Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Information

2021

APRIL

Dear Students,

I am pleased to a​nnounce that shipments of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine that have been designated for students are arriving this week! The Rootstown Community Pharmacy will be holding student-only vaccination clinics on Thursday, April 8 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Friday, April 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. to distribute these doses.  Appointments can be made using the following link:  https://hipaa.jotform.com/210904207088149

Please be sure to bring your NEOMED student ID, driver’s license, and prescription insurance card with you to your appointment.  We ask that you arrive for your appointment at your designated time and that you follow all guidelines regarding social distancing and masking.  We know that this is an exciting time and that many students have not seen each other for a long time, but want to reiterate the importance of not congregating with your peers during this event.

Please know that even though health care institutions are not currently mandating vaccinations for their caregivers, we believe it is likely that vaccinations will be required in the near future. As a result, unvaccinated students may find their clinical training opportunities significantly limited if they choose to not be vaccinated. We strongly urge all students who have not been vaccinated to take advantage of this opportunity.

Sincerely,

Joseph Zarconi, MD, F.A.C.P

University Medical Director, Covid-19 Operations

Dear NEOMED Students:

I am pleased to inform you of today’s announcement by Gov. Mike DeWine that he has developed a plan to immediately distribute COVID-19 vaccines to Ohio universities for the specific purpose of vaccinating students. We anticipate receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the coming days for distribution at the Rootstown Community Pharmacy. As soon as we know when they will be made available, we will send you the details with a link that will allow you to schedule a vaccination appointment.

We anticipate that we will be allocated enough vaccines to immunize all unvaccinated enrolled students. 

Please know that even though health care institutions are not currently mandating vaccinations for their caregivers, we believe it is likely that vaccinations will be required in the near future. As a result, unvaccinated students may find their clinical training opportunities significantly limited if they choose to not be vaccinated. We strongly urge all students who have not been vaccinated to take advantage of this opportunity and ask that you watch your e-mails for further details.

Most sincerely,

 

Joseph Zarconi, M.D., FACP

University Medical Director, COVID-19 Operations

FEBRUARY

Dear NEOMED Community:

In keeping with the guidance given by the Ohio Governor’s office and the Department of Health, we have initiated a free campus-wide COVID-19 testing program. In the coming weeks, as soon as testing supplies become available, members of the NEOMED community will be randomly selected for antigen testing and are expected to participate in these efforts to keep our campus safe. Given that selection for testing is random, you may be selected more than once for a testing appointment. If you have been selected for testing, you will be notified via email 7-10 days in advance of the week you are to be tested and will be sent a link to schedule your appointment.

Appointments may be scheduled for Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Testing will occur via the drive-through window at the Rootstown Community Pharmacy. Tests will be self-administered nasal swabs.  Results will be made available in 15 minutes and you will be called soon thereafter at the phone number you provided when you scheduled your appointment. If you do not attend your testing appointment, please be aware that you will be rescheduled to appear during a subsequent week.

How does antigen testing differ from molecular tests (also called PCR tests)?

Similar to a pregnancy test or a rapid strep test, results are available in minutes. The test identifies protein fragments (antigens) from the virus instead of genetic material like PCR tests. Because antigen testing is quicker, less expensive, and requires less complex technology to perform than PCR tests, repeated antigen testing is recommended as a reasonable strategy.

Reporting of results

 If you test positive, you must report that result to COVIDreporting@neomed.edu.

Please note that negative antigen test results do not necessarily mean that you do not have COVID. If you are experiencing symptoms or have recently been exposed to an individual with COVID, this information should also be reported to COVIDreporting@neomed.edu so appropriate guidance can be provided.

If you have tested positive for COVID in the past 90 days, you may be exempt from participating in this testing. You should reach out to COVIDreporting@neomed.edu to inform the COVID Response Team that you have received this email and you will be given instructions on how to proceed.

In addition to this random testing program, NEOMED will be offering free home COVID test kits for anyone desiring COVID testing. These test kits may be obtained via the Rootstown Community Pharmacy drive-through during regular business hours and are available now. While you are welcome to home test kits, please be aware that such use does not excuse you from participating in the random testing program.

We are pleased to have the opportunity to launch this testing program as another tool to keep our NEOMED community safe and healthy!

If you have any questions, please direct them to COVIDreporting@neomed.edu.

Sincerely,

 

John T. Langell

President

JANUARY

Dear NEOMED Community:

As we all continue to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, our progress is often impacted by the uncertainties of the virus as well as the information and resources that are available to us.

We ensure that we will continue to provide you with most up-to-date information regarding all things related to COVID-19, and that includes the state of our University, testing availability and expectations, and vaccine delivery and vaccinations.

During our student-run town hall held last week, we reported that our health partners had agreed to provide vaccinations to our M3, M4 and P4 students as they met the criteria for Phase 1A recipients of the vaccine.

We have since been informed by some of those partners that they were advised by the state of Ohio to cease the vaccination of their health care worker employees (identified in Phase 1A) by 11:59 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 17 and proceed to vaccinating individuals age 80 and older identified in Phase 1B on Monday, Jan. 18.

We are trying to understand what this means and how it may impact our students.

Please know that we are in contact with members of Ohio’s state government, the IUC (Inter-University Council) and the Ohio Hospital Association to gain a better understanding and to do all that we can to advocate for our students to be able to receive the vaccination.

We are waiting for further information and it is our understanding that the Governor’s Office is urging hospitals to be sure no vaccinations are wasted.

We will let you know as we learn more.

Sincerely,

 

John T. Langell

President

2020

November

Dear NEOMED Students, Faculty & Staff,

NEOMED will provide COVID-19 tests to students, faculty and staff starting on Tuesday, Nov. 24, at the drive-up window of the Rootstown Community Pharmacy. Testing is available only at the drive-up window; walk-in patients will be re-directed to this location.

Testing is free. It will begin at 10 a.m. on Nov. 24, with the hours between 10 a.m. and noon reserved for students. Testing for faculty and staff (as well as students) will be available starting at noon and continuing until 4 p.m.  Testing will continue until supplies run out.

Registration materials must be completed prior to arrival and presented to the pharmacist. Provided as an attachment is a copy for your convenience.  An online registration link is expected to be available within the next 24-48 hours at the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Information page. If it is not yet posted, print out the attached PDF, fill it out, and bring it with you.

The entire process should take approximately 25-30 minutes, including time to process and share test results with the participants via text or phone call. Participants may park in the parking lot near the pharmacy while waiting for results.

I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to help keep everyone safe.

Sincerely,

Richard J. Kasmer, Pharm.D., J.D.

Vice President, Academic Affairs

Register online for COVID-19 testing

Dear NEOMED students, faculty and staff:

Gov. DeWine has announced that the Ohio Department of Health has issued a statewide curfew beginning at 10 p.m. tonight – Thursday, Nov. 19. The curfew is from 10 p.m. – 5 a.m. daily and currently set to last for 21 days. To comply, we will close the NEW Center and the University’s administrative offices at 10 p.m. each evening. Only those who need to come in to work or do critical research will be allowed to access the campus after that.

Here’s how the orders will impact you:

The only campus activities permitted between from 10 p.m. – 5 a.m. daily will be:

  1. University workers normally assigned work hours from 10 p.m. – 5 a.m. (example: campus operations and police);
  2. Personnel called in for emergent/urgent operational issues; and
  3. Laboratory research activity viewed as critical by the faculty investigator (this may include graduate student researchers).

Residents of The Village are expected to remain in their apartments, except for urgent or emergent reasons.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, “The curfew will not apply to those going to or from work, those who have an emergency, or those who need medical care. The curfew is not intended to stop anyone from getting groceries or going to a pharmacy. Picking up carry-out or a drive-thru meal and ordering for delivery will be permitted, but serving food and drink in person must cease at 10 p.m.”

Should you have questions regarding the curfew, please contact Mary Taylor, vice president for operations and finance, via email at mtaylor4@neomed.edu or by phone at 330.697.2773 (cell)/330.325.6728 (office). If there are questions after hours please contact Campus Police via email at police@neomed.edu or by phone at 330.325.5911.

In addition to following curfew orders, NEOMED is encouraging students, faculty and staff to ‘Resist the HUGG’ this holiday season by Holding back the Urge to Gather in Groups. With COVID-19 cases on the rise, this is a way we can help to keep the NEOMED community and our families safer during holiday breaks.

Please stay safe.

Sincerely,
John T. Langell

Dear Student Pharmacists,

Due to the evolving nature of the COVID pandemic, the following decisions were made:

  1. Beginning immediately, testing for the remainder of the semester will be conducted remotely. Questions about individual assessments should be directed to the course director. Testing Services will provide training sessions for the P1 students who have not utilized remote proctoring previously.
  2. Beginning Wednesday, November 18, classes for the remainder of the semester will be conducted through Zoom. The hybrid option will not be offered.

There are certain course activities that cannot be completed virtually and will need to be completed in person.  Those specific activities will be communicated by the course director or curriculum coordinator.

Our goal is to help students complete the semester safely and on time.  Thank you for your patience with changes as we navigate the last few weeks of the fall semester.

Please direct any questions to: Dr. Seth Brownlee (sbrownlee@neomed.edu)

Thank you,

Drs. Brownlee and Bruce

To all NEOMED Students, Faculty and Staff:

On Tuesday, Nov. 17, we are offering free COVID-19 testing to all members of the NEOMED community as a “know before you go” testing opportunity prior to the Thanksgiving holiday break.

Testing will be available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please pre-register for testing and follow the guidance below:

Additional Guidance

  • Under “Insurance Type,” click on “client bill.”
  • Under “Provider Information,” use Joseph Zarconi, NPI number: 1609878537.
  • Under “Virus Detection,” leave blank if not already checked.
  • Under “Virus Antibody,” leave blank if not already checked.
  • Under “DX (Diagnosis) Code(s),” check either Z03:818 or Z20:828 (Even though these don’t strictly apply, one is required to be checked.)

We encourage everyone to take advantage of this pre-holiday testing opportunity!

Dear Student Pharmacists,

The NEOMED VPAA and President’s office recently released guidelines regarding returning to campus after Thanksgiving break and Winter break. This communication is intended to provide additional clarity related to College of Pharmacy activities.

Reminder: COVID Exposure

Students exposed to COVID, exhibiting COVID-like symptoms, and those who test positive for COVID must follow the guidelines issued by NEOMED including reporting immediately to COVIDReporting@neomed.edu

Curriculum:

The university will resume full operations on Monday, November 30th. Students are expected to return from any travel, regardless of whether curriculum is virtual or in-person since there may still be socially distanced curricular expectations such as labs and make up activities.

P1-P3 Course Work

Beginning the week of November 30th, all course instruction will take place via Zoom. The hybrid option we were offering during the fall will not be available for the remaining time during the fall semester. Your Outlook calendar will include the individual Zoom links to access individual classes.

Individual students may need to return to campus to complete certain activities in person to successfully complete all requirements for the fall semester. Students needing to make up curricular activities should have already received communication from course directors or curriculum coordinators about those activities.

P1-P3 Testing and Assessments

All quizzes and exams will be administered remotely during the final two weeks of the semester. We will be utilizing an online proctoring service for remote exams. For P2 and P3 students, the process for remote testing will be very similar to the one used during the Spring semester. For P1 students, Testing Services will be hosting an informational session to review the remote testing procedures in the next few days. Look for an invitation in the P1 Outlook calendar. Additional reminders and details will be communicated in the exam logistics notifications sent before each quiz or exam.

P4 APPEs

Students will complete their November APPE experiences and begin APPEs in January as planned. The Office of Experiential Education requests that P4’s contact January preceptors 3 weeks in advance in the

event that a preceptor/site requests students to avoid traveling in the days prior to reporting for rotation. As always, please report any COVID contacts or exposures toCOVIDReporting@neomed.edu

Winter Break

NEOMED will reduce operations between December 21, 2020 and January3, 2021. Many University offices will be closed during this time. Campus will resume full operations on Monday, January 4, 2021.

Returning from Winter Break

The spring semester will begin onMonday,January 4, 2021. Students are strongly advised to return to their local housing at or near the NEOMED campus by January 3rd. The first2 weeks of the semester will be delivered via Zoom. The hybrid option will not be available until the third week of the semester, at the earliest. It is critical that students return to NEOMED by January 3rd as the first two weeks will serve as your“quarantine” period before returning to in person activities at NEOMED beginning on January 17th. If you choose to stay home during this two-week window, you may be required to quarantine for an additional 2 weeks, as guided by the university COVID team, which may be very disruptive to completing the spring semester on time.

The college anticipates resuming in-person testing after the Winter break following the safety procedures established this fall.

In closing, NEOMED continues to follow the recommendations set forth by the Ohio Department of Health and the Governor’s office. If the recommendations from the state of Ohio change, we will communicate additional changes to you.

Please direct any questions about:

COVID: COVID Response Team, COVIDReporting@neomed.edu

Curriculum, co-curriculm: Dr. Jackie Boyle (jboyle2@neomed.edu) or Dr. Seth Brownlee (sbrownlee@neomed.edu)

All other student services: Dr. Sandra Emerick (semerick@neomed.edu)

Dear NEOMED Community:

In preparation for the upcoming holiday breaks, NEOMED has put in place the following measures to reduce the risk of increasing the spread of COVID-19:

  • Ahead of Thanksgiving break, Nov. 26-27, all members of the NEOMED community are encouraged to undergo COVID-19 testing.
    • We have arranged for free COVID-19 testing on the NEOMED campus, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., and Thursday, Nov. 12, noon – 4 p.m.
    • On Nov. 17 (time TBD), as part of Ohio’s “Know Before You Go” program, we will also offer priority testing for NEOMED students, faculty and staff. Testing will be conducted by the Ohio National Guard with results expected 48 hours after testing is completed.
    • Those who test positive prior to traveling out of the region for the holiday should be prepared to cancel travel plans and isolate in their residence.
    • For those who require isolation in the Village, NEOMED will provide food service resources.
  • The University will resume full operations on Monday, Nov. 30. All faculty and staff are expected to return and participate in required learning and working activities. Decisions to de-densify University departments following Thanksgiving break will be made by respective Vice Presidents who will communicate directly with their staff. Students will follow individual College guidelines and further College-specific guidance will be provided to students in a separate communication.
  • While safety and wellness policies will continue, the campus will be further de-densified to help ensure a safe return following Thanksgiving break. As a result, virtual and hybrid education will be increased accordingly. Each College will reduce student educational activities on campus, while still ensuring that all educational requirements are met. Further College-specific guidance will be provided to students in a separate communication.
  • Our winter break begins Monday, Dec. 21 and continues through Friday, Jan. 1, 2021.
  • Our campus resumes full operations Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.
  • All students, faculty and staff are expected to return and participate in required learning and working activities.
  • Just like post-Thanksgiving, de-densification of campus will occur to help ensure a safe return. As result, virtual and hybrid education will be increased accordingly. Decisions to de-densify University departments following winter break will be made by the respective Vice Presidents who will communicate directly with their staff. Students have or will receive College-specific communication from their respective Dean.

 

The intent of de-densification upon returning from breaks is to provide a two-week transition period for students who may have traveled out of the region for the holidays. The expectation is that students will treat this two-week period as a semi-quarantine to ensure safety upon return.

In general, we advise our NEOMED community to refrain from travel outside of the local region during the pandemic. We recommend that all students, faculty and staff follow state and federal travel guidance. Travel potentially puts visited friends and family at risk for COVID-19 transmission. It also increases the risk of spreading COVID-19 to our community upon return. As part of the safe return to campus strategy recommended by the Governor and the Inter-University Council Pandemic Team, NEOMED is also planning to randomly test a percentage of students, faculty and staff returning to campus after winter break. Our goal is to test as many members of our campus population as possible. We are currently planning to conduct testing of asymptomatic individuals Jan. 4-6.

These measures have been developed to help ensure safety and wellness of the NEOMED community while effectively providing a quality educational program for our students. Please understand this guidance could change based on COVID-19 directives from the Governor’s Office.

We greatly appreciate your support for the measures and wish you safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving and winter breaks.

 

Sincerely,

John T. Langell

President

October

Dear M1, M2, M3 and M4 Students,

Yesterday, President Langell sent a message to our campus community with recommended safety measures related to COVID-19 for the 14 days following the Thanksgiving and Winter breaks. The College of Medicine fully supports the recommended precautions provided by the University’s COVID-19 Medical Team developed to keep our students, faculty and staff safe. Please review the guidance provided on  the NEOMED website. Attached is a Curriculum Outline* of all of the scheduled curriculum activities/sessions and delivery modes for these post break periods by student cohort.

M1 & M2 STUDENTS:  One of the COVID-19 Medical Team’s recommended safety measures is to deliver curriculum remotely when possible in the 14 day period following each break. As a result of the recent spike in COVID cases in both our region and across Ohio, the COM has made the decision, with an abundance of caution, to convert all M1 and M2 curricular activities to virtual learning platforms during the following time periods:

  • Monday, November 30, 2020 thru Sunday, December 13, 2020
  • Monday, January 4, 2021 thru Sunday, January 17, 2021

 

M3 & M4 STUDENTS are recognized to be important members of the health care teams at their respective clinical sites.  The COVID-19 Medical Team supports M3 and M4 students remaining at clinical sites as scheduled.  NBME subject exams will be administered remotely as already scheduled.

Thank you for your continued flexibility as we adapt our daily work to prioritize our pillars–safety, equity, and transparency, couched in compassion. Please feel free to reach out to the following curriculum leaders should you have any questions or concerns:

 

Warmly,

Drs. Young and Mowad

September

Dear NEOMED Community:

For the first time since the Ohio Department of Health implemented its COVID-19 risk alert system, it was announced yesterday that Portage County is transitioning to the “red” status on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System*. Described as a “level 3 public emergency, “red” means that there is very high exposure and spread and that one should limit activities as much as possible. The heightened alert level was triggered by the county having met four indicators:

  • new cases of positive tests per capita (63.4 cases per 100,000 residents in the past two weeks)
  • sustained increase in new cases (from a daily average of 5.6 cases on Aug. 26 to 10.9 by Sept. 4)
  • proportion of cases not in a congregate setting
  • sustained increase in outpatient visits for COVID-like illness (from 6.3 average visits on Sept. 10 to 9.3 on Sept. 15)

 

We have also learned that the county is experiencing such an increase due to nearly three dozen cases linked to the spread at Kent State University in off-campus settings. These cases make up approximately one-third of all cases in the county over the past two weeks.

This increased alert level, and the known cases of off-campus spread, remind us of the importance of continuing to strictly adhere to our campus safety expectations, including daily self-health assessments, wearing face coverings and practicing physical distancing. In addition, the Ohio Department of Health urges people living in counties designated as red to decrease in-person interactions with others, consider only necessary travel, and limit participation in gatherings of any number. Clearly, the precautions we take when we are off campus are as critically important as when we are here.

We will continue to encourage employees to learn more about the Flexible Work arrangements policy and process and to connect with Human Resources with questions regarding specific situations. 

Through the commitment of our students, faculty and staff, our campus remains quite safe, and we continue to have a lower incidence of reported COVID-19 cases here than are being reported at other Ohio universities. As our county disease rates climb, our commitment to remain safe will continue into the foreseeable future.

Sincerely,

John T. Langell
President

August

Dear NEOMED Community:

We were informed on Friday evening that a first-year medicine (M1) student tested positive for COVID-19. Since then, we have been vigilant in working with the student and the Portage County Health District to conduct contact tracing.

As it stands, there are two additional M1s who are presumed positive and six others ― two M1s and four second-year medicine (M2) students ― who have been advised to be tested because of their recent contact with students presumed to be positive.

While we have proceeded with an abundance of caution on campus and in our classrooms, this is our first on-campus incident of concern. Based upon the general prevalence of Portage County COVID-19 positive test results of five to six percent, we realize that we may have others test positive during this pandemic. However, we are encouraged that the NEOMED community, when compliant with our campus safety measures, have been particularly effective in the fight against COVID-19.

While we don’t believe that other members of that student’s cohort were at risk while in class, the following additional precautionary measures will take place: We will be conducting all M1 classes virtually for at least the next week; and upon consultation with the Portage County Health District (PCHD), we have been directed to quarantine all students who were part of the on-campus in-person Peer Instruction (PI) cohort this past week. [Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.]

There will be a mandatory meeting for COGS, M1, M2 and P1-P3 students later today to discuss these expectations and to answer any questions that they may have.

While we will continue to enforce safety measures throughout campus, student compliance to such measures beyond the classroom plays a huge role in our fight for everyone’s wellbeing.

Be responsible. Wear your mask. Keep six feet apart. Wash your hands. Obey Ohio laws.

Your safety is our primary concern.

Sincerely,

John T. Langell
President

Dear NEOMED Community:

A walk through NEOMED at various times of day demonstrates a very quiet and serene campus.  In fact, it is difficult to believe that students are back on campus. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the first-year medicine student debrief of the new curriculum. About one-third of the class was in attendance. It is clear from the conversation that the new curriculum launch is going well.

In general, students were very complimentary of the program. One area of concern voiced by students was regarding the hybrid educational model we put in place to de-densify the campus to ensure safety and comply with federal and state laws. Under the current hybrid model, the College of Medicine class has been divided into two groups that rotate on or off campus every other day to receive their curriculum in-person or virtually. The students’ preference for in-person education was evident. They felt the virtual experience was not as impactful. So, they asked us to explore ways to bring them all on campus safely. As we are often looking to optimize our students’ experiences, we will be mindful of this feedback throughout.

It has been about five months since the COVID-19 pandemic first resulted in a noticeable impact on our campus.  During the early days, decisions were relatively easy. We followed state law and CDC guidelines and moved rapidly to 100 percent virtual education. We paired that action with a decision to have the vast majority of our faculty and staff work from home.  Despite not being completely prepared to ensure our entire workforce could work remotely, we managed to keep NEOMED operating.

Over time, we have learned more about the virus and how to remain safe through social distancing, face coverings, contact tracing, judicious testing, symptom reporting and quarantine/isolation. With this information as a foundation to shape new guidance from the CDC and the state of Ohio, we began the phased return to work plan in May. The four-phase plan was created to slowly bring back employees who needed to be on campus to run University operations and to monitor the impact of the protective measures we have put into place. During that time, we worked with the Portage County Health District and appointed a COVID-19 medical director. Our measures have worked very well.

We have already entered the final phase of our return to work plan that is based on a substantially different need for a presence on campus now than we had in April. Back then, we had a completely virtual education program delivered and supported by a virtual group of staff and faculty. Now, we have students back on campus and a need to provide adequate in-person service and resources to properly support our students. This means student services must be open and available during normal business hours. While we managed to keep the University functioning during the mandatory time away from campus, we had not adequately studied how to optimize the telework potential for NEOMED. We know that we have some positions that allow for equal or better performance when working remotely. We also have positions where working remotely is either not possible or would result in substandard outcomes.

During my Monday addresses to the community as well as in writing, I have shared NEOMED’s thoughtful pursuit to ensure an exceptional experience for our students, and to ensure we have a safe campus where we take care of our employees who have unique challenges due to the pandemic.  Communication is a challenge at every organization, so I want to reiterate the policies and processes that we have put into motion.

As of Aug. 3, we entered the final phase of our return to work plan.

  • NEOMED will allow employees, who have unique challenges covered under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act and are able to perform their work from home, to continue to work remotely until Sept. 8.
  • Employees, who have unique challenges covered under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act but are in positions for which they are not able to work from home, will be covered under the terms of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
  • We will have a well-delineated plan to de-densify the campus through a combination of on-campus work and telework before Sept. 8. The Office of Human Resources has been tasked with assessing all NEOMED employee positions to determine which are acceptable for teleworking and which are not. Once this has been accomplished, HR will also identify options for rotating some positions on/off campus to ensure critical offices are partially staffed to de-densify the campus, while sustaining an effective operation. Where appropriate, those employees will come to campus part-time and telework the remainder of their scheduled work time.

 

  • Changes to employee on-campus/teleworking schedules beginning Sept. 8 will be accompanied by workspace changes to better ensure we are effective, efficient and safe.  Employees with private offices who are routinely on campus less than four days a week may no longer be provided such space and, therefore, the private offices may be reassigned to employees who work on campus four or more days per week. When such space is available, it will allow these employees a more secure area to work without a need for face covering, if they choose.  Employees who are routinely on campus less than four days per week will be provided alternative workspace, if needed.

 

I want to thank all of you for the work that you do to support NEOMED every day. I know that these are uncertain and unusual times. We will continue to assess the effectiveness and safety of our measured approach to an on-campus presence. If there is an indication that what we are doing is not effective, we will adjust our plans and processes.

Warmest regards,

John T. Langell
President

July

Dear NEOMED Community:

I hope you are finding ways to enjoy your family and your summer while remaining safe during these challenging times.

It has been six months since our first University communications regarding COVID-19 (then called “2019-nCoV”). While the times remain uncertain, we have been remarkable as a community ― united to ensure our safety as well as the sustainability of our University.

Adhering to precautionary practices to fight against the virus; instantly shifting our operations for learning, teaching and working remotely; and adjusting our budget to accommodate millions of dollars in state reductions and revenues lost, combined for a seemingly impossible perfect storm ― one that was only surmountable because the NEOMED community listened, fought, planned, worked and stayed together.

From Monday, March 23, when we were all encouraged to work from home due to the stay-at-home order for Ohio, to our phased return to campus which began May 4, you have been patient and understanding.

I am deeply appreciative of all your hard work and support during such difficult times.

On Monday, Aug. 3, we begin the fourth and final phase of our return to campus.

As many of you prepare to return, I want to remind you of the policies and protocols that have made such a return possible, and to reiterate that they are still in place, requiring strict adherence.

The policies and protocols can be found at the Return to Campus section of the Coronavirus Updates on our website. Among them are mandatory requirements for face coverings, hand-washing and physical distancing; monitoring and reporting; and use of spaces and places within the University.

With Gov. DeWine’s recent decisions to re-open day care facilities and K-12, we will allow those employees who meet the federal criteria for Families First Coronavirus Response Act expanded FMLA coverage to allow for COVID-related circumstances to continue to temporarily work from home until Sept. 7.  Subject to validation by Human Resources, this provides additional time for those without day care to make day care arrangements.

From now through September, the Human Resources team will also work with administrative units to develop a standard University teleworking policy that is fair, equitable and optimal for a sustainable and quality educational and work environment.

Although NEOMED does not have the people-to-space density issues of other Ohio public universities, we will establish this policy to further de-densify our campus and enhance our already improved use of space and physical distancing.

To ensure consistency, only HR will have the authority to approve teleworking through a centralized and standardized approach that includes appropriate position selection, training and accountability.  All positions aren’t conducive to teleworking, therefore, some employees may have to rotate to ensure adequate in-person services are available to our students and employees during normal business hours.

As a result of your compliance, the University has not had a single COVID-19 positive case since our return began May 4.

We ask that each of you play a role in not only adhering to all polices but also ensuring that others do. A friendly reminder doesn’t hurt ― we have all had those momentary lapses where we approach a grocery store entrance only to realize that we forgot to put on our face covering. We simply go back to our cars to get them. And even though we all miss one another’s company, we must also be mindful of our physical distancing. 

Whether you are the provider or recipient of a reminder, we are all thankful to you for keeping us healthy.

I look forward to seeing you all the week of August 3, even with partially covered faces.

 

Sincerely,

John T. Langell
President

Hey everyone,

There have been several COVID updates this week and we wanted to make sure we communicate these updates to you:

  1. I wanted to remind everyone to monitor symptoms daily (this includes measuring your temperature) and report COVID exposures or symptoms to Covidreporting@neomed.edu. As of this week, return to clinical sites will be coordinated by NEOMED working with the employee health department at your host clinical site.  If there is no such department (e.g. an M4 student doing an outpatient elective) or site specific guidance, recommendations will be based on NEOMED’s campus criteria. Regardless of your clinical site quarantine recommendations, please follow NEOMED guidance for any specific return to campus.
  2. As of today, there is a new requirement for students at Mercy St. Es to come to rotations with eye protection (goggles or face shield).  This may well become a requirement at other sites where it has not been previously required. For those of you currently at this site, they understand you need time to secure these items.
  3. Yesterday, the Ohio governor issued a travel advisory (not a mandate) for states with higher infection rates. The state list will be updated weekly and currently includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Arizona, Mississippi, South Carolina, Puerto Rico, Nevada and Idaho. The state recommends that those who travel to those states self-quarantine for 14 days after returning. This is only an advisory, not a mandate but it may impact your ability to start rotations at some sites depending on that institution’s policies related to quarantine. Please reach out to your sites prior to any travel to check their most recent policies.
  4. Testing turnaround times have increased as the cases in Ohio rise. Please continue to social distance and wear a mask at all times on your clinical rotations. Make sure to appropriately space yourself when eating, this is an activity when we often let our guard down.

 

Hope you are all otherwise doing well and enjoying your electives and rotations!

David Sperling, MD
Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine
Senior Director of Clinical Experiential Learning

Susan Nofziger, MD
Pediatric Hospital Medicine
NEOMED Director of M3 Clinical Experiences

Dear Student Pharmacists,

We are excited to kick off the 2020-2021 academic year and welcome the P1-P3 students back to campus this fall.  P4 students started APPEs in June and are well on their way toward a successful APPE year! We have been working diligently behind the scenes to prepare for the safe delivery of the PharmD curriculum this fall. Everyone is encouraged to read through the University updates sent previously:

 

Curriculum Delivery

Didactic

Due to the design of our PharmD curriculum, coursework for P1-P4 students this fall will be a mix of in-person and virtual instruction (i.e., hybrid). Testing and assessments that cannot be completed virtually will be conducted in person, on campus. Outlook calendars will be up-to-date with session specific information (i.e., topic, Zoom link, room). Students are encouraged to check the Outlook calendar daily. Course specific information will be housed in the course AIMS site.  Announcements will only be sent for time sensitive changes.

Students should plan to live geographically close to campus.

Students will have the option to attend some classes in person, while complying with reduced room capacities.  Even if a Zoom link is available, students wishing to attend in person, with the instructor in the classroom, may do so.  Students will be expected to socially distance and wear a mask. To attend in person, students will need to RSVP for that session so we can ensure compliance with room capacity guidelines.

The process to RSVP:

  • Sign on to AIMS site
  • Go to class you would like to sign up for
  • Click on specific session/week on left side of page
  • Click on sign up link on the session page

 

If you experience any difficulty with the sign up tool or there seems to be no more available slots, please contact Jen Shearer at jshearer@neomed.edu.  We would like to accommodate any students that wish to be in class.

In order to get an idea of how many students may be interested in attending classes live on campus, we ask that you complete a short 2 question survey by clicking here.

This will help us ensure we have the correct room capacity for our classes.

Experiential (i.e., IPPEs, APPEs)

APPE rotations are currently underway and all rotations, including IPPEs, will continue as planned for the upcoming academic year. The challenges of COVID-19 have caused disruptions in rotations previously as well as changes to the delivery to learning experiences, with some rotations being offered in a virtual format. We recognize that this is a fluid and shifting environment and are making every effort to ensure students are able to complete rotations and maintain on time graduation while following site specific policies and protocols.

Outlook Calendar

NEOMED uses Outlook calendars for all class scheduling purposes. Thus, you will have to use Outlook to view your class schedule.

  • You can find instructions for how to connect your device(s) to your cohort (P1, P2, etc.) calendar here.
  • Each year you will have to download a new cohort calendar to your device
  • Using the Outlook application is the recommended way for you to have the best experience with your schedule viewing and sync.
  • More detailed instructions are located on your AIMS home page.

 

AIMS

Course specific information for Fall 2020 will be available in AIMS by August 10th. Any pre-work or post-session assignments, along with detailed session information, will be posted on the AIMS page for that particular session.  This information is an integral part of the curriculum and should be reviewed regularly.  Checking the AIMS sites for that week’s sessions on a regular basis will form good habits that will help you move through the curriculum.

Office Hours/Meetings

Students should reach out to faculty to schedule meeting time as needed. Faculty remain accessible to students as they progress through their coursework this fall. In person meetings are possible, and participants are expected to follow the stated guidelines (i.e., room capacities, social distancing, wearing masks). Virtual meetings are acceptable too.

Student Organizations

NSC will continue to provide expectations and guidelines for student organization events and expectations in response to policies and changes related to COVID-19. In summary, student organization events should be held virtually when possible, and make appropriate use of all campus safety guidelines when needed to be hosted on campus.

P1 White Coat Ceremony

The White Coat Ceremony for the P1 students will take place on August 21st at 4pm.  The ceremony will be conducted virtually.  Additional details will be communicated to the P1 class soon.

Changes in Curriculum Delivery due to COVID

We intend to complete the entire fall semester as planned, ending on December 11, 2020, through a combination of in person/virtual course activities. At this time, we do not intend to change the semester duration (i.e., ending earlier than December 11th). Our overarching goal as we navigate this situation is to keep students safe while keeping their progression through the curriculum on track.

NEOMED is following the guidelines released by the State of Ohio in response to the COVID pandemic and will adjust our plans as necessary throughout the fall to stay in alignment with the recommendations from the state.  In the event delivery of our curriculum needs to change, those changes will be clearly communicated to students through the course site in AIMS as soon as possible.

Ongoing Communication

Students are encouraged to communicate directly with course directors and curriculum coordinators about course specific activities.  Students are also encouraged to stay in contact with the Student Curriculum Council class representatives throughout the semester.  (P1 students will select their representatives this fall.) General curricular questions can be directed to Dr. Susan Bruce, Senior Associate Dean of Education (sbruce@neomed.edu).

Thank you,

Dr. Bruce

Susan P. Bruce, PharmD, BCPS
Senior Associate Dean of Education, College of Pharmacy
Professor, Pharmacy Practice

Ensuring Your Safety as you Return to Campus

NEOMED recognizes that, as you make plans to return to campus, you may have questions about your own personal planning and safety. We encourage you to read the online “return to campus” plan which serves as a comprehensive source of up-to-date Return to Campus information.

This document provides guidance for frequently asked questions to assist you with understanding your options and guide you with your decision-making should you have to consider academic absences, requests for accommodations, medical situations and your academic progression. Please use this tool as you plan your return to campus and resume coursework within your particular program.

Is there risk in returning to campus?

All NEOMED students, faculty and staff are required to sign and follow the Social Contract* (within your Banner Self-Service registration module), which includes information about NEOMED’s expectations regarding your return to campus. As an important reminder, following the contract guidelines is essential to your safety as well as the safety of everyone in the NEOMED community and that of your patients, family and friends. It is paramount that you care for yourself before you can properly and safely care for others.

Each of you is entering into a high-risk profession. Understanding that expectation now will better prepare you not only for your return to campus but for your future endeavors.

All students are required to conduct daily self-assessments prior to arrival on campus, including daily screening for fever and other symptoms consistent with COVID-19.  All students must remain home if symptomatic or ill.

COVID 19 Symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.4 F (38 C) or above, or possible fever symptoms like alternating chills and sweating
  • Cough
  • Trouble breathing, shortness of breath or severe wheezing
  • Muscle aches
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of smell or taste, or a change in taste
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Headache unrelated to a previously diagnosed condition

 

Continuity of your academic programs

Your health is our main priority, and our goal is to ensure your well-being while you progress in your course of study.  A mixture of in-person and virtual/on-line instruction will be used. Priority for in-person instruction will be given to those courses and activities that cannot be optimally achieved in a virtual setting such as testing, clinical simulations and clinical activities.

This document is intended to answer your questions regarding the possibility of and process for managing illness, quarantining or accommodation needs that may exist or arise during the pandemic.

Absences

If you experience any illnesses or symptoms of COVID-19; are exposed to a person who is COVID-19 positive (tested or presumed); are placed under surveillance by a local health department; or are under quarantine rules, you should refrain from coming to campus, and immediately report as required in the social contract to COVIDReporting@neomed.edu. You may continue to participate in virtual learning if able. If, after reporting, your requirements would cause you to miss any mandatory in-person activities, you will be directed to complete an absence form and speak with the course director to discuss make-up options.

Each college provides details regarding the process for taking time off from the curriculum. Note: if your absences exceed 5 days, you may want to consider requesting a Medical Leave of Absence (explained later in this document). Leave of absence forms are available online at https://www.neomed.edu/sa/forms/.

College of Pharmacy

Students may be granted up to five (5) days of absence time during each year of the P1-P3 years to non-campus based professional development activities that are intended to enhance the student’s professional career. Student specific exceptions to this policy will be approved by the senior associate dean of education. Attendance is at the discretion of each course director and attendance policies for each course will be included in the syllabus materials. Absences that are longer than 5 consecutive days will adhere to the Leave of Absence policy requirements.

For experiential rotations, time off is to be taken only with the PRIOR approval of the preceptor at the site. The student is required to complete the “Request Form” (available in experiential learning management system) to facilitate this approval. The form is to be completed a minimum of FIVE (5) business days before a planned absence. Completed absence forms must be sent to the director of experiential education for review. Students should complete the required number of hours for the learning experience and must make up any missed experiential hours.

College of Medicine

Attendance is mandatory for all clinical experiences that occur during the M1- M4 years. Peer Instruction (PI) sessions are graded and subject to the COM absence policy.  Please refer to the COM’s policy, which can be found at Attendance at instructional sessions, for additional information.

In all instances of absences, students shall be responsible for all material covered in the curriculum during their absence. Students are responsible for completing any makeup work resulting from their absence.  In no case is an excuse from the curriculum to be interpreted as a release from responsibility. All instances of absence from a mandatory session must be documented by the student.

  1. M1 students taking a wellness day should notify the module leadership by submitting a Wellness Day Notification Form. The form can be found at  https://www.neomed.edu/sa/forms/.
  2. All other instances of absence should be documented using the Absence Notification Form (Attachment 1). The form documents the details of the absence; dates, classes or clinical dates missed; and the make-up plan.  This is specific for each course/module and is located at  https://www.neomed.edu/sa/forms/.
    1. Corroborating documentation of an illness or situation may be requested at the discretion of the course or module dyad leaders.

  

Leaves of absence for medical or personal reasons

The option to take an immediate medical or personal leave of absence is available to any enrolled student should you develop an illness that precludes you from continuing in your academic program. If you experience a medical illness or personal emergency, you may want to consider requesting a leave of absence. Follow the LOA procedures outlined in the COMPASS Student Handbook and Catalog.

Medical Leaves of Absence may be requested by a student who experiences a health condition or a condition that impacts the student’s ability to participate in the curriculum. The condition may be anticipated or unanticipated but will require a leave from the curriculum.

  • Process to Request: Students with a medical condition or experiencing a medical emergency may request an immediate medical leave of absence by completing the Medical/Personal Hardship Leave of Absence Form; meeting with the senior executive director of Academic Affairs and Student Services, who can be reached at studentservices@neomed.edu; and providing documentation regarding the hardship from a treating health care provider. Typically, these requests are for students requesting a leave in excess of two weeks (one week for College of Medicine clinical years). The request and any supporting documentation (e.g., letter from health care professional, excluding a family member), along with the student’s entire academic file, will be reviewed by the senior executive director of academic affairs and student Services in consultation with the CAPP chair of that student’s college for determination.
  • Documentation: Documentation must be provided by a treating health care professional delineating the nature of the medical issue, the expected duration of the leave, and the impact on the student’s ability to perform within the curriculum. Students must identify the point at which they anticipate returning to the curriculum. Students whose approved return date is different from their requested return date may request to present a petition for progression review to the full CAPP committee for consideration.
  • Deadline to Request: Medical leave of absence petitions are submitted as the health condition arises.
  • Curricular Impact: Students considered for a medical leave will be expected to complete all curricular requirements upon their approved return to the program. In cases where the curriculum is sequential, a decision may be made which requires the student to return to the curriculum at the beginning of the academic year or term, depending on the program. Courses may not be waived if they are considered requirements for successful progression and degree completion.

 

Personal Leave of Absence – A personal hardship leave of absence can be requested by students who experience an unexpected crisis (including a crisis of a family member) that impacts that student’s ability to participate in the curriculum.

  • Process to Request: Students requesting an immediate personal hardship leave due to extenuating and unexpected crisis should consult with the senior executive director of academic affairs and student services and follow the same process as outlined above for medical leaves of absence including completing the Medical/Personal Hardship Leave of Absence Form and providing documentation regarding the hardship.
  • Deadline to Request: Petitions are submitted as hardship arises. If a student requests an exception to the decided curricular return point, the student may present a petition for progression exception to the full CAPP Committee for consideration.
  • Curricular Impact: Students considered for a personal hardship leave will be expected to complete all curricular requirements upon their approved return to the program. In cases where the curriculum is sequential, a decision may be made which requires the student to return to the curriculum at the beginning of the academic year or term, depending on the program. Courses may not be waived if they are considered requirements for successful progression and degree completion.

 

Accessibility Requests

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 physical or mental health conditions. As curricular activities begin to be offered in both in-person and remote learning formats, some students may experience various challenges in accessing course materials or participating in clinical environments during this time.

If you have accessibility concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting measures that have been implemented to slow the disease’s spread, please review the following instructions for further guidance:

If you are a student who has already registered with Accessibility Services and now find that these changes in the learning format or clinical settings require you to seek additional or modified accommodations, please contact Accessibility Services at accommodations@neomed.edu to discuss any additions to your approved 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 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 the type of accommodation that may best assist you to succeed in the curriculum.

 

Support for your Mental Health

We recognize that these are extremely difficult times and circumstances and that you may be trying to manage your academic load, your personal health and well-being, and your family’s health as well.  You may be experiencing a higher level of anxiety and stress as a result of these demands.  We encourage you to utilize the University’s Center for Student Wellness and Counseling Services. The center’s staff of knowledgeable and caring health care professionals are available at no cost to you. The Center for Counseling and Student Wellness is available to students.  Service details are as follows:

  • Fully operational Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Tele-counseling remains the preferred modality.
  • Limited in person counsel may be offered on a space-available basis for urgent circumstances.
  • Contact 330.325.6757 or email counseling@neomed.edu
  • Location: Suite A-200 (next to the NEOMED Library)

To all students and employees:

Please be reminded that all students and employees are required to comply with the following NEOMED requirements for COVID-19 training and reporting: 

  • Complete the first three COVID-19 CITI educational modules.
  • Immediately report international travel, symptoms consistent with COVID-19, contact with a COVID-19 positive (tested or presumed) person, or surveillance by a local health department.

 

Educational Modules

As stated in the Social Contract, all students and employees are required to complete a training course titled “COVID-19: Back to Campus (Fall 2020)” to ensure a thorough and common understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic, its risks, and the importance of risk mitigation strategies.  The course consists of three modules which collectively take approximately 1.5 hours to complete.  There are two additional modules—one related to human subjects research and one on animal research—which students and employees engaged in such research activities are also encouraged to complete.

For students, the course will be accessible through AIMS on Monday, July 20.  It will be listed as a task to be completed by Aug. 7, utilizing your CITI account. Failure to complete this mandatory course may impede your academic progress.

For employees, please access the the course utilizing the attached instructions and registering with your NEOMED email address.  The training course must be completed by Aug. 7.  Failure to complete this mandatory course may result in disciplinary action.

Reporting

All students and employees are required to immediately report international travel, symptoms consistent with COVID-19, contact with a COVID-19 positive (tested or presumed) person, or surveillance by a local health department. Report at COVIDReporting@NEOMED.edu.

This report is seen and fielded by only two individuals:

  1. Jesse Zampedro, NEOMED’s Assistant Director for Environmental Health and Safety, Campus Operations
  2. Joseph Zarconi, M.D., NEOMED’s COVID-19 Medical Director (or, in his absence, a designee)

 

Mr. Zampedro, who will provide the initial response, reviews your circumstances and then gives you a set of criteria and/or requirements you will need to meet before you can return to work or school.

For students, if meeting these return to school requirements could have any impact on your ability to complete your educational requirements, the Office of Academic Affairs and Student Services (Sandra Emerick, Ed.D.) will then be notified. Dr. Emerick will reach out to you to help you manage concerns regarding your education. She will ultimately verify when you have met return to school requirements. You will then be directed to an official of your respective college (see below) who will reach out to assist you in managing your specific program’s educational requirements.

  • College of Graduate Studies: Philip Jenkinson, program coordinator
  • College of Medicine: Eugene Mowad, M.D., vice dean and senior associate dean for academic affairs
  • College of Pharmacy: Seth Brownlee, Pharm.D., senior associate dean, program quality and student success

 

For employees, if meeting these return to work requirements could have any impact on your ability to perform your job responsibilities, the Office of Human Resources (Karen Tomlinson) will be notified. Ms. Tomlinson will reach out to you to help you navigate your options to meet your job requirements. Ultimately, she will also verify when you have met the requirements to be able to return to work.

Any questions or concerns you may have related to the COVID-19 pandemic and/or these requirements can be directed to the reporting e-mail address, COVIDReporting@NEOMED.edu.

Most sincerely,

Joseph Zarconi, M.D., F.A.C.P.
COVID-19 Medical Director

Dear NEOMED students,

We are looking forward to your return to campus at the start of the fall 2020 semester and want to provide you with guidance on the university’s operations. The following plan is the product of many efforts designed to resume daily operations and the safe return to campus for instruction. This message is somewhat lengthy in an effort to share information that is as up-to-date and comprehensive as possible in this ever-changing pandemic.

The return to campus plan reflects the collaborative efforts of many faculty, staff and administrators over the past several months, and planning will continue to be driven by several guiding principles:

  • Prevent the spread of the virus to safeguard our community by following the guidance of public health officials and state and federal agencies;
  • Resume an on-campus learning, residential and working environment that prioritizes the safety and well-being of the campus population;
  • Fulfill our core mission of education, research and service; and
  • Enable students to maintain academic progress toward earning their degrees.

 

Highlights of Our Strategy

The NEOMED strategy is a comprehensive plan that encompasses all aspects of campus life but modifies some of those aspects to reduce the risk of virus spread and help us all stay healthy. Below is an overview of the key aspects of the plan that will be necessary to contribute to a successful fall 2020 semester.

Preventing Spread of the Virus: Wearing cloth face coverings, maintaining at least six feet of physical distance and practicing proper hand hygiene will be required.

Academic Calendar: The academic calendar for the Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy and Graduate Studies is posted on AIMS. Each of the professional years may have different start dates. Students should review this information prior to the start of the academic year and throughout the year.

Course Delivery: Deans, course directors and faculty are evaluating each course to choose one of three delivery methods: in-person, remote instruction via Zoom, or a hybrid of both. Students are responsible for continually monitoring the course calendar, as the method of course delivery may change without notice during the academic year.

Academic Space: Great effort has been put forth to modify academic space to achieve an optimal and safe learning environment. All classrooms have been adjusted to achieve appropriate physical  distancing and several now have plexiglass guards to provide additional student protection.

Daily Symptom Checking: To ensure that we are all campus-ready each day, all faculty, staff and students will be required to complete a daily self-monitoring of symptoms for COVID-19.

Testing and Tracing: New this fall (see below), University Health Services (UHS) will provide medical services to students, faculty, and staff via in-person and virtual visits. Additionally, in collaboration with the Portage County Health Commissioner, we will assist in contact tracing for individuals who may have been exposed.

Additional information will be posted on the NEOMED COVID-19 website as it becomes available.

Health and Safety Issues

First and foremost, our efforts are designed to prevent what are thought to be the most common ways by which the virus is spread – through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land on nearby surfaces or in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus by wearing cloth face coverings and by maintaining appropriate spacing (at least six feet apart) between individuals who are in close contact with one another. To accomplish that goal, we have modified numerous aspects of campus life in an effort to reduce the risk of virus spread and help us all stay healthy.

All members of the NEOMED community should keep in mind that there may be individuals on campus with underlying conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. Each individual is expected to commit fully to protecting our community’s collective health and well-being. All students will be required to review and sign a social contract within the registration module of Banner Self-Service before returning to campus. This contract commits all members of the NEOMED community (including all students) to strictly adhere to campus safety expectations, as well as to participate in the enforcement of these expectations. It also requires that all members of the NEOMED community (including all students) immediately report any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, any presumed or testing-based diagnosis of COVID-19, and any exposure to any individuals presumed to have or diagnosed with COVID-19. The link for reporting is: COVIDReporting@neomed.edu.

University Health Services

University Health Services (UHS), being launched at NEOMED this fall, will include an on-campus physician who will assist students, faculty and staff who exhibit symptoms of the virus or who have been exposed to someone who tested positive. Additionally, UHS will work closely with the Ohio Department of Health and state and local authorities to closely monitor the spread of the virus in our community. More information will be available in the near future.

Academic Calendar

Provided below is a snapshot of the details for the start of the academic calendar for each college.  Orientation for the colleges will be as follows:

M1 orientation                                               July 21-23

M2 orientation                                               July 29 and July 31

M3 experiential rotations                             July 13

M4 experiential rotations                             July 13

P1 orientation                                                  August 18-20

P2 orientation                                                  August 19

P3 orientation                                                  August 24-25

P4 experiential rotations                               June 1

COGS Anatomical Sciences                           July 21-23

Please clarify the exact times and locations for these events with your college and Student Services. A dedicated link has been set up for each professional class in each college. The current academic plan is to run the fall 2020 semester in its entirety, with no reduction in the length of the semester. The university will be vigilant and respond to a changing healthcare situation by moving courses to remote instruction via Zoom, if needed.

Academics 

All students are expected to comply fully with the new policies and guidelines, including wearing cloth face coverings and observing physical distancing while in the classroom setting. Classroom capacities have been reduced to comply with CDC and national public health recommendations. Based on these  guidelines, it should be clear that not every instructional space will support the original capacity approved for that space. Academic space (classrooms, lecture halls) will be sanitized prior to each class session by the Quality Assured Cleaning (QAC) team members. Individual and small group study rooms have sign-in logs posted for students to sign, date and log the time they used the room. The QAC team will monitor the sign-in sheets to sanitize the surfaces of the study room once the student(s) leave, in preparation for the next student(s).

Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy and Graduate Studies 

Each college will correspond directly with each class of professional students about the details of orientation, course, classroom, and related academic and experiential issues. Please watch for additional communication(s).

Training Requirement 

All employees and students are required to complete newly developed CITI training modules to ensure a thorough and common understanding of the pandemic, its risks, and the importance of risk mitigation strategies. Information regarding directions and details of specific module assignments will be shared in a separate communication to the NEOMED community.

Student Services 

The Office of Student Services will continue to provide a full range of services to meet the academic and professional needs of our students, while remaining flexible to the changing public health situation.

Student Accessibility Services

Student requests for academic accommodations related to high-risk medical conditions or other disabilities should be made to the University Student Accessibility Services Committee through the Learning Center, located in the Office of Student Services.

Students are strongly encouraged to submit their requests and necessary documentation as soon as possible.

Center for Student Wellness & Counseling

The Center for Student Wellness & Counseling will remain available to provide students with counseling services, which may occur in person or by way of tele-counseling, if clinically appropriate.

Financial Aid

The Office of Financial Aid is open to serve the needs of the NEOMED students. Its staff has been working diligently over the summer to prepare and finalize student financial aid packages.

Campus Dining

When faculty, staff and students return to campus this academic year, there will be a few changes offering great opportunities in food service during the pandemic. As expected, physical distancing, sanitizers and traffic flow measures will be in place. Only touch-free transactions will be accepted at the start of the semester.

  • A new Online Ordering platform, QuikServe, will be available for employees and students to view menus, place orders, pay online, and select a pickup time between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Selections will be available from both The Bistro and Erie Island. Hot food selections will be switched out monthly and Fridays will feature Friday Funday Favorites. Look for details in The Pulse, as well as signage on campus.
  • Conference Services is introducing NEOFRESH to our selections. This product line will offer lunch choices with an expanded selection of sandwiches, salads and toppings, plus prepared to-go options for at-home warming and serving.
  • The Bistro will be open from 11:00 a.m.to 2:30 p.m. Monday-Friday with limited Grab & Go NEOFRESH selections for guests who were not able to order online. There will be no cooking station service during the fall semester. Sandwiches, salads, and ala carte selections will be available.
  • The Coffee Shop will be open from 7:00 a.m.to 4:00 p.m., with the normal beverage menu and Grab & Go NEOFRESH selections. Plans are to convert Erie Island to a Proudly Serves Starbucks location in the next few months.
  • Café Clark has been closed.

 

Sequoia Wellness

 

The Sequoia Wellness center is currently open for use by faculty, staff, students and community members. All patrons entering the facilities will be pre-screened and must adhere to physical distancing guidelines. The hours of operation are posted on the website, but the facility is closed midday for cleaning and sanitizing.

The Village at NEOMED

The Village at NEOMED continues to provide modern suites, outstanding amenities and a convenient location for our professional and graduate students. It is located on the NEOMED campus and an online application is available for your convenience.

The Village at NEOMED will share additional details and safety guidelines soon, through direct communication to all 2020-2021 residents.

The NEW Center

The majority of in-person events in the NEW Center have been cancelled for the upcoming academic year. Our goal is to minimize the opportunity for exposure to and spread of the virus and this decision supports this goal. Additionally, several conference center rooms have been upgraded over the summer and converted into academic space to meet the needs of the colleges and our students for the upcoming academic year. Remaining events are scheduled on Friday evening through the weekend so that the academic space is available for Monday morning.

In conclusion, while this communication contains a great deal of information, we fully realize that there are still many unanswered questions. Our University teams continue to work diligently to chart the optimum path forward for the health and safety of our campus community. Additional updates may be provided as we get closer to the start of the fall semester.

 

Best regards,

Richard Kasmer, Pharm.D., J.D.
Vice President, Academic Affairs

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

May

NEOMED Summer Research Fellows and Faculty Mentors:

The purpose of this communication is to inform you of the status of NEOMED’s Summer Research Fellowship Program for 2020. We are on the cusp of students beginning their summer research experiences ― in fact, some students may have already started. As faculty are now able to return to their laboratories* to conduct research that they deem critical to resume, students who have been selected for fellowships with laboratory-based experiences and their faculty mentors need to plan to optimize the Summer Research Fellowship experience for all.

To that intent:

  • The summer research fellowship program is still “a go” for 2020. Human Resources has begun onboarding students. If students and faculty mentors have not connected recently regarding the program NOW IS THE TIME TO DO SO.
  • Upon realizing state and federal shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we began planning and implementing all that we could to continue learning, teaching and working. As a result, faculty mentors were advised to develop virtual programs that could deliver exceptional student experiences for the summer research fellows. Their plan to move forward as mentors attests to their dedication to students and the Summer Research Fellowship Program.
  • The initial weeks of the program will be conducted with the students and faculty mentors utilizing these virtual engagement strategies. No students will be permitted in laboratory settings initially. During these initial weeks of the Summer Research Fellowship Program, faculty should, however, submit training forms to the Office of Environmental Health and Safety. The office will assign training to students and review health requirements to prepare for the possibility that fellows may be able to return to laboratory-based studies.
  • In consultation with the Safety office and Joe Zarconi, M.D., the University’s medical director during COVID-19, Steve Schmidt, Ph.D., vice president for research, will decide by June 1 if laboratory-based summer research fellow experiences will in fact be permitted going forward from that point in time. By then, safety training should be completed and nurse visits can commence expediently to return students to the labs.
  • Faculty mentors should develop plans for social distancing, management of required PPE, and compliance with CDC, state and NEOMED guidance related to best practices for students who return to the campus and are engaged in laboratory-based research. Department chairs may also have specific guidance to be followed.
  • Summer research participation of fellows is voluntary. Even if permitted to do so, no student should feel obligated to return to campus to conduct laboratory-based research. Students must attest to their desire to return to work,  and comfort in returning to campus voluntarily by completing NEOMED’s Terms and Conditions documents. Students who choose not to return to campus to conduct laboratory-based research should complete their summer research fellowship program virtually in collaboration with their faculty mentor.
  • If it is determined by Dr. Schmidt that a return to campus the week of June 1 to participate in the conduct of laboratory-based research is not in the best interests of students, the balance of the Summer Research Fellowship program will be completed remotely by all students.

 

This guidance is likely to result in many questions. Students should direct their questions to their faculty mentors or Dr. Schmidt. Faculty should direct their questions to their department chairs or Dr. Schmidt.

Thank you for your patience. We are all trying hard to be responsible and flexible in the current situation and to provide both students and faculty with exceptional research experiences this summer.

Stay safe!

Steven P. Schmidt, PhD
Vice President for Research

Dear NEOMED Community:

Thank you for your understanding, compliance and commitment to safety and wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While many challenges still lie ahead of us, your preparedness, ability to continue learning, teaching and working, and professionalism warrant much applause. With guidance from Gov. Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton as well as the CDC, we have optimized our operations during this new normal to ensure we are as thorough in our care for each other ― our students, faculty and staff ― as we are in our service and science for those in need.

As you know, Friday, May 1, was the start of a phased approach to return to work for Ohioans as some businesses resume their operations. NEOMED will continue to follow state and CDC guidelines as it has from the very beginning ― and as Ohio was one of the first to implore its citizens to take precautionary measures, NEOMED will remain as conservative upon our return. In fact, we will be even more so, requiring strict adherence to guidelines for social distancing, convening, cleaning of hands, surfaces and areas, use of masks and so on.

We will begin our early return the week of Monday, May 4. Before I outline some initial criteria, it is extremely important that I make something clear ― The work that each of us does is essential.

Where, when and how the work is done may differ and ultimately determine who returns during each phase. Nevertheless, all work leads to our positive impact in the education, research and service we provide to our community.

Our return will be slow because there is still a lot that we don’t know. Many members of the University, College and department leadership are on several task forces as well as local, state and national committees. The wealth of information and best practices informs us and helps us to reduce uncertainties. However, that does not always alleviate the concerns of those who are in high-risk situations or who have family care needs or who, understandably so, experience anxiety about the anticipated return.

Having said that, not much will change on May 4. The remote solutions to “where, when and how the work is done” have been reasonably effective for many of us during the pandemic. Of course, some will continue to utilize the Lean Six Sigma training and others will remain working on newly designed projects.

As a result, only the following may begin returning to work during this early return phase next week: Members of the executive management team, researchers with laboratory access needs, and campus operations and public safety, the latter of which are already there. 

All will have to abide by strict guidelines in accordance with a newly developed Return to Work Terms and Conditions

And researchers will specifically have to follow laboratory research activities outlined by Dr. Steve Schmidt, vice president of research, which include limits to the core facilities. Anyone found violating these policies may have their privileges to be on campus taken away

Needless to say, our unique role as a medical university requires us all return at some point. Each of you contributes to the education, development and training of our health professionals; the support and resources needed to conduct our research; and the services provided to those in need. All are key to sustaining and improving the wellness of every community.

Other return to work phases will be announced as soon as we determine what is best for everyone concerned. But as your health and safety is our first priority, we anticipate the phases occurring over a six to 18-week period.

Please know that we will give you at least a week’s notice of the next stage of the phases and how each phase might affect your return. Furthermore, we will always update you once a week or more ― during our weekly Zoom updates.

I look forward to seeing everyone on campus – hopefully sooner than later ― but am ever so thrilled that we are all doing as well as can be expected because we embraced the much-needed measures to remain safe.

Sincerely,

John T. Langell
President

April

Dear NEOMED Community:

We were notified today that one of our students has symptoms consistent with COVID-19.  The student received care through a local emergency department, was not specifically tested, but received a presumptive COVID-19 positive diagnosis. The student is currently back home at The Village and is in isolation.

The University was advised that the student’s contact at NEOMED was primarily limited to a study area in the library, and that they were last on campus Monday, April 6, 2020. The individual reported developing symptoms later that evening.  Although they identified no close contacts within the last couple days, this student’s local health department is now responsible for communication with the individual regarding those 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 student, please also know that NEOMED requires such individuals to self-quarantine for 14 days whether they are symptomatic or not. Should we become aware of any campus-related close contacts, we will communicate this requirement to them.

 

We are doing everything possible to support this individual. We applaud this individual for making appropriate notification of their 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 student was presumed positive for COVID-19, the study areas and high touch surfaces throughout the library, as well as the affected high-contact areas of The Village 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

Dear NEOMED Community:

We continue to build upon our policies in accordance with CDC guidelines and the state of Ohio and local health departments to maintain the health and safety of our NEOMED community. Given the quantity and current criteria for COVID-19 testing by health providers, we appreciate that serial confirmative (-) testing is unlikely to be done at this time. Therefore, we have implemented the following Return to Work (RTW) policy for individuals who tested (or were presumed to be) COVID (+) as well those who were identified as being in contact with them.

  • Any individual testing (+) or presumed to be (+) by their treating physician (or other qualified health care professional) must meet the following criteria:
    • At least 7 days have passed since onset of symptoms; and
    • At least 3 days post resolution of all symptoms without medication (including fever); and
    • A written RTW release from the treating physician. This must be sent to Mechelle Gehle-Wann prior to a return to campus, and can be done so by emailing mgw@neomed.edu.
  • Any individual placed on a 14-day “stay-at-home” requirement due to close contact with a tested (+) or presumed COVID (+) individual must meet the following criteria:
    • No symptoms were developed during the 14-day incubation period. The person may return to work on the next workday following the 14-day incubation period.
      • Should symptoms consistent with COVID-19 develop during this incubation period, you will be subject to the criteria listed above for tested (+) and presumed (+) individuals.

 

It is very important, as we negotiate these next weeks that we continue to observe the following preventative measures.

  • If you are displaying symptoms of any illness, please remain at home until they are resolved.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Maintain appropriate social distancing.
  • Please continue to report to TravelReporting@neomed.edu any of the following situations:
    • 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.
    • If you have been on the Rootstown campus in the preceding 14 days and are currently being tested for, have tested positive for COVID-19, or have been advised by your treating physician that you are presumed (+) for COVID-19. This information will be maintained as confidential as practicable.

 

Any questions or concerns may be directed to Mechelle Gehle-Wann at mgw@neomed.edu or to Dr. Joseph Zarconi at jzarconi@neomed.edu.

Mechelle Gehle-Wann; MS, MBA, CSP
Director; Research and Institutional Safety Compliance

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

March

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

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

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

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

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 to discuss any changes or additions to your accommodations that may be needed. Email accommodations@neomed.edu.

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

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 (jboyle1@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

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

For the health and safety of its members, Sequoia Wellness suspended operations for two weeks, beginning at 5 p.m. Monday, March 16. Its estimated reopening date is Wednesday, April 1.  Andy Malitz, executive director of Sequoia, said the reopening date will be reassessed along the way as the business monitors the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Ohio Department of Health, and local agencies.

Free access is available here for 95 free workouts across 8 categories from Les Milles workouts. Malitz noted that this platform will not automatically collect your data. It will remain available as long as the disruption from COVID-19 continues.

The NEW Center has cancelled all events through April 12.

The Bistro is closed, per the governor’s order regarding restaurants and bars.

Erie Island Coffee will be open for coffee, beverages, grab and go salads, sandwiches and snacks beginning Tuesday, March 17. Daily hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Summa Corporate Health, not the Summa Health Family Medicine practice, is closed. Patients may be seen at the Green, Cuyahoga Falls or Wadsworth locations.

Yunbelievable Smiles Dentistry will be closed under the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Dental Board. All dental treatments that are not considered an emergency are postponed until further notice.

Ferrell-Whited Physical Therapy, Rootstown Community Pharmacy, and Summa Health Medical Group (Family Medicine and Corporate Health) will maintain regular business hours. The SOAR Student-Run Free Clinic will remain open as well.

As news of COVID-19 as a public health concern continues to evolve, we want to keep you informed of what NEOMED is doing to ensure members of our community are safe; to reduce the potential of the virus from spreading; and to maintain learning, teaching and working continuity.

While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at NEOMED, we have moved to virtual classrooms (no in-person classroom teaching) and cancelled all large-group settings ― classes, meetings and events. We are requiring all non-essential staff and faculty members to work from home. We have eliminated staff and faculty travel, closed our food and conference services, and taken a number of other precautions as recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), and Ohio’s Inter-University Council (IUC) ― a consortium of the state’s 14 public universities.

NEOMED’s reasons for being are more evident than ever. From our nearly 1,000 students who are training to be health professionals to our nearly 5,000 graduates who are practicing throughout Ohio and beyond, we continue to provide care, wellness and medical education to members of our communities.

Many of our alumni ― Amy Acton, M.D. (’90), director of ODH, among them ― are leaders on the frontline of the pandemic, advising in public health; running hospitals, clinics and pharmacies; and providing the care and medical therapies increasingly needed throughout Ohio and beyond. The NEOMED community is doing great work to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Your involvement, advocacy and giving are instrumental in making this possible. And for that we say thank you.  With so many uncertainties surrounding COVID-19, we have decided to postpone our annual Giving Day, scheduled for March 17, until further notice.

In the meantime, you can learn more about NEOMED’s response and access additional resources by visiting our site at neomed.edu/advisory.

I wish you and those close to you the best of health as we navigate the challenges ahead.

Daniel S. Blain
Vice President for Advancement
President, Northeast Ohio Medical University Foundation

Dear Colleagues,

I had anticipated participating in a teleconference with Dr. Larry Tabak, principal deputy director of the National Institutes of Health, this afternoon. However, due to the overwhelming response to participate in the teleconference, the technology managing the call failed so the call was postponed.  Dr. Tabak was expected to discuss NIH’s efforts to ensure research institutions and scientists are accorded the operational flexibility needed as they confront COVID-19-related research disruptions. In the absence of information from that call, I refer you specifically to  guidance and information provided at grants.nih.gov/grants/natural_disasters/corona-virus.htm. Please note the information at this link is four days old, and will undoubtedly be updated. I will inform you as new information becomes available.

In addition, upon receiving the most recent communications from President Langell, titled “Latest Updates Regarding Learning, Teaching and Working Continuity,” I have been fielding many requests to clarify the meaning of “essential” in the context of NEOMED-based research personnel. For clarification:

  • NEOMED remains “open” and operational.
  • Research activities may continue but must remain compliant with CDC guidelines in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
  • PI’s should efficiently and smartly manage their teams (research techs, post-docs, graduate students and student volunteers) to maximize the productivity of each team member and to accomplish essential goals of the research programs.
    • These tasks may include managing animal colonies in the CMU and conducting scheduled experiments in the laboratory among other priorities.
    • On-campus time of research team members should be limited and needs to be focused on high-impact return on tasks that cannot be performed remotely.
    • Analyzing data, conducting online research, reviewing published literature, writing abstracts or papers, designing new experiments and organizing presentations related to the research can be performed remotely.
    • PI’s are also encouraged to work remotely as their workflow permits.
  • PI’s must clearly state expectations for productivity and accountability of team members while they work remotely.
  • This is not a time to conduct new projects.
  • KSU BMS students working with faculty advisors at NEOMED are required to follow the COVID-19 and working continuity guidelines provided by NEOMED leadership to NEOMED employees.
  • I will adjudicate any conflicts that may arise related to research issues going forward in consultation with department chairs.

 

As you all know, COVID-19 is an unprecedented circumstance that impacts everyone ― in the NEOMED community and beyond. I ask for your patience and flexibility as we move forward together and encourage your best practices to stay healthy.

Steve Schmidt
Vice President for Research

Dear NEOMED Pharmacy students,

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a very fluid health care environment that we have been continuously monitoring.  Over the last 24-48 hours, the College of Pharmacy leadership has made some, or has been the recipient of, decisions that directly impact student education.  We understand that some of you will be relieved by these decisions, and others will be frustrated by disruptions in your education and potential missed opportunities.  However, we will work together as a team to deliver a quality educational experience and keep students on track for on-time graduation or progression to the next academic year during these challenging times.  We will reassess this situation by March 29, 2020.  Provided below are several updates:

Experiential Education

P1 students: As per the notification you received from the College last week, all Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPEs) have been cancelled for the balance of the spring 2020 semester.  Any questions should be directed to Charles Cather, R.Ph., M.B.A., FASCP, professor and director of experiential education, at ccather@neomed.edu.

P2 students: As per the notification you received from the College last week, all Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPEs) have been cancelled for the balance of the spring 2020 semester.  Any questions should be directed to Professor Cather at ccather@neomed.edu.

P3 students: Starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020, all Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPEs) have been cancelled for the balance of the spring 2020 semester.  Exceptions are being made for two (2) students who need to complete rotations in order to accumulate the required number of IPPE hours in mandatory areas ― which allows them to progress to the P4 year in June 2020.  The Office of Experiential Education will contact these students within the next 24 hours about next steps.  Any additional questions should be directed to Professor Cather at ccather@neomed.edu.

P4 students: Fourth-year pharmacy students will be continuing in their Advanced Practice Pharmacy Experiences (APPEs) as originally planned.  Some clinical sites have already, or may in the future, release students from selected locations without adequate notice.  If this situation occurs, please immediately contact the Office of Experiential Education at 330.325.6575 or Professor Cather at ccather@neomed.edu for guidance in this matter.

The Office of Experiential Education has been developing several backup plans to assist students in completing APPE rotations.  We are actively considering ALL alternative arrangements to keep students on track to fulfill their APPE hours.  The College will communicate regularly with P4 students and address APPE issues as they arise.  We are acutely aware of graduation, residency and other related issues.

Instructional Education, Testing and Assessment

Distance Education for P1-P3 students: As per the notification you received from the College within the last two weeks, all student instruction has been converted to a distance education format.  This format will continue for the balance of the spring 2020 semester.

Change in Test Format: Starting Monday, March 16, 2020, there will be no more student testing on campus.  Only a very few exceptions will be allowed for selected courses and this would require approval of the Dean.  Course directors and students will receive specific instructions about the date, time and location for these exams.  Additional correspondence will be forthcoming about how to access and utilize the online testing format.

Wasson Center Assessments: There are a variety of assessments that were scheduled in the Wasson Center during spring 2020.  College faculty are carefully evaluating how best to deal with these events.  Additional instructions will be forthcoming once final decisions have been made.

Please be aware that all curricular plans (didactic and experiential) will be discussed with and approved by the College of Pharmacy Curriculum Committee.  We will update you on a weekly basis as decisions are made. We appreciate your understanding and flexibility in these rapidly changing times.

Scheduled Events

Unfortunately, many College and student events have been cancelled and may or may not be rescheduled.  We will continue to work with student professional organizations by providing updates as they become available.

Thank you for your patience and support during these uncertain times.  We appreciate your understanding of the necessary measures needed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

While we want to ensure that your learning continues, your safety and wellness is our first priority.

All my best,

Richard Kasmer
Dean, College of Pharmacy

Dear Students,

As you are all aware of by now, NEOMED has suspended face to face instruction and large group events in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). We recognize that this is a difficult time with the frequent changes associated with this virus. As a result, we feel the need to balance the physical and emotional health for the NEOMED student body and the staff at the Center for Student Wellness and Counseling Services.

Effective immediately, we will be exclusively transitioning to telecounseling for all current eligible clients until further notice. Therefore, we will be suspending all face to face individual counseling and new intakes. This is a temporary change, due to the constantly evolving nature of this public health crisis. We will continue to communicate with you regarding any changes to our service delivery.

Students who are currently being seen at the Center for Student Wellness and Counseling Services will be contacted by their individual counselor to discuss telecounseling options (and protocol) or will be given appropriate referral options. Students who are currently being seen by our staff psychiatrist, Dr. Thomas, will be contacted individually regarding options for care follow up.

Please note, there are still many other forms of support (self-help, crisis, and local resources) available to students. For more information, please visit our website at neomed.edu/cswc.

This is a strange and uncertain time for everyone right now and we want to address everyone’s needs within our ability. Lean into your support people, and draw upon healthy coping resources for your own personal self-care.

Here are some tips from the CDC

Things you can do to support yourself:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

 

emergency.cdc.gov/coping/selfcare.asp

Stay Well!

Sincerely,

Jennifer L. Dougall, PhD, PCC
Director, Center for Student Wellness & Counseling Services

Dear Students,

After careful thought and consideration, the College of Medicine leadership has made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend all M3 and M4 clinical rotations effective immediately.  We will reassess this decision by March 29, 2020. We understand that some of you will be relieved by this decision, and others will be frustrated by disruptions in your education and potential missed opportunities.  We believe, however, that the rapidly changing environment has created a situation where we can no longer be assured that you will have access to the necessary resources or mentorship at all clinical sites to allow rotations to continue in a comparable fashion.  This is the guiding principle we have used to consider all your educational experiences.

M4:  All Clinical Epilogue and Capstone (CEC) face to face sessions have been cancelled, in compliance with the Governor’s mandate.  Fourth-year students who will be completing electives in blocks 9 or 10 should refer to the attached FAQ for scheduling details.  All questions should be directed to Dr. David Sperling (dsperling@neomed.edu).

M3:  Tomorrow (March 16), all third-year students will begin using an online clinical curriculum.  Details regarding your specific clerkship online assignments will be forthcoming from Dr. Susan Nofziger (snofziger@neomed.edu) and posted on AIMS no later than 3pm. March 16, 2020.

M1 & M2:  As per the notification you received from the COM last week, all face to face educational activities have been cancelled.  All online assignments are available on AIMS.  All questions should be directed to Dr. Ryan Palmer (rpalmer1@neomed.edu).

All temporary curricular plans will be discussed with and approved by the College of Medicine Curriculum Committee until normal M3 clerkship and M4 elective activities are resumed. This is the same for M1 & M2.

We will update you as decisions are made and appreciate your understanding and flexibility in these rapidly changing times.  Also please realize that as of tomorrow, we will be deeply engaged with M4 students especially those involved in the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP) this Match week.

Please refer to the attached FAQ* for more detailed information.

Thank you for your patience and support during these uncertain times. We appreciate your understanding of the necessary measures needed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

While we want to ensure that your learning continues, your safety and wellness is our first priority.

Sincerely,

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

Dear NEOMED College of Medicine Faculty and Staff,

The College of Medicine, after careful consideration, has decided to temporarily suspend clinical rotations for M3 and M4 medical students effective immediately. We will reassess this decision prior to March 30, 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a very fluid health care environment that we have been continuously monitoring.  Over the last 48 hours, some of our clinical sites have chosen to restrict access to student trainees including medical students.  To allow our partners to best manage limited supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other resources, we have made the decision to temporarily suspend all student clinical rotations for the next 2 weeks.

This has been a very difficult decision and we realize that it may impact you in a variety of ways. I thank you for your understanding and continued support of our learners.  Please review the attached FAQ sheet* for more detailed information.

Thank you for your patience and support as we work together collaboratively through this unprecedented health care challenge.

Sincerely,

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

Dear COP Faculty and Curriculum Coordinators,

Thank you for joining the Zoom open forum this morning.  A number of questions were posed and we have been busy today finding answers to send back to you.  A summary of the topics discussed follows along with the answers received.

Teaching through Zoom

  • If you are able to be in the actual classroom, stay by the podium so you are in view of the camera and can see the control panel within zoom (i.e., chat feature)
  • If you are not able to be in the actual classroom, you can join the same Zoom session by clicking on the Zoom link within the Outlook calendar meeting invite (accessed through the P1, P2, P3 student schedules)
  • If you are unfamiliar with Zoom and would like more information, please go to the NEOMED Continuity page (https://www.neomed.edu/advisory/continuity/)
    • You can also find information about using the polling feature in Zoom from this link
  • If technical issues during class call 5969 if you are on campus, or email media@neomed.edu
  • If you are intending to use technology other than Zoom for content delivery, please notify your course director and curriculum coordinator at least 72 hours in advance so they can update the student schedule accordingly.

 

Scheduled Events

  • Course Director bootcamp, Thursdays at noon, will proceed as planned.  Follow the Zoom link in the meeting invite to join.
  • March Core Faculty Meeting: the dean’s office will make a decision by end of day Friday, March 13th
  • Department meetings: chairs will notify departments of any changes to scheduled meetings
  • Any events scheduled after April 3rd are tentative. We will continue to monitor the situation and make decisions about them at a later time.

 

Faculty, Resident, Student, Staff Travel Guidelines

  • Any domestic travel must be determined to be NEOMED mission critical and approved by the dean
  • For any travel scheduled between now and April 3rd: email an explanation for why it is NEOMED mission critical and send to Rick.  He will determine if the explanation warrants travel approval.
  • Guidelines for planning future travel: it is recommended that you not make travel plans until further notice. If you need to make a travel reservation, you are encouraged to make reservations that you can cancel. We will communicate a more formal process for approving travel as the situation evolves.
  • Guidelines for practice-based faculty travel: let us know if your site is restricting your travel to the NEOMED campus. We will work with you to fulfill teaching and service obligations remotely.

 

Activities Scheduled after April 3rd

  • It is unclear if students will return to campus on April 6th through the rest of the semester.  If you are teaching in April, I encourage you to look ahead and consider arrangements to deliver your content via technology. I will be in contact about scheduling exams and other assessments that must be completed to end the semester.

 

Meetings and other Gatherings

  • We will send additional guidance on future meetings and activities (i.e., PDAT, student organizations, project work) in the next few days.
  • If you are hosting meetings or chairing committees, you are encouraged to
    • use technology, (small group in-person meetings are acceptable)

 

Please keep sending your questions.  We plan to provide an update of questions received by the end of the day tomorrow, then again on Friday.

Have a nice evening,

Susan P. Bruce, Pharm.D., BCPS
Senior Associate Dean of Education, College of Pharmacy

Graduate students, faculty and staff:

By now you are undoubtedly aware of the directives from Governor DeWine and President Langell regarding measures that all Ohio public universities are taking to responsibly mitigate risks related to the transmission of COVID-19. In this regard please reference today’s Pulse: http://thepulse.neomed.edu/. The NEOMED College of Graduate Studies is prepared to comply with these directives.

The curriculum for several of NEOMED’s College of Graduate Studies programs is already being delivered in a distance learning format [Health System Pharmacy Administration (HSPA) and Masters of Public Health (MPH)] and therefore will not be disrupted significantly by yesterday’s directives from the Governor and Dr. Langell. Other graduate level classes currently meet in small group settings and students will be contacted by their instructors regarding any changes in the strategy of course delivery. Dr. Aultman has already contacted graduate students enrolled in Medical Ethics and Humanities courses regarding potential alternative course delivery strategies that are available to students and course faculty for that program. NEOMED/Kent Biomedical Sciences graduate students, NEOMED Integrated Pharmaceutical Sciences (IPM) graduate students and Modern Anatomical Sciences graduate students enrolled in professional courses delivered alongside NEOMED medical students must follow the guidance related to the M1 curriculum offered by Dean Young, see attached.

If students have specific questions or concerns they should contact their course directors, graduate Program Directors or Dean Schmidt at sschmidt@neomed.edu or by extension 6290.

Best regards,

Steven P. Schmidt, Ph.D.
Dean of the College of Graduate Studies

Pharmacy Students,

As stated in the President’s announcement, NEOMED will be implementing new measures regarding campus activities, effective tomorrow.

In the College of Pharmacy, we are actively working through the curriculum to make the necessary accommodations.  Tomorrow, March 11th, the following action will be taken for morning and afternoon courses:

P1 morning – HAPP class will occur at the scheduled time via Zoom (click on the link in the Outlook calendar to join the class). Recording of the class will be available.

P1 afternoon – IPPEs as scheduled

P2 morning – Parenterals lab section will be rescheduled

P2 afternoon – Pharmacotherapy class will occur at the scheduled time via Zoom (click on the link in the Outlook calendar to join). Recording of the class will be available.

P3 morning – Pharmacotherapy class will occur at the scheduled time via Zoom (click on the link in the Outlook calendar to join). Recording of the class will be available.

P3 afternoon – IPPEs as scheduled

P4 – APPEs as scheduled

IPPEs and APPEs – students are still expected to complete IPPE and APPE experiences.  More detail will be provided by the Office of Experiential Education.

Zoom access: go to neomed.zoom.us Click on “sign in” (NOT sign up) and log in with your NEOMED username and password

Course specific accommodations for classes and activities running between now and April 3rd will be communicated through AIMS no later than the end of day tomorrow.  Course specific questions should be directed to the course director.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Susan P. Bruce, Pharm.D., BCPS
Senior Associate Dean of Education, College of Pharmacy

Dear College of Medicine Students,

As Dr. Langell noted in his University communication this evening, today Governor Michael DeWine declared Ohio in a state of emergency related to coronavirus.  Three cases have been verified in Cuyahoga county.  President Langell’s directives for NEOMED regarding the coronavirus response take effect Wednesday, March 11, 2020 through Friday, April 3, 2020.  During that time, the following principles will apply:

M1 and M2

  • All on campus face to face educational activities of groups of greater than 20 will be cancelled and delivered in an alternate fashion.
  • On campus group activities of 20 or less will continue as scheduled.
  • Clinical experiential activities in hospitals and in medical practices will be temporarily suspended.
  • Summative exams will be delivered as scheduled.
  • Daily/weekly details regarding educational activities will be communicated via email to the M1 and M2 classes by Dr. Ryan Palmer.

 

M3

  • Students will follow the guidelines provided by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) while rotating for clerkships at hospitals and medical practices.  If hospitals impose more restrictive guidelines, hospitals guidelines will be observed beyond those of the AAMC.
  • Students should continue to report to clerkship sites as scheduled.
  • End of clerkship NBME subject exams will be administered on campus as scheduled.
  • Details regarding educational activities will be communicated via email by Dr. Susan Nofziger.

M4

  • Students anticipating eminent travel to foreign countries for elective experiences should cancel those plans.  Dr. David Sperling will work with these students to schedule alternate elective experiences.
  • Clinical Epilogue and Capstone
    • Small group elective experiences will continue as scheduled.
    • Large group (greater than 20 students) curricula will be delivered in an alternate fashion.
    • Details regarding educational activities will be communicated via email by Dr. Austin Fredrickson.
  • The Match
    • The SOAP process will continue on campus as scheduled.  Details will continue to be delivered by Ms. Anita Pokorny.
    • Dr. Mowad, Anita, and I will be meeting with Class of 2020 student representatives tomorrow to discuss Match Day.

 

Finally, we want to emphasize the importance of the CDC recommendations for good hand hygiene. When washing your hands with soap do so for at least 20 seconds. Stay home if you are ill (including symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection such as fever, cough or shortness of breath). Links to the absence request form can be found on the AIMS Welcome Page.

It is important that you read your email daily.  Updates will be communicated to you as noted above.  You can expect more detailed information, by year, from the faculty noted.

Thank you for your support and patience as we work to prevent illness in our community and deliver appropriate educational experiences for our students.

Warmly,

Dr. Young
Dean, College of Medicine

Dear NEOMED Community:

As our students prepared for spring break last Friday, I wished them a relaxing, refreshing and safe vacation.

As we’ve said before, NEOMED’s primary focus is on delivering an exceptional student experience, and that includes education as well as campus life and wellness.  As a health professional, parent, and travel enthusiast, I can appreciate the anticipation of a trip or the simple joy of a much-deserved break.

Whether students are traveling or not, we informed them that our campus remains open and all resources including the Center for Student Wellness and Counseling Services are available.

To help ensure the safety of our community and per the request of the Ohio Governor’s Office (news release), NEOMED is prohibiting any University-related travel (business, educational, in-paid status) to nations where the CDC has recommended no travel, including China and South Korea, for our faculty and staff.  Please also let us know if you, or any colleagues or students of whom you have become aware, have been to any of the nations of concern or in contact with someone who has.

If you’re traveling, or considering it, more details are available at the websites for the Ohio Department of Health, CDC  and World Health Organization (WHO). Please check the U.S. Department of State travel advisory website as well.

Please remember to take extra precautions as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be especially diligent about washing your hands with hot soapy water (hand sanitizer does not do the same job), all the way up to the elbows, during flu season and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health concern. COVID-19 is thought to be transmitted from human to human via respiratory droplets, so remember to cough or sneeze into your sleeve or tissue and to stay home if you are sick. It is also important to avoid touching your face.

We would like to ensure that all are properly informed and directed to the most current and centralized resources.

NEOMED is working closely with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), in coordination with the CDC, and we will continue to keep you up to date.

Sincerely,

John T. Langell
President

February

Dear NEOMED Community,

As our students prepare for spring break, I want to wish them ― as well as many of our faculty and staff, who may also be taking some time off ― a relaxing, refreshing and safe vacation.

As we’ve said before, NEOMED’s primary focus is on delivering an exceptional student experience, and that includes education as well as campus life and wellness.  As a health professional, parent, and travel enthusiast, I can appreciate the anticipation of a trip or the simple joy of a much-deserved break.

Whether you are traveling or not, I want to let you know that our campus remains open and all resources including the Center for Student Wellness and Counseling Services are available to you.

Please remember to take extra precautions as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be especially diligent about washing your hands with hot soapy water (hand sanitizer does not do the same job), all the way up to the elbows, during flu season and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health concern. COVID-19 is thought to be transmitted from human to human via respiratory droplets, so remember to cough or sneeze into your sleeve or tissue and to stay home if you are sick.

If you’re traveling, or considering it, the Ohio Governor’s Office has advised colleges and universities to make their campus communities aware of the nations where the CDC has recommended no travel, such as China and South Korea. More details are available at the websites for the Ohio Department of Health, CDC  and World Health Organization (WHO). Please check the U.S. Department of State travel advisory website as well.

I look forward to continuing to engage with all of you and provide the support you need to realize your personal and professional goals.

I will see you upon your return. Until then, take some time to refresh.

Sincerely,

John T. Langell
President

January

Dear NEOMED Community:

By now, many of you have heard that on Monday, January 27, 2020, Miami University of Ohio announced possible cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in two students who had recently returned from China. The students have been isolated and tested and are awaiting results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There are no confirmed cases in Ohio at this time.

Please know that all public universities in Ohio, including NEOMED, are working closely with the Ohio Department of Health. At NEOMED, we are also working with Portage County Health District and Kent City Health Department as they monitor the coronavirus as a public health concern. NEOMED will continue to work with these public health agencies to ensure we are prepared if there becomes any risks or evidence that the virus has reached Ohio.

There are currently no suspected cases at NEOMED and the risk to the general public, including students, faculty and staff at our University, is considered low. Unless you have recently traveled from China or have been around someone ill with this new coronavirus, your individual risk of getting sick is also low.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH), in coordination with the CDC, is closely monitoring 2019-nCoV, first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

What is 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

The first case in the United States was announced January 21, in Washington state, and cases have been confirmed in multiple states since then. There are ongoing investigations by the CDC and ODH to learn more. ODH is providing guidance to local health districts, healthcare providers and state partners.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people, and others in animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people, such as has been seen with Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2014 and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, and now with 2019-nCoV.

The United States started screening travelers arriving from Wuhan on January 17. Currently, CDC staff are conducting screening of travelers from China at 20 U.S. airports with quarantine stations.

If you are a student, faculty, or staff member planning to travel to China or to other places overseas, please follow the CDC Travelers’ Health guidance here.

If you have recently been to Wuhan or other areas affected by the outbreak, or have come into contact with an infected individual, and are experiencing signs and symptoms (fever, shortness of breath and cough) please call your health care provider before visiting to tell them about your recent travel and symptoms. If you are sick, always avoid contact with others to stop the spread of the virus and do not travel.

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.

 

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.

Helpful Resources

For more information about 2019-nCoV, prevention, symptoms, etc., please visit www.cdc.gov and www.odh.ohio.gov as helpful resources.

Prevention Tips

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/about/prevention.html

Novel coronavirus – Travelers’ Health Information

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/novel-coronavirus-china

Sincerely,

John T. Langell
President