As the dental school begins to reopen classrooms, clinics, and labs, our most important priority is protecting the health and safety of the dental school community, while ensuring the academic success of our students.
We have an incredible community of faculty, staff, and students, who have pivoted quickly and are demonstrating a resilience perhaps not required since World War II. IUSD faculty and staff have rapidly transformed didactic curricula to online formats and reconfigured spacing in the classroom, labs, and clinics to ensure safe physical distancing and to mitigate aerosol production and transmission.
Dental school operations are dependent upon university and state mandates. The Frequently Asked Questions and answers below can answer many of the questions posed by our various constituencies. As the status of the pandemic in the city, county, and is dynamic, we will update these questions and answers whenever there is new information.
General Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the school calendar for Academic Year 2020-2021?
To ensure the academic success of our educational programs, IUSD will follow its standard 18-week semester calendar, inclusive of assessment and progress weeks. There will be some modifications to winter and spring breaks. The fall DDS academic schedule was released in mid-July in the Outlook shared calendars. If you have any questions about the academic calendar, please contact Kristy Beach in the Office of Academic Programs.
All didactic courses will be held virtually/online for the fall semester.
Did all students, faculty, and staff return to the dental school at the same time?
No, there has been a phased re-entry to limit the number of people in the dental school building at one time. The entire school community was trained on significant changes to the environment and our new processes as they returned.
We began a slow restart of clinical activities in June, prioritized by patient needs in some graduate clinics and Faculty Practice, in addition to the Emergency Clinic, Pediatric Dentistry at Riley Hospital, and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at University Hospital, which have been operating since March, even when other dental clinics were closed.
What is the status of the fall semester?
Beginning the week of Aug. 17, 2020:
- At IUPUI, D3s and Dental Hygiene joined D4s in clinic. Dental Assisting students began classes. Fort Wayne classes and clinics resume the week of Aug. 24, 2020.
- Faculty, student, and staff schedules include strategies to maintain physical distancing and reduce the density of people in the building, especially during the lunch hour.
- To ensure physical distancing, D1 and D2 students are alternating morning and afternoon shifts. D1s and D2s will not eat lunch at the dental school during the fall term.
- Clinical activities have resumed at 25-50% of normal activity levels, including Dental Faculty Practice. In the pre-doctoral dental clinic, D4s and D3s are paired to assist each other. All patient care, especially aerosol-generating procedures, are performed using four-handed dentistry (provider and an assistant) techniques.
- We may anticipate changes in clinic session hours. Faculty and staff must be flexible on work assignments.
What do I need to do before I can return to work/study at the dental school?
Prior to entry, all students and employees must complete IU’s Community Responsibility Agreement (CRA). Contained in the Community Responsibility Agreement are Indiana University’s return to work protocols and procedures to mitigate infection. Employees also must complete the return-to-work checklist.
What is the status of campus parking fees?
Please see parking updates at https://parking.indiana.edu/announcements/.
What is the status of IUSD’s continuing education classes?
Through at least fall 2020, IUSD's continuing education courses will be held online. When in-person IUSD continuing education offerings resume, participants will follow the same infection control protocol as the dental school.
HEALTH & SAFETY PRACTICES
What is COVID-19 and how is it transmitted?
The 2019 novel coronavirus, SARS- CoV2, causes the COVID-19 disease. This virus is a member of a large family of viruses, which can cause a variety of illnesses, including the common cold, in animals and humans. The COVID-19 virus has spread worldwide, causing illness to hundreds of thousands of people, with a death rate that is substantially higher than the seasonal flu. The virus is transmitted mainly by exposure to droplets containing the virus from coughing and sneezing, or through close physical contact.
The best sources for up-to-date information on COVID-19 are the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC)’s website, as well as the Indiana State Department of Health’s coronavirus information page.
What steps are the dental school taking to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission?
IUSD is following the most current CDC guidelines for dental settings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, we are monitoring and implementing best practices from dental professional and dental education organizations.
For dental health care personnel, the potential for exposure to SARS-CoV-2 is not limited to direct patient care interactions. Transmission can also occur through unprotected exposures to asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic co-workers in breakrooms or co-workers or visitors in other common areas.
To protect the health and safety of the school community, compliance with the following is required by everyone:
- Cloth face coverings or level 1 masks will be worn at all times in public spaces on campus by students, employees, and patients when they are not engaged in direct patient care or eating. Public spaces include hallways, classrooms, elevators, restrooms, and other common spaces. Masks may be removed in private offices and workspaces when a person is alone. IU mailed two cloth face coverings to the home addresses of all faculty, staff, and students. You may also wear a mask that meets CDC guidelines or a level 1 mask can be provided at the dental school. Level 1 masks are required in all preclinical labs.
- N95 masks are required for all clinical faculty, students, and staff during direct patient care activities that produce aerosols. All clinical personnel are fit tested to ensure proper fit of N95 masks and understanding of its proper use, as part of the IUSD’s respiratory protection program.
- Patients, during your visit, you will see clinical personnel wearing enhanced Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in accordance with Centers for Disease Control guidance, including various type of masks that are suited to individual provider needs.
- Practice physical distancing at all times. Physical distancing measures include:
- Stay at least 6 feet apart from others, including during lunch. IUSD Facilities Staff has measured and spaced tables and chairs deliberately in common areas, meeting rooms, and lecture halls. DO NOT move furniture to sit closer to your colleagues. This violates the six-foot measure that protects all of us.
- Separate work stations by at least 6 feet or use physical barriers (e.g., shields, curtains)
- Avoid large gatherings (greater than 10 people) when feasible, especially indoors
- Eliminate contact with others (shaking hands, embracing, etc.)
- Avoid and report those who appear to be demonstrating symptoms (coughing, sneezing, or stating they feel like they have fever-like symptoms)
- Avoid touching common surfaces (where possible) and ensure frequent hand washing
- Allow only infrequent and intermittent passing within 6 feet
- Encourage employees, students, and patients to take the stairs when possible instead of elevators with others
- Maintain physical distancing during breaks and at shift start and end times
- Stagger break times and work schedules
- Limit in-person meetings to fewer than 10 people and maintain at least 6-feet spacing and wear a mask at all times
- Minimize the number of people in a work area at the same time
Everyone can reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 by:
- Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoiding contact with people who are sick.
- Staying home while sick and avoiding close contact with others.
- Covering your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and immediately disposing of used tissue.
- Always washing your hands:
Before, during, and after preparing food
Before eating food
Before and after caring for someone who is sick
Before and after treating a cut or wound
Before exiting the laboratory
After using the toilet
After contact with high-touch surfaces (e.g., elevators, lobby areas, reception desks, etc.)
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After removing gloves or other personal protective equipment
- After touching an animal or animal waste
- After touching garbage
How will cleaning practices be enhanced at the dental school?
Cleaning service is provided for all public spaces after clinic hours. Three times daily, cleaning service personnel wipe down touchpoints (elevators, doors, stair handrails) with a viruscide disinfectant. Each office receives a full-office cleaning once per month. Students and employees are responsible for cleaning their work stations and lunch areas with disinfecting products provided by campus. Air purifier have been installed in several public areas where students and staff eat lunch. Until further notice, dental school water fountains are for refillable containers only.
What new infection control practices will be implemented in the clinics?
In the clinics, we follow the most current CDC guidance for dental settings during the COVID-19 pandemic. After four months of using these protocols in IUSD’s Emergency Clinic, where we cared for more than 2000 patients, we know of no COVID-19 infections in our patients, and our faculty and staff have remained healthy. There have been no reports in the United States of virus transmission in dental practices that are following CDC infection control protocols.
At IUSD, all patients are screened for active infection before they enter the building, by history and by measuring temperature. Start times are staggered to reduce interactions.
In the predoctoral program, everyone in the clinic with direct patient contact will wear N95 masks, after undergoing medical evaluation and fit-testing. The N95 mask is a particulate-filtering facepiece that filters at least 95% of airborne particles.
All clinic personnel have been trained on IUSD’s infection control protocols, which are based on the best available science. Training videos are available here.
Do we have enough personal protective equipment (PPE)?
We monitor our PPE supply daily. We are working diligently to procure the appropriate amount of PPE and look at alternative strategies as our clinical activity increases.
How are we controlling the transmission of aerosols?
Indiana University has increased HEPA filtration in the air handling system. We are installing air purifiers in rooms where people will be eating lunch and in the bathrooms. However, the most effective methods to restrict exposure to virus particulate in the air are wearing masks practicing physical distancing, and limiting the number of people in the building.
In the clinics, we are following CDC guidelines for dentistry and are continuously investigating technologies that minimize aerosol generation and transmission. We will practice four-handed dentistry (provider and an assistant), as well as high-speed evacuation (suction) with rubber dam isolation or isolite auxiliary suction when rubber dams are not feasible. Additional controls include installing auxiliary dental aerosol evacuation units in some areas for certain procedures.
Patients who develop symptoms after treatment are advised to seek medical advice from their physician. They should contact their county health department for contact tracing and inform the dental school if they developed symptoms within two days of being in the dental school clinic.
We are using a pre-procedural antimicrobial rinse that reduces bacteria and viruses in the oral cavity.
How will I be trained on the new clinic protocols?
All clinical faculty and staff will be trained in person on enhanced infection control processes. Ken Burgess, director of infection control, produced these training videos. Completion of training will be tracked in the school’s ICT system. Additionally, posters describing the donning and doffing of PPE will be placed throughout the building.
What if I am a part of the COVID-19 vulnerable population?
The IU Restart Committee recommends special consideration be given to “vulnerable populations within the faculty, staff, and student community.” The CDC has identified people with the following conditions at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19:
- Age 65 years and older
- Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- Serious heart conditions
- Severe obesity (body mass index of 40 or higher)
- Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
- Liver disease
If you need accommodations, please request them when completing the Community Responsibility Agreement (CRA). You may also go back and edit the CRA. For further information related to these guidelines, best practices, and your individual work environment, please contact the Division of Student Affairs (students), department chair or campus academic affairs office (faculty and academic appointees), supervisor or local human resources representative (staff), or the Office of Institutional Equity (https://equity.iu.edu/).
What do I do if I develop symptoms of COVID-19?
The Indiana University Return to Campus Guide (pages 15-18) details step-by-step actions to take for screening, testing, and isolation.
The following are Indiana University’s guiding principles for illness and screening:
- The IU community has access to IU Health screening and testing services at no cost to the individual. Access IU Health services at https://iu-cra.eas.iu.edu/ healthservices.
- Students and employees should stay home if sick or if a household member is diagnosed with COVID-19.
- If you begin feeling ill, are concerned about your health, or believe you may have COVID-19, go to https://iu-cra.eas.iu.edu/healthservices/formentrycheck to access the IU Health Symptom Checker or the 24/7 IU Health Virtual Screening Clinic. The clinic is staffed with IU Health nurses and physicians who will advise you on the next steps for screening, care, and/or testing.
- All students and employees must self-monitor health for symptoms of COVID-19 and use the IU Health Virtual Screening Clinic when symptomatic.
- All students and employees must be prepared to isolate or quarantine when necessary.
- Everyone must be prepared to participate in any case investigation and contact tracing with state, local, or university health officials.
- All students and employees should notify close contacts when sick with COVID-19 in accordance with state and local contact tracing protocol. (Note: Close contacts are defined as people one has been within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes, within the 48 hours before symptom onset and while symptomatic.)
Is COVID-19 testing free?
IU students, faculty, and staff at any IU campus or facility have access to no-cost virtual screenings and visits through IU Health. Additionally, local health departments also offer free screenings. If you need screening or testing, please reach out to the 24/7 IU Health Virtual Screening Clinic. The clinic is staffed with IU Health nurses and physicians who will advise you on the next steps for screening, care, and/or testing.
How will IUPUI continue to monitor the virus during the semester?
Asymptomatic students, faculty, and staff will be selected randomly, about once a week or once every two weeks, to be tested for the coronavirus. The chosen individuals will be notified virtually that they must report to a testing location within a certain time period. These random checks will use surveillance saliva tests processed at Rutgers University with results coming back within 24-48 hours. IU’s goal is to test 10,000 individuals per week across all IU campuses. IU is developing its own labs where the random tests will be processed. The university will be able to increase the number of people tested using a technique called pooling, which mixes together several saliva samples at one time. If the mix of samples is negative, all of those individuals test negative, but if it is a positive result, then each individual sample in the pool will be retested to determine which individual has the virus.
What additional measures can I take to stay safe while on campus?
Everyone should lock valuable personal belongings in a drawer or locker. As always, be aware of your surroundings, park and walk in areas of highest visibility, and coordinate and communicate your activities with others using a “buddy” system. Campus police are available to provide
Safewalk personal safety escorts, which can be requested 24/7 by calling 317-274-7233 (SAFE). Limiting building entry outside of the clinic to CrimsonCard holders only helps manage security. Overall security requires a community approach. If you see something concerning, report it to IUSD building services personnel at firstname.lastname@example.org, 317-278-2234. In an emergency, dial 9-1-1 or the IU Police Department at IUPUI at 317-274-7911 to report a crime or if you need help. Other personal safety resources at IUPUI are available here.
Do you have additional questions for IU leadership that have not been answered here?
Please email email@example.com.