As we move forward into the weekend, life in the Maritime provinces looks much different than just one week ago. The steady rise of COVID-19 cases, along with the associated restrictions that have been put in place, act as a stark reminder of how we all need to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19.
As I noted last week, now more than ever, we need to remain vigilant and pay close attention to our social activities and connections. This includes checking your emails daily for updates from Dalhousie University, and Public Health directives/health authority notifications that may affect your work or studies.
With all that has happened, I want to give a summary update of major impacts in the Faculty of Medicine and make sure all are informed and know where to reach out about questions or concerns.
A number of educational programs have been affected by the second wave of COVID-19. It has not been easy, but the entire Faculty of Medicine has my sincere gratitude for all it has done, and will continue to do, to further our strategic mission during this global pandemic.
Below is an update on the changes within the Faculty of Medicine over the past week. As this situation evolves, we are committed to keeping you updated as soon as more information is made available.
Be kind to each other, and don’t hesitate to reach out for support. We are all in this together. Vaccines are coming and we hope that the 2021-22 academic year will look much different than this one.
Dr. David Anderson
Dean, Faculty of Medicine
The Faculty of Medicine COVID-19 information page is updated on a daily basis, and contains the relevant information for all medical learners, researchers, graduate students, faculty, and staff. Please know that we are meeting regularly to address your questions and communicate the answers to you in a timely manner. If your questions are not answered on the website, please contact Student Affairs, Resident Affairs, or your supervisor.
UNDERGRATUATE MEDICAL EDUCATION
Med 1 and Med 2
Electives, Observerships and Clinical Skills
For Halifax based Med 1 and Med 2 students, all in-hospital clinical electives and observerships were paused for a two-week period on November 25th. Virtual experiences arranged by students and their preceptors are permitted.
DMNS Med 2 Skilled Clinician sessions will take place in the CHEB/Tupper. Details are being worked out, but plans are to have tutor-selected patients for virtual histories and in person volunteer or simulated patients for the physical examination component.
DMNS Med 1 Communication Skills will be virtual.
All hospital-based skilled clinician training, electives, and observerships in New Brunswick are to continue as planned at this time.
Family Medicine Med 1 Training
Med 1 Family Medicine experiences in Nova Scotia will continue on a case-by-case basis. Preceptors will be in contact with students to notify them if there will be a disruption in training.
Med 1 Family Medicine Experiences in New Brunswick will continued as planned.
Med 2 OSCE
The Med II Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) exam scheduled for Saturday, November 28th, and all associated preparation sessions, are cancelled. This exam will not be rescheduled. Instead, we will integrate the assessment of some of the competencies from the Phase 1 OSCE into the Phase 2 OSCE.
Med 3 and Med 4
Med 3 Clinical Clerkship
Med 3 Clinical clerkships are proceeding at all sites in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Med 4 Electives
Med 4 electives are proceeding as scheduled. Students need to be mindful of travel restrictions throughout the Maritime provinces that may impact elective activity. Students should be aware of travel and work restrictions that may occur related to travel from one area to another in the Maritimes. Travel restrictions continue to evolve, and learners will be notified as they are clarified. Students can reach out to Student Affairs if they have questions or concerns.
All travel restrictions and isolation guidelines for clerks are located on the Faculty of Medicine COVID-19 information page.
POSTGRADUATE MEDICAL EDUCATION
Residents are continuing with their education. Resident electives outside of the Maritimes beginning after December 15, 2020, have been cancelled. Distributed rotations and electives within the Maritimes are continuing as scheduled.
Residents should be aware of travel and work restrictions that may occur regarding travel from one area to another, even within the Maritimes. Residents need to be aware this is a fluid situation and subject to change suddenly as the pandemic evolves. Residents can reach out to their program director, Resident Affairs, or the PGME office if they have questions or concerns.
Residents may be subject to redeployment depending on the health needs of the region. If necessary, redeployment will occur in accordance with PGME guidelines, as developed during wave 1.
Programs are working to ensure that all residents who originate from outside the region have the opportunity to leave at least once before April 30, 2021. On their return, they will be required to self-isolate for two weeks, but programs will endeavor to institute opportunities to allow them work from home to avoid loss of training time, vacation days or income.
RESEARCH & GRADUATE STUDIES
The phased approach to Return to Campus planning focused on the safety of the research community and the important continuation of mission-critical teaching, research and student support. As such, Dalhousie University is continuing current research activity at this time. Likewise, DMNB research activities are continuing at our New Brunswick campus.
Unfortunately, this year many of the holiday traditions that faculties and departments typically celebrate will need to be adjusted given public health protocols and our responsibilities under Occupational Health and Safety legislation.
While in-person holiday parties and other typical celebratory events for faculties and departments are largely cancelled this year, the Dalhousie Human Resources team has assembled a list of suggestions for teams who may wish to celebrate in a safe and modified way.
Following the Nova Scotia government announcement this week about library closures, Dalhousie Libraries wishes to clarify that this closure was only for public libraries. Dalhousie Libraries will remain in operation.
Library facilities also remain open for DMNB students on the UNBSJ campus.
Helpful COVID-19 Reminders
- Pay attention to exposure notices in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick COVID-19 news releases, and PEI updates.
- Stay home if you feel sick and follow Nova Scotia testing protocols, New Brunswick testing protocols and PEI testing protocols.
- Carefully consider any travel plans and follow appropriate protocols.
- Adhere to all Public Health guidelines.
- Limit gathering sizes. (5 people or less in Halifax, a single household bubble for those living in an Orange zone in New Brunswick, and no more than 20 persons in PEI.)
- Keep your social group small and consistent.
- Wear your mask and maintain physical distancing in shared spaces.
- Self-isolate when required.
- Avoid large gatherings and limit your social engagements.
- This isn’t just about your health — it’s the health of others who may be more vulnerable.