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

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

March 25, 2020: Accessibility Services Committee

Dear NEOMED Students,

The University Student Accessibility Services Committee is reaching out to those of you who may have accessibility concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting measures that have been implemented to slow the disease’s spread.

Your safety and wellness are our top priorities, and while we are proactively finding ways to ensure that your learning continues, we understand that such changes may raise unique concerns for students with disabilities or other health conditions. As lectures have moved to a remote learning format, some students may experience the following challenges:

  • Visual or auditory difficulties with course materials or lecture access.
  • Compromised or suppressed immune systems in certain academic and clinical environments.
  • Increased levels of anxiety due to the uncertainties of the potential negative impact on students’ personal health and educational experiences.

 

If you are experiencing any of these issues, and you are already a student with a disability who has registered with Accessibility Services, please contact Heidi Der at accommodations@neomed.edu to discuss any changes or additions to your accommodations that may be needed.

If you have not registered as a student with a disability but you now find that you have difficulty accessing the curriculum, please read more about accommodations at neomed.edu/learningcenter/accommodations.

To request an accommodation, you will need to complete the Accommodations Request Form* ― complete page 1 of the form and write a brief personal statement. You will also need a physician or other qualified health professional to complete pages 2-4 of the request form, which requires them to make specific recommendations about accommodations.

Please know that we are here to help you anytime throughout the year and especially during such challenging times.

Sincerely,

The University Student Accessibility Services Committee:

Rebecca Fischbein, Ph.D., Committee Co-Chair, College of Medicine

Seth P. Brownlee, Pharm.D., Committee Co-Chair, College of Pharmacy

Heidi Der, Ed.S., Assistant Director, Learning Center and Accessibility Services

March 24, 2020: College of Pharmacy

College of Pharmacy Students, Faculty and Staff,

As you are aware, events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic are changing daily.  Thank you for your continued patience as we work through this transition and navigate the best path forward. The initial University announcement on March 10 suspended face-to-face instruction through April 3.  The plan was to re-evaluate the situation to determine the best approach for the balance of the semester.  As the situation has evolved, it has become increasingly clear that the uncertainty regarding course schedules is causing additional stress.

After careful consideration and evaluation of the ongoing situation, the College of Pharmacy has determined that we will deliver the remaining coursework for the spring semester and Maymester 2020 via distance education and remote online testing (all assessments). There will be NO on-campus face-to-face instruction for P1, P2 and P3 students for the remainder of this academic year.

What does this mean for students?

Coursework

  • ALL course activities, including assignments and exams will be converted to online or virtual formats. Faculty and staff are currently working to modify class activities for the rest of the semester to keep coursework on track.
    • Details about specific course assignments and activities will be coming as soon as available from your course directors.
    • Given the limitation of no face-to-face instruction, some skills-based activities may not be able to be completed this semester.  In that event, the College will develop a plan to revisit them at a future point in the curriculum prior to the start of APPE rotations.

 

Housing & Remote Access Needs

  • Residents of The Village are allowed to stay. If you are contemplating returning home, please consider the following:
    • If you leave before your lease is up, you must contact Lisa Wren, property manager, at 330.422.4200 ext. 101 or lwren@signet-management.com.
    • If you live off campus, check with your housing facility management about next steps.
    • If you decide to return home or to alternative housing to finish out your coursework, you may do so. But before leaving town, please confirm that your new location has the necessary resources (including a reliable internet connection) to allow you to complete all coursework and assessments remotely.  Please see recent communication from Dr. Sandra Emerick, senior executive director, academic affairs & student services, on March 19, 2020 for more details.
    • If your computer does not meet the technical standards for remote testing, the University will make laptops available for loan.  Follow the instructions provided by Dr. Emerick to acquire a laptop.

 

P1 and P2 students

Our goal is to keep you on track to complete the academic year with minimal alterations to the curriculum and assessment plan.  As mentioned above, some skill-based assessments may need to be delayed until a later date and more information will be shared regarding these changes as it becomes available.

P3 students

Our goal is to keep you on track for on-time completion of your P3 year so you can begin your P4 year on June 1.  A delay to the start of your P4 year could extend the date of your graduation. Therefore, we are doing all that we can to prevent such delays.

 P4 students

A separate communication was sent to you earlier this evening regarding APPE options for the spring semester.

For Faculty 

  • Please proceed with planning the remaining activities for your courses using distance teaching.  If there are skills or activities that cannot be duplicated remotely, please notify Sara Dugan, Chair of the Curriculum Committee (sdugan@neomed.edu).
  • Course directors, please communicate to students in a timely manner with any changes and updates.

 

Thank you for your continued perseverance during this unusual time. If you have additional questions, please submit them via email to Dr. Jackie Boyle (jboyle2@neomed.edu) or Dr. Susan Bruce (sbruce@neomed.edu) or through the daily open forums for students hosted by the Office of Student Success. We look forward to having everyone back on campus soon.

 

Sincerely,

Richard Kasmer, Pharm.D., J.D.
Dean, College of Pharmacy

Susan Bruce, Pharm.D., BCPS
Senior Associate Dean, Education & IPE

Seth Brownlee, Pharm.D., BCPS
Senior Associate Dean, Program Quality & Student Success

March 24, 2020: College of Pharmacy

Dear Pharmacy Class of 2020,

The Office of Experiential Education thanks you for your continued patience and understanding as we work diligently to best meet your educational needs while placing your personal safety as a top priority. The evolving situation that is the COVID-19 response has led to a series of challenges to student life, particularly upon your class by nature of APPE rotations. The current guidance from ACPE remains that practice experience hours must be completed prior to graduation, but some flexibility exists through opportunities for virtual learning and telehealth.

The stay-at-home order recently issued by the Governor’s Office and the Ohio Department of Health has further shaped a very fluid situation. The executive order does allow higher education to continue in areas of essential functions such as pharmacy practice. However, we recognize there are a myriad of factors that may affect students differently based upon their circumstances. We also recognize that measures will likely shift as the number of confirmed cases increase and the true impact of COVID-19 is realized.

Please know that efforts to stay abreast of all local, state and federal responses and positions are among our priorities.  Considerable work has been undertaken by the Office of Experiential Education to review your current APPE schedule, identify barriers to graduation and assist in creating solutions for P4 students. There are several options that exist to assist in making informed decisions. These are as follows:

  1. Continue at your currently assigned APPE site as originally planned.
  2. Continue at your currently assigned APPE site but work with your preceptor to convert all experiential activities to virtual education.  The preceptor, as the responsible pharmacist attesting to hour completion, must grant the approval for this modification. The preceptor may decline this request and you may pursue other APPE options through the Office of Experiential Education.
  3. Request a transfer to a new APPE site/rotation, if available. Placement preference will be given to students requesting a transfer for a mandatory APPE rotation.
  4. If a transfer to an alternate APPE site cannot be made, the student may be able to enroll in a virtual APPE rotation.  Due to workflow limitations as well as the need to ensure appropriate learning outcomes, NEOMED faculty can offer some opportunities but may have to cap the number of students scheduled with NEOMED virtual offerings.
  5. If no satisfactory solution is reached, students may request to voluntarily be removed from an APPE site and seek a Leave of Absence.  Students need to be made aware that future placement at either the same or an alternate site may be challenging as the APPE schedule for AY20/21 has been finalized.

 

While the requirement to continue in a practice environment is driven by our accreditation bodies, please recognize that you personally assume the end responsibility for your safety and well-being. We strive to be an equal partner in your development to become a new practitioner. We are committed to being an ongoing resource to help you identify and enact your own path to licensure. It is our hope that each of you reflect upon the Oaths you took when you first donned your white coats, but also recognize the unique situations that many of you are currently facing. Please know that we are here, we support you, and that we respect your autonomy to make informed decisions.

We recognize that there may always be a degree of risk in dealing with COVID-19. In many practice settings, you are at a heightened risk as you finish your training. At the same time, risk is a vital part of experiential learning as you begin to recognize the realities you will soon face as a provider. Practice sites are required to provide you with the necessary equipment to assure your own safety. A site MAY NOT require you to practice in a setting without the necessary personal protective equipment to ensure your safety.

You must determine if the risk is too great for you to continue at your practice site. There are no easy answers available. Governing bodies, scientific experts and many frontline clinicians disagree on what that best course of action may be ― given what we currently know. Many practice sites want your skill and training in this time of need while others cannot provide the oversight necessary to continue offering rotations. Most of the pharmacy programs in Ohio are continuing their APPE rotations while many medicine programs have been temporarily suspended.

At the end of March, many of you will be making decisions for rotations in April. Our work is ongoing to advocate for our students to ACPE and the Board of Pharmacy. The College and faculty are proud to see the work and value our students provide to the community and the legacy that our students have built. Whatever you decide, our view of your excellence and positive contribution will not change.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

Sincerely,

Richard Kasmer, Pharm.D., J.D.
Dean, College of Pharmacy

Charles Cather, R.Ph., M.B.A., FASCP
Director, Experiential Educations

Lukas Everly, Pharm.D., BCPS
Asst. Director, Experiential Educations

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, all university-related international travel is prohibited. University-related domestic travel of any kind is limited to mission-critical travel and must be approved by a University dean or vice president.
  • 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.