Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Information

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

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

March 15, 2020: College of Medicine

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

March 15, 2020: 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

March 11, 2020: College of Pharmacy

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

March 11, 2020: College of Graduate Studies

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

March 10, 2020: College of Pharmacy

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

March 10, 2020: College of Medicine

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

March 2, 2020

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

Feb. 28, 2020

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

Jan. 29, 2020

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