COVID-19 Response and Resources
The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine is placing the health and welfare of our VCOM community and the communities in which we reside as our main concern. The decisions we have made and policies we are implementing rely heavily on the guidance we receive from the CDC, the different Health Departments in our States, our accrediting bodies, and AACOM.
VCOM campus buildings are closed to all but essential staff until MAY 29. This date is subject to change. Faculty and staff will continue working at pk彩票.
Please read the latest message from the President below.
April 6, pk彩票 - Message from the President
History: On March 12, VCOM administration, realizing that the COVID-19 pandemic had not only reached the U.S. but that new cases were increasing rapidly in the South East United States, where the VCOM campuses are located. VCOM administration determined to close the campuses to all but essential faculty and staff within the next several days.
On March 13, VCOM OMS-3 and OMS-4 students were removed from the clinical sites primarily for the safety of the student and secondarily to do our part in reducing the spread. An online curriculum was developed for the remainder of March and the next clinical rotation. A fourth-year research rotation was exchanged for a third-year rotation, so as little clinical experience as possible would be lost. On March 17, all medical students from around the country (MD and DO) were removed from clinical rotations.
The VCOM OMS-1 and OMS-2 students completed their Blocks 3 and 7, including taking online final exams. Faculty and staff began working on the online curriculum for Blocks 4 and 8, which will conclude the current academic year in late June. They have done an excellent job preparing these materials from on-campus to online so that our students lose no time in their academic year and so to not miss any of their required medical knowledge.
The Simulation Center teams from our campuses have been creative in developing a new delivery model during these times that keep our students and faculty working together. This assures our students will become great clinicians! The faculty and the SIM center team that have developed these new models, I applaud you!
The faculty who normally deliver the curriculum in person have developed new delivery models that are great and that we can build upon in our new cased based curriculum model. We applaud all the hard work on these cases as well. The faculty and staff working on our campuses have done a tremendous job in placing this curriculum online in a short time, assuring the education of our students is solid!
The CIFFS teams have continued to support our student’s needs from academic support to mental health support, which has likely increased during this time of isolation.
The Student Affairs and Marketing and Communications Division quickly developed online videos and information to replace the in-person Accepted Students Day and the Open House, which is no small task. The video-voice overs are excellent and are available on the VCOM website! I am sure we will use these for years to come. This will ensure we have not only a solid class this coming year but will be the basis for next year’s recruitment. So the show must go on even if it is by computer!
We are happy to report the incoming classes for all campuses are full for next year. However, Admissions and Student Affairs continue to interview and accept students to place on the waitlist, as no one knows how many of those students accepted will matriculate during uncertain times.
The facilities staff have kept our buildings open (to essential faculty and staff only) and to assure our facility itself stays safe. They are monitoring all entry into the building by essential faculty and staff, and are cleaning/disinfecting when they leave. This helps to protect all of our employees from the spread of COVID-19.
The Information Technology staff have certainly worked overtime to ensure all of our faculty and staff have the IT support and capabilities they need to deliver our programs. Centrally the IT Supervisors Jim Rathman and Marc Benz have made sure the faculty and staff have the capabilities we need. Kevin Price has assured all of our ZOOM conferences have been seamless and assisted our employees with the use of online products for our programs. The team, along with Gary Brewer, is assuring our email communications are efficient and as safe as possible. On each campus, the IT team is assisting our faculty and staff for everyone to stay up and running!
The Deans, Marketing and Communications, and Student Affairs are also very busy planning an online celebration for graduation. This is a tremendous undertaking, and while we are disappointed not to celebrate graduation in person with the Class of pk彩票, plans are underway for a memorable online ceremony. More information will be announced about graduation.
Dr. Brolinson, Dr. Garner, our Associate Deans for Biomedical Research, and the entire research team continue to move forward with new grants. They are submitting them to support our current research, preparing for our new REAP grants, and on several new projects including those related to the current new stimulus funding that is being submitted.
The Finance team has completed all budget meetings to date utilizing ZOOM, with a month of day-long budget meetings online to assure the budget for next year is prepared and approved by our Board of Directors later this month. In addition, our human resources offices have been busy answering employee questions, assuring our payroll goes on, and ensuring employee benefits continue! A special shout out to our new HR Director and Robby Hudson for assuring our hiring plan for the Louisiana campus continues. We have hired over ten new employees in the past two weeks for the campus with ZOOM interviews and the sharing of required documents. We have now hired approximately 80% of our new faculty and staff for the Louisiana campus, although many will not be joining us before June or July. The Louisiana Campus building and grounds are complete, and the furniture and equipment are being placed in the building.
Despite the change in the work location, the majority of our faculty and staff continue to work and to keep our educational and research programs moving forward. Without the dedication of our employees to the College, we would not be in the excellent position we are in today.
Our clinical faculty continue to work on the front lines with patients and although wearing the best of protection, risk their own health daily. They have our utmost respect and gratitude for everything they do and are our true heroes!
If I have forgotten to thank any group, it is for the sake of brevity, and I appreciate what it takes to keep our four campuses running in this time of need. I do not want to forget to thank our Deans and College officers for all they do and for leading the academic programs to be delivered without missing a beat! I have heard so many stories of students with multiple problems from MD and DO schools alike for the first months of their online education, and you all have not missed any curricular requirements.
The Board of Directors and I would like to thank all of the Officers, faculty, and staff for the tremendous commitment and work that has continued during this time.
We are all fortunate to work for an academic institution that can continue educational support for our students and financial support for our employees throughout this challenging time. We are fortunate to have a Board of Directors whose primary concern is our students and our employees, including both their health and financial security of our employees and the education of our students.
So what will the next few months bring? As the United States has not had an epidemic of this size before, we cannot be certain. I cannot predict at this time when we will return to the workplace (campus), as all employees are expected to be actively working from pk彩票.
What we do know: The increase in the number of persons infected by COVID-19 cases is increasing and will significantly increase in the states where VCOM campuses are located.
- VCOM-Louisiana: Current modeling graphs predict a peak in the spread of COVID-19 cases within Louisiana to occur in the next two to three weeks. However the fall of that peak will also be slow, and it will extend four to six weeks after the peak before declining mid-June to July before the levels and risk will be decreased to levels that allow us to return to a more normal social interaction.
- VCOM-Alabama: Current modeling graphs predict the peak of new COVID-19 cases in Alabama to be in the first week(s) of May and will slowly decline to return to current levels in early to mid-July.
- VCOM-Virginia and VCOM-Carolinas: Current modeling graphs predict a peak of cases in Virginia and the Carolinas to be in mid-May, and the slow decline will be to mid or late July before we return to our current state of low numbers of cases.
- We will not be able to hold classes on any of VCOM campuses prior to July and possibly mid-July to late August. The remainder of the educational program for the current first and second-year students will be provided online. It has been determined that the first and second-year osteopathic medical students will not return to the campus for the remainder of the academic year.
- VCOM fourth-year osteopathic medical students on the Virginia, Carolinas, and Auburn campuses are in their final four weeks of education and will complete those online. An online celebration for graduation is being prepared and will be posted by the scheduled graduation date. Please watch the online program videos to help celebrate our graduates!
- VCOM third-year students will complete on-line clinical modules/cases for three more weeks and will complete a four-week research course to end their current year. We are hopeful that by July they will be able to enter their fourth-year, which will be modified as not to lose any of their required core clinical experiences. This has created a need to exchange some third-year rotations for the fourth-year curriculum. With the work of our faculty and staff, this has happened without delay, keeping our medical students on schedule.
To date, we have been fortunate with only one employee reported to have the COVID-19 virus and four students across our campuses. With all of them doing well!
So our social distancing is working! We do expect, however, that there will be an increased number of cases in the next two months, and we strongly encourage that each of you continues safety precautions of social distancing at pk彩票, the store, and work.
While the last email to faculty and staff is through the end of April, we are now confident we must extend this through the end of May. In May, it is likely we will have to extend again, so we ask that each of you continue to work to your capacity to make VCOM a better college every day and to assure the education for our students continues.
The following are guidelines in how VCOM administration, faculty, and staff will continue to work in the coming months. The campus facilities are now closed except for essential personnel through the end of May. We recognize that we will likely need to extend this date and will provide updates every two to four weeks until we know it is safe to have groups of faculty and staff working together again.
Our supervisors for faculty and staff have been encouraged to be as flexible as possible and to permit employees to work from pk彩票 whenever possible to complete their work remotely.
- Employees over 60, employees with chronic medical conditions, employees who have diminished lung capacity due to smoking, and employees who are pregnant should remain at pk彩票 and not come to campus at all.
- Employees who have small children at pk彩票 due to school closures are allowed to work from pk彩票 and with flexible schedules to allow for their child care.
- Supervisors should communicate with their employees no less than weekly to assign duties and assure work progress is being made and may choose to communicate several times weekly to ensure progress.
- All employees must stay on email and answer your emails from your supervisors often (three or four times daily) to assure that all new tasks assigned will be seen and completed. Reach out to your supervisor if you do not have an assigned task.
- If you have difficulty with email or connectivity notify the IT department.
- If you have to go to campus to retrieve items, you must go through the front entrance, sign in at the main desk, so facilities know where you were, and so they can clean your station or the site you were working from when you leave.
- We recognize that some of you may be required to be on campus as essential employees (determined by your supervisor) or to pick up work materials. Please be sure to let your supervisor know if you are on campus to pick up things.
- While your schedule of working at pk彩票 may be more of a flex-schedule as agreed upon with your supervisor, your workweek is limited to 40 hours per week with no overtime. If you work hours other than 8 to 5 pm, please be sure you have the approval or notify your supervisor of times you will be working.
- Employees are not eligible for overtime while working online.
- Updates will be provided every two weeks on the “Mission Mondays” discussion. The next one is scheduled for April 20, at 10 am EST.
- Information Technology will continue to provide new resources on the website. Contact your It department for any assistance.
- Your supervisor will determine your job duties, which may be different than those listed in your job description from time to time. You must communicate with your supervisor a minimum of once a week to determine your work tasks for the week. You must stay in communication and respond to all emails from your supervisor(s).
- Employees may be tasked with duties that may not be a part of their job description to better the success of the institution and our students.
- Please be flexible and think of the different tasks you can complete for the better of your department.
- You must still apply the safeguards of student and institutional confidentiality including FERPA and HIPAA.
- The Information Technology department will develop and place new faculty/staff development modules on their website on the use of new technology and further instruction on the use of equipment.
- You must check your email daily to ensure you are caught up on all work assignments and speak with your supervisor weekly, if not every other week.
The CDC is now advising all Americans to voluntarily wear a face mask to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus. VCOM has ordered enough for each of our employees to have two. When they arrive, we will call you to come and pick up two face masks and hand sanitizer at the building but in a method to support social distancing. Remember that there is a growing body of evidence that people who do not appear to be sick (or very ill) may still have COVID-19 and transmit the virus to others, causing those most vulnerable to be infected.
VCOM continues to support our clinical partners and has ordered additional face masks and gloves to provide to those in need.
Human Resources is available via email if you have any further questions or contact your immediate supervisors.
March 23, pk彩票 - Update on closure
As of Friday, March 13, pk彩票, all VCOM campus buildings are closed for three weeks and will tentatively reopen April 27, pk彩票.
As we cope with the impact of COVID-19 across the United States, the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine is placing the health and welfare of our VCOM community and the communities in which we reside as our main concern.
The safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and community, on each of our campuses (Virginia, Carolinas, Auburn, and Louisiana) are our top priorities. The decisions we have made and policies we are implementing rely heavily on the guidance we receive from the CDC, the different Health Departments in our States, our accrediting bodies, and AACOM.
The closure of our campuses initiated on Friday, March 13, pk彩票, will now be extended through April 27th, pk彩票. An additional extension of that time frame may be necessary and we will continue to assess the situation as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses.
The campus buildings will remain closed during this time and the majority of faculty and staff will perform their duties online from pk彩票. Only the faculty and staff who are asked from time to time by their Division Officer to be on campus for essential tasks (including providing the curriculum for our students), will be allowed on the VCOM campuses.
We will continue to assess the situation and provide updates prior to the April 27th date. Faculty and staff will continue to work from pk彩票 until further notice and no interruptions in employment or paychecks are anticipated.
VCOM students will continue with the online curriculum as provided on Canvas and other on-line modalities.
The Open House and Accepted Students Day events have been moved to online activities.
Prospective student interviews are now being done online.
The Graduation commencement exercises for all campuses have been canceled and a robust on-line graduation celebration is being planned. More information will be provided to students and families regarding graduation in the coming weeks.
We will continue to keep you informed of the status of the college, classes, and events over the next few weeks.
Information regarding VCOM Students
FAQs from Students About Graduation
Students pay a fee for graduation. Will there be a refund?
- The fee required of students for graduation covers many items that will still occur, including preparing final transcripts, mailings, regalia, speakers, faculty, and staff employee time in preparing all documents, final reviews ensuring all graduation requirements are met, preparing diplomas, diploma covers, mailings, regalia purchases and more.
- The amount of the actual ceremony (hall fees and food) is only a portion of the expense. VCOM has used the ceremony monies to prepare online meaningful graduation for our students so they have great memories of graduation and can celebrate with their graduation with family and friends when social distancing is no longer required.
- The ceremony will be in a format that can be available online for the remainder of the year and will be available for download by each student if desired. (This is a large file – so a student should plan for this if downloading).
- Although there is not a refund, in addition to the above preparations and curriculum delivery VCOM is sending each student a $300 credit card for the framing of diplomas. Any diploma fees that were already been paid, will be refunded. Students may use the card wherever or however they choose.
Will there be a refund for the last six weeks of required curriculum?
- There will be no refund of tuition, and instead, VCOM chose to ensure student education would continue and to ensure that all graduation requirements will be met.
- At the time of this decision, VCOM was certainly utilizing the most recent information we had from our accrediting bodies. While you may hear from some institutions that this occurred, those are primarily undergraduate institutions that did not have a method or workforce to provide the curriculum online or institutions that did not work to provide ongoing education.
- VCOM chose in March when students were removed from rotations (all students nationally) to provide a method where we could ensure the VCOM students would still meet their graduation requirements on time.
- The clinical administration, chairs, faculty, and staff quickly began working on all curricular requirements. Reviewing each student's schedules and assuring all requirements would be met by adjusting current curriculums to online knowledge and adjusting certain scheduled rotations, the Clinical Affairs department was able to ensure curricula existed for the remainder of each student’s education.
- Some curricula were created by faculty and staff, while others were purchased and selected, organized, and the method of delivery chosen by faculty. Regardless of the method, many faculty and staff hours were utilized to ensure each of the graduates could complete their requirements on time.
- VCOM takes pride that it has enough financial gifts and reserves to keep all the VCOM faculty and staff employed during this time and that we have avoided layoffs and loss of benefits, which are so crucial for employees during this time of need, nationwide. Our students, as a part of the institution, can be proud the College addressed the delivery of its curriculum as well as the continued support of the faculty and staff in this manner.
Why weren’t we allowed to remain on our clinical rotations where we could help with patients?
- VCOM considered whether the graduates should be in clinical learning environments where they might be exposed to the COVID-19 coronavirus, and in the best interest of the student, the administration and faculty determined to utilize online education for the remaining six weeks.
- VCOM chose to take this opportunity to develop a curriculum to prepare graduates with the best evidence-based medicine resources for treating patients with coronavirus, including engaging ID specialists with this preparation. This curriculum will be sent to each fourth-year student in the coming week.
- Recognizing that the NRMP has announced all graduates will be required to meet their contractual obligations for residency and begin on the date required by their programs, VCOM determined the graduates would need to at a minimum to self-quarantine for two weeks prior to starting in their new residency site if they had been seeing patients.
- As prior to graduation the student would be able to do very little without supervision; VCOM chose education online over clinical experience for the six-week period and ensured all students will be ready to begin their residency on their first day of contract (or orientation).
- If students have not done so already, they should contact their residency program as to travel restrictions. Many programs also require its residents to self-quarantine for two weeks after traveling from another state. Each individual will want to take every precaution to ensure they can begin their residency on time.
- While there may be some colleges who chose an easier way, VCOM followed the requirements of our accrediting body to ensure each student has met graduation requirements and to ensure you were ready to begin your residency on time!
What is being planned for graduation?
- A robust online graduation is scheduled. There will be the same welcome remarks from the administration, a graduation address, each graduate will be announced in the same manner as in the live ceremony and with a picture in cap or gown, and where the graduate was from prior and where each will be going next year. There will still be a reading of the Osteopathic Oath and the Conferring of the Degree. These will be followed by congratulations from various administration, faculty, and staff and photos that provide a trip down memory lane.
- The online graduation will be in segments so that if you do not wish to go through the list of graduates for the whole class (during your private celebrations), you do not have to.
- This production is very time-consuming by several departments (and expensive). Still, it will provide a great venue to view when celebrating with family and friends at a later date (such as a fall holiday – which is what some students have suggested).
- We are requesting that each graduate take their photo in the regalia, and email that photo to student affairs by the specified date to be sure the College can use that new graduation photo, rather than an older photo from its yearbooks. Students will receive further instructions on this.
- Be sure you have sent the College the address where to send the regalia – where you will be when the photo needs to be made and to send the photo back to the College on time!
- Once again, while many institutions have canceled graduations, VCOM chose to celebrate your graduation and we are very proud of the Class of pk彩票!!
How will this affect VCOM on-campus events?
All on-campus events including accepted students day, open house, all K6-12 school visits to the VCOM campus, and other group events including student events are canceled. Further information will be posted on the website and/or sent through email.
Are classes canceled?
VCOM classes will be administered online and students should find updates by daily emails and on Canvas, as soon as posting can begin. The Med-Ed department and faculty will communicate with students regarding their classes and all changes via email and on Canvas
Are there restrictions for access to College buildings?
All VCOM campus buildings are closed to all students. Only faculty and staff whose work must be done on campus will be granted access. Faculty and staff should seek further advisement from their Division Chairs, Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Associate Deans, and when required the Dean.
The Deans will be communicating often with the Associate Deans to assure classes are provided and all testing is conducted. Vice Presidents and Vice Provosts will send communications to their staff via email. Again, there have been no cases at VCOM and so faculty and staff should work from pk彩票 until they hear from their supervisor, however frequent on-campus visits and working may be required.
Is VCOM instituting any travel restrictions?
After in-depth assessment, VCOM has placed the following travel policy outlining requirements for faculty, students, and staff:
- Suspend all international travel. Please note that this includes personal travel and may require quarantine if traveling to and from a known risk area.
- All VCOM students who are on international rotations were required to return to the U.S. this weekend, March 13-15, pk彩票.
- Faculty, Staff, and Students who are considering domestic travel are strongly recommended to avoid airline travel, trains, buses, cruises, mass transit etc. if possible. Our basis for this conservative recommendation is due to the fact that keeping social distance from other individuals with unknown travel histories and medical histories is virtually impossible. In addition, being restricted to a set location in a confined area, such as being in an airplane, is a significant risk to you possibly acquiring an infection.
- If you are already traveling you should avoid known hot spots and regions/areas of known coronavirus. Keep in mind if exposed, self-quarantine is required upon return.
- It is recommended that all VCOM members take precaution regarding any social events. We recommend avoiding large gatherings and encourage keeping social distance from other individuals.
- As previously stated, please maintain proper hygiene such as frequent hand-washing, utilizing hand sanitizer, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- If you become ill, it is imperative to seek medical attention, get tested and attempt to avoid being around others so as not to enhance the spread of this virus.
- Faculty, staff, or students who believe that they have come into contact with or are diagnosed with COVID-19 must immediately self-identify to the Campus Dean through electronic communication and will be required to self-quarantine.
Faculty and Staff
Should employees report to work?
Essential faculty and staff should report to work at the discretion of each Division or Department head. All other employees should plan to work remotely but should communicate daily regarding tasks that are to be done.
It is the responsibility of faculty and staff, no matter the location, to have internet access to complete online requirements. If you do not have a laptop, you will need to contact your supervisor to see if one can be arranged. The College keeps laptops for loan on campus, but the number is limited.
You MUST keep in close contact with your supervisor and you may be required to come to the College campus on certain days when essential tasks and duties arise.
How will this affect upcoming open house events?
Open House events and Accepted Student Day have been postponed for all VCOM campuses until further notice. An online version is planned and open house information will be posted on the internet. Accepted students will receive an email from the Associate Dean.
Will campus visits and tours still be offered?
All campus visits and tours will be rescheduled.
Will interviews still be offered for prospective students?
You will be contacted by the Admissions department regarding arrangements for interviews. For the current time, all interviews will likely be done via Zoom videoconference. Candidates chosen will receive the information from the Associate Dean for Student Affairs or the Director of Admissions on the method of interview.
General Information About Coronavirus
What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, Chinapk彩票.
What are the symptoms and complications that COVID-19 can cause?
Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever1, cough, and difficulty breathing. Read about .
What do I do if I came in contact with someone who has COVID-19?
There is information for with a person confirmed to have, or being evaluated for, COVID-19 available online.