Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan asked the state’s colleges and universities to begin awarding emergency academic credit and allow early graduations to students willing to serve in health care to help combat the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday.
The governor said staffs of testing sites, hospitals, nursing homes and vaccination clinics are all in dire need of reinforcements, with the state seeking all potential workers with clinical backgrounds, including college students, to join in on the fight against COVID-19,
Hogan encouraged institutions across the state, including Salisbury University, to craft emergency policies that would allow health care students in their final semester to be offered an “early exit” to enter the workforce, provided they have met all necessary graduation requirements.
The request comes as Maryland coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to climb, with 90% of the state’s hospitals now filled to maximum capacity.
Hogan’s concerns were echoed by David Marcozzi, a senior medical advisor to the governor.
“Those heroes are stretched thin, and we need to think innovatively on how to address potential staffing constraints,” Marcozzi said. “I believe there are opportunities for students to get involved in the response, and colleges … should investigate providing credits for their organizational participation in this response.”
Marcozzi said the efforts are directed toward health science students who have been trained in antiseptic techniques for vaccinations and have experience collecting test samples.
SU’s College of Health and Human Services currently has 1,690 undergraduate and 489 graduate students enrolled in its programs, according to the SU Strategic Plan 2020-2025, though it is unclear which individuals would potentially be eligible to be awarded academic credit.
By JAKOB TODD
Featured image courtesy of The Bismark Tribune.