COVID-19 update for students

Dear School of Dentistry Students, 

We continue to monitor the evolving COVID 19 pandemic on various fronts. This week our administrative team has been involved in many conference calls and meetings to evaluate options for next steps as we see our way through this crisis. From the Department of Education and CODA updates to local, state, and national guidance on “flattening the curve” we are doing our best to stay current and keep our Detroit Mercy Dental community informed while staying safe, healthy, and moving forward in pursuit of our shared educational goals.

Our second week of remote instruction and assessments has been progressing as planned, thank you all for your flexibility and hard work in completing your educational requirements in this format. I’m proud of how our students, faculty, staff, and administrators have come together at this time. We have held and are continuing to hold meetings with students via Blackboard Collaborate and many of the questions you have are issues we are working through minute-by-minute. Thank you for your continued patience. 

In anticipation of the approved extension of Governor Whitmer’s  Executive Order and declaration of the “State of Emergency” – we will be adjusting the expected date to resume all on-site educational activities, clinical patient care from Tuesday April 14th to Tuesday May 26th at the EARLIEST.  ALL elective medical and dental care is suspended per Executive Order  2020-17. The order placing temporary restrictions on non-essential medical and dental procedures will continue for the duration of the “state of emergency” declaration which has now been extended to 12:01 AM May 19.  

As mentioned in my update last week, we are hoping to secure the safety and health of our dental school community by asking all students to return to the Detroit-area for a two week time period prior to coming into the Corktown Campus. Current rates of spread and incubation period indicate that people are contagious with COVID 19 prior to knowing they are sick. For the safety of the campus community, we are taking precautions to minimize exposures and recommend 14-day self-quarantine for a time period which covers the virus incubation period. This will help reduce the risk of spreading COVID 19 to our campus upon resumption of on-site activities. 

In continuing to monitor the local COVID-19 disease patterns, CDC and ADA recommendations, and local health care guidelines, we suspending the recommended return to the Detroit-area and will provide more specific information on a recommended return date during the WEEK of MAY 4. Individuals will only be allowed on campus if symptom-free when we welcome our students, faculty, staff, and patients back to the School of Dentistry. 

We are working with the Department of Public Safety to develop a screening protocol in alignment with local and state regulations. We will monitor the timeline and continue with didactic instruction, assessments, Winter Term 2020 final exams remotely.

I appreciate your patience and understanding at this time of rapidly changing circumstances. We are doing everything we can to best support our community to flatten the curve and give our partners in the health care community an opportunity to fight this disease.  Should this timeline change, we will adjust accordingly and communication will be sent from the Office of the Dean. 

Stay safe, practice social distancing, and help us all “flatten the curve”

Mert N. Aksu, D.D.S., J.D., M.H.S.A.
Professor and Dean