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MCU Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

This webpage provides the latest information and updates on the College’s response to COVID-19.

Last updated: July 24, 2020 — (3:00 PM MST)

The most recent updates are indicated in red font.

Midwives College of Utah is working closely with state and local health departments to ensure we are taking appropriate steps to keep our campus populations safe. As an online school, we are perfectly poised to continue without the disruption of any didactic coursework. The college has created a COVID-19 response team to implement a pandemic response plan in preparation for a potential outbreak in Utah and to consider potential clinical placement risks to our students and preceptors. 

It is our goal to:

  • Support the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff
  • Create and implement innovative solutions and strategically plan for the future despite so many unknowns
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate

With students, staff, and faculty located throughout the United States and Canada, we urge everyone within the MCU community to be aware and closely monitor the  CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) website and their local/state/provincial health departments. 

The very last thing we need right now is a mindset of mutual distancing.  We actually need to be thinking in the exact opposite way.  Every hand that we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place.  Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern.  Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another must become a thought as to how we might help that other, should the need arise.  Let’s stay safe.  And let’s draw one another closer in a way that we’ve never done before. –Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky

I implore you all. Temper fear with reason, panic with patience and uncertainty with education. We have an opportunity to learn a great deal about health hygiene and limiting the spread of innumerable transmissable diseases in our society. Let’s meet this challenge together in the best spirit of compassion for others, patience, and above all, an unfailing effort to seek truth, facts and knowledge as opposed to conjecture, speculation and catastrophizing. –Dr. Abdju Sharkawy Infectious Disease Expert


Cancellation of In-Person Events for 2020

With daily developments in COVID-19 related cases, fatalities, guidelines, and expectations, MCU has canceled all in-person events for 2020.  This includes Skill Suites, the Graduation Gala, and Integrated Assessments.  Our top priority is the health, safety, and well being of our entire community.  Nonetheless, we are committed to doing what MCU must do to allow you to progress through your program.

We have all been called upon to do our part to take proactive steps against the spread of COVID-19 including canceling gatherings, engaging in social distancing, and employing high precautions when it comes to travel.  As such, we are offering alternatives to in-person assessments, spearheaded by our Clinical Department.  In order to ensure careful and well thought out implementation, we are publishing details of remote assessments when they are available, no later than July 1st.

MCU is proud of its community’s resilience during these unprecedented times.  Our commitment to cultivating Midwives of Excellence remains steadfast. While students should not expect to travel to Salt Lake City in August or December, you can nonetheless expect to advance through your clinical and academic programs at MCU.

Announced 5.29.2020


NARM Updates

NARM EXAM Announced April 14, 2020

Live Remote Proctoring for the NARM Exam is Available! As you know, most of the usual NARM test sites are closed, and many applicants are also in states with shelter-in-place orders. This situation has delayed the testing part of the CPM certification process for the past three weeks and for what could be several months to come.

NARM submitted an application to the National Commission for Certifying Agencies to permit Live Remote Proctoring of the NARM Exam, and it was approved!

The CPM credential is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). In the past, NCCA has prohibited remote proctoring for accredited exams, but with the current situation they have realized the need to make an exception. They are now allowing certifying organizations to obtain temporary permission to test applicants via their home computers. NARM and PROV have received permission to deliver the NARM Exam to applicants on their home computers with a web camera in place that will allow proctoring under the visual oversight of a remote proctor. PROV has contracted with Examroom, a live proctoring company, to offer the NARM Exam.

Applicants who are eligible for the NARM Exam now have the option to take the exam on a home computer while the option is available or to wait until the regular test sites are open again. 

If your testing deadline occurs during this undetermined time period, there will be no penalty for the delay in testing. When testing sites are open again, new deadlines will be set to complete the process.

VIRTUAL CLINICAL EXPERIENCES Announced July 16, 2020

As announced earlier this year, NARM will allow two virtual clinicals to apply to the Continuity of Care clinical requirements for CPM candidates for each Continuity of Care Client: one prenatal in the final trimester and one postpartum done anytime between 24 hours and six weeks post birth. Guidelines for documentation are available at NARM.org.

Due to the increasing need for preceptors, we have expanded this decision to apply to NARM Preceptor Registrants.

NARM has extended this allowance to be in place for clinicals between March 1 and DECEMBER 31, 2020.

NARM TIMELINES Announced July 16, 2020

We are currently experiencing staffing challenges in our Applications office due to the requirement of social distancing as well as infection exposure/quarantine.  Prior COVID-19 timelines are as follows; please allow additional time for meeting the requirements of these processes including the possibility of corrections.

  • Applications for NARM testing should be submitted at least two months prior to anticipated testing date. (CIB Page 20)
  • The test results letter will be sent as an email from ProvExam within three business days of completing the exam. (CIB Page 21)
  • NARM will send official notification of test results and any remaining requirements for certification within three weeks of testing. Candidates are responsible for sending NARM any address changes. (CIB Page 23)
  • The CPM Certification will be issued after all requirements have been met. (CIB Page 23)

CARES ACT: Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students

Q: Does an MCU student qualify to receive emergency financial aid grants because of the Coronavirus?

A: No. Students who were enrolled exclusively in an online program on March 13, 2020, the date of the President’s Proclamation, “Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak,” Federal Register Vol. 85, No. 53 at 15337-38, are not eligible for emergency financial aid grants. The formula provided by Congress
for calculating the distribution of funds to institutions excludes students who were exclusively enrolled in distance education courses. Additionally, the emergency financial aid grants to students are for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, and students who were enrolled exclusively in online programs would not have expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.

CARES Act grant resources and guidance are located on the Office of Postsecondary Education’s webpage: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/caresact.html.


Out-of-Hospital Birth and Pandemic Planning

“During a pandemic, out-of-hospital birth is essential to minimizing transmission, maintaining health, and efficiently utilizing medical resources. Midwives who specialize in out-of-hospital birth should be involved in emergency planning for maternity care during a pandemic. “

Please click here to see the Foundation for the Advancement of Midwifery’s statement “Out-of-Hospital Birth and Pandemic Planning” released March 23, 2020. We encourage advocates to use and share this as a basis for the local policies you need to support midwives and the families they serve.

Where’s My Midwife Crowdmap

The Big Push for Midwives Campaign launched the new “Where’s My Midwife?” crowdmap to help connect midwives trained in out-of-hospital birth with people whose babies may need to be born in out-of-hospital settings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. midwives can submit their reports here:
https://wheresmymidwife.ushahidi.io

Read the News Release here: https://rebrand.ly/wheresmymidwife


Protecting Your Health

You can take simple steps to limit the spread of this or any virus:

CDC Recommendations to Prevent Spread of Disease

  • Stay home when you are sick (and until your symptoms are gone).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Click on this link if you want to generate handwashing infographics based on your favorite song lyrics
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If a tissue is unavailable, use the inside of your elbow, never your hand.  
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Monitor your health and be aware of COVID-19 symptoms and seek medical care if you are symptomatic.

Recommendation Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings, Especially in Areas of Significant Community-Based Transmission

April 3 CDC Update: We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.  This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.  In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes

This guidance is intended for all Americans, whether you own a business, run a school, or want to ensure the cleanliness and safety of your home. Reopening America requires all of us to move forward together by practicing social distancing and other daily habits to reduce our risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. Reopening the country also strongly relies on public health strategies, including increased testing of people for the virus, social distancing, isolation, and keeping track of how someone infected might have infected other people.

Please view this link that is updated regularly for information on specific state and local Covid-19 responses.


Caring for Others and Self

As new information emerges, please remember the risk of COVID-19 is not connected with race, ethnicity or nationality. Do not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin and be sure to maintain the confidentiality of those who may be tested for or have confirmed coronavirus infection. Sharing accurate information from only reliable sources is the best thing community members can do to keep rumors and misinformation from spreading. 

Public health emergencies, such as the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), are stressful times for people and communities. Fear and anxiety about a disease can lead to social stigma (1) toward people, places, or things. For example, stigma and discrimination can occur when people associate a disease, such as COVID-19, with a population or nationality, even though not everyone in that population or from that region is specifically at risk for the disease. Stigma can also occur after a person has been released from COVID-19 quarantine even though they are not considered a risk for spreading the virus to others. We want to remind everyone that this behavior is not acceptable.  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/related-stigma.html

Living with worry and anxiety amidst global uncertainty

Our world is changing rapidly at the moment. Given some of the news coverage, it would be hard not to worry about what it all means for yourself, and for those you love. Worry and anxiety are common problems at the best of times, and when it takes over it can become all-encompassing. Psychology Tools has put together this free guide to help you to manage your worry and anxiety in these uncertain times.

AWHONN recognizes the significant psychological, emotional, and physical impacts on nurses that provide patient/family care during and after COVID-19. Here are some resources to enhance your self-care and stress management techniques. The resources include screening tools, apps, tips and strategy guides, handouts about specific health topics, and accessible hotline information.


Additional Resources for Healthcare Professionals

Expanded on March 30, 2020 with the most recent resources at the bottom of the list.

For the latest coronavirus summary, see the CDC websitecdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html.

Outbound Travel

For factsheets you can share with your community and clients, see  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/factsheets.html

For guidance specific to healthcare professionals, see  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/index.html

For an article that refers to the Lancet publication and other information gathered so far about pregnancy and COVID-19click on this link. 

As a woman, midwife, Yale MD, and mom, Dr. Aviva Romm has seen health care from a whole lot of angles. Here is a link to a comprehensive, evidence-informed article titled COVID-19, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: What We Know is Reassuring.

Infants born to mothers with confirmed new coronavirus infections should be isolated, if possible, according to interim guidance from the CDC advising healthcare personnel caring for pregnant patients in the midst of the new virus outbreak.

The slides and recording for the COCA Call that occurred March 12 are available here. The topics include infection prevention and control measures in obstetric healthcare settings and resources available to care for newborns. Though it is geared toward a hospital setting, those who attended report some useful information applicable to community birth, transfers, etc. and slide 6 of the PDF has many helpful resources.

AWHONN’s Position on Doulas with Patients During COVID-19

Published March 11, 2020 AWHONN recognizes that doula services contribute to the woman’s preparation for and support during childbirth and opposes hospital policies that restrict the presence of a doula during a woman’s active labor.

“Doulas are not visitors and should not be blocked from caring for patients in the antepartum, intrapartum and postpartum period.  Most doulas have been contracted by patients weeks to months ahead of time and have established provider relationships.  They are recognized by AWHONN and ACOG as essential personnel and part of the maternity care team,” said AWHONN member Nancy Travis, MS, BSN, RN, BC, CPN, CBC, Florida Section Chair.

This statement is specific to doulas and can also apply to midwives or students in a transport who will serve as the doula. AWHONN supports doulas as partners in care and acknowledges their ability to provide physical, emotional, and partner support to women.  AWHONN opposes hospital policies that restrict the presence of a doula in the inpatient setting during an infectious disease outbreak.  Read more about AWHONN’s position on continuous labor support for every woman here.

NACPM Webinar for CPMs

In these moments of uncertainty, fear and unprecedented disruption due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus around the world and now growing quickly in the U.S., midwives are urgently searching for the best information about how to protect and care for our clients and their families and our homebirth and birth center practice environments.  This webinar is rich in information, from basics about the virus itself and how it behaves in pregnancy and breastfeeding to specific guidance for midwives working in birth centers and homes to protect themselves, their clients, and their practice environments.

Click on this link for the webinar and slides.

CEUs are now available. If you attended and would like to receive CEUs, you will find instructions here.

Coronavirus while pregnant or giving birth: here’s what you need to know.

Having a baby is stressful enough without a coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and all the associated misinformation. If you’re pregnant and/or due to give birth soon, it’s best to get information from trusted sources such as the World Health Organisation, the Royal College of Obstetricians and the Australian Government Department of Health. This article answers questions from evidence-informed sources.

Continuing to Nurse Your Baby Through Coronavirus and Other Respiratory Infections

The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) currently in the news is a rapidly evolving global medical situation with limited information available at this time. La Leche League International (LLLI) respects the efforts of international health and medical organizations and associations to maintain up-to-date information and recommendations as an understanding of the virus is developed. LLLI will continue to track the development of the current global health crisis.

Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists

Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection and pregnancy

National Perinatal Association

As our community prepares to face a new and novel virus we need to be prepared – not just for the virus but for people’s anxieties and fears. 

One of the most important things we can do as providers and advocates is to empower people with information. When we all have the facts it’s easier for us to make informed decisions.

We can help address anxieties and fears by:

  • acknowledging that everyone’s concerns are valid
  • sharing our own experiences and reactions
  • explaining proven public health responses
  • promoting the evidence 
  • dispelling the myths
  • modeling healthy behaviors

Use the resources listed here to support your efforts. 

Kaiser Family Foundation

Telemedicine and Pregnancy Care

4th Trimester Project

COVID-19 for New Moms

Pregnant Women with COVID-19+ or PUI (person under investigation) General Guidelines for Community Providers

This flow chart and bulleted list from the Provincial Health Services Authority in British Columbia is geared to community providers–in other words CPMs.

Telemedicine Resources

The CDC recommends using telemedicine technologies to not only protect your clients and clinic staff, but also to be able to continue providing healthcare services to your community. Here are some FREE resources.

Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations

Current evidence suggests that novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Click on this link for cleaning recommendations.

American Association of Birth Centers

Please click on this link for COVID-19 specific birth center preparedness resources.

Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of Facemasks

This document offers a series of strategies or options to optimize supplies of facemasks in healthcare settings when there is a limited supply

COVID-19 Homebirth Considerations: A Guide to Exploring Your Options

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has raised serious public health concerns and has many birthing parents reconsidering their birth plans. Those who previously planned to birth in a hospital are now exploring out-of-hospital alternatives such as birth center and home birth. Homebirth midwives are beginning to see an increase in inquiries from people who are considering other options. Homebirth or community midwives are in a unique position to alleviate pressure from a healthcare system that is likely to experience unprecedented overload. Midwife Pilgrim has created a guide detailing the many considerations that need to be taken into account when exploring the option of an out-of-hospital birth and in preparing for a home birth or birth center birth.

MCU Resources for Healthcare Professionals

http://www.midwifery.edu/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Clinical-Procedure-Guidance-5_21_2020-1.pdfThe recommendations around clinical practice and COVID-19 are changing rapidly. MCU’s Clinical Procedure Guidance (updated 6.5.2020) is an attempt to collate current resources, practice document examples, and information relevant to community birth; it does NOT take the place of completing your own research and making decisions based on your own specific location.

Supportive Pregnancy Virtual Groups

March of Dimes will offer Supportive Pregnancy Virtual Groups (SPVG) to provide expectant individuals with social support in this time of need. Group sessions will occur every Thursday, beginning April 30th, 2020. Each session will be an hour long, and there will be thirty minutes for follow up questions and conversations following the session. A secure Zoom line will be used to host the sessions, and you can join via phone or video call. 


Travel Guidelines

The college has currently canceled any requests for international clinical placements until the World Health Organization and or the CDC declares the risk for international travel minimal due to COVID-19.  These decisions are being made in accordance with CDC recommendations for students’ international travel.


Midwives College of Utah Coronavirus Response

  • COVID-19 webpage created and updated at least every 48 hours
  • COVID-19 Impact Form created and used by House Mentors to track impact on students and resources offered
  • April Utah events canceled
  • Integrated Assessment changes emailed to each phased cohort
  • Clinical guidance posted informing students that if they are considered essential healthcare personnel, they are allowed to continue MCU-approved clinical placements
  • Clinical guidance posted about telehealth/virtual visits in clinical placement
  • Shelter in Place exemption letters available for students in an MCU-approved clinical placement
  • Weekly school-wide community check-ins to share tips and tools for staying mentally, physically and emotionally healthy
  • Shared Google document(s): “Financial and Tangible Resources” and “Health and Wellness Resources”
  • Weekly faculty emails with relevant COVID-19 updates
  • Employee Town Hall Employee Town Hall on Families First Coronavirus Relief ActCOVID-19 webpage created and updated at least every 48 hours
  • COVID-19 Impact Form created and used by House Mentors to track impact on students and resources offered
  • April Utah events canceled
  • Integrated Assessment changes emailed to each phased cohort
  • Clinical guidance posted informing students that if they are considered essential healthcare personnel, they are allowed to continue MCU-approved clinical placements
  • Clinical guidance posted about telehealth/virtual visits in clinical placement
  • Shelter in Place exemption letters available for students in an MCU-approved clinical placement
  • Weekly school-wide community check-ins to share tips and tools for staying mentally, physically and emotionally healthy
  • Shared Google document(s): “Financial and Tangible Resources” and “Health and Wellness Resources”
  • Weekly faculty emails with relevant COVID-19 updates
  • Employee Town Hall on Families First Coronavirus Relief Act
  • NARM updates posted schoolwide
  • COVID-19 Emergency Flexibility Policy & Procedure finalized and disbursed to staff who support students in seeking exceptions
  • COVID-19 Clinical Placement Guidance updated and distributed schoolwide

Email communications and website updates

  • March 11, 2020:  COVID-19, Attn: Skill Suites Attendees communication sent to students
  • March 12, 2020: MCU COVID-19 webpage posted, and students, staff, faculty and board members notified of posting
  • March 12, 2020 PM: Webpage updated
  • March 13, 2020 PM: Canvas announcement of webpage posted
  • March 15, 2020 PM: Webpage updated
  • March 17, 2020 PM: Webpage updated and specific student emails sent out about the cancellation of April events
  • March 19, 2020 PM: Webpage updated
  • March 21, 2020 PM: Webpage updated
  • March 23, 2020 PM: Webpage updated, live community check-in hosted by Student Services and Student Life, “COVID-19 and Clinical Placements”  email sent to students enrolled in clinical courses
  • March 25, 2020 PM: Webpage updated and “Shelter in Place” exemption letters made available
  • March 27, 2020 PM: Webpage updated
  • March 30, 2020 PM: Webpage updated; clinical placement guidance and consent form sent to students; clinical placement guidance sent to preceptors
  • April 1, 2020 PM: Families First Coronavirus Response Act factsheets and posters sent to employees
  • April 3, 2020 PM: Webpage updated; notification of upcoming FFCRA MCU Town Hall sent to employees
  • April 6, 2020 PM: Webpage updated; notification from NARM about test sites shared via schoolwide email
  • April 7, 2020 PM: Webpage updated
  • April 9, 2020 PM: Employee Town Hall on Families First Coronavirus Relief Act
  • April 10, 2020 PM:  Webpage updated
  • April 13, 2020 PM:  Webpage updated; MCU’s Clinical Procedure Guidance updated
  • April 14, 2020 PM: NARM update: NARM policy announcement on live remote proctoring
  • April 17, 2020 PM: NARM update: NARM policy announcement on virtual clinical experiences
  • April 18, 2020 AM: Webpage updated; MCU’s Clinical Procedure Guidance updated
  • April 22, 2020 AM: Webpage updated
  • April 28, 2020 AM: Webpage updated
  • May 1, 2020 PM: Webpage updated; MCU’s Clinical Procedure Guidance updated
  • May 8, 2020 PM: Webpage updated
  • May 22, 2020 PM: Webpage updated; MCU’s Clinical Procedure Guidance updated
  • May 29, 2020 PM: Schoolwide announcement: Cancellation of In-Person Events for 2020
  • June 3, 2020 AM: COVID-19 Emergency Flexibility Policy & Procedure finalized and disbursed to staff who support students in seeking exceptions
  • June 11, 2020 PM: Webpage updated; MCU’s Clinical Procedure Guidance updated; COVID-19 Clinical Placement Guidance updated and distributed schoolwide
  • June 22, 2020 PM: Webpage updated; MCU’s Clinical Procedure Guidance updated
  • July 23, 2020: Clinical Placement Guidance regarding NRP and CPR updated and distributed schoolwide

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