March 19, 2020 by
Richard L. Page
Dear Larner Community:
As this unprecedented pandemic unfolds, I want to provide this update and word of thanks to all of you.
Please note that the Larner College of Medicine remains open for business, in a very modified way. You will notice that our doors will require CATcard entry; we undertook this as a safety measure in order to minimize unnecessary traffic through the building and to limit entry into UVM Medical Center. Further, we expect all faculty, staff and students to practice social distancing, with phone or video for meetings whenever possible. Further instructions on social distancing and best practice to avoid spreading COVID-19 are available on the Vermont Department of Health website.
On Tuesday we took the difficult measure of suspending all medical student clinical activities. In consultation with our Connecticut branch campus, we had come around to this decision just before AAMC provided this guidance for all medical schools. This is the right thing to do based on a number of factors, including student safety and limited medical equipment resources. Our clinical courses continue, with creative measures that are designed with the goal of completion of courses and on-time graduation for each class. With our transition to remote learning for nonclinical courses just this week, we have fully redesigned our curriculum with the expectation of continued outstanding education for our medical students.
In keeping with the undergraduate and graduate colleges, graduate students are also taking their classwork remotely. Those with assignments to Larner laboratories are continuing their research activities. While research laboratories remain open, we expect that as much work as possible will be accomplished remotely.
Our Dana Medical Library is open, although with reduced hours. They have procured extended access to some electronic media. Further information is available here.
Even with these trying times, I see reason for great optimism for all three missions:
- Research faculty and staff are pitching in to provide support to the Vermont Department of Health, in the way of expertise, materials and personnel, to assist in providing testing for those suspected of having COVID-19.
- Match Day will go on, although with remote participation, to allow our community to share this event with the Class of 2020. See the livestream link on the College homepage for the event tomorrow at 11:45 am. This class is special in many ways, including the recent accomplishment of already achieving 92.6% completion of the Graduation Questionnaire! This is a remarkable achievement.
- Finally, untold numbers are at the front line in caring for our patients and preparing for a wave of illness that has yet to be defined. As has always been the case, health care workers don’t walk away, but rather run to assist those in need of their care and kindness.
The safety and health of our faculty, staff and students, along with our commitment to the health of our patients in the community, are paramount. And as this pandemic evolves, we will adjust according to these priorities. We will get through this, together. I thank you for your ongoing service and commitment.
Richard L. Page, M.D.
Dean, The Robert Larner M.D. College of Medicine
The University of Vermont