Officials have suspended clinical rotations for all students enrolled in Emergency Health Services courses amid COVID-19 concerns, according to an email obtained by The Hatchet.
All student observation and training activities in “any clinical setting with real patients” are suspended until further notice, including ride-alongs with EMS units and observation as an EMT student in any emergency department, according to the email sent Friday by Wanda Herbel, an adjunct instructor in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. At least six EHS courses are affected by the suspension, the email states.
“The rapid evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak in the past few weeks has made it increasingly possible that an EHS student could be exposed to CoVID-19 during clinical rotations in any health care setting in a facility or in the field,” the email states.
The email states that officials issued the suspension to avoid placing students at risk of infection from the novel coronavirus. Students are not trained in the personal protective equipment required to work around individuals with COVID-19, and clinical partners working with EHS students have requested that officials “curtail the sending of students into non-essential roles,” according to the email.
EHS officials are working with D.C. Emergency Medical Services officials to “make every effort” to maintain students’ eligibility for National Registry testing, required to achieve certification as an emergency medical technician, at the completion of the course, the email states.
The EHS program director, department chair and other faculty are “collaborating to find alternate ways to fulfill the experience of the clinical rotations” and ensure that students receive academic credit for the courses, according to the email.
“We are not alone as we sort out the best way forward in this situation – many students at many schools are in the same situation,” the email stated. “We will make updates to this policy as need be, and we will get the clinical rotations turned back on as soon as we can safely do so in the future.”