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You may have heard that many colleges are universities are moving to a distance-learning format. By the very nature of an optometry college’s mission, this option is more challenging in part because of the labs and clinical learning experiences required for our students to demonstrate mastery of clinical skills as required for their license to practice optometry.
Social distancing is being encouraged by the CDC. This particularly applies to college students because they gather in large groups at one time. In SCO’s case, we have 130+ students sitting in close proximity to each other for an extended period of time. We have explored ways to increase social distancing for our students.
We’re communicating to our students that we continue to test online lecture capabilities for our students. The first-year class test was successful. The second-year class is being tested this afternoon. Tomorrow, we are testing our third-year class capabilities.
If these video lecture tests continue to be successful, we intend to implement a plan to give students the option to watch lectures by video from home through March 28. Midterms would continue as planned the week after next. We will continue to evaluate and monitor our options through this March 28 date.
During midterm week, students will be encouraged to spread out in the lecture hall for social distancing. We have also encouraged all students to practice social distancing outside the college.
Labs and clinic assignments are still unchanged but we will continue to monitor the situation for both. Lab groups are much smaller and we are able to control the sanitation in those environments. We cannot replicate those technical skill assessments in a virtual format.
Students are being encouraged to continue practicing good health and hygiene measures for cleanliness. This practice must be embraced by faculty and staff as well.
To the entire campus:
At this time, we are not aware of anyone in the SCO community having reported exposure to COVID-19. We remain vigilant, with particular care being taken in terms of preventive measures as outlined above.
We will continue to provide additional updates as the situation warrants. We recognize this is a fluid crisis, so please be continue to monitor your email, local, state, and national news reports.
These two resources have been recommended by the government for helping keep us all informed:
Thanks again to each of you for helping keep each other and our campus safe.
Lewis Reich, O.D., Ph.D.
Southern College of Optometry