To the Saint James School of Medicine Community
UPDATE (4/30 1.00 PM):
We are pleased to announce that Anguilla has returned to normalcy since Wednesday, April 29th. However, all borders and ports remain closed and coming in or leaving the country is not permitted.
Regarding NBME exams and Prometric Centers:
Due to COVID-19, Prometric has decided to limit the re-opening of testing centers on May 1st for essential services programs. USMLE has been deemed an essential program and special provisions will be made by Prometric in accordance with social distancing guidelines. On the other hand, NBME is NOT designated as an essential program at this time. However, the expectation is that Prometric will resume accommodating those exam appointments in June. This may be subject to change in the future, but we recommend that students check Prometric’s website for updates.
For those students whose NBME exam appointments have been cancelled due to the Prometric closures, it is recommended that you re-register for a new exam window on the SJSM Prequalification page. Clinical Science students whose Core Subject exams have been cancelled will automatically be rescheduled for later dates. Refunds for cancelled exams will automatically be given to students who were impacted. If anyone has any questions or confusion about what to do, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE (4/20 9.00 AM): ATTENTION ALL ST. VINCENT STUDENTS, the US Government is organizing an evacuation of all US students. This is NOT A MANDATORY EVACUATION.
The Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados is coordinating with the commercial carrier – Seaborne Airlines/Silver Airways – to facilitate a flight from Saint Vincent to San Juan (SJU), Puerto Rico (U.S.A.) on Tuesday, April 21, 2020, for the purpose of repatriating U.S. citizens. We urge U.S. citizens (and U.S. Legal Permanent Residents) wishing to travel to the U.S. to immediately contact this airline directly in order to book a seat on this flight by emailing: email@example.com or by calling +1(801)401-9103. Please note that the flight will not be available for purchase on their website.
UPDATE (4/2 6.00 PM): ATTENTION ALL ANGUILLA STUDENTS, the US Government is organizing an evacuation of all US/Canadian students. Please reach out to your SGA representative or Deans for further details. Please note, THIS IS NOT A MANDATORY EVACUATION. You are free to stay on the island if you think this is the best course of action for you.
UPDATE (3/26 6.00 PM): Anguilla has received confirmation that there are two confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the island. Both patients are in quarantine and have exhibited relatively mild symptoms. As of now, classes will continue on the campus as per the schedule, and we are awaiting more direction from the government. In the mean time please reach out to our Deans, Dr. Iliou, Dr. Ramirez, and Dr. Wajid for more information.
UPDATE (3/20 5.00 PM): The Illinois government has implemented a “shelter in place” order for residents. The SJSM administrative headquarters are located in Park Ridge, Illinois and will be affected by this order. For the safety of the staff, the administrative office started working remotely on Tuesday, March 17th. Most services have not been majorly impacted by this transition, however, since travel is not recommended, some services may take longer to process. We ask for your patience and understanding as we continue to work and try to prevent interruptions to our student’s education.
Please try to limit requests at this time if they are not essential.
UPDATE (3/19 10.00 PM): The US Government has raised its travel advisory to ‘Level 4-DO NOT TRAVEL’. Students in St. Vincent should travel back as and when they can. Students in Anguilla, please inform your SGA President or the admin about your whereabouts.
For all students who are still on the islands, please get in touch with the administration/SGA Presidents. We need to inform the State Department of your whereabouts. We need this information ASAP. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org at your earliest.
UPDATE (3/19 6.00 PM): CLINICAL STUDENTS: Please visit our moodle website for a list of FAQs. If you still have questions after this, please reach out to your advisor.
UPDATE (3/19 10.00 am): This is a reminder that the Anguilla ports will be closing Friday (3/20) night. For more information please reach out to:
US Honorary Consul: Steve and Suzie Donahue (264) 235 8177
Warden for Canadian Government: Mimi Gratton (264) 235 258
UPDATE (3/18 11.00 PM): As of today, the US has announced the US will close its border with Canada to “non-essential traffic”. Please reach out to the Clinical Dept. if you need to leave.
UPDATE (3/17 6.00 PM CST): The Anguilla Government has issued a statement saying that all ports air and sea will be in lock down starting Friday, March 20th. In light of this development, the SJSM Administration has decided to CANCEL all Block III exams. Instead, we will have an ONLINE AVAILABLE Block IV exam that covers the content for both Blocks as per the schedule. This would mean that students who appear for the ‘comprehensive’ Block IV exam would not need to redo the exam once they are back on their respective islands.
The SJSM administration has been notified of the closures of the Prometric Centers. We are currently working with the Prometric centers to discuss alternatives and will let students know as soon as we have an answer.
CLINICAL STUDENTS: In light changes in some Hospital procedures, we have been notified that some students might have been affected. Please make yourself available for our Clinical Student Webinar at 2 pm CST tomorrow (3/18/2020) the link below:
UPDATE (3/15 8.00 PM CST): The govt. of Anguilla is keeping its primary and secondary schools closed. This does not extend Saint James School of Medicine as of now. We will continue classes per schedule.
There is no official notification from the government of SVG as of yet. We are continually monitoring the situation. Please see this space for updates. We will have our student address as planned tomorrow.
UPDATE (3/15 10.00 AM CST): We have been in touch with the Vice Consul of the US Embassy in the Caribbean. This is a Level 3 Health Advisory, where ANY FORM OF TRAVEL SHOULD BE RECONSIDERED. The US Embassy has confirmed, as have the local governments, any travel bans are on people and travelers, and DO NOT EXTEND TO SUPPLY LINES both air and sea. This means that there shall be no hindrances of supplies coming into any islands despite airports and seaports being closed for commercial travel. Irrespective of your decision please fill out the form below (if you have not already).
UPDATE (3/14, 7.00 PM CST): As of 14th March, St. Maarten/St. Martin declared a travel ban that will be implemented for the United Kingdom, United States, and Europe for a period of two weeks. The ban takes effect on Tuesday, March 17th, 2020. As of now, this travel ban does not affect the island of Anguilla and airports in Anguilla will remain open. There are daily flights leaving the Anguilla airport to San Juan, Puerto Rico daily (except Tuesdays).
St. Vincent has not been affected by any travel bans at the time of putting up this post.
We strongly encourage students to remain on the islands since the incidence of the virus in the Caribbean has remained controlled. Unnecessary travel is strongly discouraged.
As of March 13th, the President of the United States has declared a national emergency. In light of these new developments, we are allowing students to voluntarily leave their respective islands. Please note the campus will remain open and classes will continue as scheduled. Students who leave the campus will have the chance to complete their semesters online. At this juncture, we recommend that students stay on the islands, since the incidence of the COVID-19 is much less in the Caribbean, and there have been no cases on the respective campuses. Please pay attention to your school email for further information. There will be an information session on Monday at 12 pm Island time. If you have questions please contact email@example.com.
We also discourage any form of travel. If you are planning to fly into the islands, you HAVE to self quarantine for 14 days before you can come back to campus.
With all of the information reported in the media, anxiety and concern levels have certainly been elevated as the COVID-19 – a strain of Coronavirus – has caused health agencies to issue international alerts.
As of today, the risk of exposure to the virus in our community (USA and Caribbean) still remains low. Our best protection against the spread of illness continues to be intelligent prevention without panic. Saint James School of Medicine is monitoring the situation carefully. We are in constant contact with the country officials in both Anguilla and St. Vincent. It is apparent that the situation is serious; however, there is no cause for panic among the general population.
The following precautionary actions will help prevent respiratory viruses, including seasonal influenza and Coronavirus:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid unnecessary travel.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
For our part, some of the precautions we are taking include:
- An increased frequency of cleaning and sterilization procedures throughout the campuses using CDC-recommended procedures, with an amplified focus on all high-volume touchpoints such as restrooms, entrance doors, handrails, and other commonly used areas.
- Increased messaging to our community encouraging individuals to follow the safety precautions outlined by the CDC, which include frequent hand washing, regular hand sanitizing, staying home when sick and the avoidance of touching your face, eyes or mouth.
- The monitoring of guidance from the CDC as well as our local officials regarding the best course of action for public places related to large gatherings. We will tailor our operations as needed to support any such recommendations.
- Special training on procedures for medically qualified faculty members to react and respond to COVID-19 related symptoms.
Updates on the Current Situation
- On Sunday, March 1st, the Ministry of Health in Anguilla (The Ministry) received reports of two confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus on the French Island of St. Martin and one case on the island of St. Barts.
- There are no reported cases on the island of Anguilla.
- On Wednesday, March 11th, we were informed by the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the occurrence of 1 confirmed case on the island. The patient has exhibited mild symptoms and has been placed in quarantine and is under observation by the Ministry of Health for several days already.
- The entire Caribbean region has less than 15 cases reported thus far.
- The number of cases in the Caribbean has remained steady and do not show signs of rapid spread as of now.
- There has been no travel advisories for the Caribbean region from any of the US agencies such as the CDC and/or Department of Homeland Security
The admin/istration of Saint James School of Medicine is closely monitoring the developments of this rapidly evolving situation. We have contingency plans in place that shall kick in as and when required. As of now, we have received assurances from the local governments that it is safe for our faculty and staff and we will conduct our classes as usual.
It should also be noted that the local governments in Anguilla as well as St. Vincent, are acting decisively and swiftly, and are better prepared than many larger countries. We will follow the /directives of the local Government officials as well as recommendations from WHO and the CDC.
The welfare of our students, staff, and faculty is our utmost priority and we will act in their best interest. Please keep watching this space for further updates.