Your Safety Is Our Priority

The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) is closely monitoring the worldwide situation regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and continues to follow the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Alabama Department of Public Health and related agencies. ACOM understands that this is an emerging and rapidly evolving situation, and the College will plan accordingly as the situation evolves.

Safety Measures

ACOM leadership continues to monitor the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Based upon the current information received, ACOM has implemented several actions in response to this dynamic situation to help ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and campus community.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing information on public health best practices and prevention, including signage and handouts
  • Enhancing campus cleaning and hygiene protocols
  • Minimizing outside campus visitors and initiating screening protocols
  • Requiring all students, faculty and staff who have flu-like symptoms and/or are running a fever greater than 100.4 degrees to stay home until they have been fever-free without medication for at least 24 hours
  • Discouraging attendance at off-campus events
  • Providing ongoing email communications and updates to students, faculty and staff

The CDC and ADPH recommend adhering to flu precautions to avoid the Coronavirus, which include:

ACOM is elevating its COVID precautions due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant. In an abundance of caution, the College is modifying the Fall 2021 Curriculum Guidelines and Fall 2021 Safety Plan. These modifications will be effective starting Friday, July 30, 2021 and continue at least through October 1. ACOM will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and will adjust our plans as needed to protect the health and safety of the College.

  • All lectures will be delivered via Zoom at the designated time listed in SEAMed and recorded. Non-mandatory lectures will be optional attendance for students. Attendance will be taken at all mandatory lectures via Zoom. Students can continue to utilize the Auditoria and other spaces on campus to view Zoom lectures. Faculty can choose to deliver lectures via Zoom in their offices or in the Auditorium. Zoom recordings will be used in place of Stream during this time.
  • All Anatomy, Osteopathic Principles & Practice (OPP) and Simulation (SIM) Labs will continue to be delivered in-person on campus with reduced capacity for larger lab groups to enhance physical distancing. Anatomy labs will be adjusted to four (4) sections and OPP labs will be adjusted to three (3) sections. Course Directors will communicate directly with you regarding specific changes.
  • Room capacity will be reduced in the Auditoria. Available seats identified by green cards will be spaced at least six (6) feet apart. Be aware of modifications to all room capacity signage, as occupancies will be reduced for enhanced physical distancing (e.g., elevator capacity will be reduced to three (3) people).
  • Usage of hand sanitizer will be mandatory along with temperature screening upon entry to the ACOM facility. Travel-sized hand sanitizers have been provided to students. Additional hand sanitizer stations have been added throughout the facility.
  • Masks will be required outside on campus if within six (6) feet of another person.
  • Visitor requests will continue to go through Security in coordination with the Director of Campus Safety & Security for approval.
  • Student volunteer activities and student life events must receive prior approval from the Director of Student Life & Alumni Affairs in conjunction with the Director of Campus Safety & Security.

During the Fall 2021 semester, N95 masks will be required for all close encounters such as Primary Clinical Skills (PCS), OPP and SIM activities. OMS-I and OMS-II students have been provided with N95 masks to utilize during the semester.

As of July 30, 2021, clinical rotations will continue as planned and will follow local policies designated by each Core Site and/or affiliated locations. ACOM is not currently changing its policy limiting each student to two virtual rotations; however, this may change depending on future COVID developments. To the extent there is flexibility in rotation scheduling, students may want to consider strategically the timing of in-person versus virtual rotations.

Students should plan to participate in clerkship rotations as scheduled, be open to learning as much as possible from experiences and be willing to function as an essential part of the healthcare team. ACOM will inform students as soon as possible if this plan changes and will continue to facilitate physician training success. Students should maintain active communication with the clinical curriculum team, credentialing team and core site training team (including preceptor, core site coordinator, medical education coordinator, and regional coordinator).

Students should still be mindful of following universal precautions, wearing appropriate PPE, and avoid treating known or suspected COVID-19 patients. As always, if the student becomes ill, he/she should follow the participation guidelines located in each syllabus, complete appropriate forms and do not report for the rotation. If the student feels that he/she is high risk for any reason, including but not limited to being immunocompromised, the student should reach out to Student Services to discuss options for a leave of absence or other special circumstance.

Despite the above precautions, some of students might have to deal with a possible COVID-19 exposure. Exposures may be considered low or high risk and each of ACOM’s training sites may have slightly different protocols. Regardless, if a student develops symptoms, he/she should seek medical attention and not report to the rotation site. However, the student must still communicate appropriately with the team.

The ACOM campus is open to all faculty and staff. Every faculty and staff member will temperature checked and screened for COVID-19 symptoms upon entering the facility. ACOM has developed and recently modified curriculum delivery plans to minimize the exposure and spread of COVID-19. Until at least October 1, faculty will deliver lectures via Zoom in their offices or in the Auditoria. Most lab sessions will be conducted in-person with enhanced social distancing protocols. Visitation to the campus is limited and by appointment only at this time. Therefore, all other appointments with faculty and staff from outside visitors must be pre-approved by the Director of Safety & Security. For additional information, faculty and staff should reference the guidelines and materials sent via email internally by the Director of Campus Safety & Security.

Out of an abundance of caution for our students, faculty, staff and campus community, visitation to the ACOM campus is limited at this time to by appointment only. All visitors must check in at the security desk in the main lobby and will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 upon entering the ACOM facility. Visitors with COVID-19 may be asked to leave the facility.

Out of an abundance of caution and in the best interest of students, faculty, staff, the campus community and guests, ACOM is transitioning some ACOM-sponsored events to a virtual format. The College recognizes and understands that many of these decisions will come as a disappointment to the individuals planning to attend these events and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. Emails will be sent to communicate specific changes about each event.

For the safety of our students and their families, we are transitioning the Class of 2025 White Coat Ceremony to a virtual event to be recorded and aired this Fall. More details about this virtual event and COVID-safe filming will be sent directly to students. The format of other institutional events will continue to be reviewed by the Director of Campus Safety & Security.

Student volunteer activities and student life events must receive prior approval from the Director of Student Life & Alumni Affairs in conjunction with the Director of Campus Safety & Security.

All business or educational international travel is suspended through the Fall Semester. Limited domestic travel will be permitted after review by the Associate Dean of Student Services, Associate Dean of Clinical Sciences, Director of Campus Safety & Security, and the final approval of the Dean.

The College understands that students may want to conduct personal travel to see family or to fulfill personal obligations. Travel can increase the risks of COVID-19 exposure to you and the community. ACOM urges everyone to be mindful of COVID-19 during this time. The College strongly discourages any personal trips to areas currently experiencing active community transmission of the virus. Government restrictions and public health measures are changing fast, and you will be subject to any regulations and advisories from the US Government and other relevant agencies during your travel.

Things to consider before travel:

Do you have a plan for taking time off from work or school, in case you get exposed to, or are sick with, COVID-19?

If you have close contact with someone with COVID-19 during travel, you may be asked to stay home to self-monitor and avoid contact with others for up to 14 days after travel. If you become sick with COVID-19, you may be unable to go to work or school until you’re considered noninfectious. You will be asked to avoid contact with others (including being in public places) during this period of infectiousness.

For more CDC information regarding travel, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.