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HSC Educational Programs and COVID-19

Published March 13, 2020

Dear OU Health Sciences Center Students, Faculty, and Staff,

I write to update you about the steps we are taking for our educational programs in response to the COVID‐19 disease. We thank you in advance for your awareness of our healthcare mission, and appreciate your professionalism as we thoughtfully make decisions about how to sustain our HSC educational, research, and clinical operations. As you know, Oklahoma is looking to our healthcare enterprise and experts to lead the state in mitigating and ending this pandemic, and we have a responsibility to protect ourselves, our colleagues, and our patients.

As the situation continues to evolve, communication will follow from each Dean outlining specific College policies and expectations. I want to address two themes here: (i) protecting your health and that of your colleagues, patients, and community, and (ii) current plans for how to safely, and accessibly engage in your program of study based upon your specific program, level of competency, and didactic setting. 

Protecting your health:
During the past two months we have been regularly meeting with our own public health and infectious disease experts to assess the potential risk to our students, faculty, staff, patients, and community, and implementing steps to reduce that risk. We were a leader in implementing a program of travel restrictions and screening guidelines to minimize risk to our students and campus. We provided healthy habits education through flyers, signs, web sites, and other communications, as well as online videos from our public health and infectious disease experts to the HSC community.

Engaging in your program of study:
Everyone is preparing to adapt quickly in order to respond to the changing COVID‐19 situation. As students, you will receive information from your college via email when the use of online resources for large or small learning groups, simulation‐based learning, or laboratory‐based instruction will be implemented. You also will receive information regarding any modifications or suspensions of clinical and community‐based instruction. Currently, we believe that students should not be directly involved in the care of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID‐19. Students with personal health concerns in Oklahoma City should contact Student Health & Wellness Clinic and/or HSC Student Counseling Services and students in Tulsa should contact Student Health and/or Student Counseling Services. Soon we will make OUHSC “Learn Anywhere” and “Teach Anywhere” resources available to students, faculty and staff.

We know that continued academic progression in your educational program is important to you. It is important to us as well. We are working through the complexities of both protecting your health and ensuring that your education has the least disruptions possible. As you receive communications from your College, please direct questions first to your academic program director or dean for academic or student affairs, and as needed to Dr. Valerie N. Williams, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Faculty Development (valerie‐ williams@ouhsc.edu). Thank you for all that you do, we are in this together.

Sincerely,

Jason R. Sanders, MD, MBA
Senior Vice President and Provost

This message has been altered to include update links to mentioned resources.