January 2022 Semester
Welcome to the January Semester: In-Person Learning, Travel and Safety Measures
As we approach the beginning of the January semester and continue to monitor the Omicron COVID-19 variant, your health and safety remain our priority. We want to take this opportunity to reassure you of our plans to continue with in-person learning, on-island. We thank you for your emails and calls regarding the matter and appreciate the challenges that may arise with the latest flight cancellations and testing delays. We will work with each of you, on a case-by-case basis, if challenges arise. We want to reiterate that RUSM will not be offering a remote option for semesters 2 through 5, and our clinical students will continue to participate in live clinical care settings.
Benefits of In-Person Learning
As we did throughout the September semester, we continue to follow the pandemic closely while weighing the benefits and risks of attending medical school in person. At this time, we believe the benefits of our in-person learning continue to outweigh the risks. As shared previously, some of the many on-campus benefits include the ability to:
- Learn and practice clinical skills in PPE, under direct observation
- Safely enter and exit real or simulated clinical experiences
- Practice high-stakes examinations with NBME questions in a testing center that mirrors the USMLE testing environment
We’d like to underscore that there is no accreditation requirement for in-person learning at this time. The university's decision to have you complete your medical education in person is based on our firm belief that it is the best way for you to learn medicine and be competitive for U.S. residency placements. We want you to be skilled and comfortable when you enter your clinical rotations, and able to successfully compete for U.S. residency positions with your peers who are attending U.S. medical schools in person.
Travel to Island
We realize that there may be situations beyond your control regarding your travel plans to campus, such as canceled flights and delayed/positive COVID-19 test results. Please note that effective January 7, 2022, travelers are permitted to travel to Barbados with a valid negative Rapid COVID-19 PCR test result done within one day prior to arrival in Barbados OR a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test result done within three days prior to arrival.
If your pre-arrival test result is positive, you will need to isolate for a minimum of 10 days (a Barbados requirement) before testing again for travel. If your second test is still positive, contact Dr. Anton Best, the Barbados Deputy Chief Medical Officer, at email@example.com with both of your test results as well as a letter from your doctor. He will review your documents within 24 hours and, if approved, will provide a letter to the airline clearing you for travel.
If you are experiencing delays in your arrival, please reach out immediately to your Student Care Advisor at RusmSCAteam@rossu.edu (semesters 1-3) or Student Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org (semesters 4-5). An advisor will reach out to you within 24 hours from the time you submit an email to discuss late arrival and leave options if necessary. Please be assured that we will work with you on the start of your semester on an individual basis and you will not be charged a late fee if you have been approved to arrive late based on documented reasons as per the Student Handbook and as determined by the Associate Dean of Student Affairs.
The pandemic continues to reshape our world. It is critical to stay vigilant in our individual and collective effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 wherever possible. Many of you have expressed concerns about our host country Barbados and the impact of our return to island. This is something we also take very seriously, and we expect you to follow safety protocols during travel and when you are in Barbados. When you arrive on campus, we will expect you to follow COVID-19 safety protocols, including:
- Wear your mask on campus at all times, as well as off campus.
- Wear your PPE properly during clinical skills session.
- Complete the daily health assessment on the RUSM Safe App prior to entering campus.
- Choose safer social activities and avoid large gatherings.
- Show up if you are selected for random COVID-19 testing, which will be mandatory for students this semester.
- If you have not already, consider getting a COVID-19 booster shot at one of the available vaccination sites on island.
- Monitor your own health and do not come to campus if you feel unwell.
- Notify both our COVID-19 Mitigation Team at email@example.com and your Student Care Advisor at RusmSCAteam@rossu.edu (semesters 1-3) or Student Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org (semesters 4-5) if you believe you are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
We look forward to starting the January semester and supporting your journey toward becoming exceptional physicians.
Heidi Chumley, MD, MBA
Bryan Hayse, EdD
Associate Dean, Medical Sciences Student Affairs
Ross University School of Medicine
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL & QUARANTINE
Travel policies remain in effect for all travelers coming to Barbados. Please ensure you are familiar with the latest protocols by regularly reviewing the Barbados Travel Guidelines website. Travelers who will be going through multiple countries need to ensure that you are familiar with each country’s COVID-19 and Immigration protocols.
As students make their way to Barbados, below are some helpful tips:
- Travelers must provide proof of a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test completed by a healthcare provider (self-administered tests will not be accepted):
- COVID-19 PCR test (nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal sample) administered within three (3) prior to arrival
- Proof of a valid negative Rapid COVID-19 PCR test result administered within one (1) day prior to arrival (new effective January 7, 2022). Please note this is not an antigen test.
- Complete the BIMSafe App after receiving your COVID-19 PCR test results.
- Travel with a printed copy and/or screenshot of your COVID-19 PCR test results and vaccination card. Ensure that the date the test was taken is clearly shown.
- Random COVID-19 testing upon arrival may be required and is at the full discretion of the Barbados government officials.
- If your COVID-19 test results are deemed invalid, you will be required to retest and quarantine upon arrival. Please contact RUSM Security at +1 (246) 627-8010 and via email at email@example.com if this occurs so we can coordinate a quarantine room at Coverley student residencies. Alternatively, you may need to quarantine at a government approved hotel at your own expense.
- Fully vaccinated travelers with a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test will not be required to quarantine. You are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after completing the full vaccination regime.
- Unvaccinated travelers with a negative COVID-19 test will be required to quarantine until cleared by the Barbados Ministry of Health post a second COVID-19 PCR test (approximately 7+ days). The quarantine must be at an approved hotel at the traveler’s expense. A list of approved hotels is available on the Barbados Travel Guidelines site.
** Barbados arrival guidelines are subject to change, please continue to monitor the Barbados Travel Guidelines website for any updates to these requirements.***
If you will not be able to check-in to campus by the end of the day on Monday, January 10 please email RUSMSCATeam@RossU.edu (semesters 1 – 3) and StudentAffairs@RossU.edu (semesters 4 and 5) to discuss your short-term leave options. Your Student Care Advisor or Student Affairs Advisor can also work with you on submitting the necessary documentation to have the late arrival fee waived.
To have the late arrival fee waived, you will need to provide documentation demonstrating an unavoidable emergent concern that has delayed your arrival. Documentation that may be requested includes your original flight itinerary showing that you would have arrived in Barbados by January 10 and documentation regarding the reason for your delay (e.g., canceled flight, delayed pre-arrival COVID-19 testing results, or a sick note from your medical provider indicating an emergent health concern).
Do not try to board a flight to Barbados. Contact your Student Care Advisor at RusmSCAteam@rossu.edu (semesters 1-3) or Student Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org (semesters 4-5) immediately so they are aware of your situation and can work with you on a late arrival and/or leave options if necessary.
The Barbados government requires a minimum 10-day isolation period before entry to the island. After isolating for 10 days, you can schedule another standard COVID-19 PCR test.
If your second test is negative and you meet all other travel requirements, you can fly to Barbados.
If your second test is still positive, please contact Dr. Anton Best, the Barbados Deputy Chief Medical Officer at email@example.com with both of your test results as well as a letter from a doctor that indicates your diagnosis and recovery. Dr. Best will review your documents and, if approved, will reply with a letter to your airline that clears you for travel.
Upon arrival to Barbados, you may be re-assessed or retested by the Barbados COVID-19 mitigation team, which could include up to a 48-hr quarantine while under evaluation or awaiting test results. Please contact your RUSM Student Care Advisor or Student Affairs if this occurs.
If you arrive in Barbados and are asked to test again for any reason, you will be required to quarantine until your results are available.
To quarantine in Coverley (space permitting), please contact RUSM Security by phone at +1 (246) 627-8010 and via email at firstname.lastname@example.org so they can work with RUSM Housing to prepare your space based on availability.
Please also notify our COVID-19 Mitigation Team at email@example.com.
DO NOT go to your home or have contact with any other members of our community until after you clear quarantine.
IMMIGRATION AND VISAS
Yes, but you do not need a visa for your initial travel/entry to Barbados. Students will enter Barbados as a visitor to the island. After arrival, the RUSM Immigration team will help facilitate the submission of your immigration documents for the student visa.
The Government of Barbados has specific immigration requirements for all non-nationals to enter and stay on the island. As someone traveling to Barbados for educational purposes, you will need to apply for a student visa and then once approved, remain on this status during enrollment. For RUSM to facilitate that process, you must submit all required documents to the RUSM Immigration team by your advised deadlines through the Complio solution.
The application for your student visa will begin processing after you check into campus in Barbados and have submitted any additional required documents (if applicable) to the RUSM Immigration team. This includes the submission of original birth certificates / marriage certificate (if applicable).
Student visa applications are reviewed and approved by the Barbados Immigration Office in batches. Once your visa has been approved, you will be sent instructions of how and when to submit your passport to the RUSM Immigration team for stamping. The RUSM Immigration team will coordinate the stamping schedule with the Barbados immigration department. Stamped passports are returned to students within 10 working days from the date of submission.
More information on the student visa process can also be found on the Student Timeline Immigration page.
Please ensure that you have purchased a return ticket that covers both your inbound and outbound flights to and from Barbados. This is a boarding requirement for all visitors on flights with a destination of Barbados. This requirement will remain in effect even though you may have received your approved student visa. Your return ticket can be for any time before your student visa expires. Please continue to ensure that you confirm with your airline for any additional changes of requirements to Barbados.
When checking into your flight, be prepared to show the airline staff your Barbados student visa stamp. This stamp is located on one of the pages in your passport and you may be required to show this for boarding an aircraft.
Please ensure that you have purchased a return ticket that covers both your inbound and outbound flights to and from Barbados. This is a boarding requirement for all visitors on flights with a destination of Barbados. Since you have not received your student visa stamp, you will be required to comply with the return ticket duration as outlined by your country. Your airline carrier can provide you with the duration of your return ticket based on your passport country.
If you have not received your student visa stamp, please inform the airline that your student visa application is still in process and that you expect to receive it this upcoming semester. Please print and carry your RUSM acceptance letter as evidence of your enrollment.
If you submitted your visa documents through the Complio platform, you are required to submit your original or official certified/notarized birth certificate and, where applicable, marriage certificate to the RUSM Immigration team.
Your visa document will not be returned to you. You will receive further information after you arrive on island.
RUSM provides updates to the Barbados immigration office for enrollment changes in our community. This is our responsibility and commitment to the Barbados immigration office as members of the Barbados community.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to request an advising session.
RUSM is not responsible for the compliance or processing of immigration documents for non-students. Companions will be classified as a visitor on the island. Dependents will need to ensure that they comply with student enrollment requirements on the island. Both of these statuses and the processes can be planned directly with the Barbados immigration office.
All visitors to Barbados are responsible for knowing the length of time on their visitor visa and work to extend this status accordingly. The Barbados Immigration Office has notified RUSM that visitors will receive an initial three (3) months of validity for their stay. The time of the initial validity is at the discretion of that office.
As these policies can change at any time, visitors should discuss the length of their visitor visa upon arrival into Barbados while speaking with an immigration officer. It is the responsibility of the visitor to facilitate this compliance with the Barbados Immigration office directly.
Please contact email@example.com if you would like an advising session to support planning.
RUSM students can choose to live off campus or at our university housing within the Villages of Coverley, or “Coverley,” as it’s more commonly known. Coverley is a residential community with dedicated study spaces, an on-call security office, health clinic, grocery store, gym, sports field, gas station, bank, and restaurants, built around a town square. The square has returned to normal operations, but residents are required to social distance and wear a facemask while out and about. Housing at Coverley includes fully furnished homes configured as 4-bedroom, 3-bath and 3-bedroom, 2-bath units.
Yes, you and your long-term companion(s) have options when it comes to student housing. You can apply for an entire home for your family (a 3-bedroom unit) or for a shared room in a home with other RUSM students. To discuss family home options, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those who have opted to move into the Villages of Coverley, we will make every attempt to keep you in the same home throughout your time on the island. We are uncertain what the quarantine requirements will be in future semesters but we are creating housing assignments for this semester that will give us the best chance of avoiding displacement during future arrivals.
RUSM received approval from the Barbados government to allow COVID-19 positive students to quarantine at Coverley as opposed to hotels and other government facilities where many Barbados residents and tourists must quarantine. As a part of that agreement, RUSM designated 29 villas (87 rooms) in Gooseberry as official quarantine homes to use if needed. With an increase in local cases due to the Omicron variant, RUSM is asking students previously assigned to those villas to move to other Coverley villas so we can prepare them for potential COVID-19 positive university members. We recognize this is an inconvenience and appreciate students’ flexibility and understanding.
Yes, the Student Housing Office can help to move your items from your current room to your newly assigned room. Please contact them at email@example.com and request support.
OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We have implemented numerous safety protocols as part of our COVID-19 risk mitigation plan, including:
- Mandatory COVID-19 vaccination
- Symptom screenings with temperature checks upon campus entry
- Hand-sanitizer stations
- Reduced capacity of common spaces
- Mandatory face masks
- Redirecting pedestrian traffic to utilize one-way routes
- Physical barriers in student service areas
- Mandatory random surveillance testing program
Students in clinical skills and anatomy labs are also given N-95 masks as well as face shields or goggles for those activities.
- RUSM conducts random antigen testing of campus community members, including students, faculty and staff, three days a week to monitor trends and changes in the prevalence of COVID-19 on campus.
- Students who are randomly selected will be contacted by email and are required to be tested on campus within a two-week timeframe.
Accommodations can be requested by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes. Because individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are still at risk of contracting and spreading variants of the virus, we are asking all campus community members to participate in random testing regardless of vaccination status.
Positive COVID-19 cases are reported to the Barbados Ministry of Health and Wellness, in accordance with local government regulations. After evaluation by the Ministry and depending on the severity of symptoms, you may be referred to a government healthcare facility or allowed to isolate at one of the approved RUSM isolation houses at Coverley.
If at any point in the semester you are exposed to the virus or test positive and are approved to “home quarantine” by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, our goal is to be able to temporarily house you at one of the vacant homes in Coverley designated for quarantine or isolation. This will also allow us to monitor your health and safety and check in on your wellbeing.
If you believe you are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, please notify email our COVID-19 Mitigation Team at email@example.com. We also ask that students in Semester 1-3 contact your Student Care Advisor at RUSMSCATeam@rossu.edu and students in Semesters 4-5 contact your Student Affairs advisor at StudentAffairs@rossu.edu. Your advisor will work with you on a leave of absence if necessary so you are excused from mandatory academic activities.
Please review the Barbados Travel Guidelines for more information.
RUSM has a formal accommodation request process for students who believe their disability requires one. Our Office of Student Disability Services will work with you to understand your request and determine if it meets the requirements for a reasonable accommodation. To make a formal request, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. RUSM is committed to finding solutions to support you throughout your educational program. If this process does not apply to your situation, please contact Student Affairs to determine your options and receive information on resources available to you.
Aetna Student Health insurance covers testing that is medically necessary in nature, such as symptomatic testing and testing of those exposed to COVID-19. Coverley Medical Center accepts student insurance and is aware of this coverage. If you require a COVID-19 PCR test, please contact Coverley Medical Center [WhatsApp number: +1 (246) 356-9039 to schedule a doctor’s appointment. Please note COVID-19 PCR testing is done by doctor’s appointment only.
If you have any issues in having your student health insurance accepted for symptomatic/close contact exposure COVID-19 testing, please reach out to your Student Care Advisor (semesters 1-3) at RUSMSCATeam@rossu.edu or Student Affairs (semesters 4-5) at StudentAffairs@rossu.edu. Please note that Aenta Student Health insurance does not cover asymptomatic testing or any testing as a requirement for school, work, concerts, travel, etc.
As of January 2022, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, and Sinopharm booster shots are available to anyone 12 years of age and older who was fully vaccinated at least six months ago. While the Ministry of Health and Wellness is prioritizing high risks groups, anyone who fulfills the above criteria can receive a booster shot. Vaccination sites and schedules are regularly posted to https://gisbarbados.gov.bb/.
RUSM encourages all vaccinated university members to get the booster for added protection against COVID-19.
It is incumbent on the entire RUSM community to follow and reinforce safety protocols so the university can continue to mitigate risk and continue in-person learning. If you notice someone who is not following safety protocols, try to remind that person of the rules. If unsafe behavior continues, please elevate your concern to Student Affairs (email@example.com) who can discuss responsibilities, expectations, and consequences with that individual.
Please refer to the official supply list provided by the Admissions department. Bed linens can be purchased on the RUSM Housing Portal and students can purchase home goods at stores on island.
For larger items or larger quantities of items, it may be more cost effective to ship a container or barrel. Students have used companies like Tropical Shipping and King Ocean Services in the past, which ship out from Miami. For smaller shipments, Aeropost and Ezone are popular services. These eCommerce companies allow you to purchase and ship from multiple retailers to Barbados. They handle shipping from the US, clearance through customs, and local delivery. FedEx International is also an option for shipments to and from Barbados. Students living in Coverley Village should address their items using the following example:
- Name: John Doe
- Address Details: house number, village, Coverley Villages, Christ Church, Barbados, BB17091
- #6 Gooseberry
- Coverley Villages
- Christ Church, Barbados BB17091
- Contact details: 1 (Area code) 123 4567, firstname.lastname@example.org
All students are expected to complete and submit their online Spring 2022 Academic Check-in form by 8:00 am AST on Monday, January 10. The Academic Check-in form was issued by the Office of the Registrar as an online survey via SurveyMonkey. Please check your email to access and complete the form. This is a required activity, separate from the On-Campus Check-in requirement.
Students who do not complete both Academic and On-Campus Check-in may be subject to Administrative Withdrawal and will not be enrolled or will be unregistered for the Spring 2022 term. Please contact the Office of the Registrar if you have questions.
All students are expected to physically check in by the end of the first day of classes on Monday, January 10 to be considered on time. This is a required activity at the start of each semester and is separate from class registration/enrollment as well as Academic Check-in that also needs to be completed at the start of each semester.
To complete the Campus Check-in, simply swipe your ID card at either the LESC campus entrance or Coverley Administrative Building 1 or 2 between January 4 – 10. Please ensure that the swipe is recorded by watching for the light indicating the door has been unlocked.
When entering campus, you will need to complete your temperature check and COVID-19 health assessment screening at the security desk.
Your Student Care Advisor (semesters 1-3) at RUSMSCATeam@RossU.edu or Student Affairs (semesters 4-5) at StudentAffairs@RossU.edu will work with you and your course director on a plan for your exam. In some cases, an exam may be offered remotely or you may be excused in accordance with our official attendance policy, which is outlined in your course syllabus and the Student Handbook (see the Examination section on page 80).
HEALTH DOCUMENT AND BACKGROUND CHECK REQUIREMENTS
If you are currently in Barbados, you can have your annual physical and lab tests done at the Coverley Clinic. They accept Aetna Insurance, our student carrier. If you are currently not in Barbados, do not wait to complete your health requirements. Find a local provider who can perform the needed exam/lab tests and get them done as soon as possible. The Aetna Student Insurance can help you find a provider in your area.
Unfortunately, we have seen several instances where students mailed their fingerprints to Identico without creating an account or mailed the fingerprint card to the wrong address. If Identico does not have an account for you by the time they receive your fingerprints, the card is destroyed. Please follow these instructions to ensure you successfully complete your background check.
It’s possible to have your fingerprints completed in Barbados but this is a very time-intensive and expensive process. If you are currently not in Barbados, we strongly encourage you to complete your fingerprints before travel.
Remote Option for First Semester Students FAQ
In the January 2022 semester, we will continue to deliver our academic program in-person in Barbados. While we firmly believe students’ engagement is enhanced with in-person learning, we also realize the importance of giving our first semester students added flexibility to start their medical education with RUSM. That is why we are offering a remote option to first semester students for their first term only in the January 2022 semester, recognizing that new students may face hardships in being able to prepare to be on island due to circumstances compounded by COVID-19, such as meeting travel-related requirements in time for the semester start.
No, only first semester students are eligible and only for the January 2022 term. First semesters includes students who will be new to RUSM in January 2022 as well as those who are current first semester students in the September 2021 term and need to repeat first semester in the January 2022 term.
Your New Student Coordinator (NSC) is the first point of contact and can direct you to faculty or others as needed to assist you in your decision-making.
While we are pleased to be able to offer the added flexibility of a remote option to first semester students, we firmly believe that your engagement is enhanced with in-person learning. Here are just a few of the benefits of completing your first semester on island:
Medicine is a profession that requires proficiency in a wide range of clinical skills, which are more effectively taught in person than in an entirely online environment.
Hands-on training is essential for your future success in completing clinical rotations, attaining a residency position, and treating patients as a practicing physician.
On island, RUSM combines medical science, clinical training and soft skills support in a state-of-the-art educational environment that keeps learning relevant, contemporary and competitive.
Academic resources and support services are available to all, but students may prefer the personal connection of in-person lectures, office hours and advising sessions.
Coming together with fellow students and faculty is an important part of developing a sense of community and one’s professional identity early on in their education.
Our students have also found that there are fewer distractions and obstacles to complete their studies when on island, as well as a common community that helps them thrive.
Rest assured that we will provide you with the tools you will need to succeed, and we’ll keep you informed of the details.
No, choosing to go remote will not impact your academic degree plan or course offerings on your educational journey at RUSM. We will continue to provide all new and continuing students with the best learning experience possible. Whether on campus or online, we are committed to providing you with the resources and support you will need and delivering the same level of education that our students have come to expect from RUSM.
Yes, a later arrival date may be arranged by working with your New Student Coordinator or Student Care Advisor. Please keep in mind that you'll need to communicate your travel plans at least a week in advance of your arrival in Barbados to secure RUSM housing.
While the white coat ceremony will be held in-person on island (pending COVID-19 conditions), there will be an option for you to participate virtually.
Ideally, your decision would need to be made no later than December 27, 2021. If you choose the remote option, you will need to complete and submit a form outlining your reasons for remote learning, the type of support system you have at your location and your study environment.