Throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic the medical school's Rapid Response Team has coordinated the institutional response to ensure the safety of our patients, employees, and students. We have implemented proactive measures, new policies, and other actions so that we can continue our operations during the pandemic. Communication is shared with internal stakeholders whenever new decisions are made. All email communications are also posted on internal portals for reference. The internal infection control portal includes valuable resources, health advisories, links, and information related to the pandemic.
WMed COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan
The Rapid Response Team has created a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan (updated June 23, 2021) in accordance with requirements in the MIOSHA Emergency Rules, the OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, and the latest guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The purpose of this plan is to minimize or eliminate employee and learner exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allotted $2.2 trillion to provide fast and direct economic aid to people negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of that money, approximately $14 billion was given to the Office of Postsecondary Education as the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), referenced as HEERF I. HEERF I provided funds to institutions for emergency aid grants to students, and institutional expenses related to COVID-19. WMed was initially allocated $78,563 under Section (a)(1), then an additional $421,437 under Section (a)(3).
The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II) is authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA), and signed into law on December 27, 2020. The CRRSAA authorized $81.88 billion in support for education. On February 3, 2021 WMed was awarded $115,890, of which a minimum of $39,282 is assigned for students.
The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III) is authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARP), and signed into law on March 11, 2021, providing $39.6 billion in support to institutions of higher education to serve students and ensure learning continues during the COVID-19 pandemic. On May 20, 2021, WMed was allocated $214,638.
Meeting the Needs of Our Patients
WMed Health, the clinical practice of the medical school, is taking every precaution necessary and following CDC guidelines as well as local, state, and national mandates to meet the needs of our patients who are impacted by COVID-19. We offer COVID-19 curb-side testing to our patients with symptom or who request it. Our practices remain open during normal business hours. Upon arrival, patients are screened for symptoms and provided a face mask to wear in accordance with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Emergency Order on face masks in the healthcare setting. All individuals are encouraged to practice social distancing. We are limiting visitors and other families from entry into our practices unless absolutely necessary. Our providers and clinical teams have received additional training and communication related to COVID-19 testing, personal protective equipment, room cleaning, and patient care team hygiene. We offer telehealth via video and phone visits so we can treat patients remotely. Our providers and clinical team are required to do daily monitoring and reporting of staff symptoms of illness.
COVID-19 vaccination is required for all employees and students as a condition of employment or enrollment. This new requirement must be fulfilled by November 1, 2021. We are permitting exemptions for medical and religious reasons only. We have collaborated with the local Health Department and clinical affiliate hospitals to provide the vaccines to our medical school community. Today, the vaccines are broadly available at many local pharmacies and community clinics.
As of June 23, 2021, WMed-related travel is permitted for all individuals regardless of vaccination status.
Flexible Working Solutions
In March 2020, we implemented a new policy that supports employees to work from home. WMed is requiring employees to work remotely but there are essential functions and patient care roles where this does not apply. Starting July 6, 2021, many employees will be able to return to work at WMed while also having flexible working options to continue to work remotely depending on the job role and function.
Face Masks and Social Distancing
Whenever anyone is at our facilities, all individuals are required to wear a face mask and to practice social distancing to protect themselves and others from the spread of COVID-19.
Educational Program Changes
From late March through summer 2020, our educational programs were delivered in a manner so that our students did not need to be present on campus. Faculty utilized recorded lectures, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and other online learning tools. Starting in June 2020, clinical site rotations began with approval and support from our affiliate hospitals. Students returned to campus starting in late July 2020 depending on program and class year. Should the need arise to ensure the safety of our learners, the faculty are prepared to deliver the curriculum through a hybrid manner or virtual learning, if necessary.
Visiting student experiences are available starting in summer 2021.
Social gatherings and events are permitted as of June 23, 2021 without limitations on event size, location, or vaccination status of participants. However, all non-vaccinated attendees must wear a face mask and practice social distancing.
Visitors to WMed Campus Locations and Facilities
Visitors are alllowed at all campus locations and facilities. All visitors must attest to their health status disclosing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 before entry. All visitors must wear a face mask and practice social distancing when on medical school properties.
Facility and Personal Hygiene
We implemented extra effort and resources to continuously sanitize and keep all of our facilities clean. Additional hand sanitizer stations have been placed throughout our facilities and all employees have been provided with a personal supply of hand sanitizer.
The safety and well-being of our WMed community remains our top priority.
Updated: August 4, 2021