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. As of March 2022, a number of our safety requirements have been lifted as the impact of the pandemic has lessened in Kalamazoo County. Communication is shared with internal stakeholders via email whenever new decisions are made. The internal infection control portal includes valuable resources, health advisories, links, and information related to the pandemic for our students and employees.
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.
COVID-19 vaccination is required for all employees and students as a condition of employment or enrollment. 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 December 1, 2021, WMed Health on Oakland Drive is providing appointments every Wednesday morning to vaccinate 5 to 11 year olds only.
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
As of March 21, 2022, face masks are required and social distancing is encouraged in clinical environments only. Face masks and social distancing are optional in the non-clinical spaces at WMed.
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 became available starting in summer 2021.
Social gatherings and events have been permitted as of June 23, 2021 without limitations on event size, location, or vaccination status of participants.
Visitors to WMed Campus Locations and Facilities
Visitors are allowed at all campus locations and facilities.
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.
The safety and well-being of our WMed community remains our top priority.
Updated: May 3, 2022