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.

IMPORTANT UPDATES

Over the past several weeks, ACOM leadership, has been monitoring 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
  • Canceling all ACOM-sponsored international travel and school-sponsored domestic travel (i.e. conferences)
  • Implementing online curriculum delivery for OMS-I and OMS-II students from March 16 until the end of the Spring semester
  • Canceling, rescheduling or moving ACOM-sponsored events to a virtual format
  • 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:

Until at least April 17, ACOM will provide online classes in place of in-person instruction for all OMS-I and OMS-II students. All course work will be delivered virtually at the regularly scheduled class times and will be recorded. Written exams will be delivered remotely, as scheduled. Practical exams will be rescheduled. ACOM asks students to ensure they have their laptops and iPads available, and to make sure they diligently check SEAMed and their email for updates. The College will reevaluate its decision and adjust procedures accordingly as COVID-19 conditions, and local, state, and federal guidelines change.

Effective March 17, all ACOM OMS-III and OMS-IV students are to refrain from participating in any patient care activities until further notice. ACOM understands that third- and fourth-year medical students are valuable members of the healthcare team and are capable of providing meaningful care. However, with the dynamic, uncertain nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and the strain on resources of our hospital partners, the College is implementing an immediate transition of our clinical training to an online learning format until further notice. Students should to refer to the email sent on March 16, 2020, for next steps.

ACOM leadership put significant thought into this decision to transition to online learning and wants you to know how much we appreciate your hard work, dedication, and your willingness to learn from your experiences. The College is proud of how our students have responded during the rapid evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many positive comments about your contributions as part of the healthcare team have been received. Please know that you have made a difference.

ACOM is following the guidance of the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) to meet the educational standards and requirements as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The College appreciates your patience and understanding as we work through these challenging times.

Until at least April 17, OMS-I and OMS-II courses will be delivered via online classes in place of in-person instruction. The campus will remain open, and faculty and staff will continue normal operations at this time; however, if public health conditions worsen and/or ACOM implements stronger social distancing measures, some employees may be asked, given the option, or required to work remotely. ACOM has launched a new internal webpage to provide faculty with best practices, tools and support for teaching classes online. Faculty and staff can access this resource here.

Out of an abundance of caution for our students, faculty, staff and campus community, visitation to the ACOM campus is limited at this time. All visitors must check in at the security desk in the main lobby and will be screened for symptoms of acute respiratory illness upon entering the ACOM facility. Visitors with acute respiratory symptoms 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 canceling, rescheduling or moving ACOM-sponsored events to a virtual format until further notice. 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.

Please be advised that event circumstances may change in response to the rapidly evolving nature of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and may require postponement, cancellation, or virtualization in the future. As the close of the academic year and the date for commencement draws near, ACOM will evaluate the status of that event and provide specific information should plans be altered.

Event Updates:

  • Southeast Regional GME Retreat – Postponed to July 10, 2020
  • Graduation Week – Changed to virtual celebration (separate links for Awards & Commencement Ceremonies will be available)

While ACOM-sponsored domestic and international travel is canceled until further notice, 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. Students taking personal trips to an impacted area (including layovers through an impacted area) must be prepared to comply with self-isolation requirements upon their return to Dothan.

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. If students choose to travel during the time the ACOM campus is closed to students, please consider the following posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

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/travel-in-the-us.html.