Dear Pacific students,
It’s been at least a few days since I’ve sent an update to you on important topics, tho’ it seems like a year. It’s amazing how fast one loses connection to the days and weeks when they’re not anchored by our workweek routines and those now sorely-missed weekends. Ah, the things I used to take for granted. If generosity has been one silver lining to this cloud, appreciation is another.
Here are updates on currently relevant topics:
- ACU/OM CLINICAL TRAINING WINTER 2020. We are constructing a clinic plan to provide credit for Winter 2020 shifts for students who were in their last semester of the acupuncture or Chinese medicine programs. These will be based on new ACAOM guidelines for distance education (DE) clinical training. While they are not as flexible as I would have hoped, they do provide a mechanism to deliver some clinical shifts by DE. The maximum allowed hours (50 for MSAc, 70 for MSTOM and DACM) may still not be enough for some students. Similarly, patient count minimums have been reduced by 10%. Clinic directors are reviewing attendance records to know exactly who needs what. We are also appealing to ACAOM for greater flexibility.
- Here’s a brief, and very early, approximation of the instructional design, which is subject to change. Onsite internship shifts will be replaced with online, grand round case study classes in both larger and smaller-sized groups delivered in Zoom webinar format with two-way interaction between students and faculty. Based on a fixed formula, interns will receive credit for time spent in the class, as well as time researching and preparing for the grand rounds. We are unsure we will be able to make up all of the shifts we missed during the last two weeks in the remaining three weeks of classes. We would like to, but that it is uncertain. We may need to stretch into the break.
- If you are a graduating intern, please let your clinic director know if there is anything preventing you from taking classes during the break or any day/times that don’t work.
- Additionally, if there are any health, family care, or technology issues (no computer, no internet) that would prevent you from taking classes online, please inform your clinic director.
- These grand rounds may roll out as early as this Monday, March 30, tho’ that’s optimistic. Stay tuned and try to make room in your schedule for any day or time. I know that’s a lot to ask and I know that this is sudden, but we’ve been in a holding pattern waiting for ACAOM guidelines.
- At this time, it is unlikely that clinic DE will be able to be offered to Winter 2020 students who are not in their last semester. The limits on hours mentioned above make it more reasonable to make up the hours as soon as clinic resumes normal operation. Of course, this is subject to change. I’ll address Spring 2020 plans separately.
- MASSAGE CLINICAL TRAINING WINTER 2020: Completing massage clinic varies by campus. In NY, we are awaiting acceptance of our proposal by NY state. Stay tuned. In Chicago, our massage interns are now completing their clinic hours online and with case study homework. They will all complete the equivalent of 20 hours of clinic through this process. The students are continuing to work with their faculty to complete their remaining didactic requirements to successfully finish this term. In San Diego, massage students that are graduating at the end of this term have met the requirements to apply for certification to the California Massage Therapy Council. For continuing students, clinic shifts will be delivered through the use of online classroom and case studies in the Spring semester.
- NCCAOM INFO FOR GRADUATING STUDENTS: As some of you have already heard, NCCAOM’s linear exams have been cancelled and adaptive exams will begin as early as May 18, as long as PearsonVue testing centers are open and ready at that time. Once adaptive testing begins, you will be able to schedule your exams throughout the year rather than in limited windows, and you will receive preliminary exam results immediately after finishing the exams. Do not worry about your 60-day application window expiring. NCCAOM will relax the 60-day application rule due to extenuating circumstances so your application will remain open longer during the time colleges are closed, etc. Pacific College will do its best to get your transcripts to NCCAOM in a timely manner in early May. NCCAOM is committed to quick turnaround once they receive your transcripts so that you can schedule your exams. There is no worry about missing the testing window as there is no longer a window. If testing centers are open in some states, but not others, e.g., the NY metro area, you will be welcome to schedule and test in another state where testing centers are open. If PearsonVue testing centers are not able to open mid-April for the mid-May start to NCCAOM exams, all of the details above still apply, however, the actual test dates will be delayed. For latest details, please check https://www.nccaom.org/certification/nccaom-covid19-hub-coronavirus-updates/
- Faculty are being trained as we speak to increase their online classroom delivery features. Some features will gradually roll out this semester. If you have not contacted your faculty member with questions about assignments or other subjects presented in your course, you should do so. Your faculty want to provide as much insight into the material as possible. As mentioned, you don’t need to be concerned about what you’ve missed. It will be made up subsequently. Free audits will also be available next semester or at your convenience. Also, see #8 and #9.
- STUDENT DE TRAINING: In order to benefit from our distance education platform, students will need training as well. We will be sending out materials and training schedules when ready. The plan is to begin training around April 13 to be ready for the May 4 start. Stay tuned. Please contact your dean if you do not have internet access or a computer. We are exploring low-cost options like Chromebooks, etc., but don’t buy something like that yet.
- Please take advantage of the videos that we opened up from our Center for Lifelong Learning. https://pacificcollege0.sharepoint.com/sites/pcll/. These are amazing resources.
- Similarly, access the Master Classes at Pacific’s Blog site or YouTube channel. Mazin Al-Khafaji’s lecture from Thursday is there now, as is Dr. John Chen’s world-class presentation on TCM and Covid-19. Upcoming Master Classes include Dr. Dustin Dillberg (March 30) and Jake Fratkin (April 2), both at 11 a.m PDT. Amazing stuff!
- GRADUATION CEREMONIES: As mentioned before, NY graduation is postponed. There is no new date yet. Chicago has just announced a rescheduling of graduation to September 13, 2020. San Diego is still a very tentative go.
- SPRING 2020 DIDACTIC: We are preparing to offer on-ground classes on time. However, as you can see from the training schedules mentioned above, we are also planning to offer online courses as well, if needed. It is our hope that most classes will run per the currently published schedule whether they are online or on-ground. You will be updated as to any changes, although they may be at the last minute depending on faculty preparation to offer any particular class online. Faculty are really pulling together and working hard to make the online Spring 2020 class experience exceed any image you have of online education.
- SPRING 2020 CLINIC: If we are still under lockdown in the Spring, we will offer the above-mentioned grand rounds to the maximum extent allowed. I suspect the ACAOM waiver will be extended to include more hours should lockdowns continue. Even if not, by signing up for your normal clinic load online you will have the following option: To receive credit for the online clinic training and have the option to do all those shifts on ground as well at no extra cost. By signing up for the online clinic, you keep your option open for a timely completion, as well as having the option to do all your normal, on-ground clinical training at no extra cost. If you don’t do the online clinic, you obviously won’t have credit for it and you will do on-ground shifts when they become available. You have nothing to lose by signing up for the online clinic. In addition to the clinical grand rounds with Pacific faculty, I will set up more Master Classes with the most well-known acupuncturists and herbalists in the world for our clinical students. These will only be accessible to them. They will not be publicly available, as they are now. They will be part of the online classes.
- HANDS-ON COURSES: Hands-on courses in both the massage and acupuncture programs are being reconfigured to put the didactic portion of the courses at the beginning of the semester. For example, the presentation of safety and hygiene in body therapy or needle technique classes, or the functions and organization of points in acupuncture points classes. The plan is to have the hands-on aspects later in the semester once we get an “all clear” notice. Therefore, these classes as well as purely didactic courses will start, barring unforeseen circumstances, on May 4 per the currently published or any updated schedule.
- SPRING 2020 REGISTRATION: As you can see from the above, Spring 2020 will happen one way or another. If you have not already registered for your courses, would you do that now? It will greatly help us in our planning. This is particularly important for clinical shifts.
- Bookstore and library remain closed. We’ll consider access to texts as we plan for online classes in Spring 2020.
- Financial aid and the bursar are still working. You can contact FA to apply for Title IV financial aid. If you have not already applied for FA, it may be the most convenient source of emergency funds, and likely still available for Winter 2020. If you are on a payment plan, the bursar and campus director can advise you about any balances due, your ability to revise your payment plan, and your ability to register for Spring 2020.
- For info on Comprehensive Exams, please refer to my previous email. They are still postponed.
- MEDITATION AND QI GONG: Highly recommended. ☺ Faculty members are prepping some videos. Stay tuned.
- RECOMMENDED MOVIE FOR TODAY: Yesterday, because we do live in a world with the music of The Beatles.
I’m sure there will be more but this should do for now. Yikes, right?
All the best to all of you,
P.S. Bless each one of you who’ve sent words of encouragement and appreciation to my staff, faculty, and me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.