Welcome to the January 2023 Semester: In-Person Learning, Travel, and Safety Measures
HOW WILL THE JANUARY 2023 SEMESTER BE DELIVERED?
Our plan is to continue in-person academic delivery in the January 2023 semester. As COVID-19 trends both on campus and within the broader Barbados community are steadily declining, we will continue to evaluate and modify COVID-19 safety protocols as needed while keeping your health and safety our priority.
While we are confident that student engagement is enhanced with in-person learning, we are offering a remote option for first-time first-semester students for their first semester only* to give them flexibility in learning options to start their medical education. We recognize that new students may face hardships in preparing to be on island for the first semester due to circumstances compounded by COVID-19, such as challenges in passport, visa and travel-related processes.
Students further along in their educational journey (semester 2 through 5) and repeat first semester students will be required to be on island, and our clinical students will continue to participate in live clinical care settings, as we firmly believe that completing a medical education in person is the best way to learn medicine and be competitive for U.S. residency placements.
*The January 2023 semester remote option for new, first-time first-semester students is contingent on the U.S. COVID-19 national emergency declaration and federal allowances. If the national emergency declaration and federal allowances are terminated prior to the end of the January 2023 semester, you will be required to complete your semester on island. The remote option is not offered to continuing students (semesters 2-5) or students repeating the first semester.
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL FAQs
Barbados’ borders are currently open to international travelers and many airline carriers are operating flights to Grantley Adams International Airport. The government has, however, instituted several safety protocols to help protect the island and other travelers from COVID-19.
All required travel forms and paperwork are managed through the country’s BIM Safe App. Entry protocols and safety guidelines are also posted on visitbarbados.org. We strongly encourage bookmarking these resources so you are ready and prepared for travel.
Barbados entry requirements and helpful tips as of August 20, 2022:
- All travelers: Complete the customs and immigration forms.
- Be prepared to wear a mask immediately upon entering the Barbados airport.
- Vaccinated Travelers:
- Complete the customs and immigration forms online and upload your COVID-19 vaccination records on the BIMSafe App at least 72 hours prior to travel.
- Travel with documentation:
- COVID-19 vaccination certificate
- Proof of health insurance
- Download your Aetna student health insurance card
- Unvaccinated travelers:
- Take and return a negative COVID-19 standard PCR test, rapid antigen test, or rapid PCR test within three days prior to arrival in Barbados.
- IMPORTANT: Barbados has very strict guidelines around the types of accepted COVID-19 tests. The test must be performed by an accredited or recognized laboratory. Barbados will not accept shallow nasal swabs, self-administered tests, home kits, and saliva samples.
- Complete your travel forms and upload testing documentation via travelform.gov.bb / the BIMSafe App.
- Take and return a negative COVID-19 standard PCR test, rapid antigen test, or rapid PCR test within three days prior to arrival in Barbados.
- Please note: Effective August 20, 2022, unvaccinated travelers will not be required to undergo COVID-19 testing upon arrival. Once pre-flight COVID-19 test results are validated, they will be able to leave the airport without further testing.
- Travelers who tested positive for COVID-19 within the last three months: Documents required are your positive viral test results and a letter from your healthcare provider or public health official that states you have been cleared for travel.
- Travel with a printed copy and/or screenshot of your COVID-19 test results. Ensure that the date the test was taken is clearly shown.
- The Barbados government may require random COVID-19 testing upon arrival.
- As a new student, please contact your NSC as soon as possible and let us know if your check-in to RUSM housing will be delayed.
The Barbados travel requirements are regularly updated by the Barbados government. Please continue to check the visitbarbados.org website and re-review the guidelines prior to traveling to Barbados. We also encourage you to check with your airline for the most up-to-date information on boarding requirements based on your country of citizenship.
When getting ready to travel to Barbados a few documents we recommend carrying with you include:
- Barbados Entry Visa*
- RUSM Acceptance letter (see Immigration section below)
- Hard copy of your COVID test results
- Proof of Health Insurance
- Aetna Student Health insurance card can be downloaded here
- Proof of COVID-19 vaccination / vaccination certificate (vaccinated travelers only)
- Birth Certificate and if applicable Marriage Certificate (see Immigration and Visa section below)
* Dependent on your country of citizenship, Barbados may require an entry visa prior to travel to Barbados. At the time of booking your flight to Barbados, please confirm with your airline carrier if you need a Barbados entry visa. For most of our students who travel with a U.S. (United States) or Canadian passport, a Barbados entry visa is not required. If you need a Barbados entry visa, please contact the RUSM Immigration team right away at Immigration@RossU.edu. The team can help you with applying for this entry visa.
Upon arrival in Barbados, you will proceed through immigration and customs. Make sure you have an electronic copy of the receipts that are sent after completing the online Customs and Immigration forms. We also recommend that you walk with a hard copy of your COVID-19 test results if possible.
When meeting the Barbados Immigration officer, be prepared to either provide a copy of your RUSM acceptance letter if have not received your student visa (see Immigration section below for more details). Please note that random COVID-19 testing may be required at the full discretion of the Barbados government officials.
After clearing immigration and customs you will exit the arrival hall. Please look for a representative from RUSM who will take you to your RUSM housing (or quarantine location if required).
After you submit your online Immigration and Customs forms, you will receive an email from the Immigration office that contains two receipts: one you will show to the Immigration officer and one you will show to the Customs agent at the airport.
If your arrival to Barbados has been delayed, please contact your New Student Coordinator (NSC) or email@example.com to provide an update on your arrival or discuss next steps.
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 and then physically submit your passport for endorsement once requested to do so.
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 or notarized birth certificates / marriage certificate (if applicable).
All students are required to submit their passport for stamping in accordance with the Barbados immigration policies. 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 on 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.
Once your passport has been stamped with your student visa, you will still need to 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.
Yes, 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 will not receive your student visa stamp until after arriving in Barbados, 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 asked when checking into your flight, 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 bring an original or official certified/notarized birth certificate and, where applicable, marriage certificate to the RUSM Immigration team. Your original or notarized document may be returned once the Barbados student visa is issued. This is up to the discretion of the Barbados Immigration Office. Note, if returned you may be asked to resubmit the document at a later time if required by the Barbados Immigration department.
The student visa is ONLY valid for active students that are enrolled with RUSM. If a status changes, the student will need to ensure that they meet immigration requirements which may require that the individual depart Barbados or meet with the Barbados immigration office.
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 have the opportunity to live in 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, ATM, 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. After their initial semester at RUSM, continuing students can choose to continue to live in RUSM housing or live off campus.
The Housing Office will send out room assignments prior to your arrival date. Housing assignments are issued one (1) week prior to student arrival on island. Currently roommate groups are not being considered. Students are assigned based on eligibility, compatibility and availability.
Yes, you and your long-term companion(s) have options when it comes to student housing. Students who are coming with one non-student companion will be assigned to shared companion housing within a co-ed living environment. Students coming with two or more companions could apply for an entire home for your family (a 3-bedroom unit)
For those who have opted to move into RUSM Housing, we will make every attempt to keep you in the same home throughout your time on the island. While we can’t fully predict what the future will bring when creating housing assignments, we will try to do so giving us the best chance of avoiding future reassignments/moves. If you wish to move units during your time in Barbados, you will have the opportunity to request a new housing assignment during an announced Room Change Period. Further information regarding the Room Change Period will be communicated with you via The Office of Student Housing.
Coverley housing units come with all basic furnishings, including a full bed, nightstand, desk and chair, wardrobe/closet, desk lamp, hangers (18), window blinds, a dry erase board, couch, coffee table, kitchen table and chairs, and a fire extinguisher. Bathrooms are furnished with a shower curtain (where applicable), shower rod (where applicable), plunger, and trash can. The kitchen of each home unit is outfitted with a stove, refrigerator, kettle, microwave, washer/dryer, plates, glasses, coffee cups, silverware, basic cooking utensils, pots and pans, mixing bowls, and trash cans.
After your first semester with RUSM, you can choose to live on-campus or arrange off-campus housing. If you have a special circumstance in which you feel on-campus housing will not meet your needs as a new student, please discuss this with your New Student Coordinator. Please note Housing Grants are not applicable to students who choose to live off campus.
OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
COVID-19 Mitigation: We have implemented numerous safety protocols as part of our COVID-19 mitigation plan, including:
- Mandatory COVID-19 vaccination
- Hand-sanitizer stations
- Reduced capacity of common spaces
- Mandatory face masks indoors (optional outdoors)
- Physical barriers in student service areas
Hurricane Preparedness: As a medical school located in the Caribbean, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) is in a region known for experiencing tropical activity. Knowing the serious potential of these events, RUSM maintains a comprehensive Hurricane Response Plan with protocols established to help before, during and after a weather-related event. Learn more about hurricane preparedness here
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, allowed to isolate at one of the approved RUSM isolation houses at Coverley, or at your home.
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 email our COVID-19 Mitigation Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also ask that you contact your Student Care Advisor at email@example.com.
Please review the Barbados Travel Guidelines for more information.
Occupants are required to wear masks while in the bus. We are partnering with bus companies to ensure they are following CDC guidelines for proper cleaning of the shuttles.
Medical care and/or medical emergencies for students in quarantine homes will be managed by the Coverley Medical Center. Positive COVID-19 patients will be referred to a government healthcare facility. Our COVID-19 Mitigation team will also perform periodic checks on students who are located at one of the RUSM isolation homes.
Please refer to the official supply list provided by the Admissions department.
As much as your flight will allow, which varies by carrier and origin/destination. Many airlines allow between two and three checked bags for a fee, and some have additional options to pay for oversized or heavy items. Visit your specific airline for information on carry-on and checked luggage options.
If you have additional items that will not fit in your luggage, you can ship them in a container or barrel. RUSM students have used companies like Tropical Shipping and King Ocean Services in the past, which ship out of Miami. If you choose to use one of these carriers, we encourage you to contact the carrier directly for any questions or further information.
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
- If contact details are requested, please include phone number and email address.
- #6 Gooseberry
- Coverley Villages
- Christ Church, Barbados BB17091
- Contact details: 1 (Area code) 123 4567, firstname.lastname@example.org
Major airlines have been resuming flights to and from Barbados, but back-and-forth travel is not recommended. If you need to travel off the island during the semester, please ensure that you talk with your Student Care Advisor regarding your leave options.
All students are expected to complete and submit their online Fall 2022 Academic Check-in form by 5:00 pm AST on Sunday, September 4. The Academic Check-in form will be issued by the Office of the Registrar as an online survey via DocuSign. 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 Fall 2022 term. Please contact the Office of the Registrar if you have questions.
All students are expected to physically check in at the start of each semester. To be considered on time, you must complete Campus Check-in by the end of the first day of classes on Monday, September 5. Campus check-in must still be completed as soon as possible if approved for late arrival. 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 August 30 - September 5. Please ensure that the swipe is recorded by watching for the light indicating the door has been unlocked.
Students who arrive after September 5 should complete Campus Check-in within 24 hours of their arrival to Barbados/the conclusion of approved Short-Term Personal Leave or Emergency Leave of Absence.
Yes, most students will need to complete both Academic and Campus Check-in. Students who arrive late should complete Academic Check-in by 5:00 pm AST on September 5 and then complete Campus Check-in as soon as they arrive in Barbados. This includes students who have an approved late arrival, short-term personal leave and/or emergency leave of absence. Students who do not complete both Academic and Campus Check-in are subject to administrative withdrawal for the Fall 2022 term.
Some students continue to use their current phone if their carrier has an international service option while other students choose to unlock their phone and switch out their SIM card for a local Barbados carrier. For this option, you will need to purchase a monthly or pay-as-you-go plan. There is also the option to download WhatsApp to your phone and make calls/SMS messages while connected to the internet.
We suggest checking with your credit card company about foreign transaction fees as well as your bank about foreign ATM fees. With that information, you may choose to open a local account in Barbados or continue to use your current bank. There is a bank in Coverley and across the street from the main academic campus. Although some vendors only accept cash, most will accept VISA/Mastercard. Vendors will accept USD, so you do not need to exchange for Barbados dollars prior to arrival.
Yes, but please be aware of several travel and quarantine logistics. You can view the Barbados COVID-19 pet protocols here. First, you will need to complete the required Pet Import Form for Barbados. Also, if moving into RUSM housing, please ensure that you have requested a pet friendly unit.
Note if you are required to quarantine upon arrival, pets are also not allowed to quarantine at RUSM's quarantine houses in Coverley. If quarantining with RUSM, you will be required to stay in a pet friendly quarantine hotel. Please review the resources on the Visit Barbados website to identify approved quarantine hotels and confirm you are able to quarantine with your pet before booking a reservation. Alternatively, you could also board your pet upon arrival if required to quarantine.
HEALTH DOCUMENT AND BACKGROUND CHECK REQUIREMENTS
As a university dedicated to preparing physicians, the health and well-being of all our students, colleagues and the larger community are of utmost importance to us. To ensure we’re all doing our part to prevent the spread of common communicable diseases, we require students to provide up-to-date health documentation. These standards are set in alignment with our clinical partners and are common preventative health measures that are expected throughout your academic journey with us. Starting in the September 2022 semester, all students will be required to be compliant with the required health documentation in order to participate in community clinic visits (including service learning) as part of your Clinical Skills course. Compliance is necessary to help ensure your safety and the safety of those around you during these activities.
Noncompliant items (outdated or incomplete) in your Medical Science package on Complio should be submitted no later than Monday, August 1, 2022, to ensure these are reviewed and approved before the start of the September 2022 term.
Please reach out to RUSM’s Medical Sciences Health Compliance Team at MSHealthDocs@RossU.edu for assistance.
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.