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Ramp-up roundup: Important updates regarding on-campus work for the week ending June 26

Dr. Terry Wolpaw, vice dean of educational affairs; Dr. Leslie Parent, vice dean for research and graduate studies; and Dr. Charles Lang, associate dean for graduate studies, emailed faculty, staff and students on June 26 about the College of Medicine’s progress toward ramping back up on-campus activity.

Research updates

Research ramp-up: We have successfully completed our first full week in COM Phase 3. Compliance by faculty, staff and trainees for all health and safety precautions has been outstanding – a big thanks to all who have helped in achieving this milestone. As a reminder, research activity is permitted to be at the 50% level, and the physical distancing requirement has been reduced to 300 square feet per person in the lab. Please continue to wear masks at all times in the lab, and when it is necessary to work closer than 6 feet apart a face shield is also required. Proposed changes in clinical research activities are being reviewed by University leadership and will be announced as soon as they are approved.

Lab weekly schedules: Each lab should continue to submit their weekly research schedules to the chair or designee for review, and then upload their files into BOX here. With appropriate physical distancing and PPE, there are no restrictions on graduate student laboratory activities. As a reminder, all on-campus summer high school and undergraduate internships are still suspended until COM Phase 4; however, medical students can start laboratory-based MSR projects on July 1.

Animal research: During COM Phases 2 through 4, animal orders will be prioritized according to need. Orders for animals needed to complete ongoing studies, resume breeding and experiments interrupted during the research reduction and projects directly related to COVID-19 will receive priority during COM Phases 2 and 3. Orders for initiating new projects will be processed beginning in COM Phase 4. All orders must be approved by Dr. Ronald Wilson, Animal Resource Program director, rwilson2@pennstatehealth.psu.edu, before they will be processed. Pre-approval of orders will cease in COM Phase 5.

Education Updates

Check-in for all students: As education and research activities are gradually phasing in, all students – including medical, physician assistant and graduate students – entering the College for classes, research and study are required to officially check in. That is, they should enter via the BMR or main College entrance in the Crescent for temperature and symptom screening. Students are required to scan their ID badge upon entering, even if the sliding doors are open. A short, web-based form at med.psu.edu/checkin needs to be completed each day prior to temperature screening, and the green check mark shown to the screener. This information, in combination with our weekly research schedules, will be essential for contact tracing at the College of Medicine in the case of a reported COVID-19 infection.

New students/trainees on campus: We have begun to see new students and trainees on campus in the last week and will continue to experience an increase in the number of new medical, graduate and nursing students over the next several weeks. As some of these students may not be aware of our institutional safety policies, please remind them, when necessary, of the need for masks and physical distancing in the College, as well as screening and check-in procedures.

Graduate education: All biomedical graduate students have permission to be back in the laboratory adhering to physical distancing and appropriate PPE. A high-quality academic experience for students is one of the constant and essential instruction missions of the College of Medicine. A large part of this experience is taking classes in face-to-face settings and experiencing all of the opportunities to meet and engage with their peers and instructors. We are in the final stages of completing the Fall 2020 curriculum for our public health and biomedical graduate students to ensure a high-quality experience with a mix of instructional methods that allow for physical distancing and the health of students and instructors. Additional program-specific details are anticipated in the next two weeks.

News and Information

For continued updates on the College of Medicine, please read the Daily Brief that is sent each weekday via email and visit med.psu.edu/coronavirus as information is added each day to keep you informed.

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