Students, Staff, Faculty and Friends:
As both an educational and healthcare institution, ICO has the honor to continue to serve our students and our patients during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few of the efforts and protocols we have in-place to work to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Our Academic Program:
Didactic lectures are being delivered remotely using the MediaSite Technology and are available to view LIVE or for convenient playback later. As always, the entire catalog of past lectures are available for viewing 24/7 by our students. Faculty remain accessible to students for questions and office hours as noted on each course syllabus.
Skills Laboratories are being conducted in-person, with modified schedules to facilitate social distancing, enhanced cleaning of the areas and with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for a clinical setting.
Clinical rotations and instruction are being conducted in-person at the Illinois Eye Institute, clinical facilities and externship sites with appropriate clinical PPE.
The Academic Calendar has been modified to limit Break periods related travel by students. As a result, we will be able to condense in-person instruction for Laboratories for the Class of 2023 and 2024. Campus activities for these students will end by Thanksgiving and resume after the Holiday break in 2021.
Our Clinical Services:
Our clinical facilities are being operated at reduced patient capacities to provide for social distancing and to reduce waiting times.
Patients are screened for symptoms and travel restrictions prior to arrival and again upon arrival with infrared temperature checks upon entrance to our facilities.
Clinically appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is being provided to our students and faculty engaged in laboratory and clinical patient care.
Students, faculty and staff are asked to self-screen daily and not come to campus if they are feeling ill or exhibiting any possible symptoms of COVID-19. Anyone feeling ill is asked to report their symptoms to the appropriate resource people for guidance.
Everyone is required to have their temperature checked daily upon entry to our buildings.
Everyone entering our buildings are required to wear approved masks (vented masks and bandanas are prohibited) that cover both nose and mouth at all times; to socially distance whenever possible; and to wash hands with soap and water frequently.
Prompt identification, contact tracing, notification, and proactive management of suspected adverse events is being utilized.
We are abiding by the Chicago Department of Public Health 14 day quarantine guidance for anyone traveling from high incidence states.
Most campus in-person events have been suspended, including ICOlympics and White Coat Ceremony, as well as any other events with larger groups. Small groups can still meet, with prior approval, and abiding by all enhanced campus protocols.
We have suspended all College business-related travel through December 31, 2020.
Many faculty and staff are continuing to work remotely as their job permits.
Microsoft Teams is being used by our faculty, staff and students to conduct virtual meetings.
Our Campus Environment:
Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures are in-place, including the use of disinfecting electrostatic atomizers.
No-touch door openers have been installed on many restroom doors.
Hand sanitizer is available in most locations where hand washing is not possible.
HVAC and air handling systems have been adjusted to increase air flow and to provide for enhanced air turn-over and filtration.
Select Stairwells have been designated with “Up” or “Down” to allow for social distancing and flow.
Public spaces on campus have signage for the appropriate occupancy levels to adhere to social distancing.
We have suspended use of our facilities by all off-campus groups.
We are not welcoming any guests to our campus, without prior approval.
ICO Board meetings are being conducted in the virtual environment.
All CE programs are being delivered remotely and Online CE is available 24/7.
It is important that everyone wear appropriate masks, socially distance, wash hands frequently with soap and water and limit risky behaviors both while on and off-campus. Off-campus lapses resulting in unnecessary exposures place everyone at risk. We each have an important role to play to ensure ICO maintains a safe environment for our students, our patients and our employees. Your continued cooperation in these efforts is greatly appreciated.
Remember to be patient, flexible and diligent and we can all get through this together.
Mark Colip, O.D.