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Coronavirus Update


Texas A&M College of Dentistry

As the situation with the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve, our priorities at the College of Dentistry are to protect our students, employees and patients from exposure to infection and to provide emergency oral health care to our most critical patients.

The methods with which we fulfill our ongoing education, research, clinical and community service mission are changing daily. Please continue to check this page for the latest information about the virus and the college's response.

Additional information may be found via Texas A&M University’s Coronavirus updates.


A Message from Dean Lawrence Wolinsky

Posted: March 23, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the entire dental community in unprecedented ways. As Texas A&M College of Dentistry continues to comply with CDC recommendations and state and local mandates designed to minimize community transmission of this virus, I am keenly aware of the extraordinary impact of these measures on student education and patient care.

I want to inform and assure you our administration is continually monitoring all developments and addressing solutions as needed. We will do our best to update you as things change. Our first concern is for the safety and well-being of our patients, students, faculty and staff.

The college is only providing emergency care for dental patients at this time in an effort to reduce potential exposures.  For now, didactic classes for dental and dental hygiene students will be taught online, and student group lab exercises and gatherings have been postponed, canceled or moved online as well.

The health sciences library is currently closed, although its resources and staff support are still available via electronic means. Dental and dental hygiene students are not required or encouraged to be on campus. Faculty and staff are working from home whenever possible.

Individuals not required to self-quarantine must continue to monitor their health and take all safety measures including handwashing and social distancing to reduce viral transmission. We are all in this together, and together we can successfully weather this crisis.

My thoughts and well wishes are with you and your loved ones in these unprecedented times.

Information for Students

Due to the shelter-in-place order issued for Dallas County, dental and dental hygiene students are not allowed on the campus of Texas A&M College of Dentistry, including its buildings, parking garages and ground parking lots. The county’s “Stay Home Stay Safe” order is in effect from midnight Monday, March 23, through Friday, April 3, but excludes “essential healthcare operations” such as the emergency dental care being provided by faculty and graduate residents at the College of Dentistry.

Classes and student gatherings have been moved online, postponed or canceled in order to stem the spread of COVID-19. It is everyone’s personal responsibility to reduce potential exposure. To help students with their studies, the Baylor Health Sciences Library is offering a virtual library through March 31 at bhslibrary.tamhsc.edu.

If you need to communicate with members of the college’s administration, faculty or staff, please communicate with them via email or phone. We appreciate everyone’s patience and commitment to health safety as we navigate this unprecedented time.

Students are not required to return to the college at this time. We understand that traveling by any mode of transportation presents potential exposure to COVID-19. Your health and safety is of utmost importance. If you have a computer available for remote learning, that should suffice.

Courses have moved online, and there is no reason to come in for any sort of work, including lab work, unless requested. The clinic is only open for emergencies. We will keep you apprised when you need to come back to campus.

Exams will be offered online. Specific details may differ from course to course. Please bear with us and follow the instructions from your course directors. We are setting up exam protocols that will monitor exam takers from a distance.

WREB clinical licensing examinations have been postponed. The college administration is working with WREB for rescheduling options. 

The graduation awards and commencement ceremonies, scheduled for May 21 and 22 respectively, have been canceled. Discussions among college and university administrators are ongoing regarding alternative plans. 

Information for Employees

Posted: March 23, 2020

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued a “Stay Home Stay Safe” order yesterday afternoon, effective from midnight Monday, March 23, through midnight Friday, April 3, for residents of Dallas County. As part of the order, individuals may leave their homes to operate “essential businesses.” These include essential healthcare operations but not elective procedures that can be safely postponed.

Texas A&M College of Dentistry will eliminate all elective procedures while continuing to care for patients experiencing true dental emergencies. The Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is covering our emergency extraction service. Supervisors and department heads in other areas will ensure that essential personnel are available to provide emergency care as needed for their patients of record. Emergency appointments should be scheduled between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when visitor screening is available for building entry.

What is a true emergency? The judge allows a broad view of the definition. The ADA, TDA, DCDS, OSAP, governor’s office and others have all provided guidelines to help make decisions. Ultimately, it is in the provider’s hands to make that call by using their best professional judgment and whatever information and guidelines are available.

College administration continues to monitor this very fluid situation and will adjust operations accordingly based on new information and or mandates from local and other government officials.

Posted: Monday, March 22, 2020

Work at home guidelines are updated as of March 23 due to the shelter-in-place order within Dallas County for all citizens not involved in essential services.

The order mandates that all employees stay home except for those required to manage essential services. At the college, essential services would include: 

  • Employees involved in emergency dental care
  • Maintenance staff
  • Staff required for maintaining our online communication system
  • Faculty and others involved in some research activities

All others should remain at home. Those involved in essential activities should remain at home as much as possible.

This list of essential services will be discussed and clarified by the administration in the near future. You should also all consult with your department head regarding essential functions in the department.

The Texas A&M University policy related to requesting approval for remote work now states that an email is acceptable for remote work for all employees. An Alternative Work Location form is not required, nor is HR approval, during this coronavirus crisis. Documentation should contain the following statement: To the extent possible, [employee name] agrees to perform all the essential duties in their job descriptions. Other duties may be assigned in an effort to remain flexible. This may involve work that is outside of the employee’s primary responsibilities.

 

Texas A&M University employees have access to resources that can help make the most of their time while working from home.

LinkedIn Learning

(formerly Lynda.com)

LinkedIn Learning – free courses for A&M employees

Employees will need to use their NetID and password to log in. 

Suggested Trainings:

  • Successful Goal Setting
  • Improving Your Listening Skills
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Critical Thinking for Better Judgment and Decision-Making
  • Being an Effective Team Member

Traintraq online training

Traintraq required training:

  1. 99004 - Orientation to the A&M System
  2. 99002 - Creating a Discrimination Free Workplace/EEO
  3. 99001 - Ethics
  4. 99003 - Reporting Fraud, Waste and Abuse
  5. 3001 - Information Security Awareness
  6. 11012 - FERPA
  7. 2111782 - HIPAA Privacy and Security for Physicians and Health Care Providers
  8. 2111212 – Export Controls & Embargo Training – Basic Course
  9. 2111243 – Introduction to Diversity and Inclusion

Traintraq suggested training (see also LinkedIn Learning training available through A&M):

  1. Microsoft Access 2016
  2. Microsoft Excel 2016
  3. Microsoft OneNote 2016
  4. Microsoft Outlook 2016
  5. Microsoft PowerPoint 2016
  6. Microsoft Word 2016

Stress and Anxiety Assistance

Work/Life Solutions by Guidance Resources – Employee Assistance Program –Stress and Anxiety Assistance

Note: Employees will need to register with the following Web ID: TAMUS

Additionally, supervisors may recommend other online training sites for professional development and learning opportunities and request employees to submit a list of completed training modules to include during their annual performance evaluation discussion. 

Research is continuing, but not business as usual. Each laboratory must prioritize their research activities. Although a complete shutdown of research operations is not anticipated at this time, we should be prepared because an order could be given with short notice. If a shutdown were to occur, then a selected person from each laboratory could still go in to attend to lab activities. Every primary investigator should have a plan in place on how they will scale back, delay or halt research projects in the event of a shut down. Students and staff may not be coerced to come in to work and no one in high-risk groups should come in to conduct research activities. Those who come in should practice social distancing, frequent hand-washing and other CDC recommendations. Salaries and stipends on NIH grants will continue for those who are working remotely. 

 

Information for Patients

Unfortunately, at this time, the dental school is only provide emergency care through Tuesday, April 21, 2020. We must follow the guidelines established by the "Stay Home Stay Safe" order issued by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins on March 22 and the CDC recommendations for minimizing the risks of COVID-19 transmission. Emergency patients are being seen by appointment only.
Severe pain and/or swelling often indicates a dental problem needing more immediate attention.

If you are experiencing severe pain pain and/or swelling and believe you need an emergency tooth extraction, call 214-828-8489. 

If you are a patient of record currently receiving care through a specific department at the dental school, contact that department as you normally would. 

We don't know yet. The "Stay Home Stay Safe" order is in effect through Friday, April 3, 2020. The college administration continues to monitor this very fluid situation and will adjust operations accordingly, based on new information and or mandates from local and other government officials.