COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Updates
See Also: Information for Parents
To our RUSVM Community:
The health, safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff and our island communities are of paramount importance to us. As we continue to monitor the rapidly evolving public health situation, please be assured we are taking the necessary precautions to lower the risk of exposure and do our part to curb the spread of the virus.
On Friday, March 13, we made the decision to shift all courses online for the remainder of the semester. We believe this decision, consistent with best practices from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), will best protect our RUSVM community.
While the news and virus itself can be disruptive to our everyday lives, our focus remains clear: we will continue to utilize on our breadth of experience to maintain academic continuity for our students and to keep our campus operations running.
We are very fortunate that the strength of our online education capabilities enables us to be agile and adaptable, providing a well-orchestrated learning experience. Our learning management system is built to fully support online education, and our faculty constantly update themselves on new technologies and learning modalities. In fact, RUSVM was recently awarded title of Apple Distinguished School for our dedication to providing a creative, active learning environment for our students.
While we approach this changing public health situation with great confidence in our education abilities, we empathize with our students, faculty, staff and communities. Certainly, no one is immune to the stresses of balancing life’s priorities or this significant change. We are here to answer questions, and to help guide and support our students every step of the way.
Passion for our mission and unwavering commitment to our students’ health, safety and education journey are at the heart of what we do. We are grateful to have your trust and appreciate your patience and flexibility as we navigate this rapidly evolving situation.
Frequently Asked Questions
According to the World Health Organization, common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. The CDC believes that symptoms may appear in as few as two days or up to 14 days after exposure.
RUSVM is taking precautions to lower the risk of exposure and do our part to curb the spread of the virus. With this in mind, we are shifting all pre-clinical classes for St. Kitts students to online delivery via Panapto for the remainder of the semester. We believe this decision, consistent with best practices from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), will best protect the St. Kitts community.
Since classes will be available online, students can choose to return home to finish out the semester. We ask that they consider the risk of traveling to the U.S. before making their decision. Classes will pause until Wednesday, March 18, 2020 to allow students time to travel and settle into their preferred location. Students are asked to please submit their travel plans at https://veterinary.rossu.edu/flight-information prior to your departure. If they identify as a person at higher risk according to CDC guidelines, they are asked to please reach out to [email protected] to assist with logistics of their travel.
Further information regarding labs and assessments will be shared shortly.
The St. Kitts campus will remain open and operating for students who make the decision to stay. We ask those students who remain on campus to continue to also take precautions, including practicing social distancing, while they participate in online learning from their homes.
If a student decides to return home for the remainder of the session, they will still be responsible for their rent and utility expenses.
If you choose to leave St. Kitts, please make arrangements for your pet or plan on bringing your pet along with you.
Precautions can be taken to minimize your risk and prevent exposure and spread of the disease. The CDC has published a medical decision-making tool that you can use to understand your risk, and which gives guidance based on risk.
It is important that we work together to take common sense precautions that can reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.
Per CDC guidelines
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, if soap and water are not available.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and frequently disinfect common work surfaces.
- If you or a family member develops a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a cough or shortness of breath, or are experiencing cold- or flu-like symptoms, work with to alert appropriate contacts and practice social distancing.
Travel Advice, including reduction:
We have been monitoring all government-issued travel guidance and have made the decision to follow the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s advice regarding travel to areas with increased risk of COVID-19, as follows:
- RUSVM is cancelling travel for all colleagues to countries that have been given a Risk Assessment Level 2 or higher travel advisory. These countries are China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City (Level 3), and Japan (Level 2). As the CDC provides travel advisories for additional countries, we will update our guidance.
- We strongly encourage you to follow the same guidance and carefully consider any travel between countries.
- If you have traveled to any of the restricted countries, we ask that you notify [email protected] so we can take appropriate precautions.
- All campus community activities are suspended until further notice. Students and colleagues will be notified via SIREN and email for information about activities resuming.
- We have instituted social distancing measures on campuses to reduce the likelihood of exposure or transmission. This includes postponing group meetings and other activities that require large groups to be confined in closed spaces. We are also asking employees who have traveled to an area with heightened risk to practice social distancing and not come to campus.
If you believe you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 or believe you are displaying symptoms, please contact your local department of public health and email us at notify [email protected] so we can take appropriate precautions.
We are following a CDC recommended protocol, which would include having the at-risk individual leave the campus and remain off campus. For those designated “at risk,” RUSVM will help to coordinate their next actions, which may include quarantine/isolation or medical care.
We advise clinical students to follow the protocols and recommendations in place at their clinical site. For clinical students, we advise them to take all precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. We are also communicating with all clinical sites to request that they update us on any known exposures to our students or faculty at their sites within 48 hours. We will continue to monitor that information carefully.
As the global public health situation continues to evolve, our main priority is the health and safety of our students, our colleagues and our community. With this is mind, we have made the decision to hold DVM Semesters 1 – 7 online beginning May 4, 2020, with an anticipated return to campus mid-semester, pending global conditions.
Vet Prep will be offered 100% online for the entire semester with classes beginning as scheduled on May 4, 2020.
RUSVM is a part of a global university system that has a history of successful teaching online. We are currently successfully delivering all January session lectures and labs in an online format and we are prepared to deliver you a similar first-class virtual learning experience, while also reducing the uncertainty and risk of travel at this time. We believe this decision will allow us to provide high-quality education while also keeping our entire community safe.
We will provide more information for semesters 8 – 10 in the coming weeks.
As the global public health situation continues to evolve, our main priority is the health and safety of our students and their families, our colleagues and our community. With this is mind, RUSVM has determined it is critical to cancel the May commencement ceremony. While your hard work deserves to be commemorated, we won’t be able to come together in person in May. The circumstances of this global health crisis mean we, as medical practitioners, need to lead by example in modeling social distancing and putting community safety first. We applaud our graduates for their perseverance and dedication to reaching this milestone in their medical training, and will reach out to them with an update on how we plan to celebrate at a later date. Please know, this in no way lessens the importance of our graduate’s accomplishment, and if anything, further demonstrates the critical need for exceptional healthcare professionals.