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Open-Air Safe Study Space Built on Philadelphia Campus


October 19, 2020

Med students wear face masks and read text books at outdoor study spaces on PCOM's Philadelphia campus.Outdoor desks allow PCOM's graduate and medical students to study on-campus while maintaining COVID-19 safety precautions and social distancing.


Pandemic creates need for outdoor study spaces

In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the majority of classes at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) were moved online. Students began learning and studying in their own homes, leaving some students feeling disconnected and separated. Acknowledging the need for on-campus study space, PCOM leadership, in collaboration with Library Services and Facilities Management on the Philadelphia campus, erected two large tents, each equipped with 20 desks, on the lawn beside the Levin Administration Building. This unique concept allows students to study in the presence of their peers while maintaining proper health and safety precautions.

“Students miss the comradery of being in the library on campus,” shared Stephanie Ferretti, MLS, chief library services officer. “These students spend hours studying and I think they take comfort in knowing that someone else is going through what they’re going through.” The PCOM Library will manage the scheduling system for the tent.

Biomedical sciences student Annie Kim (MS/Biomed ’22), student manager of the space, shared her thoughts after the first study session on October 8. “Everyone was super excited about it. People have been stuck studying in their apartments and many students appreciate the opportunity to come on campus and study safely. Everyone has been very conscientious about following the safety rules,” shared Ms. Kim.

Study space amenities and guidelines

In addition to the 20 desks, there are also several osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) tables set up for the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine students to practice their skills. Students are required to follow the guidelines in place for their in-person OMM labs while practicing inside the tent. These guidelines include wearing an N95 respirator mask, wiping the tables down with disinfecting wipes after every use and practicing proper hand hygiene.

Outdoor study schedule

Study space within the tent is limited. Students who wish to reserve space in the tents can do so via the PCOM Library. Walk-ups are welcome if space is available. The tent is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., with a break from 12 - 1 p.m. for deep cleaning.

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  • About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

    Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has trained thousands of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, mental health counseling, organizational development and leadership, physician assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration. Our students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care to medically underserved populations in inner city and rural locations. For more information, visit pcom.edu.

    For more information, contact:

    Daniel McCunney
    Associate Director, News and Media Relations
    Email: danielmc1@pcom.edu
    Office: 215-871-6304 | Cell: 267-449-1360

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