University of Medicine and Health Sciences
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UMHS COVID-19 COMMUNICATION


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Warren Ross

President


March 25, 2020, 5:00pm EST

Message from the President

Due to the current pandemic situation, we have an opportunity to introduce some important new developments for students starting the fifth semester in Portland, Maine in May 2020.

The recent introduction of remote, online learning together with remote examination processes to our basic science and Portland students provides opportunity for innovation.  As a result, we have changed the order of courses for the Portland semester to allow students to focus on USMLE Step 1 with the goal of improving their performance.

The Kaplan Live Online Review Program will take place before ICM, instead of after it, starting in May, 2020.

Currently our students in Maine are enjoying Kaplan Live Online and have been very happy with the quality of the program.  Since this will be an online course which also includes online testing, students will not be required to come to Maine in May. Once students complete this course and pass the Post Kaplan Qualifier Exam, they will qualify to sit for USMLE Step 1. 

Students will still be required to take the Kaplan Diagnostic Exam at the beginning of the Course.  Maine administration will use the diagnostic exam and be available for advice and assistance with student study plans for USMLE Step 1.

For the Spring 2020 cohort, the USMLE Step 1 will be a pre-requisite for ICM 2. There will not be an ICM 2 course offered over the summer.  Because students may not have taken and passed Step 1 by September, we will be offering two sessions of ICM 2 in the Fall; one starting in September and the other in the beginning of November. At this stage, it is planned that the ICM 2 will be a live on-site course at the Maine Campus.

This new development provides several advantages for our students. There will be a continuous learning process from the Basic Science Program to the Kaplan Review Program, allowing for progressively intensive preparation for the USMLE Step 1. This is the primary goal of this particular stage of your training. Overall, we believe that this new approach will enhance learning and provide additional opportunity for success on Step 1.

In order to accommodate those who pass Step 1 after the September start date, students will be permitted to enroll in the next available ICM 2 course which will be either in November or January 2021.  In the Fall of 2020, both sessions will be 8 weeks in duration, which gives us an opportunity to offer two sessions.  Starting in September we will incorporate Kaplan’s I Human Patient into the course which is a substantial enhancement.

Students starting the 5th semester in September 2020 will have an 8-week ICM 2 course followed by a 6-week Kaplan Live online course. 

Starting in January 2021 we will resume our standard curriculum with a 10-week ICM 2 course followed by a 6-week Kaplan program in Maine. 

The above description lays out the important principles of the proposed developments; the timeline is laid out in more detail below.

Timeline

  • Online Preregistration - The registrar will notify students of dates and process
  • April 30th: Kaplan Diagnostic Exam
  • May 1st to June 7th: 6-week Kaplan Review Program Live Online followed by the Post Kaplan Qualifier Exam
  • June 11th: Kaplan Qualifier Exam; other dates for retaking Post Kaplan Qualifier Exam will be available
  • Sign up for USMLE Step 1:  First Window July-September; further instruction for signing up will come from the registrar’s office
  • September 1st to Oct 20th: ICM 2 (8-week course) Session A; Students that start ICM 2 in September will then proceed to the Live Online Kaplan course which can be completed remotely.  Testing will also occur remotely.
  • November 1st to Dec 22nd: ICM 2 (8-week course) Session B; This ICM 2 session will be for those students from the Spring semester who passed the USMLE Step 1.
  • January 5th 2021 to March 9th 2021:  ICM 2 in Maine (10 weeks)
  • March 10th 2021 to April 22nd 2021:  Kaplan 6-week course live in Maine.

Given the current circumstances, we feel that this approach is the preferred way forward to continue learning and provide quality medical education in these exceptional circumstances.

No doubt there will be a number of questions relating to the above proposal, and below, is a series of emails where further information can be obtained.

We wish you well in the next stage of your training.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Patrice Thibodeau, Director of the Maine Campus, UMHS

Dr. David Graham, Provost, UMHS

Warren Ross, President, UMHS

Helpful Email Contacts

 

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March 23, 2020, 12:30pm EST

An important message for all UMHS clinical students     


We have been monitoring the Coronavirus pandemic very closely, regularly reviewing the advice from the CDC and other agencies, as well as examining the scientific evidence which is being accumulated. We have also been in contact with the hospitals which deliver our clinical placements.

With regards to the Clinical Program, we have been made aware that in many situations, the delivery of healthcare in hospitals across the US is under considerable pressure and hospitals have already advised that they are unable to sustain clinical placements and continue to deliver quality education to students, given the current situation.

The rationale for such decisions relate to patient safety and the safety of students, staff and faculty. The provision of appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) is also an important consideration in many instances.

For all of the above reasons, while we would wish to continue with medical education, we have taken the decision that all clinical rotations and clinical contact should be suspended for a period of 30 days, after which time the decision will be reviewed. 

There are a small number of students whose rotations are almost complete, and in specific instances, if it is safe to do so, those rotations may be completed. However, this would be exceptional, and could only occur if it were safe and specifically approved by the Dean of Clinical Sciences and the hospital site concerned. There will be no new assignments to rotations at this stage.

During this period, when rotations are paused or suspended, please continue your personal studies and if there are some specific areas of study or development, for example, a research project or audit, which could be carried out without patient contact, we would be pleased to hear from you and consider approving that proposal. US medical schools are exploring the possibility of developing online clinical alternatives which we are monitoring closely.  We will be providing further updates on this possibility in the near future.

If you have specific questions, please get in touch with:


Students can also make use of the Student Portal.

Please take every precaution to remain safe individually and collectively, follow CDC advice, act in a professional manner and help others where possible.

We wish you well at a very difficult time.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Warren Ross, President, UMHS
Dr George Shade, Dean of Clinical Studies, UMHS
Dr David Graham, Provost, UMHS

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March 19, 2020, 12:00pm est

Update for students in clinical rotationsUMHS is currently following the protocol set by each hospital while being mindful of the guidelines set by the CDC, WHO, and various other organizations handling the situations surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19). If a hospital site is still accepting students, we expect the student will attend that rotation as scheduled. This policy may be subject to change at any time as we continue to follow the current state of events around the country. We also do not want to force students to stay in their rotation if they do not feel that is a viable option for themselves. In this case, please contact Brandy Admendares, Assistant Director of Clinical Placement, as soon as possible.

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March 18, 2020, 2:00pm est

Message from the President

Recent reports from the CDC indicate that we will see a significant spike in confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the next 30 days. To reduce the spike, state, local, and the federal government are taking drastic action which will have significant impact on all of us.  We believe that UMHS should take similar action to protect our students as well as the UMHS community.  As a result, we have decided that the university will continue with our distance learning format for the May semester and students will not be required to return to St. Kitts.  We will continue to monitor this situation and will be providing periodic updates.  Please stay safe and healthy.  I have listed below the most current recommendations from the CDC.

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March 18, 2020, 10:00am est

Message from the President

We have been working around the clock to find a solution to our examination issue so that students wouldn’t have to return to St. Kitts for block examinations and finals.  This solution eliminates the need for unnecessary travel, further protects our students and community from the risk of obtaining and or spreading the virus, and ensures continuity of your education.

Yesterday we finalized our agreement with ExamMonitor to offer an online solution which will be fully implemented for ARP and all courses in the Basic Science Program.  ExamMonitor is the AI-driven remote proctoring solution that continuously observes exam takers with video and audio monitoring throughout the entire exam. This eliminates the need for in-person proctoring and provides absolute confidence in the integrity of all your exams. 

With regards to shelf examinations we are in direct contact with NBME to determine if they have a solution.  We expect to have a response from them by the end of the week.  It is my understanding that the NBME currently utilize Prometric sites to offer a variety of examinations including the Basic Science Comprehensive, Clinical Comprehensive, Clinical Shelf Examinations, and USMLE Step 1 and 2.  Yesterday we received notice that these sites may be closed until the middle of April due to the virus.  We expect a response from them on Friday with regards to offering the NBME Custom Assessment and Shelf Examinations.  If they do not have a viable option, we will be offering our own final examinations this semester utilizing ExamMonitor.

I have copied below a notice from NBME:

"Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: Prometric Closures 

Prometric announced today that test centers in the United States and Canada will be closed for a period of 30 days, starting March 18.

The USMLE program is working on a plan to extend the eligibility periods of all examinees impacted. More information will be posted as it is available.  If your students have questions, we kindly ask them to wait for our next announcement before contacting their registration entity. This will allow us more time to plan a solution for all examinees impacted by the closures. Please continue to check the USMLE website and our social media for updates. 

If your examinees are scheduled to take a USMLE examination in a region outside the United States and Canada, please have them check the Prometric website for the most current list of test center closures before going to the test center on their scheduled test day.

Thank you for your patience, cooperation, and understanding during this challenging time."

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March 16, 2020, 9:30am est

Message from the President

On Saturday March 14th, I announced new campus actions designed to help limit coronavirus (COVID-19) risk on campus. There are no confirmed cases on our campus or on Island at this time; however, as local, national, and global public health recommendations shift to include mitigation of transmission, the campus is proactively taking steps that will help to protect our students, staff, and faculty.

These changes will take affect starting today, Monday March 16th and will continue until such time as it is safe to resume classes on St. Kitts.

Instruction

  • Beginning Monday, March 16th, we will be suspending all in-person classes and will be offering ALL lecture and lab courses including ARP (through alternative modalities (e.g., Zoom, Blue Button, course capture, etc.) starting Tuesday March 17th. Students, please look for communications from instructors about plans for individual courses.
  • Instructors who do not have remote learning processes in place by March 17th will be given an additional day during which they may cancel classes, to allow them time to establish such processes and to ready their course(s) for resumption online by Wednesday, March 18th. Students, please look for communications from instructors about plans for individual courses.
  • The university is actively looking at solutions for on line testing and or use of testing centers for students returning home. We should have an update on our progress mid week and we feel optimistic that a solution will be found.

Campus Operations

  • The campus is not closing. Campus buildings will remain open, and many campus operations will proceed normally, including the library and learning resource center.

We understand that implementing these changes with such limited notice will have broad impacts and will be challenging and disruptive for many of you, and we appreciate your patience and cooperation. We are grateful to the staff throughout our campus for their tremendous efforts on our behalf during these challenging times especially the faculty and IT staff who are working at break neck speed to roll out our new distance learning platform. I have attached a fact sheet on COVID-19. I would highly recommend that you monitor the CDC website for the most current and up to date information on the virus. I wishing you all good health during this trying time.

Question of comment?


Student and staff safety is our top priority. If you have a question, concern or comment about any health or safety issue, please let us know. 

 

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Additional resources

Provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventions, and Johns Hopkins University

 

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