COVID-19 FAQs for Medical Students
Note: This site is being updated on an ongoing basis to incorporate answers to frequently asked questions received by Dean Garg (Medical Education) and Dean Jackson (Student Affairs).
Please submit your questions by using this form.
The COVID-19 situation is evolving and the answers below may change based on new information.
Federal/State COVID Guidelines
1. What does Governor Baker’s Stay at Home order mean for students wanting to study at the school? The intent of the Stay at Home is to minimize contact with other people. If you can stay home, you should, but if you need to come to the campus to study, ensure that you maintain social distancing, wear a mask, find an empty space when possible, and practice good hygiene. (Reviewed 5/29.)
1. If I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed by the current situation, what resources are available to me? BU Student Health Services has made all of its Behavioral Health services available remotely, including workshops and support groups.
Additionally, Student Affairs Open Office Hours continue as usual, albeit virtually through Zoom:
- Mondays @ 12-1 p.m. Dean Sanchez
- Tuesdays @ 1:30-2:30 p.m. Dean Symes
- Wednesdays @ 12-1 p.m. Dean Young
- Thursdays @ 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Dean Symes
- Fridays @ 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Dean Garg
All SA deans are available for scheduled appointments, as usual, via phone, or Zoom. Just reach out directly to request a meeting (and remember, all emails for our Office can be found on our contacts page). We also invite you to schedule a wellness check-in with our Wellness & Advising Program Coordinator, Camille Serelus, or reach out to other Student Affairs staff members for support.
Lastly, in the case of an emergency medical students can page the dean on duty by calling (617) 638-5795 and sending a page to #4196 or sending a text page to pager #4196 through the pager directory. (Reviewed 5/29.)
Health & Safety
1. What can I do if I have concerns about improper PPE use by residents and fellows, such as not masking while in small workrooms with others, while I’m on rotations? We understand that addressing this directly with residents and fellows that are working with you can be uncomfortable for many students. If students observe any concerns about residents and fellows, including improper use of PPE, students can make an anonymous report at https://www.bmc.org/medical-professionals/graduate-medical-education-gme/violation-reporting. Students should continue to use ATM reporting for any concern about mistreatment. [new 7/17]
2. Is there a system in place to notify students if a patient they cared for turns out to be COVID positive? Hospital epidemiology is responsible for contact tracing and will reach out to members of healthcare teams, including medical students, who may have been exposed to a patient who is COVID positive. [New 7/10]
3. What process should I follow for getting COVID testing? Students should NOT contact BMC’s Working Well Clinic regarding COVID related concerns, including testing. All COVID related concerns, including possible exposure to a COVID+ patient, need to be directed to Student Health Services (SHS). If indicated, following communication with SHS, we can arrange for on site testing You do not need to call for an appointment, but will need to confirm that you have contacted SHS and been instructed to get COVID testing.
If you have contacted SHS with COVID related symptoms, or after being exposed to a COVID + patient, and are instructed by SHS to be tested, you should go directly to the ILI Clinic (801Mass Ave 1st floor), open Monday-Friday from 8AM-12 noon. Inform staff at the testing site that you are a medical student and have been referred by SHS. Your test result will be reported back to you, and it is your responsibility to share your test result with SHS for appropriate tracking. SHS will advise you regarding next steps, need for quarantine, etc.
BUSM will begin on site COVID testing (screening) later this month. [New 7/10]
4. If we are completely asymptomatic and get a positive COVID test result during the new screening process, what will happen after that? Will we have to quarantine? And if so, what is the implication for missed clinical rotation time and meeting requirements to graduate or be promoted to the next academic year? Student Health Services will help students with a positive test result navigate the appropriate next steps on an individual basis. A positive test result will likely mean quarantine; SHS will help navigate how, how long, and when/if retesting is appropriate. BUSM will work with students who are required to quarantine to mitigate disruption to your progress through the curriculum. If a student becomes ill, then this will be handled just as any other illness would be (e.g. students who are ill would not be expected to participate in a virtual learning experience). [New 7/15]
5. Are COVID tests covered by insurance? Screening tests are covered by the University. Medically necessary tests are covered by BUSM’s student health insurance (Aetna). Students with other forms of insurance should check with their carrier. [New 7/16]
6. How do I quarantine/How do I know if I have to quarantine? In compliance with Massachusetts Public Health Guidelines and travel guidance issued on July 24 by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, any student returning to campus from out of state are exempt from the state’s 14-day quarantine if they are coming from a state deemed lower risk by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Currently, the list of lower risk states are as follows: Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. However, this can and will change as we learn more.
Students coming from outside of the United States or from states that which the Commonwealth of Massachusetts health authorities classify as higher risk are required to self-quarantine for 14 days, observing “stay in place” protocols. This includes students living in MSR or in off campus housing. “Stay in place” includes staying in their assigned apartments and leaving only for essential needs such as picking up food and attending medical appointments. This means that if you are coming from a state deemed high-risk, we expect you to self-quarantine in your living space and utilize virtual opportunities for engaging with all activities the first two week of August. We will not be tracking this and will be an honor system. All activities for the first two weeks of August will have virtual options for those still in quarantine. (New 7/30)
7. What are the hours of the BUSM Covid Testing Site? Collection Hours: The BUMC Collection Site (R-107) will be open for appointments Monday through Friday, August 3 through August 14, from 10 am till 3 pm. Appointments are scheduled for 15 minutes, but we have found so far it goes much more quickly. (New 7/31)
8. Is testing mandatory?All students who want to attend any class in person must be tested. Once the full program begins on August 17, testing and symptom screening will be mandatory for all students who are on campus, and will be enforced through an electronic badge to indicate the student has completed a symptom screen each day and has been tested at the required frequency and found negative. (New 7/31)
Finances & Medical Student Residence
1. Can students continue to live in the MSR? Yes. The plan is to allow all students who want to remain in the MSR to do so. (Reviewed 5/29.)
2. Will a prorated refund be considered for tuition for BUSM and/or MSR? Tuition is not prorated as all students in the curriculum are meeting the learning objectives and are participating in activities that meet those objectives and provide academic credit. Students in the MSR may terminate their lease without penalty as of March 31, 2020. Note: for specific questions about your status in the MSR, please reach out directly to Katie Toro-Ferrari. (Reviewed 5/29.)
3. How might this situation impact loan disbursements? Currently, there should be no impact in loan disbursements. Note: for questions about the impact of COVID-19 on financial aid, make sure you check out Student Financial Services’ dedicated information page. (Reviewed 5/29.)
Student Space & Resources
1. Where can I study on the BUSM Campus? The following Instructional (L) Building and A building spaces continue to be open as student study space Monday-Friday from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. and weekends from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. with access via L-building elevators and emergency stairwells:
- L14 Hiebert Lounge
- L1101 Testing Center and L1110 classroom
- L109ABC, L107, L112
- A Building – A4 Medical Student Lounge and adjacent small rooms (medical students only)
Please note: the McNary classrooms in Housman (R) Building, first floor, are now closed. All students, faculty and staff should carry your ID at all times. All BU-owned buildings are card access only.
Masks and physical distancing are required on campus, including instructional and relaxation space. [Updated 6/15.]
2. How do we address technology failures on campus (e.g. non-functioning printers) while the help desk and library are closed? Students experiencing technology issues should email email@example.com or call 617-358-4540 (8:30am-5:00pm Mon-Fri) for assistance with on-campus technology. (Reviewed 5/29.)
3. What can BUSM do to support students who do not have high-speed, reliable internet at home so they’re not at a disadvantage with all of this online learning? Students in walking distance to the campus can study in an open room, practicing social distancing and wearing a mask. If students do not have reliable internet at home, they should prepare to come into the school and use the available spaces in the medical school. If students have chosen to go home, we are not able to assist with that and will expect them to be able to participate virtually in the curriculum as students were notified of this. (Reviewed 5/29.)
1. In order to fulfill core/elective requirements, could involvement in COVID-19 student volunteering be transferred into class credit? No, but it may be able to count towards the service learning requirement in the first year Essentials of Public Health course, pending approval of the course director. (Reviewed 5/29.)
2. I have a question specific to my own schedule (e.g. remediating content prior to promotion, LOA, gap year, modified curriculum, returning from dual-degree), who should I contact to determine how the changes will impact my schedule personally? Contact an assistant dean in Student Affairs to begin the conversation. You can email the office staff to schedule an appointment. Also consider using the daily Open Office Hours. (Reviewed 5/29.)
3.Who is making the decisions regarding our curriculum, and with what level of student input? The faculty are involved in designing and implementing the curriculum. MEC, in conjunction with Dean Antman and the Associate Deans have been discussing the curriculum regularly, using guidance from the AAMC, LCME, and other medical schools. MEC Student representatives have been involved in discussions and decisions made within that committee. Students may also provide their feedback through SCOMSA and the town halls. (Reviewed 5/29.)
4. Does the 32 week 4th year requirement change apply to all classes, or just the class of 2020? The change to 32 weeks was a one-year modification approved by the MEC due to the current COVID-19 situation impacting students’ ability to complete clinical experiences and graduate on time. In spite of the reduced requirement, all efforts were made to work with students to ensure they had 36 weeks of rotations whenever possible. (Reviewed 5/29.)
5. Other schools have created some online modules/electives related to the epidemiology behind pandemics and infection control principles. Will BUSM be doing this as well? The 4th year Preparation for Internship module has entire week of information on Covid and preparing to care for patients with Covid-19. Any 4th year student can access this module if they are interested. All 3rd years who completed the Preparing for 4th year virtual elective were also exposed to this during their elective. (Reviewed 5/29.)
6. What is the worst-case scenario the school is preparing for regarding COVID-19’s continued effect on medical education, social distancing measures, PPE/equipment/staffing shortages, clinical skills testing, etc.? We do not have information to answer this or predict this as it is dependent on many factors. (Reviewed 5/29.)
Curriculum (Clinical Experiences)
1. Many epidemiologists have stated that social distancing measures will be needed for months. What is the plan to restart clinical rotations, especially if peak season is still months away? The future is still unknown. 4th year students have started their rotations as scheduled for 2020-2021. Third year students are currently in a virtual curriculum that runs from May 18th through Mid-August, with clinical rotations beginning August 24th. We will communicate changes to this as they occur. We cannot predict what will be available in terms of the overall clinical environment and site readiness for students. [Reviewed 6/16]
How Can I Help/Volunteer?
1. How can I help and volunteer during this time? There are many volunteer opportunities available to support the BMC faculty and staff. Note: the School’s administration is not included in the process of assigning students to activities. (We don’t know who is volunteering and who is not, to help ensure that you feel no pressure to volunteer).
- Sign-up link for volunteer opportunities
- Guiding principles for volunteering during COVID-19
- Medical Student Volunteer Attestation form
Class of 2024
General Class of 2024 Questions
***Please note: we will be adding updated answers to questions, particularly regarding the curriculum, in the coming weeks. If you missed the June 12 Town Hall with Deans Goodell and Jackson, you may view a recording here.
1. Will first year students be expected to be on-campus in August? Currently, the plan is for students to be on campus in August, with the MSR available for move in starting August 1. The earliest students would be expected to participate in any face-to-face activities is the week of August 17. Students with specific concerns about being on campus should reach out to Student Affairs to discuss. (Reviewed 6/22.)
2. If classes begin virtually, will students still be able to move into the MSR? At this time, that is the plan. (Reviewed 6/22.)
3. What is the plan for White Coat? White Coat Ceremony will take place virtually on Monday August 3, and all incoming students will be hearing from Katie Toro-Ferrari regarding event details. (Reviewed 6/22.)
4. What kinds of precautions are we expected to take as students and what precautions is the university taking? In general, we are following the guidance of the State of Massachusetts and the University. The types of precautions we are taking include:
- setting up physical spaces to promote distancing – making hallways and staircases one-way, “closing” or removing chairs or seats in enclosed rooms, limiting elevator loads;
- enhanced AND more frequent cleaning of shared spaces;
- personal hygiene promotion like required masks, hand sanitizer everywhere, avoiding sharing;
- signage reminding people of distancing, handwashing, hygiene practices;
- reducing the number of people on campus (everyone who can works from home, LfA); and
- establishing an on-campus lab for testing, and protocols for contact tracing and hot-spotting.
We expect that students will also follow state and university guidance, helping us to carry out the precautions we have described above. In addition, we are going to count on you to be rigorous with yourself about your health. Monitor your symptoms. Bring a thermometer with you. Get tested if you need to. Follow isolation precautions if you end up with the virus. (Reviewed 6/22.)
5. Will BUSM’s library be open at the start of fall classes? Yes, the library will be open but capacity will be limited. (Reviewed 6/22.)
6. Will there be an extension to the health/immunization forms due date? We are waiving the requirement to get a full physical before you come to campus but you will be required to get all of the immunizations. You should be able to get these before you come from your regular PCP, an urgent care clinic, or town board of health. (Reviewed 6/22.)
7. Where is the form where we can indicate a preference for in person classes? In person preference will be designated by students every 2 weeks through a web based application. We will provide you with the link when you arrive on campus and explain how to use it. (Reviewed 07/29)
8. How do medical students schedule an appointment for the BUMC Covid-19 Testing Pilot Program? Students can schedule an appointment using patient connect. Once you log into the system, there is an option when scheduling an appointment for the COVID-19 Pilot Program. http://www.bu.edu/dos/2020/07/27/covid-19-testing-bu/ (Reviewed 07/29)
9. Can we choose to come to campus to take our remote exams? Yes. If you are unable to take exams due to unstable internet connection or another reason, you will need to email the course coordinator so we can designate a space for you to take the exam. We do not encourage students to take the exam on campus unless necessary so that we can maintain a lower density of students and faculty on campus. (Reviewed 07/30)
Class of 2023
Returning to Campus
1. Will second year start as scheduled, and should we anticipate remote learning spilling into the start of second year? The second year curriculum will begin remotely. As of right now, students are not required to be on campus until September 7th (9/7), when they will need to be in person for Doctoring 2 sessions. Learn from Anywhere will potentially start August 3rd, pending feedback via the 2nd year survey Dean Garg sent out. Learn from Anywhere would be in effect for DRx curriculum when students are expected to return for in person Doctoring sessions in September. As this is a continually evolving situation, this date may change based on further conversations. [Updated 6/19]
2. What precautions will be in place to minimize exposure risk? In addition to BU’s COVID-19 Testing Plan, individuals are expected to wear masks on campus at all times. Doctoring 2 students will be supplied with disposable PPE (e.g. face shield, surgical mask, gloves) as is appropriate to the activities for each session. Doctoring 2 will be aiming to group students with individuals that they already live with as much as possible to help minimize exposure risk. [Updated 6/19]
1. How will exams be administered during the virtual period? All exams including remediation exams will be administered using Exam Soft and Exam Monitor software which allows for remote proctoring and security. Students will be emailed instructions before their first exam using the software. (Reviewed 5/29.)
2. What will happen with remediation exams and dates? All remediation exams will be administered through the remote software. We are currently finalizing the dates and times based on students’ and proctor availability. We will contact students who are scheduled for remediation exams individually. (Reviewed 5/29.)
1. I’ve heard that some students are considering taking a gap year next year because of COVID. I was just wondering if there was a specific reason students in the Class of 2023 should consider this? Am I missing something? No, you are not missing anything and there is no specific strategy to suggest. Students can request to take a leave for any number of reasons, and if you have something that you would like to pursue, you are welcome to take advantage of that opportunity. But not as a strategy to deal with COVID. Take advantage of the Open Office Hours in Student Affairs and talk with a dean to help you make plans. (Reviewed 5/29.)
Class of 2022
1. What is currently being discussed regarding Step 1? Update as of May: You will now be allowed to take Step 1 anytime up until September 1. Remember, Academic Enhancement is available to help you create a study plan, particularly now that test-taking may be delayed. To set up an appointment, use the links below:
2. What are the current recommendations for Step 1 study plan? The Academic Enhancement Office hosted a series of Working Group sessions for building individual ISP schedules. If you were unable to attend one of those sessions, you are encouraged to visit the“Academic Enhancement: BUSM II” Blackboard course, in which all students are enrolled. There, students will locate the slides and schedules reviewed in the working group sessions. This online course will continue to be the Step 1 related resource throughout ISP and beyond.
Prometric Testing Centers continue to update their site closures daily online and via email to all impacted students. Students are encouraged to contact their Prometric Testing Center to confirm their testing date if they have not received notice of a cancellation. Students are also encouraged to read USMLE Announcements for additional information related to Step 1 testing.
The Academic Enhancement Office will continue to work with students who have been affected by closures, to modify changes to their current plans. (Reviewed 5/29.)
3. Will the USMLE have alternatives for taking Step exams outside of a Prometrics location (similar to what is occurring for the shelf exams)? In response to the large backlog at traditional Prometric testing centers, the USMLE has announced a phased approach to expanding capacity to take the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK examinations. BUSM has been approved by the USMLE to become an event-based testing site. BUSM will administer Step 1 on July 30th and August 13th and Step 2 CK on August 27th and September 10th. [Updated 7/7]
4. What is the time off and remediation policy around taking Step 1 during the virtual clerkships? Students have two options to sit for Step 1 during the virtual clerkships:
- Students may sit during the first week of a virtual clerkship and are limited to having 2 days off. Students will be required to make up these two days to pass the virtual clerkship.
- Students may opt to take week 2 of the prior clerkship off as a prep week, and then take the day of their exam off. The missed week would be remediated the week of August 17-23.
- The preference is that students take Step 1 in the 2nd week of a virtual clerkship (May 26-31, June 8-14, July 6-12, July 20-26, and August 3-9).
- Students taking an exam during this week can have the entire week off to prepare, and will make up the 2nd week of the virtual clerkship during the week of August 17-23.
- Students who want to take less than a week off and rejoin the clerkship may also do that, and would make up only the missed days at the end of the virtual clerkship period.
Regardless of when students are scheduled to take Step 1, they must notify the clerkship coordinator of time that will be missed as a result of Step 1. [Updated 6/3]
Third Year Orientation & Virtual Clerkship
1. Is clerkship orientation still being scheduled and planned for the week of May 18-22? No. The virtual clerkship curriculum will begin on May 18th, and the schedule is also noted in the Google Calendar of the Academic Calendars page. Orientation content will be delivered in a mix of remote and in-person sessions, which will take place during the last 4 weeks of the virtual clerkship period. (Reviewed 5/29.)
2. What will the virtual clerkship curriculum look like, and how might this change if social distancing guidelines are lifted? Clerkships will send students syllabi specific to the virtual curriculum detailing the expectations about one week prior to the start of the rotation. The virtual portion will be graded pass/fail, and has been designed taking into account that students are still studying for their Step 1 exam during this period. The virtual curriculum will continue as designed regardless of whether social distancing guidelines are lifted in the meantime. (Reviewed 5/29.)
Clinical Rotations & Sites
1. When do we anticipate that 3rd year rotations will begin again?We are planning for 2020-2021 clerkship rotations to begin in August 24, following the virtual clerkship curriculum. (Reviewed 5/29.)
2. With hospitals shifting elective procedures and spaces around to accommodate for Coronavirus patients, will the capacity of the 3rd year rotations be impacted? This will depend on where we are in the pandemic when students return to clinical sites. (Reviewed 5/29.)
3. What are the plans for students who are scheduled to start at Kaiser? Students in the Kaiser program will report to Kaiser on Monday August 24th. There is a one-day orientation at Kaiser and then students will begin their clinical clerkships on Tuesday August 25th. The Kaiser schedule and clerkship dates are otherwise the same as the Boston based clerkship schedule. The Kaiser deans will be in touch with students to confirm plans for Kaiser orientation and any on-boarding requirements. Kaiser students will not be required to return to Boston prior to their Kaiser start date. Prior to August 24th, students should be completing the virtual curriculum with the rest of the Class of 2022. [Updated 6/3]
4. What will happen with VA Fingerprinting? VA Fingerprinting operations have resumed. Students assigned to the VA will receive an email from their Clerkship Coordinator with instructions and a list of local PIV Offices for students to contact and schedule a fingerprinting appointment. [Updated 7/16]
5. What safety precautions will be in place when we return to campus? We are preparing for your safe return to campus. This includes a Covid screening testing site that will be on the medical campus for staff, faculty, and staff. Additional information regarding BU’s testing plan is available on BU’s COVID-19 Testing Plan page. There will also be physical distancing and room changes, mask requirements in all spaces at the school, and a daily symptom screening app that will be coming shortly. [Updated 6/19]
1. When will the clerkship shelf exams be scheduled? Shelf Exams will be administered for student at the end of each rotation on the below dates, which are also noted in the Google Calendar of the Academic Calendars page. Medicine and Surgery students will take their shelf exam on the first shelf date following all six (6) weeks of their clerkship.
Students scheduled for Medicine and/or Surgery in the first 4 weeks or last 4 weeks of the clinical schedule, please check with your clerkship to confirm the timing of your specific exam, as students may be testing April 30th or May 14th. Surgery students will also have the option of taking the shelf on September 18th, following the 4 week block, but prior to the 2 week block.
- September 18th
- October 16th
- November 13th
- December 11th
- January 15th
- February 12th
- March 12th
- April 16th
- April 30th* – Medicine and Surgery Only
- May 14th
2. Will Shelf exams be remote or in person? At this time, a decision has not yet been made regarding whether shelf exams will be delivered in person or remotely via Zoom. We are currently reviewing space capacity and availability. [Updated 6/16]
Health & Safety
1. What process should I follow for getting COVID testing? See the response in the General Questions section here.
Class of 2021
Third Year Curriculum
1. How will final grades in core clerkships be determined in Block 7? The final grades in Block 7 will be calculated using the same grading policy that was given at orientation, the clinical grade will be determined based on 4 weeks rather than 6 weeks of clinical clerkships. All students will receive an incomplete grade until the shelf exam is taken. (Reviewed 5/29.)
2. How will final grades in core clerkships be determined in Block 8, F, F1, and F2? Grades in Blocks 8, F, F1, F2, and the Transition to 4th Year elective will be pass/fail. (Reviewed 5/29.)
3. How will the school address clinical experiences that students missed in their third year curriculum, and the fact that each student will have missed different components? The clerkships are tracking which experiences students have satisfied and which still need to be completed. Missing components will be addressed in the student’s fourth-year schedule. The elective/experience that the student uses to remediate the missing clinical curriculum does not count towards 4th year requirements. Students who missed clinical content at the end of 3rd year completed the “Preparing for 4th Year” virtual curriculum, which counts as a 4-week non-clinical elective towards your 4th year requirements and provides the space necessary to complete the missing clinical time for the majority of students. Clerkship Clinical Remediation 2020-2021 [Updated 6/3]
4. Will not having clinical experience in a third year rotation affect eligibility to take some fourth year electives which require said rotation as a pre-requisite? See above. BUSM will work with students to ensure that students are set up in the fourth year to complete any missed clinical experiences to satisfy elective pre-requisites. (Reviewed 5/29.)
5. Regarding current M3s making up 4 weeks of clinical during fourth year in lieu of clinical experience block 8 – is there a possibility we would be placed at clinical sites outside of BMC? It is difficult to say at this time where students will be placed while completing missed 3rd year clinical experiences, as this will depend on site availability during the time of completion. [Updated 6/3]
6. Will students need to complete any OSCEs or OCRAs they missed at the end of Third Year? All OSCEs and OCRAs for blocks 8 and F were completed with alternate activities and will not be done later. (Reviewed 5/29.)
7. When will we know the results from the EOTYA assessment and whether we will need to repeat it? We will communicate results of the EOTYA by June 15th and will follow up with those who need to repeat it on an individual basis. Your EOTYA grade does not appear on your transcript. However, a marginal pass requires a student to participate in a required practice session with standardized patients. A fail requires a student to participate in a required practice session with standardized patients and retake the EOTYA. [Updated 5/29]
8. It is advised that students should complete required clinical experiences from our third year and Sub-Is as soon as possible, so that we meet these requirements in the event that there is another pandemic resurgence. Does this mean that the school is advising students who are currently scheduled to make up 3rd year experiences in the Spring of 2021 or Geriatrics after block 14 (both due to availability of rotations) to try to get sign up for earlier blocks? If there is availability in required experiences and you are choosing to participate in them in a later block, we are suggesting that you schedule them earlier. If the blocks are full, there is no additional capacity at this time. (New 7/30)
Residency Applications/USMLE Exams
1. How will the differences in grading the last 1-2 blocks of the year affect AOA selection and our MSPE? It will be factored in. Details to follow. We plan on including a statement in the MSPE about the impact of the pandemic on the curriculum and grading, as other schools will also be doing.
2. If block 8/F/F1 is a specialty we were interested in pursuing, how will this affect the evaluation of our applications by residency programs? A note will be placed in your MSPE explaining that the P/F grade is related to COVID 19 and the CDs will work closely with the students to be sure that they are able obtain LOR. (Reviewed 5/29.)
3. What changes have been made to requirements for when to take Step 2 CK/CS? Are there options to take Step exams outside of a Prometric location? USMLE has suspended the Step 2 Clinical Skills Examination. Students will not have to take the Step 2 CS this year. The full announcement is available on their page. Students will still be required to take the Step 2 CK by November 1st. BUSM has been approved by the USMLE to become an event-based testing site. BUSM will administer the Step 2 CK on August 27th and September 10th. [Updated 7/7]
4. Are there any updates regarding creating space on campus for students to do virtual interviews (not practice interviews, but space that students can use on interview day)? There will be space on campus for students who need a quiet space with stable internet connection. Details for scheduling will be distributed soon. (New 7/30)
Fourth Year Curriculum
1. What are the 4th year curriculum requirements? The Medical Education Committee has approved the following curriculum changes as a one year measure for the Class of 2021 due to the COVID-19 situation and resultant scheduling limitations:
- Students must take Geriatrics, a Sub-I, and a clinical elective
- 24 weeks of electives must be completed (3 clinical electives)
For this academic year:
- Geriatrics will be graded pass/fail
- Medicine 2 and Surgical Subspecialty Selective Requirement has been replaced with any clinical elective.
- 6 clinical rotations and 3 non-clinical rotations: Students looking to take more than 3 non-clinical rotations must get an exception approval from SEPC.
- If you completed the Preparation for 4th year elective counts as 4 weeks of a non-clinical elective towards your 24 week elective requirement
Note: The elective/experience that the student uses to remediate the missing 3rd year clinical curriculum does not count towards 4th year requirements. Students who missed clinical content at the end of 3rd year completed the “Preparing for 4th Year” virtual curriculum, which counts as a 4-week non-clinical elective towards your 4th year requirements and provides the space necessary to complete the missing clinical time for the majority of students.
2. Does the “Preparing for 4th Year” Virtual Elective count as a a clinical or non-clinical elective towards 4th year requirements? The “Preparing for 4th Year” Virtual Elective that students took at the end of their 3rd year counts towards the non-clinical elective requirements for 4th year. [Updated 6/1]
3. How will Medicine 2 be graded in 2020-2021 for students who take this? Medicine 2 will remain on the Honors/High Pass/Pass/Fail grading scale. [Updated 6/3]
4. Which 4th year rotations have changed to Pass/Fail this year? Geriatrics and the Radiology Core-Elective have moved to Pass/Fail this year. [Updated 6/12]
5. Which electives are currently available for upcoming Blocks? As availability is continually in flux as students update their schedules, students should check with the Rotation Director/Rotation Coordinator to check on the most current availability. All elective add/drop requests should be completed via the electronic system, and all rotations must be finalized no later than one week prior to rotation start date, and no changes may be made after that point. [Updated 7/20]
6. How far in advance do I need to schedule a research rotation? Research rotations must be scheduled 8 weeks in advance and must IRB approval. Additional information is available on the Registrar’s website. [New 7/20]
7. When will I find out if I was accepted into the teaching elective(s) for Doctoring 1 and/or Doctoring 2? Students should have received notification regarding the Doctoring 1 Teaching elective. If you did not hear back and are unsure of your status in the elective, please reach out to Matt Bullard. Students will hear more about the Doctoring 2 elective later this summer. [Updated 6/15]
8. Are we going to be able to start 4th year rotations regardless of the course of the pandemic? Students will be able to start for June 1st. However, 4th year students should not show up for Block 9 rotations until they have heard directly from Dean Garg or Dean Jackson with approval to begin. Dean Garg is currently working with BMC to ensure that PPE will be available for students when they begin on their rotations.
The rotations will be variable with some with a mix of virtual work, telehealth, and patient care which will be ramping up. All of these experiences count for credit. Sub-I’s must be mostly clinical and the rotation directors will ensure that.
Students should check with their rotation director and coordinator to determine which room they can use for administrative tasks. Capacity is 10 per room. [Updated 6/2]
9. Early blocks for all sub-internships in my field are full, and I will not be able to reschedule these before applications are due. How should I address this? 4th year directors and FSAs are working with individual students applying in their field to ensure students are scheduled for Sub-Is in a timely manner to apply for rotations. Please email your FSA lead in your discipline and SAO dean to ensure this happens. We will be working closely with all students around the application process and are collaborating with our colleagues across the country and new procedures and expectations are being developed to address situations like this one, or students who are not able to complete away rotations as had been expected in the past by some specialties. This is a shared concern across the board, at other schools. The AAMC is working with programs to revise expectations for applicants. We will share updates as they become available. [Updated 6/3]
10. What are the current recommendations around applying for away rotations for 2020-2021? Will BU allow students to do away rotations if they are accepted? Away rotations have been suspended as of May. Below is the Schools policy statement:
Visiting Rotations for Medical Students for AY 2020-21
The Coalition for Physician Accountability Recommendations report, Medical students in the class of 2021: Moving across institutions for post graduate training, recommended that away rotations be cancelled except for specialty rotations that are unavailable at the home institution or are required for graduation (DO schools), and that even for these exceptions, travel to away rotations should be limited to geographically proximate locations.
Based on this report, for the 2020-21 academic year, Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) has suspended: all outgoing rotations to other institutions for BUSM Students, who will only be able to participate in elective rotations at our own affiliated institutions (described in the BUSM catalogue at Kaiser, VA, etc.)
11. What if I feel that I meet an exception for an away rotation, as outlined by the AAMC? Students who believe they qualify for the away rotation waiver/exception should contact Dean Jackson to meet with her. [Updated 6/9]
12. Will External Virtual Rotations be eligible for credit? As of right now we have not made a decision regarding external virtual rotations as we are still awaiting more guidance from the AAMC and national organizations regarding how to incorporate these and evaluate these. [Updated 6/3]
13. How will the pandemic impact our graduation date? It’s too early to say definitively, but at present, there has been no change to your graduation date. [Updated 6/16]
Health & Safety
Please see the General Questions Health & Safety section for questions that apply to all students.
1. If we traveled home before the start of 4th year, will we need to quarantine/delay our start of 4th year? Boston University is complying with Governor Baker’s phased state recommendations for opening the MA economy, which specifies a 14 day quarantine for people returning to Massachusetts, except that, beginning July 1, 2020, travelers from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, and New Jersey arriving in Massachusetts are exempt from this directive and need not self-quarantine for 14 days.
Clinical rotation directors and the medical education office will work with M4s who are scheduled to start clinical work to ensure your clinical rotations and credits are not adversely affected. Please contact the Student Affairs to discuss any specific concerns, by reaching out directly to Dean Jackson or any of the Assistant Deans in the SAO. [Updated 7/7]
2. Does the school have a plan in place for students who miss 2 weeks due to sickness/quarantine in the middle of a rotation? Quarantine is defined as being confined to home for 14 days due to being out of state, COVID-19 illness, or exposure. Absences due to illness will be excused. We will work with students who are missing rotations due to quarantine-related absences around completion. Students is some cases may be able to continue with telemedicine. However, students who are ill and unable to participate will be excused and make up the time at the end of the year. [Updated 6/1]
3. When/how will I receive PPE for my return to the clinical environment? All students must complete fit testing before participating in patient care (Please see the BMC website for their Fit Testing schedule). You can let your faculty know that you need to complete this as part of your re-entry if you have not completed it yet. Please follow PPE guidelines in your area. You will use the same PPE as the other members of your healthcare team. The school has worked with BMC to arrange this and you are not responsible for bringing any of your own PPE. You should also follow the same guidelines and policies regarding utilization and conservation of PPE as providers on your care team. Please email Dean Garg in Medical Education if you have any difficulty receiving PPE. [Updated 6/23]
4. What process should I follow for getting COVID testing? See the response in the General Questions section here.
Clinical Logistics (e.g. EPIC, Scrubs)
1. How do I get 4th year access to EPIC? All 4th year students should now have appropriate access to EPIC as of the week of June 8th. 4th year students who do not have appropriate access can reach out to Rebecca Halley (firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance. [Updated 6/9]
2. Will we have access to scrubs? Ob and Surgery students will have scrubs, but scrubs are not required in all areas. If you are on another rotation where they don’t traditionally give scrubs and you need scrubs, the current recommendation is for students to buy a pair of scrubs, to ensure students aren’t coming in and unable to get scrubs from the machines. [Updated 6/9]
3. How do I get a pager? Pagers will be ready for pick up every day beginning Monday, 6/15 between 12 pm – 2 pm in the Pager Office at Dowling 1326. In order to register for a time slot to pick up your pager, you will need to select a date and time here. Each five minute slot is capped at two students to encourage physical distancing. Please only register where you see availability. [Updated 6/15]
4. What do I do if I can access an N 95 from a scrub machine at BMC? First, it takes one week to be added from fit-testing. Please follow the instructions that are below and which are also posted on the machines.
N95 Machine Access Instructions
1.) Scan Badge on Reader
2.) Open door number displayed
3.) Retrieve mask from Compartment
*If an error code is displayed please take a picture of the error code and send along with mask type and employee number to DG-N95MaskRequest@bmc.org
Please note you must be Fit Tested before receiving an N95 Mask. All inquiries please email us at DG-N95MaskRequest@bmc.org
If you received the wrong mask or need a mask for your shift, please call Transport at 617-414-5830 or go directly to the Transport Office located in the Menino basement to pick up a mask. [Updated 7/27]