Information for Parents
As the current environment has necessitated change in our lives, both personal and professional, we’ve all had to adapt to many circumstances that are out of our control. And as I reflect on the past several weeks where we’ve had to make hard but important decisions related to our students’ education, I want to say thank you. Thank you for your patience and trust as we’ve navigated the change together.
Simultaneously, we have come to the point in your loved one’s medical training, where their hard work and perseverance deserve to be celebrated and honored. After all, they are the physicians of the future who will make the world a much safer and healthier place.
Unfortunately, due to the ongoing global health threat, we must celebrate this extraordinary life accomplishment differently this year. We have determined it is critical to cancel the May Commencement Ceremony.
As a parent, I realize that your child’s educational journey started long before joining our University. You’ve experienced every milestone with them—from the successes to the challenges. Seeing your graduate walk across the stage in front of family and friends symbolizes the major accomplishment of becoming a doctor, but it is not what makes them a doctor. Their talent, nobility, perseverance, patience and passion have taken them this far, and will certainly take them to even greater heights in the future.
Although we won’t be able to come together in person in May, I do hope that you will have the opportunity to revel in this incredible accomplishment with your graduate. You too deserve congratulations for a job well-done in supporting your child throughout their tremendous journey.
We will share more information soon about how we plan to celebrate our students, and rest assured, we will celebrate!
We greatly appreciate your understanding and thank you again for being an incredible support for our students. for our students.
Heidi Chumley, MD, MBA
American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine
The U.S. State Department announced a Level 4 travel advisory recommending U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In addition, the travel advisory suggests that United States citizens who are living overseas arrange for return to the United States. We have confirmed directly with the U.S. State Department that U.S. citizens (and legal permanent residents) will continue to be able to enter the country.
We strongly encourage you and your student to consider the risk of traveling and the risks based on current conditions at your student’s potential destination during the rapidly evolving public health situation, especially in many of the U.S. cities. Throughout the globe, healthcare systems and resources are strained while managing the volume of COVID-19 cases. Please be aware that state restrictions are accelerating swiftly in the US and many are instituting “shelter in place” policies.
Adtalem (the parent company of AUC School of Medicine) is partnering with island nation governments, airlines and other resources to ensure that there will be at least one outbound flight with available seats from Sint Maarten to one designated U.S. city with access to a major Canadian city available for our community every week for the remainder of the semester.
The health, safety, and well-being of your student is our top priority.
Our medical sciences campus in Sint Maarten will remain open and in operation in accordance with the CDC guidelines and any island government requests. We have proactively stocked supplies and resources in order to ensure that we will be able to continue to follow CDC guidelines and provide the resources your student may need should they wish to remain on island. We will continue to provide services and support to our AUC community while your student is in their Sint Maarten home. We have shifted classes to online in a virtual, interactive learning environment. We are successfully delivering all lectures in an online format, while also reducing the uncertainty and risk of travel.
The AUC community is participating in social distancing measures. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and prevention advises that keeping a distance of six feet (two meters) is a critical component to reduce potential exposure and mitigate the risk of community spread. This means limiting group gatherings, avoiding confinement in small spaces, and avoiding physical contact during interactions, such as greetings.
While the Sint Maarten campus remains open, with basic services available, we strongly advise students to limit their time on campus whenever possible. As the situation evolves, we will continue to evaluate our policies regarding campus operations, services, and access to spaces on an ongoing basis.
In accordance with guidance issued by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), we have made the decision to have AUC clinical students discontinue reporting to clinical sites until further notice. All clinical students moved to online education as of Monday, March 23.
We are thrilled to have your student join our AUC family and start their journey to become a physician! We are dedicated to providing your student with a high-quality learning environment that prepares them to become a member and leader of the worldwide public and professional healthcare team. As the global public health situation of COVID-19 continues to evolve, our main priority is the health and safety of our students, our colleagues, and our community. U.S. and Canadian travel advisories remain in place and we urge you and your student to do as we have at AUC in adopting CDC guidelines. With this in mind, we want to share some changes to the May start for our MD program.
For the May 2020 semester, we have shifted classes to remote delivery in a virtual, interactive learning environment with an anticipated shift to campus around mid-semester. While this does delay your student’s move to campus, we are committed to helping your student successfully transition to their new home once they arrive. We will continue to keep your student informed on timelines as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve.
As with many universities, we shifted to online education for the remainder of the January semester. AUC School of Medicine is part of a global university system that has a history of successful online education. We are successfully delivering medical sciences coursework in an online format and we are prepared to deliver your student a similar first-class virtual learning experience, while also reducing the uncertainty and risk of travel. We believe this decision will allow us to provide high quality education while also keeping our entire community safe.
Now that your student is settling into new routines, we know there are questions on the delivery of the upcoming May 2020 semester. We remain committed to providing as little disruption to coursework as possible. As the global public health situation continues, we have created a plan that provides academic continuity until your student can return to campus.
For the May semester, medical sciences classes will continue to be delivered remotely beginning May 5, 2020. If we determine it is safe and appropriate to do so, we will plan to resume in-person instruction on campus, while continuing remote course delivery, around mid-semester.
We will continue to monitor the global situation and will provide a final decision in early May as to whether we plan to shift medical sciences classes back to campus mid-semester.
If we decide to return to campus mid-semester, we will designate a monthlong period for students to move back to Sint Maarten. During this time, we will continue delivering course activities virtually while welcoming students back to campus. Our goal is to accommodate a range of travel plans for individual situations and provide a window of time for students to move back to the island while keeping up with their coursework.
By September 2020, we expect to return all medical sciences courses back to Sint Maarten, with classes scheduled to begin on Tuesday, September 1.
We are thrilled to have your student join our AUC family and start their journey to become a physician. As the global public health situation of COVID-19 continues to evolve, our main priority is the health and safety of our students, our colleagues and our community. U.S. and Canadian travel advisories remain in place, and we urge you and your student to do as we have at AUC in adopting CDC guidelines. With this in mind, we are shifting MERP to virtual delivery for the April students beginning Monday, April 6.
As with many other universities, we shifted to online education for the remainder of the current January semester. AUC School of Medicine is a part of a global university system that has a history of successful online education. We are successfully delivering medical sciences coursework in an online format and we are prepared to deliver your student a similar first-class virtual learning experience, while also reducing the uncertainty and risk of travel. We believe this decision will allow us to provide high quality education while also keeping our entire community safe. We will continue to keep your student informed on timelines as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve.
We have come to the point in our students’ medical training where their perseverance deserves to be celebrated. Unfortunately, that celebration will need to look different this year. 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 in mind, AUC School of Medicine has determined it is critical to cancel the May commencement ceremony. While your student’s 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.
Please know, this in no way lessens the importance of your graduate’s accomplishment, and if anything, further demonstrates the critical need for exceptional healthcare professionals. We applaud your graduate for their perseverance and dedication to reaching this milestone in their medical training. We will reach out to graduates with an update on how we plan to celebrate at a later date, and rest assured, we will celebrate!