RETURN TO CAMPUS: JANUARY 2021


AUC is ready and excited to return to Sint Maarten and Preston for the January 2021 semester. We are committed to providing a safe and meaningful experience and will follow comprehensive safety protocols to protect against COVID-19.

 

January 2021 Session FAQS (Prospective and Accepted Students)

IS THE MCAT REQUIRED FOR MY ADMISSION APPLICATION?

No. AUC School of Medicine has elected to waive the MCAT requirement for impacted applicants for the January 2021 semester in cases where the MCAT exam was unavailable due to COVID-19 related interruptions. AUC’s evaluation for admission is conducted on an individual basis and uses a holistic approach. Applicants are required to submit MCAT scores for all attempts in the previous five years. For those applicants who have attempted the MCAT one or more times previously but may have been prevented from a final MCAT attempt also due to testing-center closures, please submit your application with current MCAT scores and consult with an admissions ambassador about your individual situation. NOTE: Recent U.S. Department of Education guidance permits waiving theMCAT requirement for impacted applicants when related to continued COVID-19 related interruptions

WHAT IF I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO TAKE ANOTHER ENTRANCE EXAM (I.E., NEET, GAMSAT, UCAT, ETC.)?

That’s ok. Over the past several months, COVID-19 has significantly disrupted the availability of standardized medical school admissions tests in multiple countries. As a result, AUC School of Medicine has elected to waive the standardized admission test requirement for impacted applicants that are applying to the January 2021 semester. Please submit your application and consult with an admissions ambassador about your individual situation.

SINT MAARTEN

GENERAL QUESTIONS

WHAT IS THE PLAN FOR THE JANUARY 2021 SEMESTER?

AUC will return to Sint Maarten to deliver the January 2021 semester using a hybrid approach to our academics. Distance learning will not be conducted after the September 2020 semester.

WHEN WILL THE JANUARY 2021 SEMESTER START?

The semester starts on January 4, 2021. AUC’s policy regarding when to arrive has not changed and students should plan to arrive by no later than January 8, 2021. A full academic calendar is available here.

WHICH CAMPUS FACILITIES WILL BE OPEN?

We know that public campus spaces including the gym, cafeteria, testing center, and study rooms are an important part of your medical school experience—and important to your academic preparation and wellbeing. These spaces will be open but will operate with new safety procedures, reduced occupancies, and potentially different hours to enable proper physical distancing and more stringent cleaning protocols.

 

We expect to gradually reopen these facilities during the September 2020 semester and will soon announce dates and safety rules for these areas.

WHAT IS OPEN VS. CLOSED ON SINT MAARTEN?

Most businesses and public spaces in Sint Maarten are open, including grocery stores, restaurants, businesses, parks, beaches, etc.

WILL WE BE ABLE TO SOCIALIZE AND GET TOGETHER?

Yes. Our Campus Return Team is working hard on ways to safely conduct social events on and off campus.

WHAT IF I DON’T FEEL COMFORTABLE RETURNING TO SINT MAARTEN?

AUC understands the COVID-19 pandemic has created increased anxiety and uncertainty that affects our entire community. That being said, there is currently no definitive end in sight to the pandemic, and it is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Students will be eligible to take a leave of absence with no academic penalty (similar to the special allowance we offered after Hurricane Irma). Please note however that clinical students are currently working in hospitals, oftentimes directly caring for COVID-19 patients. As future medical professionals you will soon be expected to join your colleagues on the frontlines. Each of us as individuals, and together as a society, will need to come to our own terms with COVID-19.

TRAVEL

WHEN SHOULD I BOOK MY TRAVEL?

Yes, you should arrange travel to Sint Maarten with enough time to prepare for our January 4, 2021 start.

CAN I ARRIVE BEFORE THE START OF JANUARY SEMESTER?

Yes, we are ready to begin welcoming students immediately. Before making travel arrangements, please complete our Student Travel Tracker form so that we can plan for your arrival and coordinate your access to campus. Students must also complete the Sint Maarten government’s Electronic Health Authorization System (EHAS) form, which is mandatory for every individual planning to enter the island.

WILL STUDENTS NEED TO QUARANTINE ONCE THEY ARRIVE ON THE ISLAND?

No. There is currently no quarantine requirement for Sint Maarten.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR ENTRY TO SINT MAARTEN?

Everyone travelling to Sint Maarten, including all AUC students, faculty, staff and families will need to have a negative RT-PCR Nasal swab within 5 days of arrival (within 120 hours of the last leg of your flight if you have a layover). This negative test result must be uploaded to the government web site prior to boarding your flight to be admitted to Sint Maarten.

 

Given the changing nature of COVID-19 and each government’s response, travelers should regularly monitor the Sint Maarten government’s travel website at https://stmaartenehas.com/travel-requirements/.

I’M WORRIED ABOUT TRAVELLING ON AN AIRPLANE. WHAT STEPS CAN I TAKE TO TRAVEL SAFELY?

The CDC provides a comprehensive list of travel guidelines with best practices and recommendations.

THE LAND BORDER BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES IS CLOSED FOR ALL NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL. WILL THAT IMPACT TRAVEL FOR CANADIAN STUDENTS?

No. Canadians are able to fly both to the United States for layovers and directly into Sint Maarten.

WHAT IF I’M IN A LOCATION WHERE FLIGHTS/TRAVEL IS RESTRICTED?

Please reach out to Dr.  Scott Rinker, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, at [email protected] to discuss how AUC can best troubleshoot your situation. This will be handled on a case by case basis.

HEALTH & SAFETY

WHAT IS NOVEL CORONAVIRUS?

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), commonly known as a coronavirus, is a virus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. For additional information visit the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

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. 

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE A HEALTH CONCERN OR PRE-EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITION?

Students who are immunosuppressed or have a pre-existing medical condition should contact Dr. Scott Rinker, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, at [email protected] to discuss their unique case prior to arranging travel to Sint Maarten.

WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD ALL STUDENTS TAKE TO UNDERSTAND THEIR RISK OF EXPOSURE?

Precautions can be taken to minimize your risk and prevent exposure and spread of the disease. 

Personal Hygiene 

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. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside your home.
  • Practice social distancing with people outside of your home. Stay at least 6 feet from other people.
  • Wear a cloth face covering when around others.
  • 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.   
WHAT IS THE STATUS OF COVID-19 ON SINT MAARTEN?

The overall trend of COVID-19 has been downward with some daily fluctuations. As of early October there were 200 total confirmed active cases.

HOW WILL AUC ENSURE THE SAFETY OF STUDENTS AND PREVENT A COVID-19 OUTBREAK ON CAMPUS?

AUC’s Campus Return Team has instituted numerous protocols as a part of our comprehensive safety plan. Some elements include symptom screenings with temperature checks upon campus entry, installing hand sanitizer stations, reduced capacity of common spaces, mandatory masks, redirecting pedestrian traffic to utilize one-way routes, and physical barriers in student service areas. We will continue to iteratively improve and implement best practices. Additionally, it should be explicitly clear that AUC has transparent expectations laid out in the student handbook detailing student code of conduct and behavior standards. These principles apply to all COVID-19 policies and students are expected to act accordingly.

WHAT WILL BE THE PLAN IF THERE IS A SECOND WAVE OF COVID-19 ON SINT MAARTEN?

A second wave has actually already come and gone in Sint Maarten similar to many communities in the US and around the world. Remember the major challenge with the first wave was flattening the curve to give health care systems the time needed to increase their capacity to care for COVID-19 patients and put safeguards in place. Second waves have largely stayed under the hospital system capacity, which is certainly the case in Sint Maarten. Cases are still expected to occur and the number of individuals affected will fluctuate, however temperate climate and ample outdoor spaces will enable a safe, socially distanced environment for fun, study, and relaxation.

CAN FAMILY MEMBERS RETURN AS WELL?

Sint Maarten currently has no travel restrictions and a fairly low rate of COVID-19 incidence. That being said, whether families and loved ones should return is ultimately an individual decision. AUC considers students’ families to be part of the AUC community and they are very welcome, assuming they are comfortable returning.

WILL AUC PROVIDE PPE FOR STUDENTS?

Yes, both surgical and cloth masks will be available for students and faculty; although be aware you will need masks for travel to and from Sint Maarten and should have your own available.

WHAT HAPPENS TO A STUDENT FOUND TO NOT BE FOLLOWING COVID-19 POLICIES (MASK-WEARING, ETC.)?

All AUC students sign a code of conduct agreeing to abide by our policies and as future medical professionals are expected to adhere to them. Individuals found to be non-compliant will have a meeting with Dr. Rinker, Dean of Student Affairs. Each situation is different/unique and will be handled individually on a case by case basis.

ACADEMICS/CLASSES

WILL CLASSES BE CONDUCTED LIVE AND IN-PERSON? IF NOT, WHICH ACTIVITIES WILL BE CONDUCTED IN-PERSON?

All large group lectures will be pre-recorded and posted to Echo360. The large lecture halls will be primarily used for in-person activities with priority given to ICM and clinical skills practice. Anatomy labs and cadaver dissection will also be conducted in-person with social distancing. Select other courses will have in-person components (flipped classrooms, small group case-based learning) as time, space and schedules allow. It is likely that activities will have to be staggered to enable maximal use of our available spaces. Please understand that campus facilities are operating under reduced capacities and we must be creative to allow proper physical distancing for each space. All in-person activities will take place with appropriate PPE.

WILL THE LARGE GROUP LECTURES BE LIVE OR PRE-RECORDED?

The large group lecture halls are reserved for in-person activities, so all lectures will be pre-recorded. AUC faculty have been diligently recording new, updated lectures. While lectures will not be presented live, we anticipate having most lectures recently recorded and updated with only a few instances where we will rely on old Echo360 recordings from prior semesters.

WHAT CLINICAL SKILLS ACTIVITIES WILL BE CONDUCTED IN-PERSON AND HOW WILL THEY BE SAFELY MANAGED?

Students in semesters 2, 3, 4, and 5 will be able to participate in live small group ICM sessions with Q&A and case discussions. We will gradually introduce these sessions one month into the semester and plan to hold them in the Auditorium with strict social distancing. As the semester progresses, we will start adding additional small group activities from other classes.

HOW WILL EXAMS TAKE PLACE NEXT SEMESTER?

Testing will be done in the testing center, with reduced capacity and spacing that will be every other cubicle at a minimum. It will vary by course but many courses will need to have two testing slots to enable all students to use the testing center.

HOUSING

WHAT HOUSING OPTIONS WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR RISING 4TH AND 5TH SEMESTER STUDENTS WHO WILL BE ON ISLAND FOR LESS THAN 12 MONTHS?

Many local landlords and property owners have agreed to offer 4-month and 8-month lease options. Rising 5th semester students can also request an on-campus housing unit for a single semester term through our Department of Housing and Residential Life. Units will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis so please contact [email protected] as soon as possible to secure your spot.

 

Additionally, a brand new housing development located just next to campus is expected to open in time for January semester start.

CAN I REQUEST A DOUBLE ROOM IN ON-CAMPUS HOUSING?

We would like to offer double occupancy rooms to those students who are interested. We are working through those agreements and requirements and will provide an update shortly.

TUITION & FEES

DOES THE RETURN IMPACT THE TUITION FREEZE FOR THE 2020-2021 ACADEMIC YEAR?

No. The January 2021 semester plans have no bearing on your tuition and fees, which have been set for the entire academic year (September 2020 - September 2021). In July, AUC and our Board of Directors approved a tuition freeze understanding the financial hardships that medical students and their families are facing as a result of the pandemic. We continue to work hard to find efficiencies and keep costs down while investing in educational resources, innovation, and university-wide safety measures.

UK TRACK

GENERAL QUESTIONS

WHAT IS THE PLAN FOR THE JANUARY 2021 SEMESTER?

AUC’s January 2021 UK Track semester will be delivered in Preston, UK with a hybrid curriculum that includes both in-person activities at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and virtual learning. 

WHEN WILL THE JANUARY 2021 SEMESTER START?

The semester starts on 4 January 2021. A full academic calendar is available here

ARE UCLAN CAMPUS FACILITIES CURRENTLY OPEN?

Yes, UCLan is currently open and operating seven days a week but with some restrictions and comprehensive safety measures in place. At this time, students can access the Library (24/7), Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre, the Students’ Union, and The Atrium and Source Bar. 

We know that public campus spaces are an important part of your medical school experience—and important to your academic preparation and wellbeing. Please visit UCLan’s COVID-19 News page for information on facilities and services that are open.  

WHAT IS OPEN VS. CLOSED IN PRESTON?

As of 17 October 2020, Lancashire is in Tier 3 of local restrictions. Students should limit their outside travel to work, education and youth services but can still utilize outdoor gathering spaces like parks, beaches, forests, and playgrounds. While pubs and bars are closed, restaurants that serve food continue to be open as are gyms and places of worship.     

More information is available on UCLan’s COVID-19 News page and the gov.uk website

WHAT IF I DON’T FEEL COMFORTABLE RETURNING TO PRESTON?

AUC understands the COVID-19 pandemic has created increased anxiety and uncertainty that affects our entire community. That being said, there is currently no definitive end in sight to the pandemic, and it is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Please note that clinical students are currently working in hospitals, oftentimes directly caring for COVID-19 patients.  

If you feel you can’t be in Preston, please reach out to Dr. Andy Ginty, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs – UK Track, at [email protected] to discuss your individual situation. 

TRAVEL - UKT

WHEN SHOULD I BOOK MY TRAVEL?

Students are welcome to book travel now and should plan to be in Preston for the start of the semester. 

WILL STUDENTS NEED TO QUARANTINE ONCE THEY ARRIVE IN PRESTON?

When you arrive in the UK, you must travel directly to your residence and not leave until 14 days have passed since you were last in a non-exempt country or territory. This is known as ‘self-isolating.’ AUC has adjusted our academic schedule to accommodate students’ self-isolation and will not conduct in-person activities until several weeks into the semester.  

The 14-day period starts from the day after you leave a non-exempt country or territory. A non-exempt country or territory is any country or territory that is not on the travel corridors list

For more information, please visit the UK government website

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR ENTRY TO PRESTON?

Given the changing nature of COVID-19 and each government’s response, travelers should regularly monitor the UK government website. We also ask that you monitor your local government’s travel restrictions and any impact they may have on your ability to return to Preston for the January 2021 semester.

I’M WORRIED ABOUT TRAVELLING ON AN AIRPLANE. WHAT STEPS CAN I TAKE TO TRAVEL SAFELY?

The UK government provides a comprehensive list of travel guidelines with best practices and recommendations. 

WHAT IF I’M IN A LOCATION WHERE FLIGHTS/TRAVEL IS RESTRICTED?

Please reach out to Dr. Andy Ginty, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs – UK Track, at [email protected] to discuss how AUC can best troubleshoot your situation. This will be handled on a case-by-case basis. 

HEALTH & SAFETY - UKT

WHAT IS NOVEL CORONAVIRUS?

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), commonly known as a coronavirus, is a virus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. For additional information visit the UK government’s COVID-19 page.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

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. 

WHAT PRECAUTIONS ARE AUC AND UCLAN TAKING TO PREVENT MEMBERS OF THE CAMPUS COMMUNITY FROM EXPOSURE?

As always, your safety and security remain our top priority. AUC and UCLan are taking precautions to lower the risk of exposure and do our part to curb the spread of the virus.  

UCLan has implemented numerous safety measures and procedures across campus to keep our community safe, and we urge all students to do their part in supporting and protecting each other. You can expect to see handwashing and sanitizing stations established around campus; Perspex screens installed at on-campus food and drink outlets; and signage posted throughout to promote social and physical distancing.  Additional measures such as building restrictions and identity badges are required on campus.  

All community members will be expected to follow safety measures and protocols, including the use of face masks in shared spaces, social distancing, and increased cleaning and disinfecting of campus facilities and common spaces. Students will also need to complete a mandatory COVID-19 precaution training on Blackboard prior to accessing campus. 

For more details on UCLan safety procedures, visit UCLan’s Coronavirus Advice and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).  

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE A HEALTH CONCERN OR PRE-EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITION?

Students who are immunosuppressed or have a pre-existing medical condition should contact Dr. Andy Ginty, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs – UK Track, at [email protected] to discuss their unique case prior to arranging travel to Preston. 

WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD ALL STUDENTS TAKE TO UNDERSTAND THEIR RISK OF EXPOSURE?

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. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside your home.
  • Practice social distancing with people outside of your home. Stay at least 6 feet from other people.
  • Wear a cloth face covering when around others.
  • 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.   

ACADEMICS / CLASSES - UKT

WILL CLASSES BE CONDUCTED LIVE AND IN-PERSON? IF NOT, WHICH ACTIVITIES WILL BE CONDUCTED IN-PERSON?

AUC’s January 2021 UK Track semester will be delivered in Preston with a hybrid curriculum that includes both in-person activities at UCLan and virtual learning, along with opportunities for in-person clinical skills practice. All course activities (including virtual) will be delivered on the same schedule in accordance with Preston’s time zone.   

In accordance with UCLan guidance and safety protocols, students in Preston will have the opportunity to benefit from in-person activities and experiences including:   

  • Small group learning activities  

  • ICM 5 blocks and clinical skills “boot camps” (semester 5)  

  • Additional clinical skills practice (all semesters)  

  • Access to faculty for learning and office hours  

  • Designated campus space to sit for exams   

 

We will have PPE available for ICM sessions and expect students to follow the safety guidelines which will serve you well on clinicals.  

To deliver the virtual portion of our curriculum, AUC will utilize and continue to invest in high-quality digital resources.  Some classes and lectures are likely to be delivered exclusively virtually as we adhere to strict social distancing protocols.   

HOW WILL EXAMS TAKE PLACE NEXT SEMESTER?

Exams will continue to be delivered through Exemplify, and there will be designated campus space available for students to sit for exams in person. 

PUBLIC HEALTH RESOURCES

Learn more about COVID-19 from the CDC: