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School of Medicine Columbia - Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The School of Medicine Columbia is working closely with University of South Carolina leadership to monitor the novel coronavirus outbreak, and we are following their recommendations to help ensure the health and safety of our community. Specific School of Medicine Columbia announcements, policies, and procedures are detailed below. 

View a recording of the Jan. 12 SOMC Town Hall

A town hall covering COVID-19 testing and vaccines was held on Jan. 12, 2021. A recording of the town hall is available. Questions and responses from the town hall also have been added to the appropriate FAQ section below. 

 
COVID-19 Vaccine

Policies and procedures related to COVID vaccine are changing daily, as South Carolina DHEC, health care systems, and the University of South Carolina seek ways to expedite the delivery of vaccine to the highest priority groups. Although we will try to update this information frequently, we encourage you to access the SC DHEC vaccine websitefor the latest information about vaccine availability throughout South Carolina. 

The School of Medicine Library’s Coronavirus Information Resources Guide also has been updated to include additional COVID-19 vaccine resources .

Prisma Health is currently administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.

As of January 12, 2021, UofSC had not yet been activated by SC DHEC as a vaccine administration site. UofSC anticipates that this is likely to occur in the near future, and that they will receive the Pfizer vaccine. UofSC has developed a plan to begin administering vaccine shortly after its arrival, starting with those individuals in the highest priority categories. 

Most individuals have a low risk of developing symptomatic infection by seven to ten days after the second dose of vaccine. It is less clear whether subclinical infection is still possible at this point. Because of that, individuals are still urged to continue wearing masks, practice social distancing, frequently wash their hands, and avoid gathering in large crowds at this time. 

The duration of vaccine immunity is not yet known.

Those who are ten days out from their second dose of COVID vaccine are not required to participate in the mandatory testing program. They may still choose to be tested periodically, if they wish to do so.

Public health officials are carefully studying the new variants that have arisen. At present, there is optimism that the two currently available vaccines will likely provide protection against the most commonly identified variants, though this will need to be validated as results are monitored. 

All students involved clinical activities were initially included within Phase 1a. On January 14, Prisma Health received permission to expand vaccination to all graduate students in the UofSC School of Medicine Columbia. This information is being supplied to the VAMS system and should lead to an invitation from the CDC for those students to schedule an appointment for vaccination.

(Updated 1/14/2021)

Yes. Initially, Prisma Health was informed that only PA students currently involved in clinical duties could be included in Phase 1a vaccination. As of 1/14/21, all PA students have become eligible for vaccination.

(Updated 1/14/2021)

Each institution hosting an away student established their own requirements. At this time, no national standard regarding this issue at this time has been announced.  We have been told that national recommendations regarding away rotations for academic year 2021-2022 may be forthcoming within the next few weeks.  

At present, UofSC has no plans to move to exclusively remote work. In the spring of 2020, the University of South Carolina suspended in-person attendance due to a statewide mandate. We believe a similar mandate is unlikely to be repeated at this time.

Guidance from UofSC and public health experts is that we need to continue to use all appropriate risk mitigation strategies while vaccines are being administered over the next several months. Specifically, we need to socially distance, avoid large in-person events, wear masks, and frequently wash hands. The current expectation is that it will take most of 2021, and perhaps well into 2022 to vaccinate enough individuals to achieve herd immunity within the U.S.  

Data from the clinical trials suggests that after one dose of vaccine, infection rate is reduced by about 50%. Within 7-10 days after the second dose, infection rate is reduced by appx. 95%. 

Mild injection site soreness is a common side effect, usually resolving in one to two days. Some individuals will experience flu-like symptoms, including achy muscles, chills or even fever for a day or two following vaccination. This occurs more commonly after the second injection than after the first. As of 1/13/21, almost seven million doses of COVID vaccine had been administered in the U.S., with serious side effects (such as allergic reactions) extremely uncommon. 

UofSC Student Health is updating the MyHealthSpace software to allow easier uploading of vaccination records. In the meantime, you may take a picture of your completed vaccination card, and may upload this into your MyHealthSpace record by following these steps:

  • Access your MyHealthSpace on the UofSC Student Health website
  • Check “Messages,” then indicate that you want to send a message related to “allergy, immunization, and travel”.
  • When given the option of uploading an image, upload the picture of your vaccine card.
  • You may also enter any additional information you need to enter.


Spring 2021 COVID-19 Testing Program

The UofSC School of Medicine Columbia is participating in the University of South Carolina’s mandatory COVID-19 testing program for the spring semester of 2021.  All School of Medicine Columbia faculty, staff or students who work or learn on the main UofSC campus or other university-maintained locations such as the VA School of Medicine Campus, will participate in the program.

All individuals participating in the testing program will be required to complete the initial return-to-campus testing by January 10, 2021.  In addition, monthly testing will be required throughout the semester, with faculty, staff and students notified via e-mail of the week in which their testing should occur.

Learn more about this initiative on the university's Spring 2021 Testing Information webpage.

Additional SOMC-specific information about testing is included below:

COVID-19 SAFE (saliva-based) testing will be offered each Wednesday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the VA SOM campus throughout the spring semester. SAFE testing will be held in the MII classroom, which is located in the back hallway of Building 3. COVID-19 self-administered nasal swab testing will be offered every other Monday at the VA SOM campus in Room B67 of Building 1 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Appointments are required for testing. Your appointment can be scheduled through the MyHealthSpace website. You will click on “Schedule an Appointment,” and indicate that it is for a COVID test. You will then check that you want the appointment at the School of Medicine and select a date and time.

You will need to bring your University-issued ID with you to the COVID-19 testing to allow for appropriate registration and tracking of your results.  Also, be aware that you should not eat or drink, chew gum, or smoke for 30 minutes prior to your SAFE COVID-19 test.

Yes. The University’s requirement is for all who are working or learning on the UofSC campus or other university-maintained locations, to participate in the testing program.

If your work or learning requires you to periodically (on a recurring basis) visit the UofSC campus or UofSC SOM VA campus, then you should participate in the testing program, even if your primary duties are related to clinical care. If you anticipate visiting the UofSC campus only once or twice during the spring semester, you will not be required to participate in the mandatory program, although you are still welcome to access the available testing if you desire to participate. Otherwise, if you are living or learning within a clinical setting, you should follow the guidelines of that clinical system regarding routine surveillance testing.

Students assigned to Florence or Greenville campuses do not need to participate in Columbia’s mandatory testing program unless their duties will bring them to the Columbia campus on a recurring basis. Leaders of our educational programs in both Florence and Greenville can arrange for testing through their student health services as needed. 

No. However, if your responsibilities require you to travel to campus periodically, then you should participate in the COVID-19 surveillance screening.

Testing will be offered twice on the VA SOM campus during the week of January 4-8. On both of these dates, the testing offered will be SAFE (saliva) testing.

Monday, January 4 from 1-4PM in the MII Classroom (back hallway of Building 3)

Wednesday, January 6, from 1-4PM, in the MII Classroom

We are working with UofSC Student Health to establish an appointment system to make the testing process as safe and efficient for you as possible. UofSC Student Health is developing the capability to use their MyHealthSpace appointment system to allow any SOM student,

faculty member or staff member to make appointments for testing. We anticipate that this appointment system will be ready in late December, and we will notify you via e-mail when the system is ready to accept appointments.

For those seeking testing the week of January 4-8 (January 4 and January 6), you may be tested without an appointment. You may arrive for testing (at the M II Classroom, back hallway of Building 3) any time between 1PM and 4PM. However, in order to minimize wait times, if your schedule allows, we recommend that individuals arrive at the following times for testing, based upon the first letter of your last name:

·       Last name beginning with letter A through G:  1:00PM – 2:00PM

·       Last name beginning with letter H through O through: 2:00PM – 3:00PM

·       Last name beginning with letter P through Z:  3:00PM – 4:00PM

You need to bring your University-issued ID with you to the COVID-19 testing to allow for  appropriate registration and tracking of your results. 

The testing being offered by UofSC and the School of Medicine is free to you.

No. You may access testing on the main UofSC campus, or at a number of community health sites that are offering testing (locations noted on the UofSC COVID-19 website). If you are not tested at a UofSC site, once you receive your results you will need to upload the results to the UofSC Student Health MyHealthSpace website. This will require your UofSC user name and password to access the site.

A number of testing sites are available on the UofSC main campus starting January 4. A full listing of these sites and the testing dates and times is available at:  https://www.sc.edu/safety/coronavirus/safety_guidelines/testing/spring_2021/index.php .

From Monday, January 4 through Sunday, January 10, the UofSC Center for Health and Well-Being will be offering testing daily from 8:30AM to 7PM.

A variety of off campus testing sites are also available in the Columbia area, including a free drive-through testing site in the DHEC Parking Lot located at 2600 Bull Street, which is very near the Prisma Richland campus (just across the street from Med Park 15). Appointments for testing at the 2600 Bull Street site, as well as other DHEC testing locations in South Carolina, can be made online at https://www.gogettested.com/. If you choose to have your testing done at an off campus site, you will need to upload your test results to the MyHealthSpace website after you receive those results (https://myhealthspace.ushs.sc.edu/login_dualauthentication.aspx). 

SAFE (saliva) testing will be offered on Monday, January 4 and Wednesday, Jan 6. Following that, SAFE (saliva) testing will be offered each Wednesday from 1-4PM on the VA SOM campus.  Beginning January 25, 2021, a testing event will be added every other Monday (nasal swab testing), thus providing two weekly opportunities for COVID testing on the SOM campus throughout the remainder of the spring semester. The nasal swab testing which will begin January 25 will involve having the individual being tested insert a cotton swab (much like a Q-tip) into the front part of their nose to obtain a specimen. Because this is not a deep nasal sampling test, there is usually little or no discomfort associated with this procedure.

Results will be uploaded to the MyHealthSpace website of UofSC within 24-48 hours of when the specimen was collected. All students should already have access to this site. If you are a member of the UofSC faculty or staff, you can register for the MyHealthSpace website. You will need your UofSC username and password to access the site.

Most individuals develop an antibody response to the COVID vaccine within ten days of receiving the second dose. Based upon this knowledge, any individual who has received the second dose of the COVID vaccine over ten days ago can be excluded from the mandatory testing program. This recommendation, which is based upon current best guidance from the CDC, could change as more information becomes available in the coming months.   

No. None of the vaccines in use will cause you to test positive on the COVID viral tests, which are designed to determine if you have current infection.

If you have a documented positive COVID-19 (nasal test, saliva PCR test, or an antigen/rapid test) showing a positive result between October 5 and December 20, 2020, you will not have to be tested as you return to campus in January. If you have a positive IgG antibody result within the 90 days prior to January 3, 2021, you will not be required to be tested upon return to campus in January.

A total of 499 individuals were tested on January 4 and January 6. The positive test rate was 1.5% for the School of Medicine, which is similar to the early test results from UofSC main campus. 

Appointments are required for COVID-19 testing on the School of Medicine Columbia VA Campus. These can be scheduled through MyHealthSpace website. After logging in to the site, you will click on “Schedule an Appointment,” and indicate that it is for a COVID test. You will then check that you want the appointment at the School of Medicine, and select a date and time for your appointment. 

 

**Note: Since this communication was distributed the times for testing after the first week of January have changed. Beginning the week of Jan. 11, SAFE saliva testing will be offered from 2-4 p.m. on Wednesdays. Beginning Jan. 25, nasal swab testing will be offered from 2-4 p.m. on Mondays.**

 

Information about Required COVID-19 Testing in Early January as part of University of South Carolina’s COVID-19 Testing Program

The UofSC School of Medicine Columbia is participating in the University of South Carolina’s mandatory COVID-19 testing program for the spring semester of 2021.  All School of Medicine Columbia faculty, staff or students who work or learn on the main UofSC campus or other university-maintained locations such as the VA School of Medicine Campus, will participate in the program.

If your work or learning requires you to visit the UofSC campus or UofSC SOM VA campus on a recurring basis, then you also will need to participate in the testing program, even if your primary duties are related to clinical care.  Otherwise, if you are living or learning within a clinical setting, you should follow the guidelines of that clinical system regarding routine surveillance testing.  If you are working remotely and do not visit the campus, you do not need to participate.  However, should your responsibilities change such that you are required to travel to campus periodically, you should participate in the COVID-19 surveillance screening.

If you have questions about whether you are required to participate in the program, please consult the attached Frequently Asked Questions document. If after reading the FAQ document you still are unsure if you are to participate, contact your supervisor or educational leader for guidance.

All individuals participating in the testing program will be required to complete the initial return-to-campus testing by January 10, 2021.  In addition, monthly testing will be required throughout the semester, with faculty, staff and students notified via e-mail of the week in which their testing should occur.

If you have had a documented positive COVID-19 (nasal test, saliva PCR test, or an antigen/rapid test showing a positive result between October 5 and December 20, 2020, you will not have to be tested again upon return to campus in January.  If you have a positive IgG antibody result within the 90 days prior to January 3, 2021, you will not be required to be tested upon return to campus in January.

Testing Sites Available for Return to Campus Testing in Early January

Individuals may choose to be tested on the UofSC SOM VA campus, at one of the testing sites on the main UofSC campus, or at a community testing site.  On January 4 and January 6, COVID-19 testing will be offered on the VA SOM campus on Monday, using saliva testing.  Testing times and locations for the SOM VA campus are:

  • Monday, January 4 from 1-4PM in the MII Classroom (back hallway of Building 3)
  • Wednesday, January 6, from 1-4PM, in the MII Classroom.

Making an Appointment for COVID-19 Testing the First Week of January

For those seeking testing the week of January 4-8 (January 4 and January 6) on the VA SOM campus, you may be tested without an appointment. You may arrive for testing (at the MII Classroom, back hallway on the first floor of Building 3) any time between 1PM and 4PM on either January 4 or January 6.  However, in order to minimize wait times, if your schedule allows, we recommend that you arrive at the following times for testing, based upon the first letter of your last name:

  • Last name beginning with letter A through G:  1:00PM – 2:00PM
  • Last name beginning with letter H through O through: 2:00PM – 3:00PM
  • Last name beginning with letter P through Z:  3:00PM – 4:00PM

You will need to bring your University-issued ID with you to the COVID-19 testing to allow for appropriate registration and tracking of your results.  Also, be aware that you should not eat or drink, chew gum, or smoke for 30 minutes prior to your COVID-19 test. 

We are working with UofSC Student Health to establish an appointment system to make the testing process as safe and efficient for you as possible.  UofSC Student Health is developing the capability to use their MyHealthSpace appointment system to allow any SOM student,

faculty member or staff member to make appointments for testing.  We anticipate that this appointment system will be ready in late December, and we will notify you via e-mail when the system is ready to accept appointments.

Testing on the Main UofSC Campus or in Off Campus Community Testing Sites

If you prefer, you may choose to have your COVID-19 test performed on the UofSC main campus or at a community testing site.  Information about UofSC Main Campus testing dates and community testing options can be found on the UofSC Coronavirus Web page at    https://www.sc.edu/safety/coronavirus/safety_guidelines/testing/index.php .

From Monday, January 4 through Sunday, January 10, the UofSC Center for Health and Well-Being will be offering testing daily from 8:30AM to 7PM.

A variety of off campus testing sites are also available in the Columbia area, including a free drive-through testing site in the DHEC Parking Lot located at 2600 Bull Street, which is very near the Prisma Richland campus (just across the street from Med Park 15). Appointments for testing at the 2600 Bull Street site, as well as other DHEC testing locations in South Carolina, can be made online at https://www.gogettested.com/ .

If you are tested at an off campus location, once you receive results of your testing, you will need to upload it to the MyHealthSpace record at UofSC Student Health Services.

Testing Throughout the Spring Semester

Those who are part of the mandatory testing program will be required to participate in monthly COVID-19 testing throughout the spring semester.  Students, faculty, and staff will be notified of the week on which they need to be tested via e-mail or text on Sunday of their testing week.  Students must complete the required testing Monday through Thursday and faculty and staff must complete the required testing Monday through Friday of that week.

Beginning in January, COVID-19 SAFE (saliva-based) testing will be offered each Wednesday from 1PM to 4PM at the VA SOM campus throughout the spring semester. Beginning January 25, 2021, COVID-19 nasal swab testing will be offered each Monday at the VA SOM campus in Room B67 of Building 1 from 1PM to 4PM.  A schedule of the testing locations, dates, and times will be maintained on the UofSC SOM website.

COVID-19 testing will also be frequently available on the main UofSC campus and in a variety of community locations throughout the spring semester.  A listing of these locations will be maintained on UofSC’s COVID-19 website.

Testing if You are Symptomatic

If you are having possible symptoms of COVID-19 infection (fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste, etc.), you should NOT be tested as part of the routine testing on the VA SOM campus.  Rather, you should contact your health care provider for evaluation or call the University Coronavirus Phone Bank at 803-576-8511.  If needed, an appointment for a nasal swab test can then be scheduled at Student Health Services.

Other Questions about COVID-19 Testing? 

If you have other questions about the UofSC SOM Columbia COVID-19 testing program, please consult the Frequently Asked Questions Document. If you have questions which are not answered by that document, please check with your supervisor or educational leader.

Thank you for your participation as we plan for a safe and productive spring semester.

 

Les Hall, MD

Dean, USC School of Medicine Columbia

Chief Academic Officer, Prisma Health Midlands

Phone:  803-545-5048

 

School of Medicine Virtual Town Hall this Thursday, December 17 at 5:30PM

Dear School of Medicine Faculty, Staff and Students,

As you know, the University of South Carolina announced recently that all faculty, staff, and students who report for work or learning at UofSC campus or other UofSC-maintained locations will be required to undergo periodic COVID-19 testing throughout the spring semester. The spring testing program includes a requirement for testing upon return to the campus in early January, as well as a requirement for monthly testing during the spring semester.

Since many of our students, faculty, and staff will begin classes or work on January 4, they may report as planned that week, but they must complete testing on or before January 11, 2021. SOM employees who work remotely will not be required to participate in the testing program, unless their responsibilities require them to periodically come to campus. Those who work primarily in clinical areas (e.g., within Prisma Health) will need to participate in the program if they have occasion to visit the main UofSC campus or the SOM VA campus; otherwise, they may follow the recommendations of the health care system regarding testing.

The SOM is preparing to offer free onsite COVID-19 testing at the VA SOM Campus to our faculty, staff and students one to two times weekly, beginning January 4, 2021. Details about times and locations will be shared in the near future. In addition, a number of options for COVID-19 testing will be available in the community and on the UofSC main campus. The UofSC School of Medicine Columbia will host a virtual town hall for all faculty, staff and students on Thursday, December 17, from 5:30PM to 6:30PM, during which details of the testing program will be shared. An Outlook calendar invitation for this event will be sent out today. During the town hall, we will review the testing requirements, explain the resources available to comply with this directive, and answer your questions about the program. In addition, members of our medical staff will provide a current update about what we know of the upcoming COVID-19 vaccination availability.    

We hope that many of you will be able to join us for the Town Hall meeting this Thursday. We will continue to share additional updates with you in the coming weeks through our SOM website.   

Les Hall, MD
Dean, UofSC School of Medicine Columbia   

Dear School of Medicine Faculty, Staff and Students,

You may have heard last week that UofSC announced a mandatory COVID-19 testing program throughout the spring semester for those faculty, staff and students who are working or learning on the UofSC campus or other University-maintained locations (see attached).  As the VA SOM campus is a University-maintained campus, these requirements do apply at the VA SOM Columbia campus during the spring semester.  In order to make COVID-19 testing easily available to all within the SOM, we are arranging for regular on-site testing dates on the VA campus beginning the week of Jan 4-8, 2021.  We will communicate details of the testing schedule, at least for the first half of January, to you by next week.

As activities at the VA SOM campus will begin earlier in January than on the main campus, we are receiving questions about the optimal timing of the testing upon return.  If your responsibilities require you to return to the VA SOM campus during the week of Jan 4-8, you should plan to have a test conducted as soon as possible after your return.  As long as you are free of infectious symptoms, you may continue learning or working on the campus while awaiting results, all the while following appropriate infection control guidelines (wearing masks, socially distancing, frequent handwashing).  Once the initial return testing is completed, all faculty, staff, and students whose activities require them to be on the UofSC and/or SOM VA campus will need to undergo additional COVID-19 testing monthly.

Employees who are working 100% remotely and who do not anticipate coming to campus are not required to test.  Likewise, faculty and staff who are embedded within Prisma Health or other health care systems, and who do not anticipate coming to campus, are not required to test.  These individuals should follow the recommendations of the health care system within which they are working regarding indications for testing.

Additional details of testing dates and sites will be shared in a follow-up message next week, and will also be posted on the UofSC SOM Columbia website.

I want  to thank all of you for the steps you are taking each day to care for yourselves and for others, as we strive to keep the SOM environment as safe as possible.  We look forward to a time within the next few weeks where we will be able to add vaccines to the tools we are using to fight COVID-19.  More information about vaccination programs will be forthcoming in the days ahead. 


Les Hall, MD
Dean, UofSC SOM Columbia

The School of Medicine Columbia will host COVID-19 testing weekly during the spring 2021 semester. Volunteers are needed to assist with the testing center to serve the entire SOMC community.  Testing center volunteers will perform critical duties and assist with the operation of the testing center. Please consider representing the UofSC School of Medicine Columbia as a COVID-19 testing center volunteer. This role is an unpaid volunteer opportunity.

 

More information on these volunteer opportunities, including a volunteer registration form and training resources, is available on the SOMC COVID-19 Testing Center Volunteer Information webpage.


COVID-19 Resources

The School of Medicine Library has created a Coronavirus Information Resources Guide to aid in the organization of information on the topic. The guide includes general information, resources for clinicians, database and literature sources, latest news, and travel information.

Ultrasound is playing a large role in the diagnosis and management of COVID patients globally, so the team at the Ultrasound Institute has compiled a COVID-19 ultrasound resource page [pdf].

In partnership with the National Rural Health Association, the SC Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare is publishing a Rural Health Daily Digest of policy, legislation, and other relevant information for rural providers related to the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The SOM Library and the SOM Wellness Promotion Committee have teamed up to create a website with wellness resources to help support us in our new remote work and remote learning environment during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Office of Continuous Professional Development and Strategic Affairs is developing a series with actions you can take as well as other information and resources to assist you with managing the mental-emotional stress and strain you might experience at work and home. The current issue of Well-being Actions in Practice document [PDF] is now available to download.


School of Medicine Communications

COVID-19 Update for the UofSC SOM Columbia

I want to update the School of Medicine family on how we stand in terms of COVID-19 as we enter the second half of the fall semester. All members of our student body, faculty, and staff have faced challenges of one type or another this year. Many in our school are navigating huge disruptions in their work, schooling, or family life related to the pandemic. And for all of us, normal routines seem like distant memories, as we long for a future day when we can walk out the door without grabbing our mask, or when we can gather for a nice dinner among friends without concerns. 

Despite the challenges, I am proud of the efforts that our faculty, staff, and students have made to prepare our School of Medicine to provide a safe and effective environment in which to work and learn this year. In the past few days we have seen new COVID-19 cases identified among a few of our students and staff. At this point, all are experiencing reasonably mild symptoms, and are isolating at home. The School of Medicine and University teams rapidly completed contact tracing, and individuals with close contact were notified to allow them to quarantine. We will certainly remain vigilant in the coming days, but the processes in place to detect and mitigate such events appear to be working. We know that it is our responsibility and privilege to provide an environment that is both safe and is also effective in advancing the professional education of our students. 

As COVID-19 rates are again rising in our state and throughout the country, we believe the greatest risk of exposure remains within the community. Public health experts have recently emphasized that as we move into the winter months, small gatherings of extended family and friends may provide the greatest opportunities for spread of COVID-19. Continued vigilance to use face masks, practice social distancing, and perform frequent hand hygiene will help to limit risk until vaccines become widely available. As the pandemic continues, we also see that the strain on emotional reserves is worsening, with 80% of Americans now reporting that they are anxious about COVID-19. The University of South Carolina has resources available to assist with emotional health of our students, faculty and staff during this difficult time. The main UofSC COVID-19 website also remains a valuable resource for up-to-date data and information related to the coronavirus.

I also want to remind the School of Medicine community that flu season is quickly approaching. With COVID-19 still prevalent, it is essential that we all do our part to reduce the spread of both COVID-19 and the flu to ensure our health care system isn’t overwhelmed in the coming months. The School of Medicine offered several flu shot clinics earlier this month. If you were unable to attend, the UofSC Center for Health and Well-Being is offering flu shots to all students, faculty, and staff. Appointments must be made online.

As I talk to leaders at other medical schools throughout the U.S., I find that the challenges we are facing are not unique. We will continue to make the health and welfare of all within the School of Medicine our top priority. I want to personally thank you for all you are doing to contribute to a safe School of Medicine environment, to deliver a quality educational product, to continue important medical research, and to provide much-needed health care services to those that we serve.

Les Hall, MD
Dean, UofSC SOM Columbia

As we anticipate the return to full activities in the UofSC School of Medicine Columbia for the fall semester, intense preparatory work continues. The School of Medicine will host a Virtual Faculty and Staff Town Hall on Thursday, August 6 from 5:30 to 6:30PM. During the town hall, leaders from our academic and clinical areas, as well as leaders overseeing human resources and facilities, will be available to share information about the fall semester at the School of Medicine. You may submit questions in advance of the town hall through the SOM website. You also will be able to submit questions during the town hall using the Chat function on WebEx.
 
You will soon be receiving an invitation with a link to the WebEx site to access the Town Hall on August 6.  We hope that you will be able to join us for this important discussion. A recording of the town hall also will be made available for anyone who is unable to participate.
 
Thank you for all you are doing to ensure the ongoing success the School of Medicine during these challenging circumstances.  
 
Les Hall, MD
Dean, UofSC SOM Columbia
 

Dear School of Medicine family,

As all of you are aware, the number of COVID-19 cases in South Carolina has continued to climb in recent days. The concern among our SOM family is real, as we contemplate the impact this pandemic is having on our community and on our school. Fortunately, we know of only a few individuals within our school whose health has been directly affected by COVID-19. However, many more are facing hardship due to financial stress, impacts to their family members, or disruption to their work. This has been a hard year for everyone.

In the midst of these circumstances, I want to affirm the School of Medicine’s commitment that the health and safety of our faculty, staff, students, and community remains our highest priority. Over the past three months, our leaders have been actively engaged in the ongoing campus planning process for re-opening the campus for the fall semester. I would strongly encourage each of you to read the University’s Campus Reopen and Risk Mitigation Plan, which was recently released by President Caslen. Our leaders are implementing this plan within our school by ensuring daily wellness screens for those working on campus, by enhancing cleaning/sanitizing protocols within the physical environment, and by making physical modifications to facilities to allow for better social distancing.

We are encouraging all faculty, staff, and students to be tested for COVID-19 when they first return to campus. In addition, any time you develop symptoms such as fever of 100°F or above, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, new muscle aches, sore throat, or loss of smell and taste, you should consider being tested for COVID-19. You should also be tested if you have had a high risk exposure, defined as greater than 15 minutes of close contact with an individual who tests COVID-19 positive.
In partnership with UofSC Student Health Services, which is coordinating the university’s COVID-19 response, we have developed protocols to facilitate contact tracing for any SOM personnel who have COVID-19 tests that return as positive. If you or someone in your family becomes ill with COVID-19 symptoms, you should also contact your supervisor as soon as possible to ensure proper safety protocols can be implemented. UofSC’s COVID-19 website has more information that may answer your COVID-19 questions. UofSC also has a 24 hour COVID-19 phone bank available at 803-576-8511 to address your concerns.

If you working at Prisma Health or are assigned as a learner within Prisma Health and have COVID-19 symptoms, you should also notify Prisma Health employee health (contact number in the Midlands is 803-434-2431).
The message I continue to receive from our infectious disease experts is that the greatest risk for all of us occurs if we let our guard down within the community. With this knowledge, we urge all within the SOM to take precautions including:
• Practicing social distancing, when possible,
• Wearing face coverings when in public and when social distancing is not possible,
• Washing hands frequently,
• Participating in temperature checks, and
• Staying home when you are sick.

I suspect that you, like me, long for a day when the news is not dominated by COVID-19 updates. However, it is now more important than ever that we adhere fully with these guidelines. If you have any specific concerns, I also encourage you to reach out to your supervisor to discuss those concerns.
As health professionals, scientists, and educators within the School of Medicine, we must set an example of the behavior that is needed at this time. UofSC has partnered with the City of Columbia to embrace the #IPledgeColumbia campaign. This campaign encourages all within our UofSC community to commit to doing our part as we seek to control the spread of COVID-19 through personal commitment to following safe practices. Yesterday, I went to the website and made this pledge. I would love for each of you to do the same.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not thank the hundreds of individuals within our school whose contributions during the past few months have meant so much to the school, the university, and our entire community. From those who have coordinated the front-line care for COVID-19 patients, to our educators who have quickly adapted our curriculum, to our researchers who have already contributed new knowledge about COVID-19, to our students who have had to pivot to a remote learning strategy in recent months – I could not be prouder of how our School of Medicine family has responded to this challenge.

I understand these are difficult times, but I am confident that as we continue to work together to embrace proper precautions we can continue to control the risk of COVID-19 in our school and within the greater community.

I wish you a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend.

Les Hall
Dean, UofSC School of Medicine Columbia

 

COVID-19 Testing for UofSC SOM Columbia Personnel

I want to thank all of you who were able to participate in the School of Medicine Town Hall last night. In follow-up to some of the questions we discussed during that event, I want to provide some additional information about the availability of COVID-19 testing. At the UofSC Town Hall earlier this week, UofSC leaders requested that all faculty, staff and students who are returning to the campus be tested for COVID-19 virus at or near the time of their return. We are still working with UofSC leadership to clarify some details of this process, but I wanted to share what information is known at this time. For those faculty and staff who are among the 30% of our workforce who will be returning to the VA SOM campus next week, the University is requesting COVID-19 testing. Likewise, for all returning health professional students, UofSC is asking those students to undergo COVID-19 testing. As our current M3 students are returning to the clinical learning environment next week, this is the group of students for which testing will be prioritized in the coming week.

Next Monday and Tuesday, June 1-2, MUSC will be offering drive through/walk-up testing sites in the parking lot of Colonial Life Arena between 10AM and 3PM each day. More details about this process can be found at: https://sc.edu/safety/coronavirus/. Appointments for specific testing times are strongly encouraged, and can be made by accessing: https://covid19usc.square.site/ . You will need a photo ID, your Carolina Card or UofSC employee ID, and your health insurance card. The test will be billed to your insurance; however, you will not be charged if your insurance does not cover the test. You will be notified of the test results within two days.

Additional testing dates will be offered throughout the summer from MUSC, with those dates and times to be announced later once they are finalized. If you are unable to participate in the June 1-2 testing, other options include obtaining testing at one of the sites being offered periodically through Prisma Health or DHEC. Students may also obtain testing by contacting Student Health Services on the UofSC campus.

We know we have a large number of clinical faculty and staff who spend essentially 100% of their time on the Prisma Health campus. We are seeking final clarity from UofSC leadership on whether these individual should be tested for COVID-19. As of now, the guidance I have received is that those individuals who work within the Prisma Health clinical campus may continue to follow Prisma Health guidelines regarding COVID-19 testing.

As we receive updates, we will share more information with you. Thank you for your ongoing dedication as we work together to continue our service within the School of Medicine.

Les Hall, MD
Dean, UofSC SOM Columbia

View a recording of the May 28, 2020 School of Medicine Columbia Town Hall.

Good afternoon,

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Faculty and Staff Virtual Town Hall on Wednesday, April 22. I know I learned a lot from our various presenters, and I hope you did as well.

If you were unable to participate, or if you’d like to review any of the information covered, a recording of the event is now available. The recording can be accessed at https://bit.ly/SOMVirtualTownHallRecording. Additionally, written responses to the questions submitted for the Town Hall are now available on the website at https://bit.ly/SOMC_COVID19_FAQ.

I will continue to share updates with you as they develop, and additional town halls will be scheduled, if needed. Please know that I appreciate the flexibility, dedication, and resilience being demonstrated by our entire School of Medicine family.

Thank you,

Les Hall

Dean

SOM Update on COVID-19 - March 31, 2020Dear School of Medicine Faculty, Staff, and Students,I am writing this message sitting at my desk in the second floor study of my home, which has for now become my “new office.” Like many of you, I am trying to follow the request of our leaders to embrace social distancing, while attempting to stay connected with others in the School of Medicine. With lots of assistance from our IT department, through conference calls and virtual meetings, the work of the UofSC School of Medicine Columbia is moving forward. For many of you, the disruptions you are experiencing in your work and life have been far greater than mine. Our clinicians have been asked to adjust clinic and OR schedules, to provide patient care remotely through phone calls and telemedicine, and to assume new leadership responsibilities as we prepare for a surge of COVID-19 patients in the coming weeks. Our educators have been asked to pivot quickly from in-person teaching to virtual instruction, which is especially challenging to carry out with only a few days of notice. Our students have also had to make the shift from in-person instruction to virtual learning and remote testing. Our SOM researchers and staff have had to identify productive ways to continue their contributions from home, without full access to all of the resources in their labs or offices. Despite these challenges, I am amazed at the commitment, creativity, and resilience being demonstrated by the members of our SOM family. Our faculty are adapting curriculum and developing new learning modules to allow continuity in education. Supported by daily communication from student leaders and our medical education team, our pre-clinical students are working toward completion of the spring semester. Our clinical students are moving to case-based learning until access to the clinical learning environment is again possible. Several of our researchers are collaborating with others across the state and throughout the world to identify new focuses of research or innovation that are relevant to the COVID-19 outbreak. Our clinicians are working harder than ever under challenging circumstances to ensure  we can deliver assistance to anyone in the Midlands who needs care. These health professionals are the real heroes of this pandemic, and we are all grateful for the commitment and skill that they demonstrate each day.As we contemplate the path ahead, our first priority remains the health, safety, and security of our students, faculty, staff, and community. In compliance with the March 19 executive order by Governor McMaster, and the Columbia City Council ordinance effective March 29, only essential personnel are working on campus at this time. As you know, UofSC has announced that traditional commencement ceremonies have been postponed; however, the UofSC Schools of Medicine in Columbia and Greenville are working together to plan a virtual commencement ceremony Friday, May 8. More details about this will be shared with you in the coming weeks. The SOM library remains closed, although you may have access to electronic resources and services through the library website.

You may visit the School of Medicine COVID-19 website which contains a list of resources as well as access to communications from the SOM over the past month. On this site, you will also see a section where you can share your story! Each day, I am hearing about acts of kindness by members of our faculty, staff, and student body, as they reach out to neighbors and others in the community to assist them during a time of special need. We would love to capture some of these stories highlighting how you and others are making a difference during this difficult time. I am extremely proud to be associated with the UofSC School of Medicine Columbia team as we navigate these unprecedented circumstances together. I believe that for many years in the future, we will look back on these trying weeks and consider that our service to our patients, our community, and our students were among our finest moments. Thank you for all you are doing! As you care for others, we encourage all of you to continue caring for yourselves and your families, and we hope you stay safe and healthy.Les Hall, MD
Dean, UofSC School of Medicine Columbia

UofSC School of Medicine Columbia Update on the COVID-19 Outbreak – March 20, 2020

Yesterday, President Caslen announced that after consultation with UofSC’s senior administration and with guidance from public health experts, remote learning for UofSC’s students would be extended through the end of the spring semester. In addition, President Caslen announced that traditional commencement ceremonies would be postponed, although this delay will not affect the degree completion status of UofSC’s students.

We share the understanding of University leadership that these changes are disappointing to many students, especially our students who are preparing to graduate from our medical school programs. Perhaps the greatest highlight of each year is the ability to celebrate with you and your families the completion of your training after many years of hard work. This year, we will have to find creative ways to virtually celebrate with you.

Even as we adjust to this difficult reality, I could not be prouder of how our students, faculty, and staff are coming together to chart a productive pathway forward. Last weekend many of our students began gathering questions, suggestions, and best practices from their classmates, which have helped to guide our discussions this week. Our students are sharing with each other links to online resources, and many students, faculty, and staff have reached out to help others in the community in safe yet important ways.

Our faculty and staff are working many hours of overtime to adjust class content and testing methods, ensuring that our students are able to continue their educations. With the AAMC requesting removal of clinical learners from direct patient contact this week, our clinical faculty members are reorienting activities for clerkship students to continue academic work on clinical topics pending the ability to return to direct care. And many, many of our clinical faculty and staff are working harder than ever to provide ongoing care for our patients under ever more complex circumstances.   

The UofSC School of Medicine Columbia is following Governor McMaster’s executive order and asking only those employees whose presence is necessary for preserving the continuity of education, for the health and safety of campuses, or for patient care reasons to continue to report to work. All clinical faculty and staff are considered essential personnel, as our health system continues to experience high volumes of patients requiring evaluation and care. Those personnel not considered essential personnel should continue to work remotely, when possible.

We encourage all of you to continue caring for yourselves and your families during these very atypical times. Continue to use the following websites to keep up with new information about the COVID-19 outbreak:

As we began this year together, none of us could have predicted how much the world would change in such a short time.  I heard a colleague say this week that years from now, we will look back on these trying weeks and will recall that the way our faculty, staff and students supported one another provided one of our University’s (and School of Medicine’s) prouder moments. I agree. Thank you for all that you are doing for each other as we move forward together.

Les Hall, MD
Dean, UofSC School of Medicine Columbia

UofSC School of Medicine Columbia Update on the COVID-19 Outbreak

March 18, 2020

I want to update you on the current status of the UofSC School of Medicine Columbia response to the COVID-19 outbreak. First, I want to thank all of our faculty, staff, and students who are demonstrating amazing dedication, purpose, and flexibility during this time of great uncertainty and stress. You are rising to the occasion as we face this unprecedented challenge to both our clinical care delivery and our educational programs, and I deeply appreciate your contributions.

University Closure – With the closure of all state universities announced last weekend by Governor McMaster, the School of Medicine remains closed. During this closure, only designated essential/mission-critical employees are to report to work on campus until the governor’s order expires.  Please contact your chair or supervisor if you are unsure of your designation. We encourage all supervisors to be as flexible as possible with staff to allow work from home, as we understand that our staff are also now dealing with school and daycare closures that have created childcare issues. All clinical faculty members are designated as essential and should take any further direction from their healthcare system.

Student instruction - From March 23-April 3, we have suspended face-to-face instruction, and will move to virtual instruction. Students are receiving more detailed information from their program leaders. We will share additional guidance about plans for instruction after April 3 as it becomes available from main campus.

UofSC Schools of Medicine Students in the Clinical Learning Environment (CLE) On March 17, all U.S. medical schools were contacted by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), in concert with the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME), strongly recommending that we remove our students from the clinical learning environment through March 31. Both of the UofSC Schools of Medicine in Columbia and Greenville have complied with this request. We are working with our leaders in the Office of Medical Education, faculty, and student leaders to identify safe and meaningful learning opportunities for clinical students that can commence next week. We are preparing to use multiple modalities to allow ongoing education, including online lectures and case simulations. Students have identified a number of possible opportunities for service learning. We are working with clinical leaders to determine if there is a role to use clinical students in screening of telemedicine patients. With the ongoing dedication, engagement and creativity of our faculty and students, our intent is to do everything within our power to ensure our students will be able to complete their courses of study and graduate on time from their programs. Our educational leaders will continue to share more detailed information with our student groups on a frequent basis. 

Prisma HealthPrisma Health clinics remain open and serve an essential role in our health system response to this outbreak. Leased employees should continue to take their direction from their supervisors or departmental administrative directors.

Library Resources – Although the UofSC SOM Columbia Library at the VA campus is closed due to the campus closing, the library space continues to be available to all SOM students, faculty and staff at this time via SOM ID badge swipe. When you are away from campus, you can still access the library’s e-journals, e-books, databases, subject guides, and catalog via the SOM Library website. Librarians and staff are online and available to answer reference questions, conduct literature searches, and fill interlibrary loan requests. The SOM Library has developed a Coronavirus Information Resources Guide which provides links to numerous websites (WHO, CDC, SC DHEC, Prisma Health, UofSC) and information resources.

Caring for Yourself – As we work through this challenging, we encourage all of you to continue to follow current CDC guidelines regarding prevention, including frequent washing of hands with soap and water throughout the day, avoidance off touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and limiting avoidable contacts in areas that are highly populated. For those who need to schedule meetings, try to use conference calls rather than in person meetings when appropriate. For those of you in the Columbia area, if you believe you have had significant exposure to someone with coronavirus, or if you develop symptoms that could require testing for COVID-19, drive-through testing is available at Prisma Health Richland Hospital North Portal, near the Emergency Department. You must have a provider order from either a Prisma Health physician or a from a Prisma Health Virtual Visit provider in order to receive the COVID-19 test.  You may access the Prisma Health Virtual Visit at https://www.prismahealth.org/virtual-visit/  .

UofSC Coronavirus Link – Please consult the UofSC Coronavirus website on a frequent basis to access the resources and guidance related to the university’s response to the COVID-19 situation.

UofSC SOM Columbia Coronavirus Link - School-specific communications and updates are available on the School of Medicine Columbia Coronavirus webpage.

Les Hall, MD
Dean, UofSC School of Medicine Columbia
Chief Academic Officer, Prisma Health Midlands
Phone: 803-545-5048

SOM Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Although the SOM Library physical space is closed through March 31, the Library’s resources, librarians and staff are online and open for business.

Please let us know how we may support you in your learning, teaching, research, and patient care.

Remote services and resources

Off-campus access:

When you’re away from campus, you can still access the Library’s e-journals, e-books, databases, subject guides, catalog via the SOM Library website

Consult the Remote Access FAQ.

Get research help :

24/7 access to the SOM Library space continues to be available to all SOM students, faculty, and staff via SOM ID badge swipe.

We’ve also developed a Coronavirus Information Resources Guide which provides links to numerous websites (WHO, CDC, SC DHEC, Prisma Health, UofSC) and other information resources.

Ruth A. Riley, MS, AHIP
Assistant Dean for Executive Affairs
Director of Library Services
School of Medicine
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208
803-216-3220 | ruth.riley@uscmed.sc.edu | http://uscmed.sc.libguides.com/
803-331-6395 mobile

By now you will likely have heard that Governor McMaster has ordered the closure of all public schools, colleges, and universities in the state due to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic.  UofSC is complying with that order and is closing all campuses, including the School of Medicine.  Only designated essential/mission-critical employees are to report to work on campus starting tomorrow until the governor’s order expires.  Please contact your chair or supervisor if you are unsure of your designation.  We encourage all supervisors to be as flexible as possible with staff to allow work from home or other arrangements as we understand this order has taken all of us by surprise and is likely impacting childcare arrangements and/or causing concerns for staff with underlying health issues.  All clinical faculty are designated as essential and should take any further direction from Prisma Health.

Please monitor the UofSC website for the latest updates.  We will continue to communicate developments with you as soon as we learn of them.

Library Closed March 16-31 – Resources Available Remotely 

In an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the School of Medicine Library will be closed March 16-31.

24/7 access will continue to be available to all SOM students, faculty, and staff via SOM ID badge swipe.

Off-campus access - When you’re away from campus, you can still access the Library’s e-journals, e-books, databases, subject guides, catalog via the SOM Library website.  Consult the Remote Access FAQ.

UofSC School of Medicine Columbia Update on the COVID-19 Outbreak

As the response to the COVID-19 outbreak continues to develop over the days and weeks ahead, the UofSC SOM Columbia is working to align our efforts with the guidelines announced by UofSC leadership. Our goal remains to honor our commitment to our students’ education while hopefully limiting the spread of the virus. The following updates apply: 

    • Classes – School of Medicine classes are canceled for the week of March 16-22. We will use remote learning tools for content delivery over the subsequent two weeks (March 23-April 3). Students will receive more detailed information from their program leaders. 
    • University-sponsored Events – The University has also cancelled all University events for next week. With the anticipated health threat to the community, strict adherence to this policy is required by all UofSC schools and colleges. We regret that this has resulted in the cancellation of the AOA Spring Induction Banquet on March 19, as well as school-sponsored Match Day activities planned for Friday, March 20. UofSC also announced this week that Discover USC 2020, the research showcase which was planned for April 17, has been canceled.

    • UofSC Schools of Medicine Students in the Clinical Learning Environment (CLE) – Students of theUofSC Schools of Medicine in Columbia andGreenville who are in their clinical years of training (M3/M4 students, or clinical students in the PA,CRNA, genetic counseling, or rehabilitation counseling programs) are members of thehealthcare team. Consistent with recommendations by the Association of American Medical Colleges, most clinical students should continue their roles as part of the care team. 
      • Prisma Health Guidance for Learners within the CLE - Many health systems, including Prisma Health, have adopted policies that preclude students from direct involvement in the care of patients with suspected or known coronavirus infection, and those institutional policies should be honored by our schools and all learners.  
      • Options for Students within the CLE - Any students having health conditions that place them at high risk, or who have unique circumstances (e.g., caregiver for an immunosuppressed family member), may work with the School of Medicine Office of Student Affairs and Office of Curriculum to identify alternative educational experiences that reduce their risk while meeting educational requirements.
  • SOM Facilities and Services – At this time, the University remains open, as does the School of Medicine. This includes the SOM Library which continues with normal operating hours and after-hours access available to all SOM students, faculty, and staff via ID badge swipe. Regular faculty and staff meetings will continue as scheduled. If units want to provide dial-in options for meetings, contact the SOM Office of Information Technology. We ask that you be mindful of direction from the University and public health officials. If you are exhibiting symptoms, please stay home. Wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, and try not to touch your face.  Remain in contact with your chair or supervisor if you cannot come to work. The University has created time codes in ITAMS specifically for your use in reporting absences due to COVID-19. 

  • Prisma HealthPrisma Health clinics remain open and serve an essential role in our health system response to this outbreak. Leased employees should continue to take their direction from their supervisors or departmental administrative directors.
     
  • Travel – The University has released new guidance related to travel during this time (see https://sc.edu/safety/coronavirus/travel_reimbursements_and_advisories.php). All faculty, staff and students should familiarize themselves with this policy before undertaking any travel for business or personal reasons. Please contact your chair, supervisor, or business manager if you have questions.
     
  • Telecommuting? – Some questions have arisen regarding telecommuting. Should the University need to extend its response to COVID-19 and mandate broader use of telecommuting, chairs and supervisors will work with our Human Resources department to address those needs at that time, utilizing UofSC’s formal telecommuting policy (HR 1.22  https://www.sc.edu/policies/ppm/hr122.pdf) . 

  • Library Resource – The SOM Library has developed a Coronavirus Information Resources Guide which provides links to numerous websites (WHO, CDC, SC DHEC, Prisma Health, UofSC) and information resources.
     
  • Please consult the UofSC Coronavirus website on a frequent basis to access the resources and guidance related to the university’s response to the COVID-19 situation.

  • School-specific communications and updates are available on the School of Medicine Columbia Coronavirus webpage.

 Les Hall, MD
Dean, UofSC School of Medicine Columbia
Chief Academic Officer, Prisma Health Midlands
Phone: 803-545-5048

UofSC School of Medicine faculty, staff, and students,

I’m sure that by now you have seen the announcement below from UofSC President Bob Caslen, outlining steps the University is taking to try to mitigate the potential spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

For the past several days, School of Medicine leaders have been engaged in contingency planning in the event that a pause in classroom instruction was deemed necessary. We will, of course, follow the guidelines established today by UofSC leadership as outlined below. Over the next day, we will be working to understand in more detail how the actions announced today will impact each of our educational programs, as well as other areas of the School of Medicine. We will disseminate additional information tomorrow (3/12/20) regarding strategies that will be employed by the School of Medicine to continue to support our students, faculty and staff during this unprecedented and challenging event. I have some sense of how disruptive these developments are to the learning, work, and missions that we all hold dear.  That said, the health of our students, faculty, staff, and community must remain our most important priority as we navigate this together. 

Les Hall, MD
Dean, USC School of Medicine Columbia
Chief Academic Officer, Prisma Health Midlands
Phone:  803-545-5048

UofSC School of Medicine Update Regarding Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

I know that all of us are following the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) with interest and concern.  I have received multiple questions this week regarding what contingency plans the UofSC School of Medicine in Columbia has in place in the event that the outbreak spreads.

Our school is closely reviewing information provided by the UofSC Task Force which was established earlier this week. A summary of the work already undertaken by the University of South Carolina is attached. The University is posting daily updates on their website  (https://sc.edu/safety/coronavirus/) outlining current recommendations regarding travel, FAQs, and a link to the SC DHEC website.

It is still too early to predict what impact COVID-19 may have on our School of Medicine students, faculty, and staff, but we are making contingency plans for our response in the event this outbreak worsens. I have asked a small group of SOM leaders to begin meeting on a regular basis to coordinate our response with that of the UofSC campus and to share our contingency plans with the UofSC Task Force leaders. In addition, many of our clinical faculty and staff are working with Prisma Health leaders to help the health system prepare to respond to the needs of our community and our health care workers. 

At this point, there are no plans being made by either the UofSC School of Medicine or the University of South Carolina to cancel classes. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and alert you as new significant information becomes available. Thank you.

Les Hall, MD
Dean, UofSC School of Medicine

 

Hello School of Medicine Columbia students, faculty, and staff,

Everyone in the School of Medicine can now schedule an appointment for COVID testing in MyHealthSpace. You will need to know your main campus username and password. (You can find information about university ID and passwords at http://my.sc.edu/vipid/. Scroll down to the section labeled “What is my Network Username?)

To schedule your testing time, follow these steps:

  1. Click the “Appointments” link on the left panel, then select “Schedule an Appointment.”
  2. Select “Yes” for scheduling a COVID test, followed by whether you are a student or faculty/staff.
  3. You will then be able to choose Student Health or the School of Medicine for the nasal swab test, and only the School of Medicine for the saliva test.
  4. Verify and edit your contact information, if necessary, and finally choose your date and time for the testing appointment. Appointment times are available every five minutes from 2-4pm. If one of those times it not present, it has been filled.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and be sure to join us for the COVID town hall this Tuesday at 6pm.

To access the meeting, use the following link or phone number.

https://uscmed.webex.com/uscmed/j.php?MTID=mc58f15010a3459b2f58779e94cf82d11

Dial-in number: 1-408-418-9388

Access number: 1797529842

The session will be recorded.

 

Eric R. Williams, MD

Assistant Dean of Student Affairs

University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia

Town Hall for the SOMC community scheduled for Jan. 12 (Tuesday)

Over the past several days, much  new information has continued to emerge about COVID testing and vaccines. School of Medicine Columbia leadership will host a virtual town hall to address topics related to this ever evolving situation on January 12 (Tuesday)  from 6 to 7 p.m. 

The town hall will be hosted via WebEX and leaders will review the saliva and nasal swab testing programs, discuss the vaccine rollout and answer questions related to COVID-19 testing and vaccines.

All members of the UofSC School of Medicine community are invited to participate in the town hall. Students, faculty and staff members should have received an email on Jan. 7 with a link to the WebEx site to access the town hall. A recording of the town hall also will be made available for anyone who is unable to participate live.

You may submit questions in advance of the town hall on the School of Medicine website. You also will be able to submit questions during the town hall using the Chat function on WebEx.

 

We hope that you are able to join us next Tuesday evening for the Town Hall.  Thank you.

 

Les Hall, MD
Dean, UofSC SOM Columbia

 

Dear SOM Faculty and Staff,

You should have received or will soon be receiving an e-mail from the CDC offering an opportunity to schedule an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine within the Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS).  Your e-mail from the CDC should look similar to this:

 Subject: Please register in VAMS to schedule an appointment

 CAUTION: This email originated from outside your organization. Exercise caution when opening attachments or on clicking links from unknown senders.

Hi Jane Sample,

Your organization or employer designated you in a priority group for immunization.
Please schedule an appointment with a participating clinic through the following link.
Thanks,
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

Unsubscribe to stop receiving all emails from VAMS.
(Please note, unsubscribing will prevent VAMS from sending two-factor authentication emails during login and will prevent future access to VAMS. If you run into this problem, contact your organization administrator for help reactivating your profile.)

 

In response to the call of state leaders to expand COVID-19 vaccine administration as quickly as possible to individuals associated with health care delivery systems, Prisma Health is including our medical school faculty and staff in those eligible to receive the vaccine.  You should also be receiving a message from Prisma Health which will outline additional details of how to register for the vaccine. You will note that you should not use Internet Explorer to access the vaccine scheduling website. 

Please be aware that Governor McMaster has asked those being offered the vaccine at this time to complete the registration process by January 15, 2021. The completion of COVID vaccination within our health care team will allow the state to quickly expand  vaccination to other at-risk groups. We thank you in advance for your participation in this process.

Les Hall, MD

Dean, UofSC SOM Columbia

 


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