Academic Affairs COVID Update, 3/11

March 11, 2020


TO: Department Chairs, GME Program Directors, GME Coordinators, Residents and Fellows, GME Leadership

CC: S. Ray Mitchell, M.D. Dean, Medical Education – Georgetown University School of Medicine

FROM: Jamie Padmore, DM, Vice President, Academic Affairs

RE: UPDATE:  Travel Restrictions and Medical Education

Yesterday, a memo was circulated from Stephen R.T. Evans, MD, executive vice president, Medical Affairs & chief medical officer, Susan Eckert, RN, MSN, senior vice president and chief nursing officer, and Loretta Young Walker, senior vice president and chief  human resources officer, regarding updated protocols for MedStar’s temporary work travel restrictions, personal travel screening, and restrictions on large group gatherings in the workplace.  We have received many questions regarding the impact of this on our medical education community. This memo provides updated direction to you for situations that are somewhat unique to our academic community—please read this entire memo carefully.

UPDATE:  Elective Resident/Fellow Rotations and Medical Student Rotations

  • Effective immediately, all elective resident/fellow rotations must be postponed. This restriction will be in place until at least May 4, 2020.  For MedStar Health residents/fellows, elective rotations are defined as those outside of MedStar Health entities that are not a requirement of your residency/fellowship program (i.e., the site does not appear on the list of approved sites for your program as designated in the ACGME accreditation for your program).  Rotations that are continuous and integral to the residency/fellowship may continue until further notice.Resident/fellow elective rotations from other institutions to MedStar Health entities are also restricted until May 4, 2020.  Exceptions to this restriction are those residents/programs that are continuous and integral (or integrated) to the program and designated by ACGME.
  • Medical Student Rotations. Effective immediately and through May 4, 2020, restrictions are placed on all external medical student rotations into MedStar Health through VSLO or other relationships with non-VSLO schools.  Georgetown students will continue to rotate through MedStar Health entities as assigned.  MedStar Health Academic Affairs is working with Georgetown School of Medicine to coordinate our response to COVID-19 and the impact and restrictions on the clinical learning environment.  Georgetown SOM will monitor and track any student travel outside of the area.Students who are already here on a rotation may finish the rotation as assigned.  Any new student assignments are restricted effective immediately.

    Please contact me with any questions regarding the above restrictions.


UPDATE:  Internal Meeting Restrictions

  • No Internal Meetings with 50+ Attendees if Non-Essential to Clinical or Operational Functioning
    Per the communication from Dr. Evans, Ms. Eckert and Ms. Walker, MedStar Health is temporarily restricting all internal meetings with greater than 50 attendees that are non-essential to the clinical or operational functioning of the entity or organization until further notice. For example, entity-wide safety huddles and leadership meetings are considered essential to the clinical and operational functioning of entities, and therefore, should continue as planned.
  • Departmental and Interdisciplinary Conferences: We have received many questions about noon conferences, grand rounds, etc.  Conferences and educational meetings may continue if they have fewer than 50 attendees.  We understand this may be difficult for larger departments.  Please consider options such as teleconferencing, broadcasting to satellite locations, or feasibility for smaller gatherings.


UPDATE:  Travel Restrictions

  • Personal Travel: UPDATE:  Many of you have asked about upcoming plans for personal travel, including trips involving medical missions or other clinical work.  New guidance from MedStar limits travel for business to gatherings of greater than 50 people, or for meetings of any size with a global presence.   Please be judicious in your choices to travel for personal reasons, understanding that this situation is rapidly evolving and may have consequences that are currently unknown, including potential quarantine and restrictions in returning to your training program and/or clinical duties. In addition, we are asking all residents, fellows and faculty who are traveling internationally for any reason to register your travel and contact information with Academic Affairs/GME. Thank you to those of you who have registered your travel to date.  This will allow us to reach you in the event of significant changes that may affect your ability to re-enter to the United States and/or return to work upon your arrival.  We will also provide you with information on how to reach us while abroad in the event that you need to communicate issues on your end.

In addition, residents/fellows and physician faculty must understand the risks associated with electing to travel.  Any travel to countries designated by the CDC as Level 2 or 3, including airport layovers in those countries, will result in a 14-day quarantine and exclusion from work upon return.  This quarantine and exclusion time will not be paid; physicians/associates must use PTO or other approved time that is available.  For residents/fellows, this exclusion time may also require MedStar to extend your training if your respective board/specialty society criteria for time away is exceeded.  Given the rapidly escalating situation, if a country becomes designated as Level 2 or 3 prior to your return, the aforementioned restrictions apply and you will not be paid for any quarantine and/or exclusion time.  Please read the full memo from Dr. Evans, Ms. Eckert and Ms. Walker regarding the specifics.  We urge you to postpone your international travel plans for the time being.

  • International Global Health Program Travel: (No change from previous communication).  All planned travel through our Global Health program will be suspended until further notice for both faculty and residents/fellows.  Scheduled trips planned for April 2020 will be canceled.  For those traveling in May or after, we will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as we know more.  For those residents/fellows/faculty who are currently abroad on travel, we will be working with each of them individually regarding their return. Please reach out to Dr. Kacie Saulters, Director of GME Global Health, for any questions.  (
  • Residents/Fellows Currently Traveling Abroad (not through Global Health Program): (No change from previous communication).  If you oversee residents who are currently traveling abroad (not through the MedStar Global Health Program), please provide me with that information immediately.
  • International Visitors (observers, students, residents and faculty): At this time, we are suspending international visitors to MedStar Health entities who are traveling from abroad.  International visitors who have been stateside for at least the past two weeks may visit as scheduled.  We will provide additional guidance regarding when we may resume accepting international visitors as we learn more in the next few weeks.
  • Resident/Fellow Travel to Conferences: Please follow guidance provided by Dr. Evans in the memo distributed yesterday.  The overwhelming majority of specialty society conferences have a global presence.  We do not recommend purchasing any non-refundable travel for the time being.  If you have questions regarding travel cancellations or your travel fund benefit, please contact me directly.

Questions specific to GME or Academic Affairs travel should be directed to me, and I will ensure all responses are coordinated via Dr. Evans.  I can be reached by cell or text at 202-288-8665, or email at with a cc: to

Please email me directly to register your personal travel with GME.  Please include the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your home hospital and department
  • Departure date and Return arrival date
  • Destination and locations of any and all airport stops and transfers
  • Cell phone and/or WhatsApp contact information
  • Email you will be using while traveling abroad

Thank you for accommodating these restrictions while we learn more about the COVID-19 virus and its impact on our community.  More updates will follow as we have additional information.