Clerkship Clinical Activities Update

Dear Class of 2T1,

We hope you and your families are keeping well during these very challenging times. We wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with an update regarding the anticipated date of return to clinical activities and the impact on your clerkship curriculum. We are here for you during these very uncertain times and will make the adaptations necessary as the situation around us continuously evolves. The Course Directors, Academy Directors and MD program leadership are meeting frequently to plan for curricular needs. Please feel free to reach out anytime if you have questions or concerns. We look forward to seeing you during the virtual town hall next week.

Take care and stay well,

Patricia Houston
Vice Dean, MD Program

Stacey Bernstein
Clerkship Director, MD Program

Seetha Radhakrishnan
Director Electives and Co-Director Transition to Residency (Selectives)
MD Program



Clinical Activities FAQ


When can I return to clinical activities?

At this time of unprecedented uncertainty in our health system and aligned with the recommendations of public health authorities across the country, all 17 Canadian medical schools have paused the clinical placements of medical students. At that time, it was unclear as to when it will be appropriate for these placements and your clinical education to resume

The UME Deans across Canada are meeting to develop and agree upon principles for the safe return of students based upon the following principles:   patient safety, student’s safety, allocation of limited essential resources such as Personal Protective Equipment and the ability to provide an appropriate learning experience and learning environment.

U of T has taken the decision that the earliest date of return will be July 6, 2020.   We will continue to review the appropriateness of this decision.   We appreciate that this return date decision may come as a disappointment to students. Please know that our end goal is to keep you engaged in your education and to facilitate your match, graduation and transition to residency in a manner that is as best possible coordinated across the medical schools in Canada.


Will I have mastery exercises during the clinical hiatus?

No mastery exercises will take place during the Year 3 hiatus. All MEs will take place once the clinical Clerkship resumes. 


Will this impact the core Clerkship schedule going forward?

The Canadian UE Deans are committed to having their current third year classes graduate on time. They are also dedicated to ensuring a level playing field as far as electives are concerned. Nationally, the Clerkship Directors are collaborating on creative solutions for a compressed Clerkship schedule. We are exploring whether the timeline for CaRMS will be adjusted. Specific details regarding a revised schedule will be communicated once they have been determined. 


What is going to happen to my electives?

Please be assured that the MD Program team is working hard and is engaged in consultations both within the province and across Canada to arrive at optimal solutions for the electives program that will ensure national equity. Given the potential clinical start date of July 6th, the home school Year 3 elective will be cancelled. The Electives Office will provide updates regarding the process for cancellation of year 3 electives. The AFMC Portal has been closed and no further applications may be submitted for visiting electives at this time. Given the current uncertainty with regards to the fourth year electives schedule, and in order to reduce student anxiety and burden around securing electives. MedSIS will also be closed for registration of home school electives effective immediately. Please be reassured that the Electives Office will support you in securing electives once MedSIS and the AFMC portal has reopened.


As a clerk, how can I continue to learn outside of the clinical environment?

The Clerkship Course Directors are working to curate a list of resources for you that are aligned with course objectives. You will be asked to complete some course components during the time off, such as completing online cases or reviewing recorded seminars. Required expectations for each course will be communicated to you directly by your current Course Director(s) by March 27th. At this point, we are focusing on the course(s) you were in at the time the hiatus began. Stay tuned for more information on subsequent courses. All information will be posted on Elentra. Thank you for your patience as we work together to develop a plan that best supports your learning. 


Will the Portfolio course be continuing?

Although in person teaching and clinical placements have been cancelled, the Portfolio program across all 4 years will continue, with the modification that all meetings will take place virtually either by telephone or video conferencing. Upcoming sessions will be modified to include an opportunity to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic. The next Year 3 session is taking place on Thursday, March 26.


Will my tuition be impacted?

Your tuition fees will not be impacted at this time, as MD students have already completed their tuition fee payment for the entire academic year. Please note that there are no tuition charges for the summer term enrolment for the MD Program. We anticipate that you will graduate on time and not incur additional tuition fees. 


What can I do to help?

We think it is wonderful that so many of our students want to know how they can help. We encourage you to connect with MedSoc, as they are setting up a mechanism for this.  

Volunteer opportunities are not curricular and are independent of academic studies and the University, even if the activities take place on sites that are affiliated with the University (e.g. at major hospitals or with academic appointees requesting volunteers). As a volunteer, the University’s insurance coverage, WSIB coverage through the University (including the coverage applicable during student placements), financial support, or logistical support would not be available to you.


When will I have an opportunity to ask more questions?

The MD Program will be hosting a Year 3 Town Hall on April 2 from 10:00-11:00 a.m. via Zoom. Faculty attendees will include Drs. Bernstein, Houston, Pignatiello and Radhakrishnan. We will also continue to provide regular updates by email and are happy to address any questions you may have. Our virtual doors are always open. 

Please note that all COVID-19 related information is available on the Faculty of Medicine website.