March 6 follow-up email from Dr. Snyder
Dear BGSP Community,
I write with additional information about the coronavirus outbreak.
- Many of you have asked what would happen if the school had to close due to a public health emergency. Although this may never be required, we have nevertheless been planning for such an emergency and are prepared to continue classes via videoconferencing. In that case, I would email the community to stay home, and we would hold regularly scheduled classes online using the video conferencing platform, Zoom. This is an easy to use platform that is readily downloaded onto your computers, laptops, tablets, and phones if you receive an invitation from the School. Students would receive an advance invitation for each class, which would meet at its regular time. You simply would click on the link to participate. You need a working computer microphone and camera to use the full functionality, but in a pinch, people can call in via phone.
Group supervisions would meet in the same way.
Individual meetings, supervisions, and analytic appointments would be arranged between student and analyst, supervisor, or Therapy Center patient to take place by phone or videoconferencing. You should talk with your supervisor now about the best options for your patients and you, should such an emergency take place.
Attendance at fieldwork and internship sites would not be possible for the duration of the closure, if a public health emergency were declared. Ms. Healy and Dr. Soldz remain in touch with their contacts at the sites as they monitor the situation.
Please note: We will continue holding classes in person unless a public health emergency exists. Students in the campus-based programs are currently only expected to attend class via Zoom if their medical situation warrants staying home, in which case they should discuss attendance with their doctor and their instructor.
- In addition, some of you have asked about how to access health care or a provider if needed. Be assured that hospitals in this region will provide you with treatment regardless of your ability to pay. However, it’s helpful to prepare in advance for cost-effective treatment. I have attached a partial list of resources to this email, including a telehealth clinic at Beth Israel. [Attachment 1: Medical Resources for Students Attachment 2: Tips to Best Use Your Health Care Coverage] Now is the time, before you are in need of urgent care, to check with your insurance company to see which clinics take your insurance. If you have questions about insurance plans for students, Ms. Woolbert has a lot of helpful information.
- At this time, international travel appears to be the biggest factor in spreading the virus, and Governor Baker has advised all colleges and universities to cancel organized international travel. BGSP supports this recommendation. If you do need to travel, it is critically important that you follow all local and national travel rules and regulations and monitor entry restrictions, quarantines and isolation protocols for any country to which you are considering traveling. It is also important that you keep yourself apprised of U.S. restrictions, quarantines and isolation protocols that may be in place when you return. We ask that you provide Stephanie Woolbert with basic information about your personal travel plans, so we can be as responsive as possible to anyone who might need assistance as the situation evolves, or in the event local health officials need to investigate a local outbreak.
- At the moment, the risk of such a public health emergency is extremely low in Massachusetts. Furthermore, younger, otherwise healthy individuals are at much lower risk for severe illness. BGSP is working hard to keep the risk low by increasing its cleaning schedule and regularly disinfecting frequently touched surfaces around the School. We will place more hand sanitizer around the School as soon as it is available. In the meantime, please be sure to follow good practices for reducing the spread of illness: wash hands frequently and thoroughly, cough or sneeze into a tissue or an elbow, stay home if you are sick, and don’t return to school or work until you are symptom free for 24 hours.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.