Informing faculty, staff and students about comprehensive plans for medical student education as a result of COVID-19
A message from Dr. Paul M. Wallach
I wish to express my sincere gratitude to all of you for your dedication and leadership to our School and learners during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While our educational program has never fully stopped, we have convened a group of colleagues from across the School and health system to provide guidance for our educational programs during the pandemic. This is similar to the Research Restart Committee.
Education Restart is:
- Providing oversight and guidance for COVID-19 impact on education programs now and ongoing;
- Assisting and answering questions, reflecting guidelines from IU Restart Committee Recommendations; and
- Integrating efforts already underway in a cohesive manner.
The Education Restart Committee has met several times, and will continue to meet every few weeks, as long as there are issues to address. Because the situation is fluid, information provided is subject to change based on new information or circumstances. We will do our best to keep you informed.
Updates as of March 11th, 2021, 12:27 p.m. EDT
Return to allowing indoor co-curricular activities
Using the already established co-curricular event approval system, students will be allowed to organize and gain approval for in-person events following the same COVID-19 safety procedures that were successfully used in the fall semester. In-person events would resume on or after February 22 (to coincide with in-person MS1 FCP small group sessions). Strict oversight would remain in place and gatherings over 25 would be strongly discouraged and would need to be approved through the IUPUI or regional campus system before even being considered by IU School of Medicine.
Optional in-person Connection Community wellness activities will be allowed
All Indianapolis students will be required to join a Connection Community group or schedule a 1:1 meeting with an MSE dean or director. Students and facilitators will be given the option of meeting in person or via zoom. It is completely their choice. All groups will start meeting on or after February 22 to coincide with MS1 small group FCP-1 instruction will also begin meeting in person. In-person sessions will follow appropriate COVID-19 safety guidelines, masking, 6 feet between seats, following the updated room capacity limits, etc. The groups would have a maximum of 12 individuals (10 students + 2 facilitators).
Statewide in-person Neuroscience and Behavior laboratory sessions with virtual option for students unable or uncomfortable with in-person
The Neuroscience and Behavior Course Management Team is permitted to conduct two, in-person laboratory sessions as part of the 2021 Neuroscience and Behavior course. These will be conducted in a socially distant manner, adhering to room capacities in all locations; faculty and students will wear masks and following other COVID safety precautions around sharing instruments and hand washing. The sessions are normally two hours and 15 minutes, and to conduct them safely, we will bring students into the labs in small groups for 45-minute sessions. Should conditions warrant, we are prepared to deliver this material virtually, as done in 2020.
Transitions 2 hybrid course of virtual and in-person experiences
- Required in-person encounters:
- Encounter with a simulated patient
- Safeguards for Procedures:
- Small Groups defined
- Large rooms to permit social distancing
- Sanitizer available
- Surgical Masks required
- Simulation equipment cleaned between users
Transitions 2.5 (Procedures prior to Phase 3)
Class of 2022 did not have procedures in Transitions 2 or anesthesia. Students have completed suturing and foley placement in their clerkships, but remaining airway and IV placement typically performed in anesthesia need to be completed. In-person Transition 2.5 will allow students to complete procedures they were unable to complete previously due to COVID restrictions.
In-person small group activities for new LEADS clinical excellence intensive pilot in May
LEADS clinical excellence intensive is a course elective aimed at underrepresented students to help build clinical excellence and diminish disparities within the 3rd year curricular experience. In person commitments will be for clinical rotations in the in-patient hospital setting within Internal Medicine and Pediatrics.
In-person orientation and required workshops will take place May 2and May 3. The orientation will be held in a large room that will maintain six feet of social distance for the students and speaker. Surgical masks will be worn at all times.
In-person final exam, program evaluation, closing will be held on May 14th. The exam will take place in a large room that will maintain social distancing requirements. Surgical masks will be worn at all times.
LEADS pre-matriculation program to be held for four weeks in July 2021
Opening session and orientation to the pre-matriculation program will take place in-person. The students will be broken into smaller groups.
In-person anatomy intensive over the 4-week program. We will follow existing Human Structure guidelines for social distancing while working with cadavers with 6 students per cadaver. Surgical masks required at all times.
Tutoring sessions will be in spaces with small numbers of students (6-8) that allow for social distancing. Surgical masked required at all times. In-person tutoring will allow the use of white boards and peer to peer teaching to help teach students how to actively study in groups and to overcome the apprehension of studying with others often reported by minoritized students due to imposter syndrome.
Education Restart Committee is open to proposals from Course Management Teams for more in-person small group sessions, following guidelines determined at this meeting.
Health Professions Program (HPP) & Master of Science in Medical Science (MSMS) Orientation
Undergraduate Health Professions Students
Radiography, Medical Imaging Technology (MIT) Nuclear Medicine Technology (NMT) and Radiation Therapy will participate in an in-person orientation. For these programs, orientation is typically a one-day event from 8am to 4pm. HPP will secure four separate locations to ensure COVID safety precautions for student groups of less than 20 to use separately. Radiography Program will be split in half, NMT and MIT students will be combined, and the final group will be Radiation Therapy.
Individual student pictures will be taken in a safe and socially distance manner. Faculty and staff will be limited in each location as needs arise. Some sessions could be run virtually with presenter in one of four locations or presenting from another location based on topic/session. 1-3 faculty/staff would be present in each room.
Master of Science in Medical Science program
Master of Science in Medical Science (MSMS) will participate in a hybrid orientation in June using small groups. Graduate students in the MSMS Program enroll in a summer MCAT Prep Course (June 14, 2021 – July 30, 2021). Leading up to the start of that course, students will participate in an orientation program that will run June 7-10, 2021.
For both the orientation and MCAT prep course, students will be divided into two smaller groups with an additional 1-2 faculty and staff (1 – 2 each session) in each room. For orientation, some of the presentations will be in-person, but some might choose to present virtually. Overall, the breakdown would be about 12-15 per room per session. All COVID safety precautions around social distance, mask wearing, hand washing and room cleaning would be followed.
Indiana University Medical Student Program for Research and Scholarship (IMPRS)
Undergraduate Health Professions Students
IMPRS will run virtually as it did last summer as the program was successful. Students will be allowed in labs if faculty followed Research Restart plans and student is added to research protocol and agrees to abide by rules. The following is the plan from the Indiana University Medical Student Program for Research and Scholarship (IMPRS) for rising second year medical students to conduct research and/or scholarly activities in summer 2021 under the mentorship of faculty on the campuses of IU School of Medicine.
- Plans for Summer 2021 and COVID-19 Protocols for Research Training:
- All seminars, orientations, meetings, and lectures will continue to be offered virtually via Zoom (and recorded).
- Research mentoring that can be conducted remotely will be the priority option for the mentor and mentee.
- As part of the program’s onboarding and acceptance process, the acceptance and agreement form that student/mentors sign will include a section stating they agree and will follow the COVID-19 safety guidelines, comply with the stated requirements listed on the Research Restart Guidelines link (https://research.iu.edu/coronavirus/research-restart-guidelines.html), and submit a brief description or plan for social distancing, PPE, etc.
- Research mentoring that requires in-person contact, special facilities, equipment, etc. can be conducted on campus provided the mentor and mentee abide the Research Restart Guidelines
- Mentors must also work with their departments/regional campuses for their protocols on conducting in-person research and training in both laboratory and clinical research areas.
- Student interns should be listed in the personnel plan for lab restart, and they should be given specific guidance by the PI about expectations, work scheduling, and who will be supervising their research activities on a daily basis.
Updates as of August 21st, 2020, 12:27 p.m. EDT
Co-Curricular Activities Guidance
Co-curricular programs and activities will continue to be offered to enhance the medical school experience and to foster a sense of connection and belonging. Student organizations are strongly encouraged to hold their events and meetings using zoom or other virtual platforms. In order for any IUSM sponsored co-curricular activity for students to meet in person, on campus or off campus, the sponsoring student or student organization, faculty, staff or administrator must complete and submit an IUSM Event Request. Students, faculty and staff are required to follow IU, state and CDC guidelines and rules. It is the responsibility of the leaders/ organizers of the event to review and comply with the most up to date regulations and to fulfill the commitments outlined in the request form. The request process is as follows:
Complete and submit the IUSM Event Request form. This outlines responsibilities of the event organizer(s) and requests detailed information, including a compelling reason to be in-person, and an attestation that all guidelines will be followed. Requests will be electronically processed. Event organizers are encouraged to apply with as much lead time as possible, maybe even a month. People involved will do their best to review promptly, but this is a multi-step process.
Regional Campus Requests: These requests require approval by the regional campus, IUSM Review Committee and EAD for Educational Affairs and Institutional Improvement.
Indianapolis Campus Requests: These requests require approval by the IUSM Review Committee and EAD for Educational Affairs and Institutional Improvement.
The requestor and others involved in the review process will be notified of the outcome by email.
After approval by IUSM for events with 25 or more attendees, including staff and faculty, the event organizer must then submit the request to any host campus process, if one exists. For Indianapolis and Bloomington campuses, submit to the IU Event Request Committee. Other campuses, check with their contact below:
Bloomington: Beth Murray, firstname.lastname@example.org
Evansville: Jamie Henderlong, email@example.com
Ft. Wayne: Bob Sweazey, firstname.lastname@example.org
Muncie: Derron Bishop, email@example.com
Northwest/Gary: Elizabeth Ryan, firstname.lastname@example.org and Dawn Ilgenfritz, email@example.com
South Bend: Kristina Borger, firstname.lastname@example.org
Terre Haute: Peter Duong, email@example.com
West Lafayette: Jayne Rayman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Initial discussion with these regional campus contacts may be helpful as well.
Student Mask Policies: Updated from 8/3/2020
Face coverings are required at all times when in public areas to maximally protect those around you and yourself. This includes in all hallways, elevators, public spaces, common areas, and classrooms in all IU buildings and those of the affiliated university campuses. Masks will be expected when in all clinical settings as well. There will be consequences for those who choose not to wear a mask and put themselves and the community at risk as outlined in these new policies.
Education Participation During COVID-19
During the COVID-19 pandemic, all necessary precautions are being taken to mitigate risk and keep students safe, including requirements for social distancing and wearing masks as instructed inside buildings and outdoors. (Read full policy here).
- Students with disabilities or medical conditions that may interfere with their ability to progress or successfully complete the curriculum and who need accommodations (potentially including temporary medical leaves of absence) should submit their requests to the Assistant Dean for Academic Advising (email@example.com or 317-274-1963) as soon as practical.
- The IU School of Medicine Disabilities Accommodations Committee (DAC) reviews all requests for accommodations and will work with students to determine if reasonable accommodations that do not fundamentally alter the curriculum can be implemented. Due to illness or immunocompromised states, students may need to take a short-term leave of absence (LOA). Contact the Assistant Dean for Academic Advising for assistance.
As previously communicated, Phase 1 curriculum will primarily be virtual/online with the exception of necessary in-person experiences, and these will be completed by the end of October. Small group sessions for FCP may meet in person, with proper distancing and PPE, to enhance class dynamics and engagement. All educational plans are subject to change based on safety issues.
I have COVID symptoms or think I have been exposed. Where do I go to get tested?
Learners: If you have COVID symptoms, or believe you have been infected, please report your symptoms to IU School of Medicine Student Health at firstname.lastname@example.org (317-274-8214) and the IU Health Virtual Screening Clinic (also found at one.iu.edu, search “COVID” and click on COVID Health Service). If you tested positive somewhere else (i.e., did not use the IU Health Virtual Screening clinic), please complete the COVID-19 Self Reporting Form. Your actions will help IU School of Medicine respond quickly to protect students, faculty and staff. Read more information on IU’s COVID-19 website.
Faculty and Staff: Report your symptoms to the IU Health Virtual Screening Clinic
I’ve tested positive, now what?
Guidelines on exposure and quarantine for faculty, students, residents, staff, etc. have been developed.
As COVD restrictions continue, there may be situations where students are relocating to another campus for a clinical rotation and want to room together in a double occupancy accommodation. The IU on-campus housing policy has been modified for IU School of Medicine purposes, and students wishing to room together in IUSM-sponsored housing must complete this form. Check with your regional clinical coordinator for more information.
Updates as of July 20th, 2020, 12:39 p.m. EDT
PLANNING FOR THE MD CURRICULUM: MD STUDENTS RETURN TO CLINICAL ENVIRONMENT
Phase 2 and 3 students returned to the clinical environment June 29 to take clerkships, sub-I’s, and electives. Clinical operations at our health systems have normalized, allowing interaction with patients appropriate for the educational experiences. PPE is adequate. COVID testing systems for all campuses are being arranged.
PLANNING FOR THE MD CURRICULUM: PHASE 1
The Phase 1 curriculum is ready to begin. Several principles underpin the approach:
- Content that requires physical presence, such as anatomy lab and POCUS, will be completed by the end of October, so that if there is another surge or as flu season begins, the rest of the content can be completed online/virtually if necessary.
- Given the requirements for social distancing, all large group sessions will be presented virtually.
- The committee approved small group sessions for FCP to meet in person, with proper distancing and PPE, to enhance class dynamics and engagement, subject to change based on safety issues. Other small groups are planned via Zoom.
Additional information being communicated to undergraduate medical students can be found on the COVID-19 page for students.
STUDENT STUDY SPACE
By Friday, July 17, space on regional campuses will be reconfigured for appropriate physical distance to allow students to return to study on campus if they wish. Students will follow personal hygiene recommendations for masks, social distancing and handwashing.
HEALTH PROFESSIONS PROGRAMS
The committee approved a proposal to restart four summer programs, and an approach to restart nine programs for fall 2020-spring 2021, following IUPUI guidelines and calendar for didactic and lab components. Didactic will be delivered virtually. Lab will be delivered with appropriate precautions, and Clinical within IU School of Medicine guidelines. Each program will develop a summary and submit to Assistant Dean Marti Reeser.
COMMUNITY RESPONSIBILITY AGREEMENT (CRA)
Masks must be worn. Surgical masks are required for patient care and in buildings where patient care may take place; cloth masks are appropriate for non-patient care and administrative buildings. Two cloth masks have been ordered for each person through a centralized IU process, and will be delivered to appropriate units (regional campuses, MSE for Indy, Graduate Studies, HPP, etc.) this month. Face coverings are required in all hallways, elevators, public spaces, common areas, and spaces where social distancing is not possible.
HANDWASHING AND CLEANING SPACE
Regular hand washing is recommended. Cleaning supplies will be available on campus.
STUDENT COVID PRETESTING
Currently, IU School of Medicine does not require students to get COVID tests before returning to campus. Purdue is requiring for IUSM-West Lafayette campus, and students there should follow local guidance.
IU School of Medicine is following IU guidance regarding occupancy, and will use the appropriate roommate agreement form when two students are sharing a single apartment with common areas. As of July 20, the form is being finalized.
STUDENT SCREENING, TESTING, TRACKING
IU has a contract with IU Health for COVID screening, testing and tracking for students, faculty and staff who are showing signs of COVID.
Services available here.
Services on regional campuses without IUH clinical partners are being finalized. Guidelines on exposure and quarantine for faculty, students, residents, staff, etc. have been developed.
We expect that there may be some challenges in the implementation of testing as it is not fully arranged yet. Campus Response Units are being developed to help report on and handle COVID positive cases on campuses.
STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH
The pandemic contributes to additional stress and anxiety for our community. Mental health services and resources, including virtual visits, are available through the school’s Department of Mental Health. A mental health crisis line is available to all trainees at 317-278-4357 (HELP).
The Graduate Studies division has a number of wellness resources for students and faculty, including Café Connection, open social hours for graduate students daily on Zoom; resilience groups for small groups of students to connect with a licensed counselor; and sessions to support virtual mentoring. Findings from a survey on the impacts of COVID-19 on wellness are near final.
FACULTY/STAFF RETURN TO CAMPUS
All faculty and staff who can do their jobs remotely will continue to work remotely. Supervisors may designate individuals as necessary, and may assign individuals to return to campus. Similarly, a supervisor may feel that having a presence in an office is important and may rotate members of the staff to share that responsibility. For questions, contact the HR partner in your unit.
The Coalition for Physician Accountability published guidelines for both UME and GME related to interviewing and visiting rotations. In keeping with COPA recommendations, IU School of Medicine will conduct only virtual interviews for all programs, including MD admissions and residency interviews. Both incoming and outgoing visiting rotations are suspended except in very limited circumstances. These approaches apply to both UME and GME. The impact of COVID-19 restrictions on IUSM’s Kenya program is being carefully monitored to determine when the School can safely restart faculty and resident exchange.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENT VISAS
Latest information suggests that the U.S. will not enact rules that would have threatened international students in virtual programs.
Submit questions here.