Covid-19 – State of the School – May 2020 update

Dear Friends of the School of Dentistry, 

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves and we continue to navigate through what could be our new normal, I wanted to provide you with an update on the School of Dentistry. Most importantly, I genuinely hope each of you are healthy and safe.

This is our seventh week under Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order 2020-21, and our administration has been working tirelessly to determine the safest way to resume hands-on education and ensure Detroit Mercy continues to graduate practice ready clinicians. I am incredibly proud of our faculty, staff and students who have demonstrated the ability to adapt and flourish in this ever-changing environment. Faculty have implemented meaningful online learning experiences that have allowed our students to remain engaged and eager to learn. Collectively, they have embodied what it means to be a Titan. Our didactic courses will continue to be delivered online through the spring term.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s State of Emergency, which is what limits dental professionals to only provide emergency care, is currently set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on May 28. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services offers up-to-date COVID-19 information and guidance for health professionals, as well as specific guidance for dental practices. The School has been following these guidelines, as well the ADA’s interim return-to-work recommendations. Additionally, we have had multiple discussions with state officials on when it would be safe to resume care, and advocated for the School and dental profession at large to have access to personal protective equipment. It is however becoming increasingly clear that due to the lack of PPE’s, many dental practices may not be able to routinely perform elective dental procedures. 

We understand that many of you may be experiencing personal or professional stress surrounding COVID-19. On Thursday, May 14, our Institute for Advanced Continuing Education will offer a LIVE Webinar on managing personal and professional stress. This 2-CEU course is offered at no charge and is intended to help you understand how stress influences personal and professional interactions. On a personal note, my heart goes out to the Class of 2020, who did not not get to close their senior year with the traditional graduation celebrations. The School of Dentistry’s 85th Commencement Exercises were originally scheduled for Friday, May 8; the University is hoping to reschedule them in the fall. To help us honor and recognize the individual and collective efforts of the Class of 2020, we ask you to join us throughout May in a virtual celebration.  

Please follow us on social media and join us in recognizing the tremendous accomplishments of our graduating students. To join the virtual celebration, you can post or tweet a photo, congratulatory message, shout-out, or send-off on InstagramFacebook, or Twitter and use #DetroitMercyDental2020 and #DetroitMercy2020 

We continue to be appreciative of our alumni and friends who support our work and our mission. Many of you participated in #GivingTuesdayNow, which helps our students whose living situation has been negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic. If you would like to make a donation, you can still do so by clicking here. We and our students thank you for any support you can give. 

We have all faced disruptions and uncertainties that will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on our practices, businesses, families and personal lives. I send my very best wishes for the health and safety of you and your families. Please stay well as we “flatten the curve,”
Mert N. Aksu, D.D.S., J.D., M.H.S.A.Professor and Dean