Coronavirus: PA Students, Preceptors and Faculty Communication Archive

January 27, 2020


PA Students, Preceptors and Faculty

The University of Toronto and our hospital partners are working closely together to optimize the management of the Coronavirus concerns across our system. As of the morning of January 27, there has been confirmation of two presumptive cases of 2019-nCoV in Toronto.

While health officials note the risk of contracting the virus remains low, we must all be prepared to safely deal with sick and highly infectious patients. We want to ensure that you are kept safe and your patients are kept safe while you are performing your duties.

At the current time, it is the expectation of the Physician Assistant Program that all PA learners will uphold their professional obligation to comply with hospital/clinic requirements for providers, which includes physician assistants.

Given that many of our PA trainees are not in hospital settings, or are in distant or rural settings, there may be a time when different processes are needed for various students – we will develop plans as needed, for individual students. We will be communicating with you regularly as the situation evolves, both as a group, and individually.

All of our Health Sciences Programs are receiving frequent updated information – at this time, there is no indication that this outbreak will impact our clinical education programs. Your well-being is our first concern, and as always, we will support you, and your safety throughout this situation.

Mask Fit Testing

All of our PA students should have current mask fit testing compliance. If, for whatever reason, you have lapsed in your mask fit testing or believe that there has been a change in your fit status (major weight change, for example), then you must notify the PA program immediately and you must not engage in at-risk activities until a new updated fit test is done.

We understand that this is a time of heightened anxiety and concern. We have learned a great deal from previous events and are confident that our processes are optimized to address the current situation.

Information is available at:

Toronto Public Health:
Public Health Ontario:
Public Health Agency of Canada:
World Health Organization:

PA students can access further supports with personal counsellors at OHPSA (Office of Health Professions Student Affairs) or you can reach out to the PA Academic Coordinator, or Clinical Placement Course Director if you have further questions at this time.

Take care of yourselves, each other, and your patients, as the excellent PA trainees that you are

Leslie Nickell, MSW, MD, CCFP
Medical Director, BScPA, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto