Information for Staff and Students

COVID-19

Information for Staff and Students

COVID-19

A Message from Executive Dean Mark Rosenblatt

May 15, 2020

Coronavirus COVID-19

The University of Illinois College of Medicine, in concert with the University of Illinois at Chicago, continues to monitor the outbreak of the novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease. The College of Medicine is taking the necessary precautions to provide a safe environment while continuing our daily education and research activities.

Learn more at the UIC website about COVID-19, where you will find campus updates, UIC resources and community support information, and additional links to information about COVID-19.

College of Medicine Frequently Asked Questions for Students

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

For Students

Phase 1 (and Urbana M2) curriculum: It is becoming clear that the portions of the curriculum that would necessitate in-person attendance comprise a very small number of hours in a typical week. We also understand the concerns some of you have expressed about being apart from family members during the pandemic. We have therefore decided to forgo any mandatory in-person curricular activities, at minimum until the beginning of Block 5 for M1 students (April 27) and the beginning of the Transitions to Clerkship course for M2 students (April 6). Among the implications of this decision:

  • We are collaborating with other UIC health science colleges to explore the acquisition of software that would allow secure, online examination administration.
  • Students in prior years have found some of the activities we were planning to continue during this interval – e.g., the DoCS physical examination workshops – to be very valuable, and they cannot be replicated online. This is one example – there will likely be others – of activities that we will be planning to reschedule later in the curriculum. For this example of the physical examination workshops, they might be offered as an activity within the Phase 2 Clinical Connections & Competencies course for the Class of 2022.
  • The education deans and course directors are continuing to assess whether aspects of the Block 5 curriculum, such as gross anatomy, will require students’ presence on campus.
  • M2 students are currently scheduled to return on April 6, to begin the Transition to Clerkships course. It is likely that we will be able to offer most activities remotely, but some issues remain, most notably our affiliated hospitals’ requirement for Basic Life Support certification. Once plans for the course are solidified, we will be able to communicate with more certainty the date the M2 students must return.
  • If you do travel to be with family during the intervals described here, remember to be mindful of the risks of being quarantined upon your return, resulting in postponement of a clerkship or other on-site activities, should your destination become an area at risk in the meantime.

You will soon be receiving from your campus curriculum deans a calendar of scheduled online events and other details.

Finally, and perhaps the most complex challenge we will face in the coming months, we have learned that some Prometric Testing Centers, where the USMLE Step 1 exam is administered, have announced closures. This may become an issue of national importance for all medical schools and their students.  It is too early to anticipate details of our response to this development, but we will involve student leadership in our decision-making and will continue to keep you all informed along the way.

All clinical clerkships, both required and elective

  • A two-day “holiday”: Monday March 16 and Tuesday March 17 will be “clerkship holidays,” with no student participation in either clinical activities or conferences. The orientations for those rotations that begin tomorrow are postponed until Wednesday. Other clerkships in mid-rotation may also wish to re-orient students to their new plans at this time.
  • Clerkship activities will resume on Wednesday March 18but without on-site clinical responsibilities of any kind. That is, we will temporarily re-create our clerkship curricula in an online format, to the greatest extent possible. Your clerkship directors in the core Phase 2/M3 clerkships have already been working on migrating didactic sessions online and should be able to implement these very soon. In addition, each clerkship already has access to virtual case modules and other alternatives to direct clinical experiences and will be incorporating them into the plan. Additional means of communicating with your faculty and peers (e.g., case conferences) will be developed as soon as is feasible, for both core required clerkships and electives. Your clerkship directors will be contacting you regarding these details. ur overall goal is to provide as much academic content as possible during this interval, recognizing of course that there is no complete substitute for true clinical experience.
  • The timeline for resuming normal clerkship activities is at this point very uncertain. We plan to continually reassess the situation, in parallel with the responses of our affiliated health systems and in light of the progress – and hopefully early resolution – of the pandemic experience in Illinois. With this in mind, we ask that you plan to remain in the area during this interval, so as to be able to return to full clerkship activity when this becomes possible.
  • You will remain registered in your current clerkships and will receive full credit, provided you fulfill the clerkship requirements as adjusted for the online environment. In addition, we are committed to ensuring that no one’s graduation is postponed due to any of the alterations we make in the curriculum. There will be other questions – about assessment, about the implications for letters of recommendation for residency, etc. – that we will address in the coming days, in collaboration with our colleagues in the relevant professional organizations across the country who are faced with these same challenges.

Non-clerkship clinical activities: Student involvement in clinical care outside that provided by clinical care teams should be postponed for now. This will include clinical shadowing, clinical encounters that are part of the DoCS course in Phase 1, and volunteer efforts by students.

You will find here guidance on accessing information and care for UI medical and graduate students who have questions about possible COVID-19 exposure and/or medical services. There are also recommendations on contacting Student Affairs at your site should you need to be away from the curriculum for health related reasons.

Some basics:

  • When you call, please identify yourself as a medical or graduate student seeking information for your own healthcare.
  • Coverage for these services if needed is provided under Student Health benefits or your Insurance benefit as for other illnesses, and can be clarified by the appropriate clinic.
  • The phone number on the diagram for Telephone Triage is the place to start for non-emergent information and care.
  • Details of CampusCare coverage
  • For UI COM students whose secondary insurance is a plan other than CampusCare, details of your plan coverage can be found at the plan website.

International and domestic travel poses risks for exposure to COVID-19. For students planning travel, currently traveling, or recently returned:

  • If you have traveled recently to any CDC level 3 countries (currently South Korea, China, Italy and Iran, but check here), whether for professional or personal reasons, must contact Student Health Services at 312-996-2901 and will be required to self-quarantine off-campus for 14 days BEFORE returning to campus. More information about the Self-Quarantine Protocol can be found online.
  • All international rotations or other international travel on university business should now be cancelled.
  • We are discouraging both international and domestic travel for personal reasons. Please consider the risk of being quarantined upon your return, resulting in postponement of a clerkship or other on-site activities, should your destination become an area at risk in the meantime.

Guiding Principles

The Volunteer Guiding Principles are meant to maximize personal safety while volunteering. The document is reflective of input from students, faculty, and College of Medicine leadership across the campuses and is in response to the requests and opportunities for medical student volunteers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

General Information

If you are not already on a roster of student volunteers, and you would like to sign up to volunteer within the College of Medicine and/or UI Health, please send an email to Beth Wrona Murphy ([email protected]) with your name, year, contact details, and availability, and we will expedite the volunteer registration process in order to enable you to participate more immediately.

For any general questions regarding student volunteering during the COVID pandemic or any questions regarding a specific opportunity, please also contact Beth Wrona Murphy ([email protected]).

Viral Transport Medium

Dr. Bellur Prabhakar has been tasked with providing Viral Transport Medium (VTM) for use in our state’s COVID-19 testing efforts.

Volunteers are requested to report to campus, under Dr. Prabhakar’s guidance/supervision, to work in his lab on the eighth floor of the College of Medicine Research Building. There will be NO direct patient contact, and we will schedule only three volunteers at a time to allow for appropriate social distancing within the lab space.

Volunteers will engage in a simple procedure of using a biosafety cabinet to dispense 3ml of the medium into a vial for packaging. Volunteers will be asked to work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (including lunch break). If your schedule requires flexibility, but you remain interested, we can discuss scheduling you for part of the day. At the moment, we are looking to schedule volunteers for this week – and can determine the frequency for need moving forward.

Please contact Dr. Prabhakar directly via email with interest: [email protected]

21st Center Good Neighbor Program

The University of Illinois Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy and Public Health are collaborating with Lifescape Community Services to develop the 21st Century Good Neighbor Program to alleviate senior citizen social isolation and fear/anxiety during the COVID-19 crisis. They are looking for student, faculty, and staff volunteers to make phone calls to Lifescape clients who reside in Northwestern Illinois (8 counties). The purpose of this program is to identify concerns/questions that Lifescape clients may have about health care and social issues.

Volunteers are asked to commit one hour of time per week to check-in on Lifescape clients by making weekly phone calls (phone call scripts will be provided to guide these phone conversations). All volunteers will need to complete the following training :

  • Zoom session training (30 minutes). A schedule will be sent to volunteers.
  • Complete and sign volunteer application package

Please sign up using this Google form

Mile Square Food Pantry Delivery and/or Case Management

Mile Square Health Center is looking for student volunteers to help with case management for the Mile Square Food pantry and also to assist with packaging and distribution of food. Volunteers are asked to commit approximately 2 to 8 hours/week. If you are a student at the College of Medicine and you have interest in helping with this project, please contact: Dr. Sodabeh Etminan at [email protected]

Or, you can sign-up via the Google Doc sign-up sheet.

For Everyone

The Centers for Disease Control has issued various travel recommendations, including certain restrictions on entry to the United States from certain countries. You can learn more from the CDC website on travel as well as the CDC’s FAQ for Travelers. We ask that individuals carefully consider their destinations for personal travel and investigate restrictions or quarantine measures that may be recommended or required by the CDC upon arrival or return.

Events and Gatherings

The College made the difficult decision to not conduct in-person Match Day events across its campuses. Instead, virtual Match Day festivities took place.  Students received their Match Day results via email. Visit the Match Day 2020 website to see more.

The traditional day when prospective students who have interviewed initially with the College of Medicine and are welcomed back for a second visit will have in-person visits canceled. Efforts are being made to arrange virtual visits.

The College of Medicine celebrated traditional events such as Match Day, campus convocations and commencement virtually.

The College conducted its first-ever live virtual commencement on Friday, May 8.