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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

The Office of Student Affairs continues to monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Please review the following for answers to frequently asked student questions regarding the impact of COVID-19 on operations at PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia.

Spring Term

Will spring term classes start as scheduled?

Return to campus schedule
  • March 1-5: The College will remain open and campus based, program specific activities will continue, pending any COVID-19 restrictions. The decision to move in this direction was made after careful consideration and thoughtful discussion.  
  • March 8: Spring term begins.

The Dean of the school or Program Chair will provide program specific details by email.

COVID-19 pledge

Ultimately, the guiding priority of our College, from the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been to protect the health and safety of our faculty, staff, students and other community members. This priority continues and will continue.

Housing

Do I need to find housing?

We recommend securing housing as you normally would. Despite programmatic changes in attendance requirements, There will be mandatory small group activities or skills labs within the various programs.

If your original plan was to obtain housing before COVID-19, you may want to follow that plan. If you do not live within a feasible driving distance from the college, you should strongly consider moving closer to campus. If you are within driving distance from the College, you may want to stay home and come in on the days that are mandatory. This is a choice each student will need to make.

Are reservations being taken for PCOM on-campus housing?

PCOM on-campus housing will not be available during the 2020-2021 academic year.

COVID-19 Related Questions

How do I obtain an academic accommodation for issues related to COVID-19?

In the event that a student is exposed to and/or contracts COVID19, the first course of action must be to contact Student Affairs, and copy the course director.

The Office of Student Affairs will work with your academic department to address identified concerns and coordinate a response that is tailored to the needs of the individual student.

What should I do if I recently traveled internationally?

If you participated in certain “higher risk activities” (which include traveling by plane, train, boat or bus), you should take extra precautions to protect others for 14 days after you arrive. These precautions include:

  • Staying home as much as possible.
  • Avoiding being around people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Consider getting tested for COVID-19.

If you have been exposed to COVID-19, please email covidnotice@pcom.edu and your program director.

What do I do if I’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or tested positive for COVID-19?

If you have been exposed to COVID-19, you must stay home, seek medical advice, and immediately notify your program director and email covidnotice@pcom.edu.

When sending an email to covidnotice@pcom.edu, please include:

  1. Your name
  2. PCOM campus you attend
  3. Program you are enrolled in
  4. Name of program director
  5. COVID-19 information: positive test or symptoms; or close contact with someone with positive test or symptoms

Your cooperation in reporting is essential to helping your colleagues and classmates stay safe from infection.

These guidelines can also be found on my.pcom.edu.

Facilities

Are there restrictions for access to College buildings?

As some students begin to transition back to in-person learning, access to College buildings will continue to be limited, based on local restrictions.

Additionally, all students are required to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms via the #CampusClear app. You will have to show PCOM Public Safety the “no symptoms” smiley face on your smartphone or a screen capture/printed image of your green screen to gain access to any campus building.

PCOM community must also provide notice of any symptoms to covidnotice@pcom.edu. Anyone who reports symptoms of COVID-19 will not be granted access to campus and should consult the Office of Student Affairs to determine next steps.

Students will still be able to access the on-campus food pantries during these difficult times.

  • PCOM – Main security desk in Rowland Hall
  • PCOM Georgia – Security desk at the back of the Main Building
  • PCOM South Georgia – Main entrance security desk

How will this affect PCOM on-campus events?

All on-campus events will be canceled or postponed until further notice.

We are monitoring the situation daily, following national and local guidance. Furthermore, we urge all students, staff and faculty to abide by all local, state and national public health directives.

Are there guidelines for meetings and gatherings?

PCOM strongly discourages in-person meetings and gatherings (other than academic classes) of any size, whether on-campus or off-campus.

While preference should be given to virtual meetings and gatherings whenever possible, meetings and gatherings of no more than 10 person indoors or 25 person outdoors are permissible, provided there is strict compliance with the following:

  • Masks must be worn.
  • Physical distancing guidelines must be observed at all times.
  • Pre-registration is required. A list of all registrants must be sent to covidnotice@pcom.edu AND (for student events) studentaffairs@pcom.edu. Persons who are not registered may not attend.
  • All attendees have to use and be cleared the day of the meeting or gathering through the #CampusClear App.

A meeting or gathering cannot be held unless an operational plan compliant with the foregoing safety requirements is submitted to covidnotice@pcom.edu at least a week prior to the event and is approved in writing. The plan must include the name, email address and cell phone number of the primary faculty, staff or student event organizer.

Can I use the study space at the College?

PCOM encourages you to follow the CDC protocols for social distancing and use platforms such as Google Meet for study groups.

Although the entire campus is not open for study space, the Library is available for limited study space. Days and hours vary by campus location. Please be sure to visit the Library webpage for any updates to this policy.

Reservations are available in blocks of three hours and must be made in advance, on a first-come, first-served basis on the reservation page. You will receive an email confirmation from the LibCal reservation service. On the day and time of the reservation, check in to secure your seat. Security will verify your #CampusClear results upon entry to the building. Seating will be socially distanced; everyone must wear a mask; no congregating; and no food or drink allowed.

Can I use the fitness facilities on campus?

At this time College fitness facilities at PCOM and PCOM Georgia remain closed. PCOM South Georgia students have access to fitness facilities at a location near the College. Please check with that facility as to availability.

Please be aware that the fitness staff is providing online fitness classes and resources.

Will the cafeteria be operational when we return to campus?

This has not yet been determined. Should the college choose to open the cafeteria at PCOM and PCOM Georgia, it will likely be grab and go only. Additional information will be provided when available.

Computer Equipment/Internet Access Requirements

Which computer should I purchase?

Visit the Information Technology Services new users page to view computer recommendations including hardware specifications.

Do I need access to the internet?

A high speed internet connection with a connection speed of 5 Mbps (download and upload) or better. If the internet connection is being shared by multiple devices a faster connection speed may be required. The use of satellite and cellular connections (hot spots) may result in slowness or errors (timeouts, access problems) when accessing the classroom and course materials. The use of public internet access (for example, at restaurants and public institutions such as libraries) is not recommended.

Practicum/Clerkship/Internship Information

What should I do if I have safety concerns about my practicum/clerkship/internship site?

Students with COVID-19 related safety concerns at their site should report concerns immediately to their site supervisor, the clinical training director of their program as indicated below and PCOM’s Chief Occupational and Environmental Safety Officer.

How will this affect clinical placement, internship or practicum (DO, PA Studies and psychology programs)?

Clinical clerkships and experiential learning opportunities for osteopathic medicine and physician assistant studies students will be reopened at the discretion of individual sites. As students are called back to their clinical sites, they should confirm the site follows applicable Pennsylvania Department of Health and CDC safety guidelines. Students should continue to communicate any questions or concerns with their program directors. Additionally, other clinical teaching modalities have been implemented.

Psychology students returned to their practicum experiences in the summer term. In response to COVID-19, practicum sites should follow applicable Pennsylvania Department of Health and CDC safety guidelines.

Students with COVID-19 related safety concerns at their site should report concerns immediately to their site supervisor, the clinical training director of their program (below) and PCOM’s Chief Occupational and Environmental Safety Officer.

How will this affect clinical placement, internship or practicum (Pharmacy)?

Effective immediately and until further notice, students in the School of Pharmacy, will have restrictions on all direct patient care experiential learning opportunities.

For additional details please refer to communication from Dr. Shawn Spencer or contact him at shawnsp@pcom.edu.

How will this affect clinical experiences (Physical Therapy)?

PCOM DPT department is working with clinical partners to ensure all students have access to quality clinical rotations while making sure to respect the difficult situation our clinicians are facing during this time. PCOM greatly appreciates all the help our clinical partners have offered our clinical education program.

For more information, please contact either Dr. Jenny Wiley or Dr. Melisa Smith.

Resources Available to Students

What academic support services are available for students when they are off campus?

PCOM will continue to provide academic support online, through email and the use of online video platforms. Students can direct any questions to the academic support specialist on their campus:

What counseling and support options are available to students?

The college personal support counselors will be working remotely and are available to students. Please continue to email them with questions or concerns.

In addition, please know that the Carebridge Assistance Program is available to students.

About the Carebridge Assistance Program

Identify yourself as a student at PCOM. PCOM's access code is: R5SAF.

These services are available at no cost to all PCOM students and their dependents.

Remember: Carebridge is not replacing the comprehensive support services you receive from the Office of Student Affairs. Carebridge is an additional resource option for those who wish to utilize confidential resources, if you are away from campus, or if you need emergency confidential assistance when PCOM is closed.

What financial hardship support options are available to students?

PCOM has announced the creation of the Student Emergency Fund (SEF) in an effort to provide relief for students having financial hardships. This fund was made possible by generous donations from the PCOM Alumni Association, alumni, faculty, staff and friends of PCOM.

The SEF is designed to provide relief to students who need assistance with unexpected and additional costs related to basic needs such as housing, food, travel, healthcare and other personal expenses incurred as a result of personal or a national emergency such as COVID-19. The Offices of Student Affairs and Financial Aid ask that if you are in hardship, please complete the PCOM Student Emergency Fund Application. Please note that completion of the application does not guarantee funding will be provided; however, every effort will be made to assist the student.

On-Campus Food Pantry

Students are able to access the on-campus food pantries during these difficult times.

  • PCOM – Main security desk in Rowland Hall
  • PCOM Georgia – Security desk at the back of the main building
  • PCOM South Georgia – Main entrance security desk

Financial Aid/Tuition

Will this affect tuition or financial aid?

Please visit the Office of Financial Aid’s frequently asked questions page for information relating to tuition, loan disbursements and other financial aid questions.

Will students be charged for the comprehensive fee and parking this spring?

PCOM facilities will continue to comply with governmental guidelines and limit student access to common areas (such as the library, cafeteria, labs and gym). As a result, PCOM will not charge the comprehensive fee for the spring term. Parking fees will also be waived.

This decision will be evaluated on a term-by-term basis.

Deferral and Leave of Absence

How do I request a deferral?

Accepted students who have paid the required admission deposit(s) are eligible to request an enrollment deferral by submitting the request via email to the Office of Admissions for Faculty Committee consideration.

How do I request a leave of absence?

For more information, please visit the Leave of Absence information page.

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