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Coronavirus: Get complete details about the university's response to COVID-19.

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School of Medicine Columbia - Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The School of Medicine Columbia is working closely with University of South Carolina leadership to monitor the novel coronavirus outbreak, and we are following their recommendations to help ensure the health and safety of our community. Specific School of Medicine Columbia announcements, policies, and procedures are detailed below. 

University COVID-19 landing page

Visit the university's main novel coronaviurs landing page for university-level information related to COVID-19.

 


COVID-19 Resources

The School of Medicine Library has created a Coronavirus Information Resources Guide to aid in the organization of information on the topic. The guide includes general information, resources for clinicians, database and literature sources, latest news, and travel information.

Ultrasound is playing a large role in the diagnosis and management of COVID patients globally, so the team at the Ultrasound Institute has compiled a COVID-19 ultrasound resource page [pdf].

In partnership with the National Rural Health Association, the SC Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare is publishing a Rural Health Daily Digest of policy, legislation, and other relevant information for rural providers related to the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The SOM Library and the SOM Wellness Promotion Committee have teamed up to create a website with wellness resources to help support us in our new remote work and remote learning environment during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Office of Continuous Professional Development and Strategic Affairs is developing a series with actions you can take as well as other information and resources to assist you with managing the mental-emotional stress and strain you might experience at work and home. The current issue of Well-being Actions in Practice document [PDF] is now available to download.

 
School of Medicine Communications

SOM Update on COVID-19 - March 31, 2020

Dear School of Medicine Faculty, Staff, and Students,

I am writing this message sitting at my desk in the second floor study of my home, which has for now become my “new office.” Like many of you, I am trying to follow the request of our leaders to embrace social distancing, while attempting to stay connected with others in the School of Medicine. With lots of assistance from our IT department, through conference calls and virtual meetings, the work of the UofSC School of Medicine Columbia is moving forward.

For many of you, the disruptions you are experiencing in your work and life have been far greater than mine. Our clinicians have been asked to adjust clinic and OR schedules, to provide patient care remotely through phone calls and telemedicine, and to assume new leadership responsibilities as we prepare for a surge of COVID-19 patients in the coming weeks. Our educators have been asked to pivot quickly from in-person teaching to virtual instruction, which is especially challenging to carry out with only a few days of notice. Our students have also had to make the shift from in-person instruction to virtual learning and remote testing. Our SOM researchers and staff have had to identify productive ways to continue their contributions from home, without full access to all of the resources in their labs or offices.

Despite these challenges, I am amazed at the commitment, creativity, and resilience being demonstrated by the members of our SOM family. Our faculty are adapting curriculum and developing new learning modules to allow continuity in education. Supported by daily communication from student leaders and our medical education team, our pre-clinical students are working toward completion of the spring semester. Our clinical students are moving to case-based learning until access to the clinical learning environment is again possible. Several of our researchers are collaborating with others across the state and throughout the world to identify new focuses of research or innovation that are relevant to the COVID-19 outbreak. Our clinicians are working harder than ever under challenging circumstances to ensure  we can deliver assistance to anyone in the Midlands who needs care. These health professionals are the real heroes of this pandemic, and we are all grateful for the commitment and skill that they demonstrate each day.

As we contemplate the path ahead, our first priority remains the health, safety, and security of our students, faculty, staff, and community. In compliance with the March 19 executive order by Governor McMaster, and the Columbia City Council ordinance effective March 29, only essential personnel are working on campus at this time. As you know, UofSC has announced that traditional commencement ceremonies have been postponed; however, the UofSC Schools of Medicine in Columbia and Greenville are working together to plan a virtual commencement ceremony Friday, May 8. More details about this will be shared with you in the coming weeks. The SOM library remains closed, although you may have access to electronic resources and services through the library website.

You may visit the School of Medicine COVID-19 website which contains a list of resources as well as access to communications from the SOM over the past month. On this site, you will also see a section where you can share your story! Each day, I am hearing about acts of kindness by members of our faculty, staff, and student body, as they reach out to neighbors and others in the community to assist them during a time of special need. We would love to capture some of these stories highlighting how you and others are making a difference during this difficult time.

I am extremely proud to be associated with the UofSC School of Medicine Columbia team as we navigate these unprecedented circumstances together. I believe that for many years in the future, we will look back on these trying weeks and consider that our service to our patients, our community, and our students were among our finest moments. Thank you for all you are doing! As you care for others, we encourage all of you to continue caring for yourselves and your families, and we hope you stay safe and healthy.

Les Hall, MD
Dean, UofSC School of Medicine Columbia

UofSC School of Medicine Columbia Update on the COVID-19 Outbreak – March 20, 2020

Yesterday, President Caslen announced that after consultation with UofSC’s senior administration and with guidance from public health experts, remote learning for UofSC’s students would be extended through the end of the spring semester. In addition, President Caslen announced that traditional commencement ceremonies would be postponed, although this delay will not affect the degree completion status of UofSC’s students.

We share the understanding of University leadership that these changes are disappointing to many students, especially our students who are preparing to graduate from our medical school programs. Perhaps the greatest highlight of each year is the ability to celebrate with you and your families the completion of your training after many years of hard work. This year, we will have to find creative ways to virtually celebrate with you.

Even as we adjust to this difficult reality, I could not be prouder of how our students, faculty, and staff are coming together to chart a productive pathway forward. Last weekend many of our students began gathering questions, suggestions, and best practices from their classmates, which have helped to guide our discussions this week. Our students are sharing with each other links to online resources, and many students, faculty, and staff have reached out to help others in the community in safe yet important ways.

Our faculty and staff are working many hours of overtime to adjust class content and testing methods, ensuring that our students are able to continue their educations. With the AAMC requesting removal of clinical learners from direct patient contact this week, our clinical faculty members are reorienting activities for clerkship students to continue academic work on clinical topics pending the ability to return to direct care. And many, many of our clinical faculty and staff are working harder than ever to provide ongoing care for our patients under ever more complex circumstances.   

The UofSC School of Medicine Columbia is following Governor McMaster’s executive order and asking only those employees whose presence is necessary for preserving the continuity of education, for the health and safety of campuses, or for patient care reasons to continue to report to work. All clinical faculty and staff are considered essential personnel, as our health system continues to experience high volumes of patients requiring evaluation and care. Those personnel not considered essential personnel should continue to work remotely, when possible.

We encourage all of you to continue caring for yourselves and your families during these very atypical times. Continue to use the following websites to keep up with new information about the COVID-19 outbreak:

As we began this year together, none of us could have predicted how much the world would change in such a short time.  I heard a colleague say this week that years from now, we will look back on these trying weeks and will recall that the way our faculty, staff and students supported one another provided one of our University’s (and School of Medicine’s) prouder moments. I agree. Thank you for all that you are doing for each other as we move forward together.

Les Hall, MD
Dean, UofSC School of Medicine Columbia

UofSC School of Medicine Columbia Update on the COVID-19 Outbreak

March 18, 2020

I want to update you on the current status of the UofSC School of Medicine Columbia response to the COVID-19 outbreak. First, I want to thank all of our faculty, staff, and students who are demonstrating amazing dedication, purpose, and flexibility during this time of great uncertainty and stress. You are rising to the occasion as we face this unprecedented challenge to both our clinical care delivery and our educational programs, and I deeply appreciate your contributions.

University Closure – With the closure of all state universities announced last weekend by Governor McMaster, the School of Medicine remains closed. During this closure, only designated essential/mission-critical employees are to report to work on campus until the governor’s order expires.  Please contact your chair or supervisor if you are unsure of your designation. We encourage all supervisors to be as flexible as possible with staff to allow work from home, as we understand that our staff are also now dealing with school and daycare closures that have created childcare issues. All clinical faculty members are designated as essential and should take any further direction from their healthcare system.

Student instruction - From March 23-April 3, we have suspended face-to-face instruction, and will move to virtual instruction. Students are receiving more detailed information from their program leaders. We will share additional guidance about plans for instruction after April 3 as it becomes available from main campus.

UofSC Schools of Medicine Students in the Clinical Learning Environment (CLE) On March 17, all U.S. medical schools were contacted by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), in concert with the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME), strongly recommending that we remove our students from the clinical learning environment through March 31. Both of the UofSC Schools of Medicine in Columbia and Greenville have complied with this request. We are working with our leaders in the Office of Medical Education, faculty, and student leaders to identify safe and meaningful learning opportunities for clinical students that can commence next week. We are preparing to use multiple modalities to allow ongoing education, including online lectures and case simulations. Students have identified a number of possible opportunities for service learning. We are working with clinical leaders to determine if there is a role to use clinical students in screening of telemedicine patients. With the ongoing dedication, engagement and creativity of our faculty and students, our intent is to do everything within our power to ensure our students will be able to complete their courses of study and graduate on time from their programs. Our educational leaders will continue to share more detailed information with our student groups on a frequent basis. 

Prisma HealthPrisma Health clinics remain open and serve an essential role in our health system response to this outbreak. Leased employees should continue to take their direction from their supervisors or departmental administrative directors.

Library Resources – Although the UofSC SOM Columbia Library at the VA campus is closed due to the campus closing, the library space continues to be available to all SOM students, faculty and staff at this time via SOM ID badge swipe. When you are away from campus, you can still access the library’s e-journals, e-books, databases, subject guides, and catalog via the SOM Library website. Librarians and staff are online and available to answer reference questions, conduct literature searches, and fill interlibrary loan requests. The SOM Library has developed a Coronavirus Information Resources Guide which provides links to numerous websites (WHO, CDC, SC DHEC, Prisma Health, UofSC) and information resources.

Caring for Yourself – As we work through this challenging, we encourage all of you to continue to follow current CDC guidelines regarding prevention, including frequent washing of hands with soap and water throughout the day, avoidance off touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and limiting avoidable contacts in areas that are highly populated. For those who need to schedule meetings, try to use conference calls rather than in person meetings when appropriate. For those of you in the Columbia area, if you believe you have had significant exposure to someone with coronavirus, or if you develop symptoms that could require testing for COVID-19, drive-through testing is available at Prisma Health Richland Hospital North Portal, near the Emergency Department. You must have a provider order from either a Prisma Health physician or a from a Prisma Health Virtual Visit provider in order to receive the COVID-19 test.  You may access the Prisma Health Virtual Visit at https://www.prismahealth.org/virtual-visit/  .

UofSC Coronavirus Link – Please consult the UofSC Coronavirus website on a frequent basis to access the resources and guidance related to the university’s response to the COVID-19 situation.

UofSC SOM Columbia Coronavirus Link - School-specific communications and updates are available on the School of Medicine Columbia Coronavirus webpage.

Les Hall, MD
Dean, UofSC School of Medicine Columbia
Chief Academic Officer, Prisma Health Midlands
Phone: 803-545-5048

SOM Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Although the SOM Library physical space is closed through March 31, the Library’s resources, librarians and staff are online and open for business.

Please let us know how we may support you in your learning, teaching, research, and patient care.

Remote services and resources

Off-campus access:

When you’re away from campus, you can still access the Library’s e-journals, e-books, databases, subject guides, catalog via the SOM Library website

Consult the Remote Access FAQ.

Get research help :

24/7 access to the SOM Library space continues to be available to all SOM students, faculty, and staff via SOM ID badge swipe.

We’ve also developed a Coronavirus Information Resources Guide which provides links to numerous websites (WHO, CDC, SC DHEC, Prisma Health, UofSC) and other information resources.

Ruth A. Riley, MS, AHIP
Assistant Dean for Executive Affairs
Director of Library Services
School of Medicine
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208
803-216-3220 | ruth.riley@uscmed.sc.edu | http://uscmed.sc.libguides.com/
803-331-6395 mobile

By now you will likely have heard that Governor McMaster has ordered the closure of all public schools, colleges, and universities in the state due to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic.  UofSC is complying with that order and is closing all campuses, including the School of Medicine.  Only designated essential/mission-critical employees are to report to work on campus starting tomorrow until the governor’s order expires.  Please contact your chair or supervisor if you are unsure of your designation.  We encourage all supervisors to be as flexible as possible with staff to allow work from home or other arrangements as we understand this order has taken all of us by surprise and is likely impacting childcare arrangements and/or causing concerns for staff with underlying health issues.  All clinical faculty are designated as essential and should take any further direction from Prisma Health.

Please monitor the UofSC website for the latest updates.  We will continue to communicate developments with you as soon as we learn of them.

Library Closed March 16-31 – Resources Available Remotely 

In an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the School of Medicine Library will be closed March 16-31.

24/7 access will continue to be available to all SOM students, faculty, and staff via SOM ID badge swipe.

Off-campus access - When you’re away from campus, you can still access the Library’s e-journals, e-books, databases, subject guides, catalog via the SOM Library website.  Consult the Remote Access FAQ.

UofSC School of Medicine Columbia Update on the COVID-19 Outbreak

As the response to the COVID-19 outbreak continues to develop over the days and weeks ahead, the UofSC SOM Columbia is working to align our efforts with the guidelines announced by UofSC leadership. Our goal remains to honor our commitment to our students’ education while hopefully limiting the spread of the virus. The following updates apply: 

    • Classes – School of Medicine classes are canceled for the week of March 16-22. We will use remote learning tools for content delivery over the subsequent two weeks (March 23-April 3). Students will receive more detailed information from their program leaders. 
    • University-sponsored Events – The University has also cancelled all University events for next week. With the anticipated health threat to the community, strict adherence to this policy is required by all UofSC schools and colleges. We regret that this has resulted in the cancellation of the AOA Spring Induction Banquet on March 19, as well as school-sponsored Match Day activities planned for Friday, March 20. UofSC also announced this week that Discover USC 2020, the research showcase which was planned for April 17, has been canceled.

    • UofSC Schools of Medicine Students in the Clinical Learning Environment (CLE) – Students of the UofSC Schools of Medicine in Columbia and Greenville who are in their clinical years of training (M3/M4 students, or clinical students in the PA, CRNA, genetic counseling, or rehabilitation counseling programs) are members of the healthcare team. Consistent with recommendations by the Association of American Medical Colleges, most clinical students should continue their roles as part of the care team. 
      • Prisma Health Guidance for Learners within the CLE - Many health systems, including Prisma Health, have adopted policies that preclude students from direct involvement in the care of patients with suspected or known coronavirus infection, and those institutional policies should be honored by our schools and all learners.  
      • Options for Students within the CLE - Any students having health conditions that place them at high risk, or who have unique circumstances (e.g., caregiver for an immunosuppressed family member), may work with the School of Medicine Office of Student Affairs and Office of Curriculum to identify alternative educational experiences that reduce their risk while meeting educational requirements.
  • SOM Facilities and Services – At this time, the University remains open, as does the School of Medicine. This includes the SOM Library which continues with normal operating hours and after-hours access available to all SOM students, faculty, and staff via ID badge swipe. Regular faculty and staff meetings will continue as scheduled. If units want to provide dial-in options for meetings, contact the SOM Office of Information Technology. We ask that you be mindful of direction from the University and public health officials. If you are exhibiting symptoms, please stay home. Wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, and try not to touch your face.  Remain in contact with your chair or supervisor if you cannot come to work. The University has created time codes in ITAMS specifically for your use in reporting absences due to COVID-19. 

  • Prisma HealthPrisma Health clinics remain open and serve an essential role in our health system response to this outbreak. Leased employees should continue to take their direction from their supervisors or departmental administrative directors.
     
  • Travel – The University has released new guidance related to travel during this time (see https://sc.edu/safety/coronavirus/travel_reimbursements_and_advisories.php). All faculty, staff and students should familiarize themselves with this policy before undertaking any travel for business or personal reasons. Please contact your chair, supervisor, or business manager if you have questions.
     
  • Telecommuting? – Some questions have arisen regarding telecommuting. Should the University need to extend its response to COVID-19 and mandate broader use of telecommuting, chairs and supervisors will work with our Human Resources department to address those needs at that time, utilizing UofSC’s formal telecommuting policy (HR 1.22  https://www.sc.edu/policies/ppm/hr122.pdf) . 

  • Library Resource – The SOM Library has developed a Coronavirus Information Resources Guide which provides links to numerous websites (WHO, CDC, SC DHEC, Prisma Health, UofSC) and information resources.
     
  • Please consult the UofSC Coronavirus website on a frequent basis to access the resources and guidance related to the university’s response to the COVID-19 situation.

  • School-specific communications and updates are available on the School of Medicine Columbia Coronavirus webpage.

 Les Hall, MD
Dean, UofSC School of Medicine Columbia
Chief Academic Officer, Prisma Health Midlands
Phone: 803-545-5048

UofSC School of Medicine faculty, staff, and students,

I’m sure that by now you have seen the announcement below from UofSC President Bob Caslen, outlining steps the University is taking to try to mitigate the potential spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

For the past several days, School of Medicine leaders have been engaged in contingency planning in the event that a pause in classroom instruction was deemed necessary. We will, of course, follow the guidelines established today by UofSC leadership as outlined below. Over the next day, we will be working to understand in more detail how the actions announced today will impact each of our educational programs, as well as other areas of the School of Medicine. We will disseminate additional information tomorrow (3/12/20) regarding strategies that will be employed by the School of Medicine to continue to support our students, faculty and staff during this unprecedented and challenging event. I have some sense of how disruptive these developments are to the learning, work, and missions that we all hold dear.  That said, the health of our students, faculty, staff, and community must remain our most important priority as we navigate this together. 

Les Hall, MD
Dean, USC School of Medicine Columbia
Chief Academic Officer, Prisma Health Midlands
Phone:  803-545-5048

UofSC School of Medicine Update Regarding Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

I know that all of us are following the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) with interest and concern.  I have received multiple questions this week regarding what contingency plans the UofSC School of Medicine in Columbia has in place in the event that the outbreak spreads.

Our school is closely reviewing information provided by the UofSC Task Force which was established earlier this week. A summary of the work already undertaken by the University of South Carolina is attached. The University is posting daily updates on their website  (https://sc.edu/safety/coronavirus/) outlining current recommendations regarding travel, FAQs, and a link to the SC DHEC website.

It is still too early to predict what impact COVID-19 may have on our School of Medicine students, faculty, and staff, but we are making contingency plans for our response in the event this outbreak worsens. I have asked a small group of SOM leaders to begin meeting on a regular basis to coordinate our response with that of the UofSC campus and to share our contingency plans with the UofSC Task Force leaders. In addition, many of our clinical faculty and staff are working with Prisma Health leaders to help the health system prepare to respond to the needs of our community and our health care workers. 

At this point, there are no plans being made by either the UofSC School of Medicine or the University of South Carolina to cancel classes. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and alert you as new significant information becomes available. Thank you.

Les Hall, MD
Dean, UofSC School of Medicine


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