Wallace Community College’s administrative council approved a request to temporarily suspend all clinical activities for all students its health sciences programs.
Alabama College of Osteophathic Medicine students’ clinical studies also are being suspended.
“This includes group clinical, practicum experiences, and preceptorships,” said Wallace’s dean of instruction, Leslie Reeder.
As of 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18, students and faculty are not to report to assigned health-care facilities for clinical experience.
Wallace Community College President Linda Young told the Dothan Eagle earlier in the day that suspension of clinical activities was being discussed, but the official decision was made less than an hour after Southeast Health reported that the confirmed COVID-19 case in Dothan was a person being treated at its hospital, where many Wallace students complete their clinical hours.
“We’re going to continue and assess the situation,” Reeder said. “We had to make that decision for the health and safety of our students. We’re going to do everything we can to work with our students to make sure they complete and they’re successful.”
Wallace has several clinical partners in the area with different specialties and subspecialties that help students meet the requirements for their programs.
Many of Wallace’s students have already completed their clinical hours, while others are in different stages of completion. Many students in clinical studies were taking other kinds of coursework as well and will be able to continue those classes online.
Reeder noted there are other ways to complete clinical hours and will update students with additional information as the situation progresses and decisions are made.
“ACOM understands that third- and fourth-year students can be valuable members of the health-care team and are capable of assisting in-patient care during their clinical training,” the medical school said in a statement. “However, in light of the growing shortage of personal protective equipment, the college is also suspending all clinical rotation experiences to help alleviate the strain on resources of our hospital partners.”
ACOM is following the guidance of the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation to meet the educational standards and requirements as it responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wallace and ACOM have transitioned curricula for all students to online learning formats until further notice.