspect that they have been exposed to COVID-19, who are symptomatic, or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 are required to complete the COVID-19 Screening Form.
  • Clinicians will call the student in order to complete a COVID-19 Screening Form, risk assessment, contact tracing, and medical evaluation.  After the screening and initial evaluation are completed, students will be provided an on-site appointment at SHAC only when medically indicated for a focused exam or to have lab work obtained if needed. Students living at home may be instructed to follow up with their primary care provider.
  • SHAC will provide COVID-19 viral testing for any student exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or those students who have been exposed to the virus in alignment with current guidance. 
  • 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

  • Students seeking mental health support can call the Counseling Center main line at 215-596-8536 or email shac@usciences.edu for an appointment. All counseling sessions will be conducted virtually, via a HIPAA-compliant video conferencing platform. If a student is in need of immediate assistance, they can call the counseling center and request an urgent appointment.  Counseling center staff will conduct a brief screening and either assist the student over the phone or through video conference to problem solve in the moment as well as potentially make plans for more ongoing support.