Dear CVM Community:
I want to commend each of you for your response during this past week to the extraordinary circumstances in which we find ourselves. From those who have reached out to mentor colleagues adapting to distance learning, to those who scoured their supplies to determine which resources could be shared with others, to those who simply put up a hand and said, “Yes, I volunteer.” Within minutes of being asked for PPE resources, we had people volunteering to give up their supplies, offering to shop for alternatives, and sending out patterns for sewing surgical masks. The selflessness and willingness to help others has been amazing. I am inspired by your resourcefulness, dedication and flexibility. If there was ever a moment when we needed to get scrappy, it has been this week, and we did, on a scale I could never have envisioned.
I would like to offer a few brief updates:
- Per UM System President Mun Choi’s Thursday afternoon directive, that no one physically works on our universities unless they are requested to do so by an appropriate supervisor, we will move the operations of the Veterinary Health Center and Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory to Phase 3 as of 8 a.m. Monday, March 23.
- This means, “Students will no longer participate in face-to-face clinical experiential learning and services will be operated by faculty, house officers and staff only to provide essential (primarily emergency) services to the community. Student education, when possible, will be delivered remotely. The VHC will work closely with the Dean’s Office to creatively educate students or reschedule clinical activities.”
- Students will continue in their clinical rotations through this weekend, but they will cease Monday morning. We are working to hire some students as part-time employees to assist hospital staff in seeing emergent cases.
- We know this may cause some concern among our DVM students and we are working on measures to ensure all of our students complete their studies as planned. Please contact Associate Dean for Students Affairs and Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Angela Tennison with questions or concerns about your DVM program. Graduate students and post-docs with questions are encouraged to reach out to their respective department chairs.
- Distance learning will continue for VM-1s and VM-2s, but instructors will not be permitted to record or Zoom their lectures from Adams Conference room or other CVM sites. Instructors can record lectures this weekend, but must not congregate in Adams and should follow CDC hygiene guidelines.
- Non-essential staff are being directed to work from home with their supervisor’s approval. The UM System has put into place enhanced leave measures for those employees who can’t perform their jobs from home in order to ensure that they can continue to receive their normal pay. The revised policies can be found here: https://www.umsystem.edu/ums/rules/hrm/hr700/hr700
- Students and employees should remove any items they may need during this period from CVM buildings before 11:59 p.m. Sunday. They will not be allowed access to the buildings after that time.
- Likewise, research labs will be closed, except for activities essential to preserve the life of cells, animals, or plants and where the supervisor has filed the appropriate paperwork with Associate Dean for Research, Christian Lorson for approval.
- The VHC began asking screening questions of patient’s owners and rescheduling elective procedures earlier this week. As COVID-19 has become more established in the state and cases have been identified in Columbia, as of March 21, the VHC will move to emergency only receiving.
We are planning a CVM-wide Town Hall via Zoom or other distance meeting tool next week. I will share details when they are finalized. I encourage members of the CVM to check our CVM COVID-19 webpage for updates. There is a place where questions can be submitted. Or, please feel free to email me directly. There is also a COVID-19 page within the faculty, staff and student section of the VHC website.
Again, I want to thank everyone for remaining positive and adapting as this situation has changed, seemingly hourly. Please remember to also take time to practice self-care and be patient with those around you. We all handle stress differently and we will all need help at different times in this journey. We will get through this together. This pandemic will end and we will be stronger than ever before. Take advantage of this time to do those things at home you haven’t had time to do for ages and take this opportunity to truly appreciate your family. I look forward to the day we can all return to work more enthusiastically than ever before. You are an incredible group of people and I couldn’t be more grateful for how you are sticking together through this.
With gratitude for all of you-