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Campus & Community

Research Prepared to Ramp Up as Region Moves into Yellow Phase

May 29, 2020

The following message was sent to the Drexel community on May 29.

Dear Students and Colleagues,

As the Philadelphia region prepares to move to the yellow, less restrictive coronavirus phase on June 5, we are moving ahead with plans to gradually ramp up research activities, return more students to clinical training, and finalize recommendations for our expected return to campus for the fall quarter, assuming our region is moved into the green phase by then.

Due soon are recommendations from the Fall 2020 Covid-19 Task Force for addressing academics, research and student life within the context of fostering a safe and healthy University environment when we start the new academic year. Over the past week, the Task Force shared preliminary draft documents and resources with administrative and faculty leadership in order to gain additional feedback and to ensure that their final recommendations are thorough and cohesive. Early in June, I will announce our plans for the fall.

While we look ahead, we’re also getting ready to honor all of our graduates. Details of events planned for each college and school are being communicated to their respective graduates and families, and an overview is available on the Drexel Commencement website. As a community, we will gather at a university-wide virtual celebration on the evening of June 11 and hear from our featured speaker, Bill Marimow. A Philadelphia journalist with a storied career, Bill is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner who has led three news organizations — as editor-in-chief at The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Baltimore Sun, and as vice president of news at National Public Radio.

The summer quarter will start on June 22, with instruction continuing to be conducted remotely. The grading policies in place in the spring for quarter-based programs — including optional pass / no pass grading for most programs — will be extended for the summer term. The College of Medicine will also extend spring grading policies into the summer, while the Kline School of Law has already returned to normal grading. We anticipate all colleges and schools returning to normal grading policies in the fall. More details will be shared soon.

Over the summer months, the College of Nursing and Health Professions will be able to provide access to clinical training settings for those nursing students needing these placements to graduate. CNHP classroom lectures will remain remote.

Although research has been moving ahead remotely since the campus shutdown in March, we’re looking to reopen labs, field- and clinic-based research activities on June 8. Under a three-stage approach, campus research activities will revolve around critical and prioritized projects and utilize faculty and post-doctoral, graduate and co-op students on a voluntary basis. We will expand our other research initiatives gradually, at all times following CDC guidelines on personal protective equipment, social distancing and cleaning. More details on the resumption of research activities can be found at this website.

Our research related to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a primary and proud focus, utilizing the Rapid Response Research and Development Fund created to support urgent action on health-related research and development. Among the newest Drexel initiatives is a study of how the virus affects patients differently. It’s being conducted by researchers at the College of Medicine and Tower Health in conjunction with 10 leading medical institutions nationwide. The study funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases may help to solve the mystery of why the virus proves fatal for some individuals while others barely show symptoms.

As always, please continue to check Drexel’s Response to Coronavirus website, and follow health officials’ advice on safeguarding yourself and others.


John Fry


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