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COVID-19 Update



September 2020 Semester Update

St. Matthew’s University (“SMU”) is committed to providing students with the highest quality medical education to further students’ goals of becoming practicing clinicians. The faculty, staff and administration are in the process of developing plans to allow the opening of the Cayman campus for this coming fall term. As we embark on this journey, our overarching goal is to ensure that our community members feel comfortable and safe as we resume campus operations. As we reopen, our actions will be guided by public health considerations and best practices around COVID-19.

Assuming the resumption of international travel, and appropriate governmental approvals and conditions SMU plans to reopen the Cayman campus for the Fall 2020 semester.

SMU is seeking ways to establish modes of academic engagement that will allow our students to achieve their academic objectives while maintaining a safe environment. To this end, our goal is to provide simultaneous in-person and synchronous remote teaching to create a flexible learning experience designed to accommodate a diverse range of situations in which students might find themselves because of public health considerations, travel restrictions, or personal health circumstances. We expect that this system will allow students who are unable to return to campus this fall to fully participate and be current in their studies when they do return to campus. Some of the specifics are still being worked out. Please check back regularly as we will post the latest updates here.

For those upperclassmen who are in the clinical medicine portion of the program, as our affiliated hospitals begin to resume core and elective clerkships, you will be scheduled as they become available. Until such time we will continue the remote learning activities presently being offered by the university.

NBME Testing ** Update

NBME Testing Announcement

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the school’s administration of the various NBME exams has been disrupted. We are examining options that will work technologically, are equitable and that maintain the integrity of the exams. As soon as we have finalized our plans we will provide further update.

June 2020 Medical School Commencement Ceremony **Update

As previously announced, this year’s in-person commencement ceremony regrettably needed to be canceled. We would like to invite all of this year’s medical school graduates, family, friends, faculty and staff to an online reciting of the Hippocratic Oath on June 6th at 10am EST. Details of how to access this event will be forthcoming by email and on the COVID-19 page of the St. Matthew's University ("SMU") website. This oath is one of the earliest expressions of medical ethics in the medical profession and signifies your transition into the profession of a physician. As mentioned previously, all students and their families are invited to participate in the 2021 commencement ceremony.

COVID-19 May Semester Announcement

We have made the decision to deliver Basic Science courses on our virtual learning platform for the May semester beginning with the term start date of Monday, May 4, 2020. We have temporarily transitioned the Basic Science portion of the program to this virtual learning platform in order to seamlessly continue supporting our student’s education, while they remain in the safety of their homes. We are well-prepared to deliver an interactive and seamless virtual learning experience, and will continue to enroll and start our programs without interruption. Clinical students should consult with the Clinical Department about their May 2020 semester clerkship schedule.

St. Matthew’s University ("SMU") remains committed to the safety of our students, faculty, staff, colleagues and members of the community at large. As such, we would like to make you aware of actions the school is taking at this time. SMU will continue to provide updates as the situation and circumstances demand.

As always, our school is committed to ensuring the safety of our community. We also remain committed to our mission "To provide students of diverse backgrounds who exhibit a passion for the field of medicine with the opportunity to acquire the medical and clinical expertise needed for a successful career as a practicing clinician along with the skills and confidence needed to critically evaluate and apply new information." Consistent with this mission the school is taking all steps available to ensure the safety of our students while continuing their medical education as possible given the realities of the situation. The following will outline:

  1. COVID-19
  2. Resources available regarding COVID-19
  3. COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands
  4. Basic Science students
  5. Clinical Medicine students
  6. May 2020 term
COVID-19

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but is now spreading from person to person.

The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  1. Fever
  2. Cough
  3. shortness of breath

People can help protect themselves from respiratory illness with everyday preventive actions.

  1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  3. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should

  1. Stay home when you are sick.
  2. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  3. Clean and disinfect frequently
Resources available regarding COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides information on the virus and how to protect yourself, as well as the situation in the United States and updates at their website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html.

The Canadian Government also provides information on the virus and information specific to Canada on its website: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html.

COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands

To date there has been one confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands. SMU will continue to monitor the situation and we encourage you to visit the Cayman Islands Government website (https://www.exploregov.ky/coronavirus) for additional information and updates.

Basic Science Students

On March 13, 2020 the Cayman Islands government ordered all educational institutions in the country to close until April 27, 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The order was issued by the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture & Lands pursuant to Section 13.5(5) of the Education Law, 2016 which states that the Minister may "close educational institutions due to potential health and safety risks as a result of a natural disaster." Certain students may return to their homes in the United States, while certain students may stay in the Cayman Islands.

As a result of this situation SMUSOM will be offering the Basic Science portion of our program (semesters 1-5) for remote learners via the following modalities:

  1. Asynchronously via Panopto, a lecture capture video platform
  2. Synchronously via Zoom, a video conferencing platform
  3. Exams will be administered via Respondus LockDown Browser, a secure assessment platform, and through Prometric secure testing centers if open.

Additional information about how to access these resources and how students can interact with the faculty will be made available directly to students.

Clinical Medicine Students

SMU is diligently working with its clinical sites in the United States to help ensure that students can continue their clinical education throughout this situation. We remind students to follow the protocols and recommendations in place at their clinical site. As with all our students, we advise them to take all precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. We also request that clinical students update the clinical department on any known exposures to SMU students or faculty as soon as possible.

Education at a number of our clinical sites has been disrupted by COVID-19. To the extent possible SMU is developing workarounds to minimize any disruptions to students’ education. The school will prioritize students who are nearing graduation to help ensure that these students can complete their clinical education in time for scheduled graduation.

2020 Commencement Ceremony

Update: 4/3/2020 regarding SMU Graduation Ceremony. Click here for more information.