Urgent Clinical Learning Changes for MD Students

March 13, 2020

Dear MD Program learners, staff and clinical faculty:

Given the evolving situation related to COVID-19, the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto is adopting the following procedural changes in educational and clinical learning activities for medical students:

Fourth-year MD students:

All Year 4 clinical placements will end effective Sunday, March 15, 2020. The only exception to this is for students who are currently doing electives in preparation for the second CaRMS iteration.  For fourth-year students currently doing selectives, please confirm that you are no longer in your clinical placement by completing this acknowledgment form before noon, March 16, 2020. We wish you all a safe and healthy time ahead. The decision to end Year 4 clinical placements will not negatively impact successful completion of MD Program requirements or your eligibility to graduate.

Fourth-year MD students will receive a subsequent message regarding plans and next steps for non-clinical educational activities.

Third-year MD students:

In consultation with our hospital partners, third-year medical students will be allowed to remain in clinical learning environments, subject to the following:

  • Clerks must follow all health and safety directives of the clinical academic leadership on site during rotations.
  • Clerks must use appropriate Personal Protective Equipment.
  • Clerks are prohibited from assessing or consenting patients who:
    • Feel feverish or have a documented fever
    • Have a new or worsening cough or shortness of breath, or sore throat
    • Have presented for assessment of a possible upper respiratory tract infection or pneumonia
  • Please note, the decision to continue some or all Clerkship rotations will be reviewed every 48-72 hours and may be subject to change at any time. Please check your email frequently and refer to this Faculty of Medicine page.

Third-year MD students will receive a subsequent message regarding plans and next steps for non-clinical education activities.

We will take every step possible to ensure timely completion of your clinical learning experiences in a manner that places your health and safety first, maintains the integrity of your education, and ensures that we always support safe patient care.

In the event of a deferral of rotations, all efforts will be under way to support continuation of learning to ensure academic integrity and that students are well-positioned for CaRMS. Should a lengthy deferral be required for public health and safety reasons, I assure you the Faculty of Medicine will consult with CaRMS well in advance of the 2021 match.

First- and second-year MD students:

Following next week’s March Break, Year 1 and Year 2 learning activities will be delivered via alternate means starting Monday, March 23, 2020.  Further detailed information as to how we will support your learning when you return from March Break will be sent to you directly by Dr. Law.

For all other programs at the University of Toronto, including MD/PhD students who are currently registered in and working on their PhD, this March 13 message provides an update.

The Faculty of Medicine, along with our university and hospital partners, are watching the COVID-19 situation very closely. Consultations across sites and across disciplines are ongoing throughout each day and evening.

During this time of heightened concern, the Faculty will do its utmost to support U of T learners and continue educational programs as best as possible while fulfilling our obligation to wise practice in public health and safety.

For MD Program questions, please contact:

Dr. Stacey Bernstein, MD Program Clerkship Director: Stacey.Bernstein@sickkids.ca

Dr. Marcus Law, MD Program Foundations Director: Marcus.Law@utoronto.ca

Dr. Patricia Houston, Vice Dean MD Program

For further resources:



Patricia Houston, Vice Dean, MD Program