|Faculty, Staff, and Students:
Our Mayors in Memphis and Shelby County have lifted our Safer at Home restriction with the understanding that all of the safety and social distancing measures to prevent the COVID-19 spread will continue. The Mayors have started a scaled return to business.
UTHSC is now prepared to start our scaled return to activities with the goal of being fully functioning for our academic enterprise for the fall semester. This semester begins in the summer for many of our programs. Our regional campuses will follow the procedures of the county or city where they reside and will abide by the policies and procedures of our partner hospitals. In Memphis, clinical rotations with our partners will follow the rules and guidelines of those institutions.
This resumption of UTHSC activities is accompanied by stringent COVID-19 safety measures. We fully understand that COVID-19 is not eliminated, but is minimized by these safety measures. We expect to maintain these safety measures as the new normal until the disease is controlled. In the absence of a vaccine, this may take some time and we must adjust to the new normal. In the new COVID-19 normal, it remains our expectation that all work that can be done at home will be done at home. Individual supervisors will be making these decisions with assistance from the campus.
CAMPUS AND FACILITIES
All faculty, staff, and students will be required to complete an online COVID-19 education training before returning to campus via Blackboard. An email will be sent early next week with the link to the training.
The ramp up to the new normal for all support services will begin mid-May 2020.
We anticipate the phased ramp up of laboratory-based research to begin June 1, 2020.
Clinical Research: Guidelines for the conduct of clinical research will follow University Health Service’s clinic visit protocol. All activities and surveys that can be conducted remotely will be conducted remotely. Individual principal investigators will determine which portions of the research require the participant to come to a study site. These guidelines are linked here.
Studies conducted in our partner facilities will follow the rules and guidelines of the partner institution.
We anticipate a phased ramp up of clinical research starting June 1, 2020.
Didactic Lectures: Will remain online to start the semester and will be adjusted to allow for a move to in-person as the situation dictates.
Labs, Practical Education Experiences, Simulation, and Small Group, Non-Lecture Sessions: Will be conducted with appropriate safeguards and social distancing. The College of Dentistry has piloted these on campus, successfully working with D-4s to complete graduation criteria.
Clinical Activities On Campus: Will begin in a phased manner using clinic visit protocol as developed by University Health Services in conjunction with national accrediting body guidelines and social distancing.
Clinical Activities Off Campus: Will begin in keeping with and following the guidelines of our partner teaching institutions as well as our accrediting bodies. We are prepared to begin these as soon as possible, but hope to be fully up and running by July 1, 2020.
Secure Testing: Will begin using the campus guidelines and policy on social distancing.
We anticipate starting the education ramp up July,1 2020. Clinical rotations at partner institutions could begin sooner.
CLINICAL FACULTY PRACTICES, CLINICAL RESIDENTS AND FELLOWS
We appreciate the increased effort required to return us to operation as we enter our new normal. We intend to be fully back in session for the fall semester. The nation and the state need our graduates.
Steve J. Schwab, MD