Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Information

Coronavirus Information

The wellness and safety of NEOMED faculty, staff and students is our primary concern.

As we learn more, we will keep you informed through all appropriate communications channels.

All communications are from the University unless otherwise stated.

Recent Campus Communications

April 1, 2020: College of Graduate Studies

Dear College of Graduate Studies Students,

Hope you are all doing well during these challenging times.

This message is being sent to you because you are currently taking courses in one of the following College of Graduate Studies degree or certificate programs in: medical ethics and humanities, modern anatomical sciences, health-system pharmacy administration, integrated pharmaceutical medicine and public health. I am very pleased that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic measures ― such as social distancing and the stay-at-home order ― that were put in place to slow the spread, many of these courses were already being delivered remotely. However, we do recognize that there were other courses that needed to transition to remote content delivery, which could impact one’s learning experience.

When combined with these times of crisis, which may cause anxiety, we want to limit the impact of such change.

For that reason, the College has decided that until further notice, you may elect to take certain courses for graduate credit with the Pass/Fail option. Before making any final decision to opt for Pass/Fail, please consult with your program director and the financial aid office to discuss any impact your choice may have on your academics, enrollment, and financial aid.

As you may know, taking a course for Pass/Fail could impact your GPA: A Pass will not raise your GPA but adds to your course credits; however, a Fail brings your GPA down, like a letter grade and you receive no credit for the course. The result will also be posted to your transcript. As a reminder, you need to maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 or better to be in good standing with the College.

If you think this option best serves you, please take the following steps:

  • Consult with your program director to discuss the benefits of opting for Pass/Fail and to determine which courses provide this option.
  • Contact the Office of Financial Aid to determine any impact resulting from your decision.
  • Before making a final decision, contact your program director.
  • If the decision is to opt for Pass/Fail, send me an email (sschmidt@neomed.edu) declaring that decision for specific courses with your program director, who should be copied on the email.

 

I will seek a final confirmation from you by return email inquiry that will require your affirmative response. I must receive your decision to opt for Pass/Fail no later than May 1, 2020.

I will share that correspondence with the Office of the Registrar who will make the appropriate changes relative to recording your final grade. If you decide not to opt for Pass/Fail and that you intend to receive a letter grade for your courses per the original course plan, no action to this email is required. I do not need to be informed.

It is important that you remain engaged with your coursework so that you are making good progress toward your degree(s).

Thank you for your patience during these necessary transitions to remote teaching and learning. In addition to your health and wellness, your quality education is among our top priorities.

Sincerely,

Dr. Steven Schmidt
Dean of the College of Graduate Studies

April 1, 2020: Human Resources

March 30, 2020

To all students,

As we continue to work our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to thank each of you for all that you continue to do to isolate yourselves and mitigate the spread of this virus. For students who are accessing Rootstown campus faculties, I am receiving reports of the following:

  • students congregating in groups without regard to social distancing
  • students who, after being told by NEOMED police or other staff to disperse to appropriate levels of social distancing, are immediately going back to gathering as soon as the police or staff members move on
  • students not complying with signing in upon arrival on campus
  • students not complying with taking and documenting their temperatures, some of whom are arguing with staff regarding the value of temperature taking

 

Please know that the policies we have enacted in response to this pandemic are in accordance with executive orders coming from Ohio’s Governor, Mike DeWine and Department of Health Director, Amy Acton, M.D. (’90), and CDC guidelines.

I would also remind all students that you are not without risk for contracting this illness, or for having severe illness if you do contract it.  To think you are, because of your age and good health, not at risk, is fallacious. Further, even if you aren’t fearful of contracting the illness yourself, you have a moral responsibility to do all that you can to not become a vector for this disease.  None of us wants to transmit a potentially fatal illness to another individual.

I suspect that only a small number of students are choosing not to comply with these policies. Going forward, I am calling upon all of you to enforce these approaches, and to hold each other accountable to do so. Be advised that any student identified as willfully not complying with these policies will be made to surrender their ID badge access to the University and the NEW Center and would be required to meet with their dean to seek reinstatement of those privileges.  If this approach doesn’t lead to full compliance, we will have no choice but to consider closing all campus access for students.

Thank you all for your commitment to doing all that you can to mitigate the spread of this deadly disease.  I look forward to hearing of your efforts to enforce and comply with the measures we have implemented.  As always, if you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact me by email. Stay safe and be well.

Joseph Zarconi, M.D.
Medical Director, COVID-19 Response, NEOMED

March 28, 2020: College of Medicine

Senior NEOMED Students,

As you know, the State of Ohio has not yet requested that senior medical students who matched in Ohio be deployed to enter the Ohio State health care workforce prior to their usual residency start dates, in late June/July.  Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Medicine Match Day 2020 results revealed that 54% of the graduating class of 152 students matched into Ohio residency training programs.  We are very proud of our legacy of significant graduate retention in Ohio residency programs.  We are working with the Governor’s Office to better understand Ohio’s anticipated workforce needs so that we can assist our Ohio matched seniors in readiness should the State need you.  Other states, like New York, are beginning to take a more aggressive stance on health care workforce deployment.  Each state, at this time, is determining workforce needs independently.

I am reaching out to you to let you know that I have received a number of Ohio hospital inquiries about when our seniors students will complete their fourth year educational requirements for graduation.  These hospitals are thinking ahead about the logistics of onboarding their PGY1 residents in light of the Covid 19 pandemic.  We have been transparent in our responses about curricular completion dates.  You may hear from your residencies about the potential for a voluntary early residency start.  Again, in Ohio this is voluntary at this time.  For those of you matched in other states, please check mandates from the governors of those states.

The following components would be at the discretion of each ACGME institution (whether in Ohio or another state) and not coordinated by NEOMED:

  • Decision to offer voluntary early residency start dates
  • Communication with matched NEOMED senior students about early residency start details
  • Onboarding:  salaries, temporary training certificates, malpractice insurance, etc.

 

Please let Dr. Moses or Ms. Pokorny know if you have any questions, and thank you for your commitment to serve others. The work you will be doing as residents at this time of a national pandemic crisis is indeed heroic.

Be safe, be well-

Dr. Young

Elisabeth H. Young, M.D., F.A.C.P.
Dean, College of Medicine

March 27, 2020

Dear NEOMED Community:

We were notified today by a member of our research team who recently tested positive for COVID-19. This is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 of anyone affiliated with NEOMED’s Rootstown campus. The researcher was tested, has not been hospitalized, and is now at home recovering.

The University was advised that the researcher’s contact at NEOMED was primarily limited to the second floor of RGE building, and that they were last on campus Friday, March 20 at 3:30 p.m. This individual’s local Health Department is now responsible for communication with the tested individual regarding close contacts, and initiating the required contact-tracing based upon a risk assessment of potential exposures. We anticipate that the Health Department may reach out to us if additional intervention is warranted by NEOMED.

While the Health Department may reach out to any individual who is identified as having close contact with the researcher, please also know that NEOMED requires such individuals to self-quarantine for 14 days whether they are symptomatic or not.

We are doing everything possible to support this individual, and to communicate with research leadership at NEOMED. We applaud this individual for having been proactive to inform us of the situation. As you know, our strict compliance with CDC guidelines, and our compliance with the Ohio Governor’s Office and Department of Health, led to our being proactive to move to remote learning, teaching and working, reduction of staffing to essential employees, as well as required social distancing. Upon learning that the researcher felt ill, all high touch surfaces throughout RGE were sanitized.

We are confident that these efforts will continue to be effective in reducing potential spread or exposure. We remind all members of the NEOMED community of the importance of self-reporting, and to continue to do all that you can to slow the spread of this disease.

NEOMED provides the latest COVID-19 University updates as well as access to other resources on our website at neomed.edu/advisory/coronavirus.  We continue to work very closely with state, local, and community health officials, strictly following CDC guidelines.

Please continue to do everything you can to remain safe and well. As always, please feel free to reach out if you have questions or concerns. You may also direct specific questions regarding COVID-19 to Dr. Joseph Zarconi (jzarconi@neomed.edu) who serves as our medical director during this pandemic.

Sincerely,

John T. Langell
President

March 26, 2020: College of Medicine

Dear M4 Students,

Congratulations on your Matches! It was a joy to watch you celebrate last Friday.

As you get ready to move into the next phase of your medical education, it is important for you to be prepared to participate in the clinical response to the Covid-19 pandemic.  To that end, part of your final M4 elective will be to successfully complete a course on Covid-19.  The course requirements are located on AIMS and details can be found in the syllabus posted there.  A brief outline of the requirements follows, including how much time you can anticipate spending on each component:

  1. Covid-19 ECHO– students are required to either participate live in each of the two Covid-19 ECHO sessions (March 27 and April 1 from 12:00-1:30 p.m.) OR watch the recordings (which will be posted on AIMS).  We strongly encourage you to join these sessions live if you are able.  Doing so will afford you the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the experts facilitating the session. Each session is 90 minutes, so the ECHO section in total will take you 3 hours to complete. The ECHO sessions must be viewed no later than April 9, 2020. You will be required to attest to your having completed this expectation by that date.
  2. ACP Physicians Guide– students are required to work through the “About Coronaviruses” and “Clinical Response” sections of this comprehensive guide to Covid-19, with practical information on virology, clinical presentation, diagnosis, management, and infection control.  In order to complete this section of the course, you will need to pass a quiz with an 80% correct answer rate.  Both the guide and the quiz are available on AIMS. We anticipate that this section will take 3-4 hours to complete. You must complete the quiz no later than April 2, 2020. You will be able to retake the quiz, if needed, until a passing score is achieved.
  3. AMA Ethics Talk: Covid-19 Pandemic Response Podcast – students are required to listen to the podcast (which discusses ethical issues such as allocating scarce resources, duties of healthcare professionals when personal risk is involved, quarantines, etc). In order to complete this section of the course, you will need to pass a quiz with an 80% correct answer rate. Both the podcast and the quiz are available on AIMS.  This section will take about 45 minutes to complete. You must complete the quiz no later than April 2, 2020. You will be able to retake the quiz, if needed, until a passing score is achieved.
  4. ACP Webinar: Covid-19: Practical Advice and Support from Internists on the Front Lines.  This webinar will be held on March 30 and the link to it will be posted on AIMS on the 31st. This webinar is one hour in length. You must view this webinar no later than April 9, 2020. You will be required to attest to your having completed this expectation by that date.

 

Please note that the AIMS site for this course is NOT yet available.  It is currently being constructed and is expected to be available to students by mid-week.  You will be notified when the materials are accessible.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions about the course or its requirements.  We hope it will help you feel more prepared as you embark on your residencies in this challenging time for the healthcare system!

Best,
Drs. Stovsky and Zarconi

Ohio Updates

Get the latest COVID-19 news and updates from the State of Ohio .

AAMC Updates

Get the latest medical education COVID-19 news and updates from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

FAQs

What is COVID-19?

On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.

What is novel coronavirus?

On February 11, 2020, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, charged with naming new viruses, named the novel coronavirus, first identified in Wuhan, China, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, shortened to SARS-CoV-2.

As the name indicates, the virus is related to the SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) that caused an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003, however it is not the same virus.

Is there more than one type of coronavirus?

Yes, there are 7 types of human coronavirus. Common human coronaviruses, including types 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1, usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. Most people get infected with one or more of these viruses at some point in their lives. This information applies to common human coronaviruses and should not be confused with SARS-CoV2 which causes COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019).

Am I at risk?

If you have questions about how to protect yourself and prepare for COVID-19 in your community, the Ohio Department of Health (OHD) can provide answers.

The ODH coronavirus disease 2019 call center can be reached at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH. ODH staffers operate the center seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, including weekends.

Call center staff includes licensed nurses and infectious disease experts. They are available to answer questions and provide accurate information about COVID-19, the risk to the public, and the state’s response.

How can I prevent it?

There are no vaccines to prevent COVID-19. The best preventive steps for any communicable disease include simple but important measures to practice as part of your daily routine, especially during flu season:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water. If unavailable, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home while you are sick (except to visit a health care professional) and avoid close contact with others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.

 

Also, clean high-touch areas – counters, tables, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, nightstands – every day using household cleaning spray or wipes according to label directions.

What is NEOMED doing to prepare in the event pandemic occurs?

NEOMED‘s Incident Management Team which has protocols in place for emergency planning and response, including pandemic preparedness, has been in constant communication and has met to ensure guidelines are up-to-date for this most recent public health concern. A well-respected University virologist advises the team’s preparedness.

Is the University equipped to provide services in the event of an outbreak?

  • The university follows the strict guidelines of the CDC and works closely with the Ohio Department of Health. NEOMED is also a member of the Joint Information Center (JIC), an efficient and well-planned way to prepare for and respond to public health and safety concerns.
  • Designated Information Officers at several community agencies work together to ensure we are communicating effectively between agencies and with the public about Coronavirus. This group also ensures that local residents, families, students, health care providers, and first responders have the most up-to-date information about Coronavirus.
  • The JIC includes: Portage County Health District, Kent City Health Department, Kent State University, Hiram College, NEOMED, Portage County Emergency Management Agency, UH Portage Medical Center, AxessPointe, and local school systems.

How do “self-monitoring,” “quarantine,” and “isolation” differ?

The CDC has defines “monitoring” with several different levels. See more at gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/risk-assessment.html.

  • self-monitoring: means people should monitor themselves for fever by taking their temperatures twice a day and remain alert for cough or difficulty breathing. If they feel feverish or develop measured fever, cough, or difficulty breathing during the self-monitoring period, they should self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a health care provider or their local health department to determine whether medical evaluation is needed.
  • quarantine: in general means the separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but not yet symptomatic from others who have not been so exposed, to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disease.
  • isolation: means the separation of a person or group of people known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease and potentially infectious from those who are not infected to prevent spread of the communicable disease. Isolation for public health purposes may be voluntary or compelled by federal, state, or local public health order.

Who can I contact with more questions?

    • Any health-related questions should be directed to your care provider and your local health department.
    • Any questions related to academics should be directed to Academic Affairs at 330.325.6258.
    • NEOMED students and parents/guardians with additional questions may call Student Affairs at 330.325.6759.
    • NEOMED staff and faculty with work-related questions may call Human Resources at 330.325.6729.
    • Building/facilities-related questions should be directed to Operations at 330.325.6191
    • Public safety questions should be directed to Public Safety at 330.325.6492

COVID-19 Self-Reporting of Travel or Exposure

  • Effective immediately and until further notice, the University has suspended all university-sponsored international travel and non-essential domestic travel. Do not book any new travel between now and June 30, 2020.
  • Travelers returning from countries with widespread or ongoing community spread (according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control’s Level 3 Travel Notice) must be screened in accordance with CDC guidelines prior returning to campus.
  • Members of the NEOMED community and all visitors returning from traveling internationally must report to travelreporting@neomed.edu under the following circumstances:
    • If you have returned from or traveled from any country, or taken a cruise in the last 14 days.
    • If you have had contact with anyone who has been confirmed by laboratory testing to have COVID-19 or anyone who is currently being tested.
    • If you are being actively monitored or observed by any local, county, state or federal public health agency due to risk of SARS-CoV2 which causes COVID-19.

 

All reports of travel should include name, location of travel, modality of travel, and cell phone number.

Members of the NEOMED community and all visitors are strongly encouraged to report to travelreporting@neomed.edu under the following circumstances:

  • If you have been on the Rootstown campus in the preceding 14 days and are currently being tested for or have tested positive for COVID-19. This information will be maintained as confidential as practicable.

 

Please provide your name, relevant details and a contact number.

Additional Information

For more information about COVID-19 or SARS-CoV2, prevention, symptoms, etc., please visit cdc.gov and odh.ohio.gov as helpful resources.