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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.

Fall Term - Return to Campus

Will fall term courses be held online?

Fall Term will begin August 17, 2020 as scheduled on the academic calendar. Each academic program will determine a plan to conduct fall classes. Students can expect that adjustments to in-class attendance requirements, class schedules, and the ability to stream live-classes from home, will be made to manage the campus environment. Details for reopening this fall will be emailed to all students based on their respective academic program. 

Additional Information

For more information regarding course delivery plans for the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program, please see the message from the deans

For additional information about course delivery plans for the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program, please review an update from Dean Shawn Spencer, PhD, RPh regarding course delivery plans for fall 2020.

Students in the School of Professional and Applied Psychology should review an important message from Dean Robert A. DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP regarding course delivery plans for the upcoming semester.

For more information regarding COVID-19 planning for the School of Health Sciences which includes the biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, physical therapy and physician assistant studies programs, please review a message from Dean Gregory McDonald, DO.

Important Messages:

All fall term new student orientations (occurring the week of 08/10/20 through 08/14/20) and the first two weeks of classes from 8/17/20 – 8/28/20 will be online/virtual (this does not apply to clinical site years). During this period there will be no on-campus activities or instruction. All students will be expected to self-quarantine at their school-year residences for a total of at least 14 days and screen themselves for COVID-19 symptoms. We are asking you to remain in your apartments/homes during the quarantine period with the exception of life sustaining activities, understanding that students may need to leave their homes for essentials including food and healthcare appointments. This is just one step that the college is taking to make your academic environment as safe as possible for when you return to on campus activities and instruction. We appreciate your understanding and your willingness to abide by this requirement in this challenging time.

COVID-19 Pledge

All students are asked to sign the COVID-19 Pledge. Students will receive a notice from Safe Colleges in the next few weeks and be asked to sign the pledge online.

Will the fall term start as scheduled?

Fall term is on track to start as scheduled on the PCOM calendar. 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 for the fall term?

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 2020-21 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.

For a full list of higher risk activities, visit the CDC "After You Travel" page. If you have been exposed to COVID-19, please contact PCOM Human Resources at humanresources@pcom.edu or 215-871-6500.

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
  3. Department or program
  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 restricted. Additionally, all students are required to self screen for COVID-19 symptoms via the #CampusClear app. Effective September 8, 2020, 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

Is there a place on campus where our study group can meet?

Details for small breakout/study rooms usage during the fall term will be forthcoming. PCOM would encourage you to follow the CDC protocols for social distancing and use platforms such as Google Meet for study groups.

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.

Can I use the study space at the College?

The College has temporarily suspended student access to campus. You will receive updates as soon as the study-spaces are accessible.

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.

Will the cafeteria be operational when we return to campus in the fall?

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 DO and PA 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)?

Summer 2020 rotations have been rescheduled for the Winter of 2020 and 2021. 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 fall?

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 fall term. Parking fees will also be waived.

This decision applies for the fall term only and will be evaluated on a term-by-term basis. Decisions about the winter term will be made at a later date.

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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