From the Dean
Year 3 clerkship suspension extended - April 9, 2020
The suspension of clinical learning involving direct patient contact has been extended. The college is committed to reintegrating clerks into clinical settings as soon as it is safe and appropriate to do so, but we are unable to provide a new restart date at this time.
We are engaging students, staff, faculty, and leaders across the college, as well as our SHA partners, to develop thoughtful and innovative approaches on the return to clinical learning that align with the following principles:
- public health measures required to flatten the curve
- safety of students, including appropriate access to PPE
- safety of patients and health care teams
- availability of required clinical learning experiences
- timely graduation
COVID-19 information available for graduate students - March 18, 2020
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies has compiled updates and resources relevant to College of Medicine graduate students.
The webpage includes USask Updates related to COVID-19, wellness resources and information as it relates to research and projects being conducted at this time.
Year 3 clerkship postponed - March 17, 2020
Effective Mar. 16, Year 3 clerkship is postponed for four weeks. This decision aligns with that of the majority of medical schools across the country, which have made similar decisions in the last few days.
It was made using three guiding principles: (i.) learner wellness (ii.) completion of the UME curriculum and graduation on time, and (iii.) public health objectives.
A tentative restart date will be Tuesday April 14, 2020. During this time the Undergraduate Medical Education office will be working on a new plan for a Year 3/4 clerkship curriculum, including consulting with the SMSS.
University update on working remotely - March 15, 2020
Many of you will have received the most recent update issued today from USask President Peter Stoicheff. Please read the message fully and note the changes taking place.
This message is focused on the information shared regarding working remotely. The university’s message was as follows:
The University of Saskatchewan supports work from home/telecommute arrangements in situations where work can be performed from home (or at an alternate location). However, ICT’s current priority and focus are to support the transition for teaching remotely, and therefore, ICT services may be limited due to the demand during this transition. We will provide more information as it is available. Guidelines for decision-making around working from home are available here and at www.usask.ca/updates.
Please ensure you are familiar with the guidelines. Given everything we currently need to accomplish to support our learners and one another, it is important that we make these decisions prudently to ensure we continue to support our mission effectively. We look to individual supervisors to make the best decisions for their units in light of this, but know that people leaders are supported by and can reach out to senior leaders and our human resources strategic business advisors for support and assistance as you navigate this.
In order to assist in getting organized for the week, administrative staff should attend work Monday morning as usual (barring circumstances identified by public health officials for staying home) so that you can connect with supervisors and teams for planning, to ask questions and share information.
Finally, let us all be patient with one another—this is very new territory and we will not get everything right, nor do we have all of the answers, but we will work together to get those. We will continue to communicate with you as this situation evolves and as new information is available.
Clinical learning continues, with exceptions - March 13, 2020
Most will have received the university announcement regarding COVID-19 from President Peter Stoicheff and may be aware of the Saskatchewan government announcement made this afternoon by Premier Scott Moe, Minister of Health Jim Reiter and Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab with new measures for Saskatchewan.
The university message provides important details of new decisions taken by USask in light of COVID-19, so please be sure to read the message fully to understand its impact for you, individually, as well as for your fellow learners and colleagues.
All classes, including assessments, are cancelled effective Monday through Wednesday, Mar. 16-18, to allow time for preparations for remote learning, which will begin Thursday, Mar. 19.
- Clinical learning continues (with those exceptions already communicated) for both undergraduate and postgraduate learners.
- For undergraduate learners, faculty and staff:
- Following this message, the Undergraduate Medical Education office will provide undergraduate medical learners with more detailed information.
- For undergraduate medical learners in Year 4, MCC review will continue as planned but with remote delivery.
- Personal support and advice is, as always, available to you from our Office of Student Affairs.
- For postgraduate learners, faculty and staff:
- The PGME office will provide postgraduate learners and educational leadership with additional information following this message.
- A teleconference is being arranged by PGME with Program Directors and Program Administrative Assistants next week to address any question or concerns.
Please recognize that this is uncharted territory for all of us and patience is needed as we make this transition to alternate arrangements. We are relying on our faculty and staff to simultaneously support and deliver this transition in approach while also learning how to do that.
The following resources are useful for individuals working in clinical settings, and others, to keep yourselves and those around you safe from the spread of COVID-19.
If you are a learner with questions about COVID-19 and how it impacts you, please contact the appropriate individual for your site.
Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME)
Our undergraduate learners are engaged in their education program in all years, with adaptations to support everyone’s safety.
Students in pre-clerkship (Years 1 and 2) are learning through online large and small group sessions combined with some essential in-person delivery of anatomy laboratory and clinical skills sessions, as well as OSCE assessments. Students and program staff are following rigorous processes to support safety of the students, faculty, staff, standardized patients and patients involved in these sessions.
Students in clerkship (Years 3 and 4) returned to their clinical learning activities on May 25, 2020. Year 4 students will complete outstanding rotations and longitudinal clerkship activities (with modified schedules) during fall 2020, and then will move on to complete electives and other Year 4 courses. Year 3 students are currently completing their core rotations and longitudinal clerkship programs as well as other Year 3 courses. Where feasible, we are using online learning options.
If you are a student and have questions about COVID-19 and how it impacts you, please contact the Undergraduate Medical Education office for your campus/site and also check for regular updates from the program and university.
In postgraduate training, our residents are being supported by their departments and our postgrad office on processes for possible redeployment if necessary to areas of need, and provisional licensing for those in their finishing year. This might mean a shift of timelines with regard to program completion for some, but our residents continue their critical roles in patient care, working and training in clinical settings, with the appropriate precautions and safety measures in place aligned with their levels of training.
Please watch for communications from your PGME site. If you are a resident, with questions about COVID-19 and how it impacts you, please contact the PGME Office for your site.
The School of Rehabilitation Science (SRS) is supporting its students and working to minimize any negative impact on their academic progress. Our faculty there are teaching remotely and students are participating in online classes and examinations focused on the theoretical components of learning objectives.
Laboratory content and evaluation have been deferred until students can return for face-to-face delivery. Clinical placements have been cancelled and the school is working diligently to manage the impact.
Our MPT research projects have been modified so students can continue their research remotely. SRS faculty and staff maintain close communication with students, and are offering additional material via webinars and promoting wellness activities during this time of physical isolation.
For more information relevant to MPT students, visit the School of Rehabilitation Science information webpage.
Our graduate students also face big changes and challenges, with financial concerns related to part-time work and summer job availability, while continuing their studies.
The vast majority are unable to access university buildings and facilities to continue research projects. Know that our college is actively engaged in this issue and working with USask on solutions. Dean Preston Smith, CoM Vice-Dean Research Marek Radomski and Assistant Dean Graduate Studies David Cooper has met with the CoM Graduate Student Association. We continue to advocate for our graduate students and are staying in close contact with the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
For undergraduate biomedical students in the College of Medicine, please look for messaging from your program and the College of Arts and Science for direction on your classes.
Faculty and Staff
Faculty can find information on teaching remotely here:
- Offering courses remotely - find how-to information from the university's teaching and learning unit, including planning, tools, best approaches and FAQs.
- Going Virtual - Faculty Development
- Faculty Development has compiled resources to help you transition to online formats for your presentations, courses or programs on the new Going Virtual page.
- There are also links that are regularly updated on COVID-19 in the Clinical Resources section of thewebsite.
- In the Wellness tab there are new resources that focus on faculty and learner wellness with the challenges of COVID-19.
- Be sure to contact Faculty Development if you require help and support.
The university supports working from home/telecommute arrangements in situations where work can be performed from home (or at an alternate location).
However, ICT’s current priority and focus are to support the transition for teaching remotely, and therefore, ICT services may be limited due to the demand during this transition.
If applicable, employees and their People Leaders should discuss and determine the feasibility of a work from home/telecommute arrangement applying the principles, criteria and guidelines.
The outbreak of COVID-19 may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children.If you need help, use the university's employee and family assistance plan. Also, be considerate to the people around you. The World Health Organization has put out a Mental Health and Psychosocial Considerations During COVID-19 Outbreak factsheet