COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Updates
See also: Information for Parents
To our RUSM Community:
The health, safety, and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and the communities in which we serve are of utmost importance to us. As we continue to monitor the rapidly evolving public health situation, please know that we are taking the necessary precautions to lower the risk of exposure and do our part to curb the spread of the virus.
On March 13, 2020, we made the decision to shift all courses online for the remainder of the semester. We believe this decision is consistent with best practices from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), will best protect our RUSM community.
While the news and virus itself can be disruptive to our everyday lives, our focus remains clear: we will continue to impart the knowledge, skills, and values required for our students to become successful physicians while prioritizing our students’ well-being. We are very fortunate that the strength of our online education capabilities enables us to be agile and adaptable, providing a high-quality learning experience. Our learning management system is built to fully support online education, and our faculty are prepared to serve our students in interactive, virtual environments.
While we approach this changing public health situation with great confidence in our education abilities, we empathize with our students, faculty, staff, and communities. Certainly, no one is immune to the stresses of balancing life’s priorities or this significant change. We are here to answer questions, and to help guide and support our students every step of the way.
Passion for our mission and unwavering commitment to our students’ health, safety, and education journey are at the heart of what we do. We are grateful to have your trust and appreciate your patience and flexibility as we navigate this unprecedented time together.
Fall 2020 Semester
No. Over the past several months, COVID-19 has significantly disrupted the availability of standardized medical school admissions tests, such as MCAT. As a result, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) has elected to waive the standardized admission test requirement for impacted applicants who are applying for the September 2020 semester. Please submit your Fall application as soon as possible for consideration, and consult with an admissions colleague about your individual situation.
NOTE: Recent U.S. Department of Education guidance permits waiving the MCAT requirement for impacted applicants when related to continued COVID-19 related interruptions.
It will start online. RUSM has made the decision to start our medical sciences courses virtually for the Fall semester, beginning on September 7, 2020. Since we have already temporarily transitioned our medical sciences curriculum to an online-learning platform, we are well-prepared to continue to deliver an interactive and seamless online learning experience through the Fall semester for our students. We may consider a return to on-campus learning later in the semester, if it can be done safety and within the recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
No. Our medical sciences campus in Barbados is currently closed to students. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.
We do not know. We have begun to gradually reopen campus for essential operations and will expand access to students as local circumstances allow. Students can expect some ongoing restrictions, new safety protocols, and social distancing policies.
Students who had previously left may elect to return and take advantage of any campus amenities that have resumed. No one will be forced to move to Barbados during the middle of the semester.
Yes. If both your local government and Barbados lift international travel restrictions, then it is your right to move when you feel it is safe to do so. At this time, we do not know when the Barbados airport will resume international service.
There are several ways for you to connect with future classmates. One of the easiest ways to connect is to join one of RUSM’s private Facebook groups. If you have not received any invites, yet, please reach out to an admissions colleague at [email protected].
Frequently Asked Questions
According to the World Health Organization, common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. The CDC believes that symptoms may appear in as few as two days or up to 14 days after exposure.
RUSM is taking precautions to lower the risk of exposure and do our part to curb the spread of the virus. With this in mind, we are shifted all basic science courses for Barbados students to online delivery via Panopto for the remainder of the semester. We believe this decision, consistent with best practices from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) will best protect the Barbados community.
Since classes will be available online, students can choose to return home to finish out the semester or remain in Barbados. We ask that students consider the risk of traveling to the U.S. before making their decision.
While our Barbados campus is still operating, students are not permitted on site at this time. We are asking all students, including those who remain on island and those who have returned home, to continue to take precautions, including practicing social distancing.
Yes. The Villages of Coverley and the Coverley Square will remain open for students. If a student decides to return home for the remainder of the session, they will still be responsible for their rent and utility expenses.
If you choose to leave Barbados, please make arrangements for your pet or plan on bringing your pet along with you.
Precautions can be taken to minimize your risk and prevent exposure and spread of the disease. The CDC has published a medical decision-making tool that you can use to understand your risk, and which gives guidance based on risk.
It is important that we work together to take common sense precautions that can reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.
Per CDC guidelines
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, if soap and water are not available.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Clean and frequently disinfect common work surfaces.
If you or a family member develops a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a cough or shortness of breath, or are experiencing cold- or flu-like symptoms, work with to alert appropriate contacts and practice social distancing.
Travel Advice, including reduction:
We have been monitoring all government-issued travel guidance and have made the decision to follow the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s advice regarding travel to areas with increased risk of COVID-19, as follows:
RUSM has cancelled travel for all colleagues to countries that have been given a Risk Assessment Level 2 or higher travel advisory.
We strongly encourage students to follow the same guidance and carefully consider any travel between countries.
If you have traveled to any of the restricted countries, we ask that you notify [email protected] so we can take appropriate precautions.
All campus community activities are suspended until further notice. Students and colleagues will be notified via SIREN and email for information about activities resuming.
We are asking all students and colleagues to practice social distancing to reduce the likelihood of exposure or transmission. This includes postponing group meetings and other activities that require large groups to be confined in closed spaces. We have also restricted campus access for all non-essential employees and students.
RUSM has decided to continue to deliver medical sciences classes remotely for the start of the summer 2020 semester. When it is determined safe and appropriate to do so, we will plan to resume in-person instruction on campus, while continuing remote course delivery, around mid-semester.
As the global public health situation continues to evolve, our main priority is the health and safety of our students and their families, our colleagues and our community. With this is mind, RUSM has determined it is critical to cancel the May commencement ceremony. While your hard work deserves to be commemorated, we won’t be able to come together in person in May. The circumstances of this global health crisis mean we, as medical practitioners, need to lead by example in modeling social distancing and putting community safety first. We applaud our graduates for their perseverance and dedication to reaching this milestone in their medical training, and will reach out to them with an update on how we plan to celebrate at a later date. Please know, this in no way lessens the importance of our graduate’s accomplishment, and if anything, further demonstrates the critical need for exceptional healthcare professionals.
Match Day Celebrations: As per the prior communication, RUSM has canceled all Match Day parties. While we appreciate the sensitivity and gravity of this decision, they will not be rescheduled based on RUSM’s commitment to our community health. In lieu of the Match Day celebrations, we are exploring alternative ways to honor students and celebrate their great achievements. More details will be shared as they become available in the coming week.
Medical Sciences Updates
Panapto is now available for students to use while remote or off-island.
All lectures for March 16 and 17 have been posted to Panopto in their respective folders. Students will be responsible for learning and reviewing that material before live, virtual instruction resumes.
Virtual instruction will resume via live delivery on Wednesday, March 18.
Clinical and other community activities, including service-learning activities, are suspended until further notice.
Small group learning and peer tutoring (ATL) will resume beginning Wednesday, March 18.
Sessions will be delivered via WebEx or Zoom meetings to ensure ongoing support.
Beginning Wednesday, March 18, mandatory attendance is required for the following activities. Failure to attend will have penalties as outlined in the course syllabus.
o AIST and Harvey exams for 4X05 and SGL/ESP will be conducted via WebEx.
o All students will be required to attend CS activities remotely.
Physical examination skills for Semester 01 and 02 will be cancelled.
Further instructions will be sent out from Clinical Foundations.
Contingency planning for the administration of examinations is ongoing, with the primary goal of maintaining the majority of your current exam schedule.
There will be a change in dates for exams scheduled during the week of March 15. However, the anticipated delays will be minimal. The exact dates will be confirmed in the upcoming days. Please keep in mind that no exams will be scheduled for Monday, March 16 or Tuesday, March 17.
It is recommended that you continue your studies and be mindful of the current placement of exams, which will be conducted remotely. Communication from the Exam Center and E*Value will indicate exam dates and times, so please monitor these two applications closely.
Our Barbados campus is still operating, however, students are no longer permitted on site.
Our faculty and staff (except for those in roles essential to campus operations) have transitioned to remote work and are providing academic and operational support to students remotely.
Housing check out process information was emailed on March 14th, 2020, if you have any additional questions please contact [email protected]
For the Spring 2020 term, all students whose current cumulative Foundations of Medicine (FM) course score does not meet or surpass the calculated minimum passing score (MPS) will have the option to sit for the remediation exam, unless they have also failed to attain the MPS in their current Clinical Skills (CS) course and/or ELLS course. This includes students who have previously failed one or more semesters or previously taken the remediation exam.
With the exception of students in Semester 4 Standard Accelerated, any Semester 2 or 3 Standard Accelerated student who requests to sit for the Spring 2020 remediation exam will be required to switch to Ross+ (5-semester track) for the duration of their medical sciences semesters. This requirement applies to students who pass or fail the remediation exam.
Please note: Students who failed in the Standard Accelerated Curriculum and repeat in the Ross+ curriculum will be required to remediate all curricular content before the Grade Amnesty (grade replacement) policy will be applied. This may impact the student’s ability to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and the student will remain on academic probation until the failed semester is fully remediated. Students are strongly encouraged to refer to the RUSM Student Handbook for additional information regarding SAP and Grade Amnesty.
No. A student who has previously failed one or more prior semesters and fails the Spring 2020 remediation exam will be dismissed from RUSM. To return to the program, that student must submit a standard appeal for review. The standard appeals process requires the student to “sit out” a term (in this case the Summer 2020 semester) while the Student Promotions Committee (SPC) reviews the appeal and issues a decision. If the student is reinstated by SPC, he or she may resume classes in Fall 2020. Students who are at risk for dismissal should review their options regarding the submission of an expedited appeal or sitting for the remediation exam.
No. Students who pass the FM course but fail the CS and/or ELLS course are not eligible to sit for the remediation exam. If this is the student’s first medical science failure, the student will be required to repeat the semester for the Summer 2020 term. Repeating students will be required to enroll in the ELLS Page 2 of 4 course and will be placed on Academic Probation. Students who have previously failed a medical sciences semester will be dismissed and can submit either an expedited or standard appeal. The Office of the Registrar will notify students of their end-of-term status for Spring 2020. For students dismissed, information will be provided on how to submit an expedited appeal.
If you are unsure of your eligibility for the Spring 2020 remediation exam, please contact the Exam Center at [email protected]
Students will have two calendar days after their final FM course cumulative scores are released to elect the remediation option and inform the Exam Center ([email protected]) and [email protected] of this choice. The Exam Center will notify students via email once their FM course cumulative score is available and posted to myRoss.
Yes. Students will have two calendar days after the release of their final FM course cumulative scores to elect the remediation option and inform the Exam Center ([email protected]) and [email protected] of this choice. There will be no exceptions. The Exam Center will notify students via email once their FM course cumulative score is available and posted to myRoss. It is important that students monitor their email during this time so that they do not miss the deadline to register for the remediation exam.
Students in Semester 4 Standard Accelerated or Semester 5 Ross+ will sit for the remediation exam on Friday, April 24, 2020. The remediation exam for remaining students will be scheduled during the week of May 4, 2020. The Exam Center will notify students in advance of the specific date and time of their remediation exam.
The MPS for the remediation exam is 70.
FM01 students who attain a score of 70 or higher on the remediation exam will be assigned a letter grade of “P”.
FM02, FM03, FM04, FM05, FM2X, FM3X or FM4X students who attain a score of 70 or higher on the remediation exam will be assigned a letter grade of “C”. This policy change allows for a standard course grade rather than a remediated grade. If you pass the Spring 2020 semester by remediation exam, your transcript will treat that as a standard pass and not a remediated one.
No. Please read the notification from the Office of the Registrar in its entirety. As stated in the notification under “Remediation Exam Participation – Registration Status”:
If you are participating in the remediation exam, your registration will reflect that you are repeating the semester until you successfully pass the remediation exam. Upon passing the Page 3 of 4 exam, the Office of the Registrar will update your registration to reflect advancement to the next semester.
If you have questions regarding your status for Summer 2020, please contact the Office of the Registrar at [email protected]
Students who failed their first medical sciences semester in Spring 2020 can opt to sit for the remediation exam or decide to repeat the entire semester for the Summer 2020 term.
If a student fails the remediation exam, the student will be given the option of being enrolled to repeat the failed semester* or of withdrawing with full refund of any tuition, fees, or housing costs for the new term.
*Students who fail the remediation exam and repeating the semester may only continue in Ross+ and will be enrolled in the ELLS course. Repeating students will be placed on Academic Probation until they successfully remediate and are meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress. Please note students who fail in the Standard Accelerated curriculum track but repeat in the Ross+ curriculum track must repeat the failed semester and pass the subsequent semester to qualify for the Grade Replacement policy. This may impact a student’s Satisfactory Academic Progress. Please refer to the RUSM Student Handbook for more information.
Students who decide to withdraw from RUSM after failing the remediation exam must submit a request to withdraw to [email protected] prior to the start of the new semester to avoid incurring any tuition, fees, or housing costs for the new term.
If a student fails the remediation exam, and it is the second (or more) medical sciences semester failure, the student will be dismissed. As noted, a student who has elected to remediate by exam will not be eligible for an expedited appeal. Upon dismissal, the student still can submit a standard appeal. You will be required to sit out for the Summer 2020 term as the Student Promotions Committee reviews your appeal and makes a decision. Students subject to dismissal are not allowed to withdraw. The Office of the Registrar will notify you of your dismissal status and provide instructions on how to file a standard appeal.
Yes. Taking a previous remediation exam does not disqualify you from taking the Spring 2020 remediation exam. Additionally, taking the remediation exam at the conclusion of the Spring 2020 semester does not preclude you from taking a future remediation exam. This is a standalone exception for this Spring 2020 term.
Yes. Students may contact the Academy for Teaching and Learning at [email protected] to discuss options and obtain academic advising. However, you must still request to sit for the remediation exam within two calendar days of receiving your FM grade notification from the Exam Center. Page 4 of 4 Are these changes to the remediation exam policy only applicable to the Spring 2020 term? Yes. These changes are only valid for the Spring 2020 semester and RUSM will revert to the current policy, as written in the handbook, for subsequent terms.
The Internal Medicine Foundation (IMF) clerkship program is currently suspended. Students registered for an upcoming IMF session will receive further instructions and be notified once RUSM determines it is safe and appropriate to continue this rotation.
We recommend students adjust any current travel plans for Florida and wait to establish new ones until more information is provided. Canadian and international students with immigration questions can email [email protected].
RUSM and our hospital partners continue to follow guidance from the AAMC and LCME in determining the best time to reschedule IMF. At this time, RUSM and Cleveland Clinic Florida have not set this date. We will provide these details when they become available.
Clinical Sciences Update
At this time, RUSM continues to remain committed to our student’s health and safety. Additional information will be made available as the situation evolves.
RUSM is closely following guidance from the AAMC and LCME as well as national leaders as it relates to clinical clerkships. We have asked all students to discontinue attending their clinical rotations until further notice. In the interim, students have been participating in a series of online electives through RUSM-affiliated hospital partners and associated with their ACGME-recognized programs.
RUSM understands the sensitivity to the continued perseverance of our students working toward specific timelines including graduation and residency application cycles. As the USMLE and Prometric react to the current global pandemic, RUSM is committed to supporting our students in meeting their ECFMG certification requirements. Each student will be contacted to discuss how these changes impact your overall plans. We will also work with you to develop a testing/certification requirement continuity plan. Students can anticipate having these planning calls once RUSM has reinstated the clinical clerkship in its normal setting.
Our focus continues to be on your health and safety and this time. More information will be provided at a later date and will align with recommendations from various governmental agencies that regulate our medical community.
RUSM understands that each student has specific timelines for graduation and residency application cycles. As we all adapt to the current situation, our priority is to support our students in staying on track to graduate and match. Once RUSM has issued a clearance for all students to return to clinical clerkships at hospital locations, students will be contacted to discuss how these changes impact their overall plans. We will continue to work with you to develop a residency obtainment plan.
Students who have matched and need clinical weeks to meet graduation requirements are our top priority. RUSM will continue to work with each student individually who is impacted by changes to the clinical clerkship schedule and make appointments to assist with graduation clearance as well as ECFMG certification. Our team will be reaching out to impacted students to review next steps.
Each student that is impacted will receive information directly related to the grading schemes for any core clerkships that were not completed during the window of suspension of the clerkships. Please rest assured that students will earn credits for the weeks completed within their clerkship. Additional information will be shared with students based on the number of weeks completed at their clinical site.
GRADING INFORMATION FOR SUSPENDED CLERKSHIPS
Students will be able to earn credits for the weeks completed within their elective. Additional information will be shared with students based on the number of weeks completed at their clinical site.
Students scheduled to sit for an NBME or USMLE exam should monitor the status of their testing site for possible closures. These have been mostly limited (no closures in the US) and we have not seen closures at any Step 2 CS testing centers. You can monitor the status of test sites using the links below, and if your test is impacted, contact ECFMG or NBME as soon as possible to have it rescheduled.
- Prometric Testing Centers: For USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK, NBME Subject Clerkship Examinations, and Comprehensive Clinical Sciences Exam (CCSE COMP)
- CSEC Testing Sites: For USMLE Step 2 CS
Please note that there may be fees associated with rescheduling exams. Students will be responsible for any change fees.
Students are required to take the NBME Subject Clerkship Exam (SCE) at the end of each core clerkship. Unless otherwise notified by the testing center, students are still expected to sit for their scheduled NBME SCE. If you are not able to sit for the exam because of a disruption related to COVID-19, RUSM will not count this as a failed attempt. Please be sure to keep a copy of the relevant documentation from the Prometric center and contact [email protected] to obtain a new permit. Please note that any fees will be dictated by the examiners, not RUSM, and will be the student’s responsibility.
If you are not able to take your exam because of a disruption related to COVID-19, then RUSM will not count that as a failed attempt. Please be sure to keep a copy of the relevant documentation from the Prometric and contact [email protected] to obtain a new permit. Please note that any fees will be dictated by the examiners, not RUSM, and will be the student’s responsibility.
We understand that students will have varying levels of comfort around the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who can are encouraged to sit for scheduled examinations unless their testing site has cancelled the examination or is closed. If your testing site has closed, please email [email protected] and provide that written documentation. The Exam Administration department will work with you to reschedule your testing windows.
Students should email [email protected] and provide documentation regarding the Prometric center closure. The Exam Administration department will work with those students to reschedule their testing windows.
If your Kaplan CSA is cancelled, please email Kaplan at [email protected] and they will work to reschedule your exam.
Students should email [email protected] and provide documentation regarding the USMLE canceled exam. The Exam Administration department will work with those students to reschedule their testing windows.
Please ensure that you continue to review updates directly from USMLE at the following website: https://www.usmle.org/announcements/?ContentId=262
With the Prometric closures and suspension of USMLE Step 2 CS testing, RUSM continues to monitor the availability status for students to reschedule. As noted previously, RUSM will honor the rescheduled exam dates set by Prometric, ECFMG and NBME/USMLE and provide extensions once services are resumed.
We understand that changes to clinical rotations have disrupted many of your plans and recognize the uncertainty this brings. RUSM continues to monitor the advice of the AAMC, LCME, CDC, and WHO as we work with our hospital partners to identify when our students can return to the clinical setting. Additional information on the April rotations will be provided soon.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENT QUESTIONS
RUSM is very aware of the impact that this situation may have on international students as it relates to immigration, travel, and a transition plan. The safety of our students remains our priority. The immigrations team will meet with impacted students to develop a plan to deal with possible entry restrictions. This may include travel and visa planning, re-entry into the US planning, and planning to ensure immigration compliance.
As of March 23, all RUSM clinical students were asked to participate in online coursework. When RUSM returns to a standard clinical-based setting for its clerkships, Canadian students should continue to follow the guidelines that are outlined by RUSM at that time. The global community is impacted by this pandemic. Therefore, RUSM will continue to provide instruction to students for future planning and clinical clerkships when it is safe to do so.
Our current academic curriculum requires students to complete their IMF clerkship as well as core clerkships at the US affiliated hospitals within our network. These clerkships continue to meet licensure and regulatory requirements which are significant to ensuring post licensure after graduation.
All elective clerkships will require approval from RUSM to also ensure that they meet licensure and regulatory requirements during the elective year. These clerkships may be done in Canada once they have been approved. At the current time, RUSM continues to be vigilant to ensure the health and safety of our RUSM community and therefore students should continue to ensure that they follow the guidelines and communications provided as we respond to the impact of this pandemic.
Given the unique nature of this global pandemic, RUSM is unable to provide long term guidance on travel. Students are urged to exercise good judgment and caution as circumstances are likely to continue to change. Please monitor the latest U.S. and international travel advisories prior to any travel and coordinate closely with RUSM administration if you will be missing any educational activities.
GENERAL PLANNING QUESTIONS
No, the clerkship is not cancelled. Yes, you will begin it online. On Monday, March 23, we asked students currently in Core Clerkship to participate in online coursework. These online clinical courses will continue building students’ knowledge base in each respective core discipline. Students who are scheduled to begin a new core clerkship on March 30 will start the associated new online coursework at that time.
On Monday, March 23, students in elective rotations had the opportunity to register for an online elective through Cleveland Clinic Florida. This two-week elective will conclude on April 3. We will provide further details on upcoming elective opportunities starting in April as they become available.
While we recognize our students’ passion and desire to help others by remaining in the clinical setting, RUSM has instructed students to refrain from attending their clinical rotations through March 31 and until further directed. At this time, no RUSM student should be participating in clinical rotations at a hospital. We have aligned our decision with recommendations from the AAMC and LCME.
HEALTH AND COPING
If you have a health condition that puts you at high risk of complications from COVID-19 or have unique circumstances (e.g., caregiver for an immunosuppressed family member), please work the Office of Student Affairs at [email protected] on ways to reduce your risk while meeting your educational requirements.
During this period, it is important to remember to continue self-care for your emotional well-being. Self-care activities may include:
- Keeping a regular sleep cycle
- Engage in regular exercise
- Maintain contact with friends and family, virtually if necessary
- Eating a healthy diet
Aetna student health is currently waiving the deductible and co-insurance for telehealth therapy during the current COVID 19 situation.
An Aetna provider can be located by using the find a doctor search feature on Aetna’s website. Additionally, students can find a local Aetna telehealth behavioral health provider by calling:
- Inpathy at 800-442-8938 for persons staying in California, Delaware, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, or Virginia.
- Arcadian Telepsychiatry at 866-991-2103 for persons living in all other states.
Barbados National COVID-19 Protocols
If you develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call the Barbados COVID-19 hotline immediately at 1-246-536-4500 to speak with a medical professional and avoid contact with other people. The COVID-19 hotline is operated by the Barbados Ministry of Health and Wellness (MHW) and staffed 24/7 by public health officers. After discussing your symptoms, a hotline official will advise you of next steps.
At this time, all RUSM students and colleagues on island should be practicing strict social distancing in addition to good hygiene. We recommend following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines for protective measures, which suggests wearing a face mask only if you are sick or around other people who may be sick.
Guidance on quarantine and isolation will be provided to you when you contact the Barbados COVID-19 Hotline at 1-246-536-4500. You should be prepared to follow protocols provided by the Ministry of Health, which may require quarantine or isolation at a government facility.