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PEBT

Changes to Classes and Workplace

This message is from IHP President Paula Milone-Nuzzo's desk

 

-March 11, 2020-

Over the past several weeks, you have received messages from the Institute and Partners HealthCare describing the precautions and policies that have been put in place to address the Covid-19 outbreak. The IHP leadership, working in conjunction with leaders at MGH and Partners, has kept abreast of the evolving nature of this challenge and believes that we have a responsibility to lead in the effort to decrease the spread of infection and reduce the risk to our community. One way we can do this is to reduce the number of students, faculty, and staff on campus at one time.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have made the decision to transition all of our didactic coursework to virtual instruction starting on March 16 and lasting through the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. While this is a change in the way we will be delivering our courses, the IHP campus will remain open and students need to be available to be on campus as directed by their program.

Follow-up messages from departments/schools will communicate how students, faculty, and staff will learn and work online and on campus throughout the remainder of the semester. As this is a fluid situation, plans may change. Departmental/school messages will outline plans for students completing the semester, faculty moving their courses online, and staff making services and support available within each academic and administrative unit.

Each of our programs has begun developing plans for the delivery of coursework in an alternative way, including how practical exams, simulations, and clinical education placements will be completed in person, on campus, or in a virtual format. Our instructional designers, teaching technologists, librarians, and information technology staff have been working with faculty and staff to transition our environment as quickly and efficiently as possible, with as little disruption as possible to the academic experience. These support departments will be available to help students, faculty, and staff virtually for the remainder of the semester.

While our didactic courses will migrate to a virtual platform, students will continue to engage in their planned clinical experiences to the extent they are allowed by clinical agencies. School leadership has been fully engaged with our clinical partners and is making adjustments to schedules and experiences as the situation evolves. Faculty will keep students informed of any changes that have to be made to the clinical experience schedule.

In addition, our research labs will continue their work. As necessary, modifications will be made by researchers regarding their studies. Students working in research labs should consult with the lead researcher about how they plan to continue the research.

Starting March 16, we are also encouraging our staff and faculty to work from home during this time. Again, the work continues as it has in the past, just through a different medium. While there might be days when staff and faculty might want to come to campus or there may be activities on campus that require attendance, our goal is to minimize the number of people on campus at any one time, thereby reducing the risk of community spread in our population. Departments are adjusting their work schedules and processes to make sure the needs of our students are fully met and to ensure that essential functions continue uninterrupted.

Planned on-campus activities will be either done virtually or postponed until we can gather together again on campus. We will be developing a list of these events and how they will be delivered in the next few days. At this point, the NECHE site visit scheduled for March 22-25 has been postponed until the summer. Additional information will follow.

We are steadfast in our support of our core values and mission to prepare the health care leaders of the future. Our goal is to continue our operations as seamlessly as possible as we navigate through this outbreak. As always, if you have questions or comments, please contact your faculty member, school dean, dean of student and alumni services, or manager. The Partners Employee Assistance Program/Student Assistance Program is another resource for you. Visit the EAP/SAP website for common reactions and self-care tips. You can also reach EAP/SAP at (866) 724-4327.

All members of the community should continue to be vigilant in monitoring potential symptoms of the virus. If you have a fever, cough, or any symptom that could indicate a Covid-19 infection, you should stay home and inform your faculty or supervisor.

Let me close by saying that we are in some uncharted waters right now, and our responses are evolving along with the changing situation. Our individual responses to this challenge and our support for each other in the community remain constant. Ours is a community that is ready and willing to reach out to others to be helpful and supportive, even in the face of a challenging situation. I have seen that happening so many times over the last month.

With gratitude,

Paula