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JRCERT Coronavirus Update

Posted by Paul Luhn on 03/16/2020

 

09/01/2020

Greetings from the JRCERT. 

COVID-19

The JRCERT is constantly monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and we continue to provide support and guidance to our programs.  As you recall, the United States Department of Education (USDE) allowed programs to provide distance education delivery (hybrid or fully online) until December 31, 2020 without requiring JRCERT approval.  The USDE recently announced that this waiver will continue until the COVID situation changes.  This waiver will allow programs to teach online for the spring semester without the need to submit a formal request to the JRCERT for approval.  We will keep you apprised of this situation as updates occur.

Resources for Distance Education

In order to assist programs in teaching online, the JRCERT has developed a resource titled “Best Practices for Distance Education Programs.”  This resource provides information that will aid educators in providing a quality distance education program and can be found here on our website under the Program Director & Faculty Tab. 

Clinical Settings

The JRCERT has had an influx of applications for clinical settings.  JRCERT staff is processing the applications as quickly as possible.  To assist in expediting the process, please assure that the affiliation agreement identifies student liability, submit current The Joint Commission or equivalent certification, and the fee.  For assistance in adding a clinical setting through the AMS Portal, reference our instruction video here or on our website under the FAQs tab. 

In accordance with JRCERT policy, clinical sites must be approved by the JRCERT before students are assigned to the site.

2021 Standards

At the April 2020 Board of Directors meeting, the JRCERT Board adopted the Standards which are available on our website.  The JRCERT is currently placing the documents in a digital Flipbook format.  Flipbook looks and feels like a printed publication and is an interactive software that allows you to add weblinks and videos.  This software will provide an abundance of resources within the Standards for our programs.  The Flipbooks version of the Standards will be available on our website in the near future.   

The JRCERT will host a virtual Town Hall Meeting on November 10, 2020.  This meeting will provide an opportunity for program faculty to discuss accreditation issues and will be available to the first 50 registrants.  More information will be forthcoming.  We have scheduled a virtual Accreditation Seminar on February 25, 2021; registration details are available here or on our website under Upcoming Events.    

Please feel free to contact the office at any time.

Stay safe and healthy,

Leslie

Leslie F. Winter, M.S., R.T.(R)

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05/26/2020

Good afternoon. 

We hope this email finds you safe and healthy.  We would like to take this opportunity to provide updates, including additional modifications afforded to programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19

The United States Department of Education (USDE) provided updated guidelines for accreditors due to the interruption of study related to COVID-19.  One of the most significant changes is programs may continue to offer distance education delivery (hybrid or fully online) without requiring JRCERT approval until December 31, 2020.  After January 1, 2021, programs that wish to continue to utilize distance education will need to submit a formal request to the JRCERT for approval.

The JRCERT requires that a program provide an educationally valid clinical experience that is fair and equitable for all students; however, during this pandemic and as clinical facilities are allowing students to return at different times, this poses a challenge for many of our programs.  The JRCERT believes it is imperative to return students to clinical as soon as the facilities allow for the return of students.  This may mean that students could be reassigned to a different facility or to a nontraditional shift, such as evenings, weekends, or shifts that extend up to 10 hours, in order to accommodate the student.  The programs should determine which modifications best meet the needs of the students.  It is reiterated that programs need to adhere to supervision policies and assure adequate PPE is provided for student safety.  It is critical that programs review and possibly revise their clinical plan to assure that all students are provided equitable learning activities regardless of the type of facility, i.e., trauma or outpatient center. 

We continue to monitor and stay abreast of the everchanging situation during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Clinical Settings

As a reminder to programs seeking to increase their total number of clinical sites, the fee must be submitted before the clinical site will be reviewed by JRCERT staff.  In accordance with JRCERT policy, clinical sites must be approved by the JRCERT before students are assigned to the site.

Contingency Plan

Programs are encouraged to monitor, revise (if needed), and document their contingency plans.

Site Visits

The JRCERT has developed procedures and guidelines for performing site visits during this time; please refer to the JRCERT COVID-19 Site Visit and Social Distancing Guidelines here.

 

2021 Standards

The 2021 Standards for an Accredited Educational Program were adopted by the JRCERT Board of Directors at the April 2020 Board meeting and will go into effect January 1, 2021.  They are available on the JRCERT website under the Accreditation Information tab.  Thank you to the professional community for all the comments and feedback provided during the Standards revision process.

Accreditation Management System (AMS) Portal

The JRCERT AMS portal is currently being revised to reflect the 2021 Standards for an Accredited Educational Program.  If you are experiencing any portal issues, please contact the IT Administrator directly at [email protected] or 312-704-5300.

Feel free to contact the office at [email protected] or 312-704-5300 with any questions or need for clarification.  Thank you for your support of programmatic accreditation.

Stay safe and healthy,

Leslie

Leslie F. Winter, M.S., R.T.(R)

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 04/08/2020

Good afternoon:

As we practice health and safety guidelines put forth by national, state and local officials due to COVID-19, the JRCERT continues to provide support and guidance for its programs and faculty. We are affording programs the creativity and flexibility in an effort to enable students’ continuance in their programs, especially as we move into summer sessions. In addition to the information offered in previous JRCERT broadcast emails, we have received requests from program officials and would like to share viable options for students unable to participate in their clinical component.

  • Consider providing didactic courses until students can safely participate in the clinical component of the program (i.e.: Temporary restructuring of the curriculum). Typically, a curriculum revision requires JRCERT approval prior to implementation, however, the JRCERT will suspend this requirement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Programs are reminded to contact their state regulatory agency, if applicable, to assure the program remains compliant with state regulations.
  • Provide an extension for graduation dates until students are able to fulfill their didactic and clinical courses.
  • Consider delaying admissions to enable the currently enrolled students the opportunity to matriculate.

With the continuance of the social distancing guidelines until late April or early May 2020, we will continue to stay abreast of the ever-changing situation and continue to communicate regularly. The safety and well-being of our students, program officials, clinical staff, and patients remain our highest priority. Additional information can be located on the JRCERT website at www.jrcert.org

JRCERT staff members are working quickly and efficiently to address your questions and provide assistance as you are working to meet the needs of your program and students.  In an effort to streamline your email communications, please send specific questions to [email protected], including formal requests for due date extensions for accreditation documentations, such as progress reports, self-study reports, etc.

Thank you again for your hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate your support of programmatic accreditation!

Stay safe and healthy,

Leslie

Leslie F. Winter, M.S., R.T.(R)

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03/30/2020

Good afternoon:

As we practice health and safety guidelines put forth by national, state and local officials due to COVID-19, the JRCERT continues to provide support and guidance for its programs and faculty. We have received a variety of questions and would like to provide clarification to some of those most frequently asked.

  • First and foremost, we appreciate and applaud the creative and flexible efforts demonstrated by program officials to educate their students in an effort for them to complete on time but remember that students must still meet all didactic and clinical competency requirements.
  • We recognize the challenge of providing a safe clinical environment for the students and the significant issue of meeting ARRT and MDCB requirements. The JRCERT encourages you to contact those agencies for questions regarding their policies and/or procedures and specifically, student eligibility for examination such as the parameters related to simulations.
  • Laboratory experiences are valuable learning tools for students; however, they cannot take the place of the students’ required clinical education hours.
  • Many sponsoring institutions have modified their grading systems from a letter grade or numeric value to a pass/fail system. We iterate that programs need to continue to follow the guidelines of the sponsoring institution.

With the continuance of the social distancing guidelines until April 30, 2020, we will continue to stay abreast of the ever-changing situation and communicate regularly with our programs. The safety and well-being of our students, program officials, clinical staff, and patients remain our highest priority. Additional information can be located on the JRCERT website at www.jrcert.org.

Feel free to contact the JRCERT office with questions or comments. Please be patient when trying to communicate with staff because of the high volume of calls and emails. They will respond to you as quickly as possible.

Thank you again for your hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate your support of programmatic accreditation!

Stay safe and healthy,

Leslie

Leslie F. Winter, M.S., R.T.(R)

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03/26/2020

Good afternoon:

The JRCERT would like to take this opportunity to provide clarification to the broadcast email distributed to all program directors on Thursday, March 19, 2020.  Recognizing the uniqueness of medical dosimetry programs, an additional modification is being provided. In addition to the previously identified modifications, medical dosimetry programs may also permit students to participate in remote clinical education that is delivered via distance education without JRCERT approval; however, the students must still be supervised appropriately according to the 2014 Standards for an Accredited Educational Program in Medical Dosimetry (Standard Four, Objective 4.4 - Assures that all medical dosimetry calculations and treatment plans are approved by a credentialed practitioner prior to implementation). 

Regardless of whatever flexible scheduling a program may implement, the JRCERT expects that programs continue to adhere to the supervision policies. Additional information can be located on the JRCERT website at www.jrcert.org.

Feel free to contact the JRCERT office with questions or comments. Please be patient when trying to communicate with staff because of the high volume of calls and emails. They will respond to you as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your support of programmatic accreditation! We appreciate all your efforts exuded for your students and patients.

Stay safe and healthy,

Leslie

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03/19/2020

Good morning:

The JRCERT would like to take this opportunity to communicate some modifications that have been afforded to programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These modifications include, but are not limited to:

  • Enabling programs to temporarily change their didactic education delivery from face-to-face to hybrid or fully online without JRCERT approval;
  • Permitting senior students who have completed all graduation requirements (i.e.: didactic course work and/or clinical competencies regardless of program’s required clinical hours) be allowed early release;  
  • Allowing flexible scheduling in clinical education, such as evening and weekend rotations that may exceed 25% of total clinical clock hours; and
  • Granting clinical assignments to more than 10 hours per day; however, this must be voluntary on the part of the student.

Regardless of whatever flexible scheduling a program may implement, the JRCERT expects that programs continue to adhere to the supervision policies. Additional information can be located on the JRCERT website at www.jrcert.org.

Feel free to contact the JRCERT office with questions or comments. Please be patient when trying to communicate with staff because of the high volume of calls and emails. They will respond to you as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your support of programmatic accreditation!

Stay safe and healthy,

Leslie

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03/16/2020

With the national state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the JRCERT continues to provide support to our programs. The JRCERT staff is available to assist programs with questions or concerns during this time. We urge programs to continue to follow, or modify their contingency plans, if necessary, to meet the needs of the students, faculty and staff, and sponsoring institutions. 

In addition, we continue to monitor the situation daily and its effect on our scheduled and upcoming site visits. We are currently in communication with those programs whose site visits may be affected.

Due to the high volume of calls, please be patient and a staff member will return your call as soon as possible.

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone at this time. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Stay safe and healthy.

Leslie

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03/05/2020

 

The JRCERT has had multiple inquiries about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).  Many programs are struggling to determine how to respond to the Coronavirus outbreak as it could possibly affect program operations.  The JRCERT encourages programs to develop a contingency plan that will assure the safety of program faculty, patients, and students.  The contingency plan should not only address COVID-19 but also any catastrophic event that could affect program operations, including institutional closure, and identify a possible resolution.

The JRCERT supports temporary alternative methods of didactic instruction delivery, such as distance delivery, and/or cessation of classes, including clinical education.  Programs are encouraged to contact their clinical affiliates and remain apprised of changes in facility protocol that would affect students’ clinical education.

Should an institution/program cessation occur, please notify the JRCERT as soon as possible.  We understand that some programs may need additional time to complete programmatic accreditation requirements (for example, self-study reports, interim reports, site visits, etc.).  Please contact the JRCERT for extension options and assistance.

You may wish to review resources developed by the Department of Health and Human Services regarding precautionary measures in relation to COVID-19 - www.cdc.gov/COVID19.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the office.

Stay healthy.

Leslie