Last updated: November 16, 2020
This update supersedes all previous communications.
We are sharing the following with the caveat that information impacting decision-making will evolve during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For additional COVID-19 information, please reference the COVID-19 Intranet site.
We empathize with any anxiety this creates. Please know that the faculty and staff are working tirelessly to ensure the safety of all those in our care while continuing to create the optimum learning environment.
- Note: use of the Employee Health portal form specifies it is not for exposure-related concerns
- You can also download the WebChart app from the App Store. Once you have it on your device, open the app and enter https://webchartnow.com/wakehealth to link to the Wake Forest Baptist Health WebChart account. You will then be prompted to enter your Wake Forest Baptist email and password.
To report or clarify potential exposures as a Wake Forest School of Medicine student, email Samantha Lodish in Employee Health.
- Note: if you are having symptoms or are concerned that you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please stay home and connect with Employee Health. Do not await approval to begin staying home. If you have a required curriculum activity that day, contact your program via the established mechanism for reporting absences. Please reference CDC guidelines for quarantine.
The School of Medicine approach to curriculum delivery:
We have reaffirmed with Chris Ohl, MD, that our current approach to in-person instruction and assessment remains appropriate:
- Use of surgical masks during preclinical instruction and assessment events. Situation-specific use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during clinical instruction based upon the patient being seen.
- Social distancing during instruction and assessments.
- Reporting through Employee Health with case investigation and contact tracing being managed through Employee Health and duty restrictions being communicated to the student’s program point of contact.
- Students doing their part to protect themselves and others from getting ill and spreading infection.
Notably, the following measures are not recommended:
- Asymptomatic and/or surveillance testing as a routine measure.
- Use of a proximity app related to exposures or positive test results.
- Mass communication about the presence of COVID-19 positive test results.
PPE usage and students
Based upon the current stability of our institutional PPE supply and supply chain, we are able to eliminate the existing restrictions on students participating in the direct care of patients on Isolation Precautions, which includes lifting the restrictions on students being involved in the direct care of COVID-19 positive patients and Persons Under Investigation (PUI).
As a reminder, many rotations are currently limiting the number of people going into patient rooms and are still working to conserve PPE across the health system. Students will need to follow the instructions provided on each rotation regarding their involvement in direct patient care activities.
We emphasize that involvement with patients on Isolation Precautions requires the appropriate use of PPE in order to mitigate the risk of exposures to students.
While use of appropriate PPE is an effective mitigation strategy, if you are concerned about your personal health risks related to participating in your education program, it is always appropriate to contact your personal medical provider to discuss your concerns. You may also contact Dr. Marcia Wofford, Associate Dean for Student Affairs or Dr. Tanya Gregory, Director of PA Student Services, to discuss your concerns and various options WFSM may have to offer. Additionally, you may contact the Wake Forest University Learning Assistance Center & Disability Services (LAC-DS) at 336-758-5929 if you feel the need to discuss potential disability accommodation requests.
We will continue to monitor the status of our institutional PPE supply and supply chain and modify our approach to PPE conservation efforts as the situation requires.
- The Travel Portal is now only required for international and cruise ship travel.
- It is recommended that travel to visit extended family comply with current recommendations for social distancing, masking and hand hygiene to avoid possible interruptions in your education.
- The recommendation “before one leaves, please discuss back-to-work plans with your supervisor” should be interpreted for PA students as discussing with Professor Reich or Professor Curtis prior to travel.
Exposure is defined as:
- Person symptomatic, not masked and
- Within six feet for 15 minutes or greater and
- Employee not masked and/or
- Employee not wearing eye protection while person is excessively coughing and/or sneezing
- Clinical Work place exposure (defined as exposure while in the clinical setting
Employee/Student Guidance for Confirmed Workplace COVID-19 Exposures
- Community exposure (any exposure not in a clinical setting - e.g. all Wake PA buildings)
If you have been exposed to a COVID-positive person, you MUST stay home, contact Employee Health through the Employee Health Portal and follow their instructions.
- Questionable exposure (exposure to a PUI [person under investigation] or other possible exposure)
If you have been possibly been exposed to COVID but are unsure, please directly email Samantha L. Lodish in Employee Health. Include that you are a PA student. Copy Professor Reich and Curtis..
For any exposure, after contacting Employee Health, please also notify the program, Professors Reich, Curtis or Bodner (clinical year) and Ms. Amy Simpson, Registrar
Please check your email regularly for program or COVID updates.
Information about participating in direct patient care/clinical rotations. Students:
- Will utilize health system PPE* appropriately during direct patient care, including face shields. Use of PPE by students will mirror the use of PPE by all others in our health system. Students will utilize medical-grade face masks (e.g. Ear Loop surgical masks) while working in our health system facilities. Specific PPE use will be guided by the type of patient care being provided and may include the use of N95/KN95 respirators, face shields or goggles, and other PPE items as appropriate. See the institutional guidance on Masks and Appropriate Use of PPE and the reminder by Drs. Freischlag and High that masks are to be worn at all times in our health system facilities.
- Will follow all institutional guidance about reporting exposures and/or illness to Employee Health.
- Will actively engage with their preceptor in both the direct care and the virtual care of patients.
- Note: no separate supply of PPE exists for students in WFSM degree-granting programs; students will continue to utilize health system PPE.
- Note: There is no single piece of PPE that is restricted for student use. By restricting students from the direct care of certain patient types and isolation categories at this time, we are assisting with the conservation of PPE. If the stated restrictions are applied and the direct care of a patient still warrants the use of a particular component of PPE (e.g., use of an N95 or KN95 mask; use of goggles), students are to be provided the appropriate PPE for involvement in direct patient care. No protection, no participation.
*Exception is at Appalachian Regional Health System where a location is provided for storage of WFBH supplied. Professor Bodner will provide further instructions regarding these rotations as needed.
Check your email regularly for program or COVID updates.
- Preclinical education is occurring in a hybrid fashion with select sessions on campus with appropriate masking and distancing. This practice is continually assessed and may change at any time. Compliance with safety measures is imperative to allow continuation of some in-person experiences.
- Review new COVID-19 student testing and reporting process above.
- Remember to wear a surgical-grade mask when on campus. You will receive a new supply of masks (5) each month. Unless damaged, masks can be worn for one week prior to discarding. If extenuating circumstances find you without a mask, please ask any faculty or staff to help you.